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Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

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Chemical Engineering Research and Design

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/cherd

Applying artificial neural networks for systematic

estimation of degree of fouling in heat exchangers

Ehsan Davoudi a , Behzad Vaferi b,∗

a Department of Chemical Engineering, Lamerd Branch, Islamic Azad University, Lamerd, Iran
b Young Researchers and Elite Club, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Deposition of undesired materials on the heat transfer surface is one the most challeng-
Received 30 June 2017 ing problems for application of heat exchangers. Experimental measurements of degree of
Received in revised form 29 fouling are both difficult and time-consuming, and often do not provide accurate results. To
November 2017 overcome these problems, artificial neural networks (ANN) is employed for predicting the
Accepted 8 December 2017 fouling factor from some easily measured variables of the system. Indeed, fouling factor is
Available online 20 December 2017 estimated as a function of density, velocity and temperature of the fluid, its oxygen content,
hydraulic diameter of the fluid passage, surface temperature, and time. Correlation matrix
Keywords: analyses justified that the highest interrelation exists between these independent variables
Heat exchanger and fourth roots of fouling factor.
Solid deposition The ANN model was developed and validated using a huge databank including 11,626
Fouling factor experimental datasets for fouling factor in portable fouling research unit (PFRU) and single
Artificial neural networks tube heat exchangers collecting from six different literatures. The best training algorithm
and the optimum numbers of hidden neuron were determined through minimizing the
computational effort and maximizing some statistical accuracy indices, respectively. It was
concluded that Bayesian regulation backpropagation approach has the best performance
among the considered training algorithms. Moreover, the two-layer perceptron neural net-
work with ten hidden neurons was found as the best ANN topology. This ANN model
predicts the experimental values of fouling factor with overall AARD% = 5.42, MSE = 0.0013,
RMSE = 0.0355, and R2 = 0.977819. The simplicity of the developed ANN model and its small
levels of error for huge experimental databank are some of the key features of our model.
© 2017 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction heat recovery from the process (Liu et al., 2004; Sheikholeslami and
Ganji, 2016). Heat exchanger is one of the most well-known equip-
Heat transfer is a branch of transport phenomena that dealing with ment in power engineering, petroleum refineries, chemical industries,
energy transportation between material bodies with a temperature dif- food industries and so on tries to transfer thermal energy between
ference as the driving force (Tertsinidou et al., 2016). This is of critical two or more fluids for purpose of heat recovery and energy manage-
importance because better efficiency of heat transfer will result more ment (Shah and Sekulic, 2003). Double pipe, spiral, plate frame, shell
and tube are some of the most widely used types of industrial heat

Abbreviations: AAC, average of absolute of coefficients; AARD, absolute average relative deviation; AI, artificial intelligence; ANN, arti-
ficial neural network; CFB, cascade-forward back-propagation; DO, dissolved oxygen; FRFF, fourth roots of fouling factor; GR, generalized
regression; h, hour; HTRI, heat transfer research incorporated; MLFFN, multi-layer feed forward network; MLP, multi-layer perceptron;
MRE, mean relative error; MSE, mean square error; NARX, nonlinear auto-regressive with exogenous; PCC, Pearson correlation coefficient;
PFRU, portable fouling research unit; RBF, radial basis function; RMSE, root mean square error; V, variable name; V, normalized values.

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: vaferi@iaushiraz.ac.ir (B. Vaferi).
0263-8762/© 2017 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153 139

conventional and nuclear power plants and oil and gas refineries are
some of those industries that concern with fouling problem (Bansal and
Chen, 2006; Bott, 1995; Stoller, 2009; Young et al., 2011). Taborek (1997)
de Equivalent diameter (m) reported that the first industrial problem of fouling was observed in
dRf /dt Fouling rate (m2 K/kW h) the USA power industry in 1880 (Taborek, 1997). It seems that the first
scientific research about fouling was done by Orrok in1910 (Orrok, 1910).
E Activation energy (J/mol)
It is obvious that various variables including the geometry of heat
f Transfer function
transfer surface, operating condition of fluid and heat exchanger, and
n Neuron output
time have sever effect on the amount of fouling (Asomaning, 1990, 1997;
N Number of experimental data
Feiz, 2015; Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, 1968). There-
qave Heat flux (kW/m2 ) fore it is difficult to develop an empirical or semi-empirical correlation
Q Volumetric flow rate (m3 /s) for accurate prediction of fouling factor by considering all of these vari-
R2 Regression coefficient ables. Artificial neural networks (ANN) that are simple, straightforward,
Rf Fouling factor (m2 K/kW) low cost and time-effort artificial intelligence (AI) paradigms, and often
Rg Gas constant provide promising results for modeling of complicated systems can be
t Time (h) considered for estimating the fouling factor in heat exchangers (Lalot
Tb,ave The average temperature of bulk (◦ C) and Pálsson, 2010; Navvab Kashani et al., 2012; Vaferi et al., 2016).
A few works relating to application of artificial intelligence method-
Tf Fluid temperature (◦ C)
ologies in various aspects of heat exchangers have been done up to
Ts,ave The average temperature of heat transfer sur-
now (Diaby et al., 2016; Díaz et al., 1999; Gupta et al., 2017; Lalot and
face (◦ C)
Pálsson, 2010; Verma et al., 2017). For prediction of the fouling factor in
Ts,0 Initial temperature of heat transfer surface (◦ C) a cross-flow heat exchanger, Lalot and Palsson used ANN methodology
U0 Heat transfer coefficient at clean condition (Lalot and Pálsson, 2010). Required database for both clean and dirty
(kW/m2 K) heat exchanger is generated by numerical simulation of the process
w Weight coefficient (Lalot and Pálsson, 2010). They considered inlet and outlet tempera-
x Independent variable ture of the cold fluids, the inlet temperature of the hot fluid, mass
flow rate of cold and hot fluids were the inputs of the artificial neu-
Subscripts/superscripts ral network, while the fouling factor was an output of the model (Lalot
ave Average and Pálsson, 2010). Romeo and Gareta (2006) improved the amount of
b Bulk power production from an industrial biomass boiler through develop-
ing a hybrid ANN and Fuzzy-Logic methodology for controlling and
cal Calculated
optimizing the fouling factor. Radhakrishnan et al. (2007) designed
e Equivalent
a statistical-based method for prediction of outlet temperature from
exp Experimental
both shell and tube side of shell and tube heat exchangers. Inde-
f Fouling pendent variables classified into four groups 1—operating variables,
max Maximum value 2—maintenance variables, 3—scheduling variables, and 4—crude prop-
min Minimum value erties (Radhakrishnan et al., 2007). The root means square errors (RMSE)
mix Mixture of 0.93% and 1.83% was reported for prediction of the shell and tube
norm Normalized value outlet temperatures, respectively (Radhakrishnan et al., 2007).
o Overall Aminian and Shahhosseini (2008) obtained mean relative error
s Surface (MRE) of %26.23 for predicting the fouling rate of crude oil pre-heaters
using a four layers feedforward neural network model. The veloc-
Greek symbols ity of crude oil, tube surface temperature, and tube diameter were
employed as independent variables of the ANN model (Aminian and
 Density of fluid (kg/m3 )
Shahhosseini, 2008). Fouling threshold in crude oil pre-heaters was
 Velocity of the fluid (m/s)
predicted as a function of surface temperature, Reynolds, and Prandtl
ω Mass fraction
numbers using a neuro-based model (Aminian and Shahhosseini,
2009). Garcia proposed a novel supervision strategy to detect, isolate,
and accommodate faults in a closed loop temperature control of a heat
exchangers (Farajollahi et al., 2010; Kern and Kraus, 1972; Shirvan et al.,
exchanger on the basis of a dynamic and static ANN-based modeling
2016). On the other hand portable fouling research unit and single
techniques (Garcia, 2012). Navvab Kashani et al. (2012) proposed an
tube heat exchanger have found high popularity in academic studies
optimized ANN model based on moving window technique with 3-5-1
(Asomaning, 1990, 1997; Feiz, 2015; Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998;
configuration for online monitoring and prediction of crude oil foul-
Watkinson, 1968). Optimum design, appropriate control of operating
ing behavior for an industrial shell and tube heat exchangers. Shell
conditions, systematic cleaning and planned maintenance for heat
and tube side input temperatures and tube side crude oil flow rate
exchangers could improve their energy transfer efficiency and maxi-
were considered as the independent variables of the proposed model,
mize amount of energy recovery (Hajabdollahi and Hajabdollahi, 2016;
while the output variable was chosen to calculate the fouling factor
Hultmann Ayala et al., 2016; Kim et al., 2016; Rao and Saroj, 2017; Zubair
(Navvab Kashani et al., 2012). Application of local linear wavelet neural
et al., 1997).
network model for prediction of temperature differences on both tube
Fouling is an undesired operating problem that creates by accumu-
and shell side and efficiency of heat exchanger has been investigated
lation of solid materials on the heat transfer surface of heat exchangers
by Mohanty and Singru (2014). The normal tap water was the cold fluid,
(Jamialahmadi and Müller-Steinhagen, 2007; Turakhia et al., 1984). Foul-
while the hot fluid was hard water having the hardness within a range
ing factor (Rf ) is a numerical indicator for the amount of solid materials
of 500–550 ppm of NaOH (Mohanty and Singru, 2014). Recently, the
deposited on the heat transfer surface (Turakhia et al., 1984).
multi-layer perceptron neural network with input structure using non-
Fouling which is a major unresolved and long-standing problem in
linear auto-regressive with exogenous (NARX) was employed to predict
various industries directly reduces the performance of heat exchangers
the fouling resistance in shell and tube heat exchanger (Biyanto, 2016).
by adding an unwanted thermal resistance to energy transfer (Buchelli
An artificial neural network model with thirteen hidden neurons pro-
et al., 2005; Tang et al., 2017; Yeap et al., 2004). Food industry, water
vides the RMSE of 1.38 × 10−5 for prediction of fouling heat resistance
treatment process, pulp and paper manufacturing, fiber production,
(Biyanto, 2016).
140 Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

1.1. Motivation and novelty of our study conceptual problems (Basheer and Hajmeer, 2000). The multi-
layer perceptron (MLP) neural network which has feed-forward
Fouling formation is an undesirable operating phenomenon that structure is likely the most well-known topology for func-
reduces the amount of energy recovery from heat exchanger networks. tion approximation and regression-based studies (Gibbs et al.,
Therefore, it is necessary to prevent its formation or try to minimize it 2006; Maier et al., 2000; Topçu and Sarıdemir, 2008). The MLP
using appropriate scenarios. Prior to control or minimization of fouling
neural network as it name clearly indicates can have any num-
formation, it’s inevitable to develop a reliable model that could estimate
ber of the layer with specified number of neurons in each layer.
fouling factor with acceptable accuracy. Our proposed model is simple,
The firs layer is responsible for receiving the information of
straightforward, and the most generalized approach for the considered
task. There’s developed no empirical, semi-empirical or even intelligent independent variable(s) from external source. It transfers the
model that cover such a wide ranges of experimental data up to now. data to the next layer after performing mathematical manipu-
Our model not only was designed using 11626 experimental datasets, lation according to Eq. (1) on the entry signal(s). This procedure
but it also provides an excellent accuracy for prediction of the dynamic continues as far as the manipulated entry information reach
fouling factor in various conditions. the last layer. The last layer is responsible for calculation of
the output signal(s) of the MLP neural network model.
2. Method The major advantages of MLP neural network over
empirical correlations are cohesiveness and multiple appli-
2.1. Artificial neural networks cability, well-known flexibility and the strength of their
back-propagation algorithm, requirement of relatively little
Artificial neural networks are intelligent paradigms that try memory and their rapidity, ability to learn complex relation-
to model various phenomena by simulating the process of ships between input and output patterns, independence from
learning of human beings (Ghaffarian et al., 2014; Rahimi statistical distribution assumptions, ability to increase the
et al., 2015). ANN has widely accepted technique as a promis- number of adjustable parameters (Gholami et al., 2018; Dach
ing tool for solving complex engineering problems in real life et al., 2016; Hagan et al., 1996).
(Vaferi et al., 2015). ANN which is categorized in parallel com-
putational methods constitutes of highly interconnected but 2.2. Training
simple computing elements i.e. artificial neurons (Yeh, 1998).
The artificial neural network can simply create by placing neu- The process of adjustment of weights and biases of the MLP
rons in some successive and interconnected layers. There exist neural network by a set of experimental data is often referred
two major patterns for connecting the layer of neurons to each as training or learning stage. As mentioned earlier, the neuron
other i.e. feed-forward and recurrent (Gurney, 1997). The pro- is the smallest element of the ANN models. Therefore, for a
cedure for calculation of output signal (n) for artificial neuron MLP network with given structure, the number of weights and
can be mathematically expressed by Eqs. (1) and (2). biases are known. During the training process, MLP starts with
a random initial value for these parameters, and the training

algorithm tries to adjust their values using the provided exper-
sum = wr xr + b (1) imental data (Hassanpour et al., 2018; Yilmaz and Kaynar,
r=1 2011). Indeed, the training algorithm adjusts these parameters
by minimizing the deviation between experimental and pre-
n = f (sum) (2)
dicted values of the dependent variable(s). The performance
of the trained MLP network should then be validated by exper-
wr is the weight and b refers to the bias coefficient of neu-
imental datasets i.e. test subset that were not used during the
ron that added to the product of inputs (xr) and their specific
training process.
weight coefficients. The operator which is the net output of
Training is an iterative procedure that tries to adjust
each neuron passes through that is called activation or trans-
weights and biases of the MLP network by minimizing an
fer function (f) and has different types such as linear, radial
observed deviation between actual and predicted values by
basis, logarithmic sigmoid and hyperbolic tangent sigmoid. In
the model. It starts with initial values for MLP parameters and
this study Eq. (3) is employed as the transfer function for neu-
their values modified by increasing the number of iteration i.e.
rons in both input and output layers. Eq. (3) is called tangent
epoch. As soon as the observed deviation reach a pre-specified
sigmoid transfer or activation function.
value, training finished and weights and bias found their best
esum − e−sum values.
n = f (sum) = (3)
esum + e−sum
2.3. Data acquisition
This function compact its inputs into [−1 1].
If an artificial neural network is trained with an ade- By considering both fouling rate correlations and published
quate number of data using a suitable learning algorithm, literature data, it can be simply concluded that the fouling
it can provide acceptable results for relating independent formation depends on some factors including:
and dependent variable(s) even for most complex nonlinear
multi-variable systems (Singh and Singh, 2005; Vaferi et al., - Temperature, velocity and type of operating fluid,
2014b). Conjugate gradient, back propagation, cascade corre- - Geometry and temperature of heat transfer surface,
lation, particle swarm optimization, evolutionary techniques - Geometry of fluid passage,
and genetic algorithms are some of the most well-known - And time (Asomaning, 1990, 1997; Feiz, 2015; Srinivasan,
training algorithms in the field of ANN (Amini et al., 2013; 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, 1968). A large amount
Nawi et al., 2013). It was reported that some types of ANN of experimental data is necessary for designing an arti-
methodologies are more useful for data modeling and func- ficial intelligence (AI) approach that could relate fouling
tion approximation and others are appropriate for solving factor to its associated independent variables. In this study,
Table 1 – Summary of collected experimental datasets including type of fluids and heat exchangers, ranges of operating conditions, and number of data points (Asomaning, 1990,
1997; Feiz, 2015; Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, 1968).
Type of fluida Type of heat Fluid density Surface Fluid Pipe Fluid velocity D.Ob Time (h) Fouling factor Nc
exchanger (kg/m3 ) temperature (◦ C) temperature (◦ C) diameter (m) (m/s) (ppmw) (m2 K/kW)

10% heavy oil–90% fuel oil PFRU 866.467 170.23–409.2 60–140 0.0144 0.65–0.94 0 0–50 0.000370–0.8160 2786
5% heavy oil–95% fuel oil PFRU 858.664 192.12–372.5 83.7–86.2 0.0144 0.75 0 0.5–49 0.00068–0.6720 529
15% heavy oil–85% fuel oil PFRU 874.414 194.49–341.4 84.4–87 0.0144 0.75 0 0–50 0.0004–0.47538 397
20% heavy oil–80% fuel oil PFRU 882.507 196.64–339.0 84.1–85 0.0144 0.75 0 0–50 0.0004430–0.0468 381
10% heavy oil–90% paraflex PFRU 870.571 185.0–369.38 82.3–83.6 0.0144 0.75 0 0.5–47 0.0003–0.6115 228
1% pentane–10% heavy PFRU 863.308 224.2–376.57 86 0.0144 0.75 0 0–6.5 0.0008–0.5528 40
oil–89% fuel oil

Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

3% pentane–10% heavy PFRU 857.058 215.58–365.8 86 0.0144 0.75 0 0–4.67 0.00350–0.56420 29
oil–87% fuel oil
5% pentane–10% heavy PFRU 850.898 212.54–381.2 83.3 0.0144 0.75 0 0–4.5 0.0034–0.6213 28
oil–85% fuel oil
10% heavy oil–90% fuel PFRU 866.769 216.55–375.3 83.5–84 0.0144 0.75 0 0.5–20 0.0046–0.5971 193
oil–1000 ppmw of benzoyl
10% heavy oil–90% fuel PFRU 866.657 200.1–373.06 83.8–84.6 0.0144 0.75 0 0.33–20 0.001540–0.5857 181
oil–1000 ppmw of
10% heavy oil–90% fuel PFRU 866.637 220.04–231.6 84.5 0.0144 0.75 0 0–46 0.0013–0.0461 271
oil–1000 ppmw of
Syncrude sweet blend (ssb) PFRU 867.896 206.11–358.3 60.35–133.4 0.0147 0.44–0.77 0–91.68 0.17–147.7 0.0001–1.3956 4256
7.15% ATBd –92.85%paraflex PFRU 862.519 272 85 0.0159 0.5 1.12603 20 1.607652 1
7.4% ATB–92.6% paraflex PFRU 862.788 403 80 0.0159 0.31 0.92994 40 0.747863 1
7.6% ATB–92.4% paraflex PFRU 863.003 429 95 0.0159 0.6 0.60329 48 0.132462 1
15% ATB–85% paraflex PFRU 871.041 465–640 90–95 0.0159 0.5 0.66–0.89 26–72 0.1894–0.632 3
Light sour blend (LSB) PFRU 845.1 286.3–401.2 206.95–278.2 0.005225 0.75 0 0–46.2 0.0014–0.0801 211
provided by shell Canada
Sour heavy gas oil Single tube 846.504 136.33–258.9 100.13–240.66 0.00871 0.88–7.45 0 0–388.8 0.1680–1.6056 701
10% (1-decane)–90% PFRU 797.762 202.67–220.3 79.5–97 0.0147 0.56 322.101 3.33–49.66 0.002–03090 140
10% (4-vinyl-1- PFRU 807.45 208.3–264 76.5–93 0.0147 0.56 314.252 1–47.3 0.0029–0.1577 140
10% indene–90% kerosene PFRU 820.37 186–420.33 66.5–94.5 0.0147 0.56 0–293.243 0–49.67 0.0006–0.7596 536
10% one-hexadecene–90% PFRU 802.18 200–284.7 78–96.5 0.0147 0.56 318.437 2–48 0.0007–0.2693 139
10% dicyclopentadiene–90% PFRU 819.272 182–292.3 71.5–95.5 0.0147 0.56 0–298.028 0–49.67 0.0034–0.5284 434

Mass percent compositions of mixtures are presented.
Concentration of dissolved oxygen in the fluid.
Number of experimental data.

Atmospheric Tower Bottoms Provided by Syncrude Canada.
142 Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

11,626 experimental datasets for fouling factor in a sin- the temperature of heat transfer surface is calculated using
gle tube and portable fouling research unit are collected Eq. (6).
from six different literatures (Asomaning, 1990, 1997; Feiz,  
2015; Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, 1968). 1
Ts, ave = Tb, ave + qave × Rf + (6)
Table 1 shows the summary of our collected experimental Uo
databank including independent and dependent variable(s),
here qave and Uo represents the average heat flux and overall
their ranges, and number of available data for each operat-
heat transfer coefficient, respectively (Agbisit et al., 2003).
ing fluids.

2.3.3. Fluid temperature

Similar to surface temperature, the fluid temperature has also
Our experimental dataset that includes 23 different oper- a complex effect on the fouling resistance. Various behaviors
ating fluids covers surface temperature of 136–640 ◦ C, the including increasing, decreasing and no variation in fouling
fluid temperature of 60–278.2 ◦ C, fluid velocity of 0.31–7.45 m/s, factor with increasing of fluid temperature were reported up
hydraulic diameter of 0.005–0.016 m, the oxygen content of up to now (Asomaning, 1997; Eaton and Lux, 1984; Sundaram,
to 322 ppmw, and time period of up to 389 h (Asomaning, 1990, 1998). Increasing of initial fouling rate with temperature was
1997; Feiz, 2015; Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, often justified by the degradation and deposition of active
1968). The associated fourth roots of fouling factor are from bulk spices (Sundaram, 1998). On the other hand, increasing
0.0841 to 1.0126 m2 K/kW. Independent variable and its effect the solubility of those materials that are responsible for the
on the fouling factor is tried to be investigated in more detail in formation of foulant and decreasing of viscosity with fluid
the following subsections (Asomaning, 1990, 1997; Feiz, 2015; temperature are the reasons that often provided for expla-
Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, 1968). nation of decreasing of fouling factor with fluid temperature
(Asomaning, 1997; Eaton and Lux, 1984).
2.3.1. Type of operating fluid
Deposition of dissolved, suspended or chemically generated 2.3.4. Hydraulic diameter of the fluid passage
species from fluids onto the heat transfer surface is attributed It is well understood that both fluid velocity and Reynolds
for fouling formation. Therefore, the fluid type is a factor number are functions of fluid passage area. Furthermore, foul-
that has the severe effect on the fouling factor. As it can be ing threshold is related to the Reynolds number (Yang and
seen in Table 1, the collected database considers the effect of Crittenden, 2012). Therefore, hydraulic diameter of the fluid
many fluid mixtures on the extent of fouling in wide ranges of passage is considered as independent variables for calculation
operating conditions. Based on three-parameter correspond- of the fouling factor.
ing state theory, it was firstly tried to define all fluids based on
their critical temperature, critical pressure, and acentric fac- 2.3.5. Velocity of the fluid
tor simultaneously (Carruth and Kobayashi, 1972). Since these There are relatively contradictory reports in the literature for
properties were not presented in the considered literatures, influence of fluid velocity on the fouling resistance (Paterson
and moreover there was no information for calculating them, and Fryer, 1988). For considering the effect of velocity on the
just density at 20 ◦ C is applied as an indicator for type of fluids. fouling factor three main classes were proposed (Asomaning,
In this study, the density of mixtures is calculated by Eq. (4). 1997; Paterson and Fryer, 1988). 1—If the fluid phase is respon-
sible for controlling the fouling reaction, fouling rate may
be dependent on inverse of the fluid velocity, 2—if surface
ω reaction is controlled fouling reaction, initial fouling rate
= (4)
mix i is independent of the fluid velocity, 3—if fouling is con-
trolled by both mass transfer to the surface and surface
reaction, increasing the fluid velocity increases the fouling
where  is density of the pure liquids, and ω is their weight rate (Asomaning, 1997; Paterson and Fryer, 1988). Velocity of
fractions in the mixture. the fluid is obtained by Eq. (7).

2.3.2. Surface temperature v = (7)
 de 2
It has been claimed that the temperature of heat trans-
fer surface may increase, decrease, or has no effect on the 2.3.6. Oxygen content of the fluid
fouling resistance (Awad, 2012; Awad et al., 2007; Epstein, Effect of oxygen on the fouling resistance is greatly dependent
1983, 1987; Haghshenasfard et al., 2015; Müller-Steinhagen, on its amount and type of the operating fluid (Niu et al., 2007).
1998; Ramasamy and Deshannavar, 2014; Shetty et al., 2014; The concentration of dissolved oxygen is often estimated by
Watkinson and Epstein, 1970). Eq. (5) presents an Arrhenius ASTM methods, D 2779-92 and D3827-92.
type equation for relating initial fouling rates on the temper-
ature of heat transfer surface (Epstein, 1987; Haghshenasfard 2.3.7. Time
et al., 2015; Müller-Steinhagen, 1998). Fouling is a time varying phenomenon which has the
well-known sequential events including initiation, transport,
attachment, removal, and ageing (Bohnet, 1987; Epstein, 1983;
(dRf /dt)0 = A1 exp(−E/Rg Ts,0 ) (5)
Muller-Steinhagen et al., 2009). It is obvious that amount of
fouling increases by time, therefore it is considered as an inde-
where Rg shows the gas constant, and E is an activation energy. pendent variable for modeling of the fouling factor.
Therefore, it can be said that the surface temperature has a Thus, operational independent variables for prediction
complex effect on the fouling factor. Wherever it is required, of fouling factor of fluids in PFRU and single tube heat
Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153 143

Fig. 1 – Architecture of the proposed MLP model including both independent and dependent variable(s).

exchangers using MLP network are density of the fluid, tem- with the independent variables. To doing so the correlation
perature of heat transfer surface, fluid temperature, hydraulic matrix analyses using the Pearson approach are applied for
diameter of the fluid passage, velocity of the fluid, concentra- measuring the strength of relation between transformed foul-
tion of dissolved oxygen in the fluid, and time. ing factor with the independent variables (Ariana et al., 2015).
As shown in Fig. 1, the developed MLP network for esti- Pearson approach provides a value between −1 and +1 for indi-
mation of the fouling factor in PFRU and single tube heat cating both strength and kind of relation between each pair of
exchangers is constituted of three layers. The first layer variables. The value of −1 indicates the highest inverse rela-
presents values of the independent variables and the output tionship, +1 indicates the most strength direct relationship,
layer responsible for providing the value of dependent variable while the zero value referred as no relationship between the
i.e. fouling factor. considered variables.
Fouling factor to the power of 0.25 0.5, 0.75, 1, 2, and its log-
2.4. Preprocessing on the collected databank arithm, exponential, sinuous and tangent are considered as
the transformations. Values of the correlation coefficients for
Our previous experiences have clearly justified that perform- various independent–dependent variables and their absolute
ing some sort of normalization or scaling on both independent average value are presented in Table 2. Since the correlation
and dependent variable(s) not only increases the training coefficients for all of the independent variables have non-zero
speed but it also helps the training algorithm overcome the values, their selection is likely verified. Since it is interested to
saturation of adjusted parameters of the ANN model. There- use the most powerful relationship, it is better to focus on their
fore, in the current study, both independent and dependent absolute average values. It can be simply seen that the fourth
variables have been scaled in the interval [−0.99 0.99] using roots of fouling factor (FRFF) have the highest absolute average
Eq. (8). value of for correlation coefficients amongst the considered
transformations (the bold row). Therefore, this transforma-
  V−V  tion which provides the most powerful relationship with the
V = 0.99 −1 + 2 × (8)
Vmax − Vmin considered independent variables is selected as dependent
where V represents the numeric value of each independent or Therefore, instead of modeling of raw values of fouling fac-
dependent variables, V shows the normalized values, Vmin and tor, it is better to work with its fourth roots.
Vmax is the minimum and maximum value of each variable,
respectively. 3.2. Selection the topology of the ANN model

3. Results and discussion Appropriate design of ANN model requires a systematic pro-
cedure for finding the optimum number of hidden layers and
3.1. Selection the best transformation for the most importantly determination the best number of neu-
dependent variable rons in each hidden layer (Vaferi et al., 2014a). Literature has
demonstrated that target variable of 95% of the multi-variable
In this study, it has been tried to transform the fouling fac- system can be accurately estimated by the MLP networks with
tor in such a way that it presents the highest relationship just one hidden layer (Cybenko, 1989). Accordingly, it was
144 Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

Table 2 – Finding the best transformation for fouling factor through comparing the Pearson coefficients of independent
Dependent Fluid Surface Fluid Pipe Fluid Dissolved Time AACa
variable density temperature temperature diameter velocity oxygen

Rf 2 −0.1217 0.0143 0.0315 −0.3763 0.2063 −0.0045 0.3668 0.1602

Rf −0.1420 0.1249 −0.0195 −0.3739 0.2704 0.0384 0.3518 0.1889
Rf 0.75 −0.1398 0.3547 0.1630 −0.0451 0.2747 −0.3508 0.0517 0.1971
Rf 0.5 −0.1331 0.3594 0.2027 −0.0768 0.2682 −0.3163 0.0640 0.2029
Rf 0.25 −0.1214 0.2385 −0.1126 −0.2703 0.2474 0.0730 0.3611 0.2035
Rf 0.1 −0.1121 0.2540 −0.1336 −0.2379 0.2273 0.0759 0.3571 0.1997
log Rf −0.1052 0.2599 −0.1461 −0.2147 0.2107 0.0765 0.3509 0.1949
exp Rf −0.1347 0.0760 0.0020 −0.3810 0.2460 0.0194 0.3784 0.1768
sin Rf −0.1429 0.1453 −0.0284 −0.3635 0.2766 0.0465 0.3287 0.1903
tan Rf −0.0157 −0.0043 0.0051 −0.0542 0.0287 −0.0025 0.1156 0.0323

Average of absolute of coefficients.

supposed that a MLP network having one hidden layer is able

Table 3 – Determination the best topology of the MLP
to estimate the FRFF in PFRU and single tube heat exchangers. network through investigation of various statistical
On the other hand, the optimum number of neurons in hid- accuracy indices over overall dataset.
den layer has tried to be determined by maximization of some
Number of AARD% MSE RSME R2 -value
statistical accuracy indices. The considered statistical indices hidden neurona
are absolute average relative deviation (AARD%), mean square
errors (MSE), root mean square errors (RMSE), and regression 1 15.85 0.0102 0.1010 0.803658
2 10.38 0.0047 0.0684 0.915199
coefficient (R2 -value). The AARD%, MSE, RMSE, and R2 -value
3 9.16 0.0034 0.0580 0.939802
are mathematically expressed by Eqs. (9)–(12), respectively. 4 8.34 0.0031 0.0552 0.945538
5 7.55 0.0024 0.0494 0.956732

100  |FRFFi − FRFFi |

N exp
cal 6 6.68 0.0018 0.0425 0.968086
AARD% = exp (9) 7 6.82 0.0020 0.0449 0.964312
N FRFF 8 6.08 0.0015 0.0389 0.973368
i= i
9 6.06 0.0016 0.0399 0.972026
2 10 5.42 0.0013 0.0355 0.977819
 11 5.64 0.0014 0.0380 0.974643
MSE = FRFFi − FRFFical (10) 12 5.37 0.0012 0.0350 0.978464
i=1 13 5.12 0.0013 0.0365 0.976616
14 5.01 0.0012 0.0343 0.979311

15 4.54 0.0009 0.0303 0.983902

16 4.57 0.0009 0.0308 0.983403


17 4.50 0.0009 0.0299 0.984411
i i
18 4.40 0.0009 0.0308 0.983379
RMSE = (11) 19 4.10 0.0008 0.0278 0.986484
20 4.00 0.0008 0.0285 0.985805

The best obtained results among 30 various trained network per
 each topology.
exp exp cal 2
2 i=1 i=1
R =

2 It is obvious that the efficiency of the MLP network
FRFFi − FRFF improves by increasing the number of hidden neuron up to
i=1 ten, and thereafter a little improvement is observed even by
(12) developing large MLP approach and spending higher compu-
tational effort. Therefore, a single hidden layer feed-forward
where FRFF represents the fourth roots of fouling factor. network containing ten hidden neurons (the bold row) was
FRFFexp and FRFFcal are the fourth roots of experimental and found to be the optimum topology for prediction of FRFF in
predicted fouling factor respectively. FRFF is the average PFRU and single tube heat exchangers. It can be clearly seen
value of fourth roots of the experimental fouling factor. that the selected MLP network provides overall AARD% = 5.42,
MSE = 0.0013, RMSE = 0.0355, and R2 = 0.977819.
3.2.1. Number of hidden neurons It is worthy to note that to eliminate the effect of initial
Table 3 summarizes the results of sensitivity accuracy analy- guess of weights and biases on the performance of the devel-
ses for finding the best number of hidden neurons. Various oped MLP networks, each topology is trained 30 times and only
MLP network with one to twenty neurons is constructed, the best results were reported.
trained, tested, and their quantitative accuracy was calcu-
lated. The optimum number of hidden neurons is often 3.2.2. Training algorithm
selected by finding the smallest MLP network that provides Here the focus is concentrated on the finding of the learn-
an acceptable accuracy. ing algorithm. Various training algorithms were examined
Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153 145

3.3. How to use the designed MLP paradigm?

Other researchers can simply utilize the developed MLP model

for estimation the value of fourth roots of fouling factor by
knowing its structure and parameters. Our developed MLP
model has single hidden layer with ten neurons, all neurons
have tangent transfer function. The values of weights and
biases of the MLP model should also be provided to use it for
prediction of the FRFF. Table 5 reports the value of both weight
and bias of the MLP network.
Now, by using the following simple procedure it is pos-
sible to calculate the value of FRFF using the designed MLP
1. Normalize all of the independent variables into inter-
val of [−0.99 0.99] using Eq. (8). It should be arranged as 7 × 1
Fig. 2 – Procedure of adjusting parameters of the MLP 2. Multiply the first seven columns of Table 5 by the
approach by minimization the mean squared errors during obtained normalized variables in the previous stage (Do not
training stage. count the Neuron column.).
3. Add the obtained results in stage 2 to the eighth column
of Table 5.
4. Use Eq. (3) for calculating n for all ten elements of step 3.
and comparisons are made among their computational time 5. Multiply transpose of the results obtained in step 4 by
and accuracy. Indeed it is desired to find the algorithm that the ninth column of Table 5.
provides accurate predictive accuracy with low computational 6. Add the value of the last column of Table 5 i.e. 7.3954 to
effort. the result of step 5.
Therefore, the MLP network with optimum configuration 7. Calculate n for the value obtained in step 6 using Eq. (3).
is trained with different training algorithms. Overall AARD%, 8. Map the obtained result in step 7 into experimental
MSE, R2 and computational time per epoch for twelve different ranges of fourth roots of fouling factor i.e. [0.1899 0.879] using
algorithms are presented in Table 4. By considering both accu- Eq. (13).
racy and computational effort it is obvious that the Bayesian
regulation backpropagation provides the relatively best per- (FRFFmax − FRFFmin )
formance (the bold row). Although the Levenberg–Marquardt FRFF = (n + 0.99) × + FRFFmin (13)
2 × 0.99
presents the smallest overall AARD% and MSE and the high-
est value for R2 , but the Bayesian regulation provides relatively 9. Obtained value in step 7 presents the estimated FRFF by
similar accuracy with a lower computational time. Therefore, the proposed MLP approach.
it seems that the Bayesian regulation training algorithm is the It should be mentioned since the parameters of our
most appropriate training algorithm for the considered task. intelligent model are adjusted by experimental data of the
As mentioned earlier, the training stage is an iterative opti- considered system, it can be said that it could provide good
mization procedure. Variation of observed deviation between predictions for interpolation between the ranges of experi-
actual and predicted values of FRFF in term of MSE versus opti- mental data that were previously used for their development.
mization iteration i.e. epoch is presented in Fig. 2. It is obvious Similar to other regression-based models, AI-based models
that the value of MSE decreases continuously and finally, it have poor accuracy for extrapolation. Ranges of applica-
reaches the desired MSE of 4.4 × 10−3 after 1645 iterations. tions of our AI-based model covers surface temperature of

Table 4 – Comparison the AARD%, MSE, R2 and training speed of various training algorithms over whole datasets.
Training algorithm AARD% MSE R2 -value Training speed

Conjugate gradient backpropagation with 7.90 0.0025 0.9548 0.02619

Powell–Beale restarts
Conjugate gradient backpropagation with 8.03 0.0028 0.9504 0.02508
Polak–Ribiere updates
Gradient descent backpropagation 19.67 0.0140 0.7157 0.00801
Gradient descent with adaptive learning rate 15.01 0.0077 0.8576 0.00798
Gradient descent with momentum backpropagation 19.63 0.0138 0.7272 0.00817
Gradient descent with momentum and adaptive 13.26 0.0062 0.8853 0.00830
learning rate backpropagation
Levenberg-Marquardt backpropagation 5.42 0.0013 0.9778 0.06636
Scaled conjugate gradient backpropagation 7.61 0.0025 0.9547 0.01305
BFGS quasi-Newton backpropagation 6.25 0.0017 0.9703 0.02641
Bayesian regulation backpropagation 5.59 0.0014 0.9747 0.06205
One-step secant backpropagation 7.88 0.0027 0.9523 0.02604
Resilient backpropagation 10.21 0.0039 0.9293 0.00811

Installed memory (RAM) = 2.43 GB, and 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7 central processing unit (CPU).
146 Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

Table 5 – Weight and bias coefficients of the MLP network with optimum architecture.
Neuron Hidden layer Output layer
Weights (wij ) and biases Weights (wij )b and biases

Fluid Surface Fluid Pipe Fluid Dissolved Time biases FRFF bias
density temperature temperature diameter velocity oxygen

1 8.0872 0.080639 1.1016 12.098 8.3053 6.3709 −93.9146 −91.7686 −0.18925 7.3954
2 1.7582 −3.2954 −73.7768 −188.12 −20.8283 −6.6517 −2.6125 37.3008 0.18812
3 0.39939 0.63617 0.17655 1.6465 0.053989 −14.3798 0.14248 −14.242 13.425
4 −322.271 −3.157 4.1162 141.79 −0.51819 −265.799 2.8918 −162.373 0.60495
5 1.9324 5.0129 −4.8214 0.096049 −3.131 1.2677 −2.0302 −4.5345 1.4941
6 8.2421 16.9621 26.2184 16.0646 −21.8827 −24.6458 −6.8502 −30.295 −0.27536
7 27.8163 1.8758 −1.9165 −11.3795 0.77457 16.835 −1.3779 6.8271 0.81019
8 −0.99502 −0.62109 −0.1367 0.89329 −0.27411 14.9374 −0.09553 13.0969 12.9357
9 −0.03482 0.054204 −0.01251 5.2551 −0.09576 −0.53288 −0.12703 −3.4258 −13.9641
10 3.2019 1.074 1.4725 −3.056 1.5461 −2.3056 2.4525 5.2649 2.9302

Weight connection from the input layer to hidden layer.
Weight connection from the hidden layer to output layer.

Fig. 4 – Values of predicted FRFF versus their experimental

Fig. 3 – Performance of the proposed model for prediction values for the testing datasets.
of fourth roots of fouling factor over the training datasets.

136–640 ◦ C, the fluid temperature of 60–278.2 ◦ C, fluid veloc-

ity of 0.31–7.45 m/s, hydraulic diameter of 0.005–0.016 m, the
oxygen content of up to 322 ppmw, and time period of up to
389 h.

3.4. Model evaluation

In this section performance of the constructed MLP model

with optimum structure tries to be evaluated. Evaluations are
done based on training and testing datasets, research groups,
as well as effect of various independent variables on the fourth
roots of fouling factor.

3.4.1. MLP’s prediction for training and testing database

Our MLP approach was trained by 75% of experimental data
(i.e. 8720 data points), hereafter they called training dataset.
Fig. 5 – Efficiency of the designed MLP paradigm for
The remaining 2906 data points were used for evaluation of
prediction of whole dataset of FRFF.
its performance by the data that were not seen by the model
previously, i.e. testing dataset. It should be mentioned that
this division is done in such a way that both training and training, testing as well as the whole of the experimental
testing datasets cover full ranges of experimental databank. datasets, respectively. Concentration the symbols for both
Figs. 3–5 illustrate a comparison between the experimental training and testing groups around the 45◦ line confirms that
datasets of fourth roots of fouling factor and their corre- the optimum MLP network predicted the experimental values
sponding estimated values by the optimum MLP network for of FRFF with acceptable accuracy.
Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153 147

Fig. 6 – Accuracy of the MLP model for prediction of experimental data of various researchers group (Asomaning, 1990,
1997; Feiz, 2015; Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, 1968).

Fig. 7 – Performance of the designed MLP model for prediction of FRFF various fluids operating fluids (Asomaning, 1990,
1997; Feiz, 2015; Srinivasan, 2008; Sundaram, 1998; Watkinson, 1968).

3.4.2. MLP’s performance over data of research groups ATB, 7.4% ATB, and 7.15% ATB in Paraflex, respectively. The low
Predictive accuracy of the proposed intelligence model over numbers of experimental data for these fluids are attributed
experimental data reported by various research groups is to this level of AARDs%.
depicted in Fig. 6. As it can be seen from this figure, the accu-
racy is calculated in term of AARD%. It is obvious that the 3.4.4. Parametric study
highest AARD% is related to the experimental data reported by The objective of this section is to investigate an effect of vari-
Feiz (2015). It should be mentioned that the small number of ous independent variables on the behavior of the fourth roots
data of this researcher may be attributed to this level of error. of fouling factor from both experimental and modeling point
The most accurate prediction for fourth roots of fouling factor of views. Moreover, some line of reasoning is given for expla-
i.e. AARD = 3.32% is obtained for experiments by Watkinson nation of the observed behaviors.
(1968). Watkinson reported 701 experimental data for fouling
factor in single tube heat exchanger with sour heavy gas oil as
operating fluid. Effect of fluid temperature on fouling factor. Experi-
mental values of fourth roots of fouling factor as a function
of surface temperature and time for various fluid tempera-
3.4.3. MLP’s performance based on operating fluids tures and their associated MLP network predictions for 10%
In Fig. 7, values of observed AARD% for various operating flu- heavy oil in Paraflex is presented in Fig. 8. It can be seen that
ids are illustrated. The higher AARD% is related to the 15% the FRFF continuously increases by time, and the rate of this
148 Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

Fig. 8 – Both experimental and associated MLP network predictions of FRFF as a function of surface temperature and time
for various fluid temperatures (10% heavy oil in Paraflex).

Fig. 9 – Experimental data of FRFF as function of surface temperature and fluid velocity for various times and their related
MLP network results (10% heavy oil in fuel oil).

increasing at early times is sharp and it slowed at the end Promising performance of the developed MLP model for
times. It is obvious that by passing the time and increasing tracking the trend of variation of FRFF and estimation the
amount of deposited materials on the heat exchanger surface individual data points can be seen from Fig. 8.
the magnitude of driving force for mass transfer from bulk We understand that the two dimensional graph is
fluid to the solid surface is decreased. Furthermore, deposi- clearer/simpler than the three dimensional one. On the other
tions at early times may play a role as initial nucleates for other hand, for investigation the effect of specific independent vari-
deposited materials (Coletti and Hewitt, 2014; Watkinson and able (such as time) on FRFF of heat exchangers and plot their
Epstein, 1970). These two phenomena may be considered as variation a two dimensional graph, all other independent
the main reasons for an explanation of variation of FRFF with variables should be completely similar. Since we have some
time. limitations to provide enough data points on the 2D figures,
Fig. 8 clearly indicates that the FRFF decreases by increasing we have to present them in 3D mode.
the fluid temperature and decreasing the surface temperature.
It seems that by increasing the fluid temperature viscosity and
Reynolds number decreases and solubility of solid materials Effect of time on the fouling factor. Experimental data
for FRFF as a function of surface temperature and fluid velocity
in bulk fluid increases. Therefore an amount of foulants shows
for various times for 10% heavy oil in fuel oil and their related
a decreasing pattern with increasing the fluid temperature.
MLP network results are depicted in Fig. 9. This figure clearly
Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153 149

Exp. 1000ppmw of Benzoyl Peroxide
Cal. 1000ppmw of Benzoyl Peroxide
Exp. 1000ppmw of Thiophenol
Cal. 1000ppmw of Thiophenol

300 10
250 4
Surface temperature (

Fig. 10 – Effect of additive on experimental FRFF of 10% heavy oil in fuel oil and associated MLP predictions.

Exp. 1%Pentane + 89% Fuel Oil

Cal. 1%Pentane + 89% Fuel Oil
Exp. 3%Pentane + 87% Fuel Oil
Cal. 3%Pentane + 87% Fuel Oil

Surface temperature (

Fig. 11 – Experimental data of FRFF and related MLP predictions for various mixture of 10% heavy oil in Pentane and fuel oil
as a function of surface temperature and time.

shows the increasing of fouling factor with time. Moreover, for pattern of variation of the FRFF and estimation of all individual
this case FRFF is increased by increasing surface temperature experimental data points.
and decreasing of fluid velocity.
By increasing the fluid velocity the forces of foulants
removing overcomes to the forces of their deposition/adhesion Effect of fluid type on the fouling factor. Effect of two
to the surface, and amount of fouling decreases. An excellent different blends of pentane – heavy oil – fuel oil on both exper-
agreement between experimental and calculated values by the imental and calculated values of FRFF is illustrated in Fig. 11. It
proposed model can be concluded from Fig. 9. can be seen that by decreasing the pentane content (increas-
ing the fuel oil) of the operating fluid amount of fouling factor
increases. Moreover, by passing the times both cases show an Effect of additive on the fouling factor. Effect of two increasing pattern for FRFF.
different additives i.e. Thiophenol and benzoyl peroxide on Both experimental and MLP network results for FRFF of
experimental FRFF for 10% heavy oil in fuel oil flowing in PFRU various mixtures of heavy oil in fuel oil as a function of sur-
are depicted in Fig. 10, their associated predicted values by the face temperature and time is illustrated in Fig. 12. It is easy
MLP paradigm were also presented in this figure. It can be seen to observe that the heavy oil content of the operating fluid
that 1000 ppm by weight of Thiophenol has sharply reduced produces a complex behavior in fourth roots of fouling factor.
an amount of fouling in portable fouling research unit heat Surface temperature has a minor effect on 5% of heavy oil in
exchanger. Similar to previous cases, in this case, MLP model fuel oil, while it has gradually decreased the FRFF for 20% of
has also presented an excellent efficiency for both following heavy oil in fuel oil.
150 Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153

Exp. 5% Heavy Oil

Cal. 5% Heavy Oil
Exp. 20% Heavy Oil
Cal. 20% Heavy Oil





Fig. 12 – Both experimental and MLP network results for FRFF of various mixtures of heavy oil in fuel oil as a function of
surface temperature and time.




300 0
200 0
100 200
400 4

Fig. 13 – Influence of simultaneous variation of surface

temperature and time on the FRFF—(simulation results for
fluid temperature of 209 ◦ C, fluid velocity of 6 m/s, hydraulic Fig. 14 – Influence of simultaneous variation of surface
diameter of 0.015 m, and dissolved oxygen of 84.6 ppmw). temperature and fluid velocity on the FRFF—(simulation
results for fluid temperature of 226 ◦ C, hydraulic diameter
of 0.015 m, dissolved oxygen of 237 ppmw at time = 175 h).
Although type of operating fluid may has a complex effect
on FRFF, it can be seen that the developed MLP model shows Fig. 13 illustrates the simulation results of variation of
promising results even for the most complex situation. the FRFF as function of surface temperature and time. This
result which is obtained by our developed artificial intelligent
3.4.5. Variation of FRFF by the influential model clearly confirms that the FRFF continuously increases
parameters—simulation results by increasing time. Complex influence of surface tempera-
As mentioned earlier, limitations for providing enough data ture on the FRFF can also be understood from this figure. It is
points on the 2D figures obligate us to present them in the obvious that by increasing the surface temperature, the FRFF
3D mode. We confess that the coordinates of the data points undergone a ascending continued by descending pattern.
and calculated lines cannot be uniquely located in our three Simulation results for variation of the FRFF as function of
dimensional figures. Moreover, only the dependence of the fluid velocity and surface temperature is depicted in Fig. 14.
FRFF on some variables can be roughly recognized. Therefore, It can be seen from this figure that the FRFF is decreased by
simulating the continuous variation of FRFF as function of pair increasing the fluid velocity, while the surface temperature
of independent variables may be helpful for readers to recog- has little effect on the considered variables.
nize the patterns of the dependences of the FRFF on those The results of variation of FRFF for simultaneous changing
variables. This might be a better way to show the behaviors of of fluid velocity and time from modeling point of view in illus-
fouling factor dependence on the influential parameters given trated in Fig. 15. This figure clearly confirmed that the FRFF
by the two horizontal ordinates. increased by increasing time and decreasing the fluid velocity.
Chemical Engineering Research and Design 1 3 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) 138–153 151

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