Inspectioneering Journal

Thermal Decomposition: A Technique for Cleaning Process Equipment

By Kyle Dunn, Compliance Manager at Dunn Heat Exchangers, Inc. This article appears in the January/February 2018 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.


Cleaning of heat exchangers, filter pots, extruders, and other types of process equipment is typically done through mechanical means with the use of pressurized water (e.g., hydro-lancing, hydro-blasting). However, there are situations in which a process known as pyrolysis, or thermal decomposition, a technique that utilizes heat rather than water to break down foulants, might be more effective than these traditional cleaning methods. While this is not a replacement for the use of mechanical processes, it can be a good solution in cases of problematic hydrocarbon fouling when conventional techniques are no longer feasible.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Cleaning Hydrocarbon Fouling with Heat

There are two basic types of heat application to treat hydrocarbon fouling:

  1. thermal decomposition in an oxygenated environment and
  2. heat soaking in the absence of oxygen.

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Rami Mattar on March 27, 2018
Very interesting article. however I still find... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Kyle Dunn on March 27, 2018
Thank you for the interest. While thermal... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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