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Effects of operating conditions on a heat transfer fluid aerosol
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Heat transfer fluids (HTFs) are extensively used in the chemical process industry and are available in wide ranges of properties. Aside from their importance, Factory Mutual Engineering and Research has reported 54 fires and explosions and $150 million losses due to fires involving HTFs during a recent 10-year period [Febo and Valiulis, 1995]. The vapors of these fluids are flammable above their flash points and can cause explosions. To prevent explosions due to loss of vapor, heat transfer fluids are used as hot liquids at elevated pressures. If loss of containment does occur, the liquid will leak under pressure and may disperse as a fine aerosol mist. Though it has been recognized that aerosol mists can explode, very little is known about their flammability. Therefore, research is critically needed to measure aerosol properties and the flammability of fluid aerosols. This research is the first part of a study of heat transfer fluid aerosols. This part of the study focuses on dispersion and formation of heat transfer fluid aerosols from process leaks. To simulate industrial leaks, aerosol formation from a plain orifice into ambient air is studied by measuring liquid drop sizes and size distributions at various distances from an orifice. Measurements are made over ranges of temperature, pressure and orifice diameters. Aerosol drop size distributions of a HTF are measured by a non-intrusive method of analysis using a Malvern Laser Diffraction Particle Analyzer (Malvern laser). The Malvern laser employs the principle of Fraunhofer diffraction, which is light scattering. The Malvern does not require any standard to calibrate, but the laser tube must be aligned frequently to assure that the detector receives the maximum light intensity. The Malvern software converts light intensity information from the detector to drop size distributions. HTF used in this research was an alkylated aromatic received from an industrial source. The measurements were made in the horizontal direction along the center-line of the HTF spray. The effects of pressure, temperature and orifice size on fluid spray atomization and aerosol drop size distributions were studied at various distances from the orifice. Trends of drop size distributions were analyzed with respect to pressures, temperatures, and orifice sizes. The results of this research will be used in industry to help predict the behavior of fluid releases from leaks, and the information will improve the safety of heat transfer fluid handling and process safety design.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 60-63).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Sukmarg, Passaporn (2000). Effects of operating conditions on a heat transfer fluid aerosol. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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