Message Board Thread - "I R Inspection of Steam Heat Exchangers"

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I R Inspection of Steam Heat Exchangers LWilcox 12/4/2003
Does anyone have any experience using IR to inspect steam tube and shell heat exchangers for condensate buildup in the shell? Do you have any thermograms of the shell showing the cooler area of the high condensate level?

Thank You very Much,
Larry Wilcox
Predictive Maintenance Group
400 Sunset Dr.
Suite M - 64
Johnson City, TN. 37604
423 283 7022
condensate levels in steam exchangers tarr 12/5/2003
It is possible to see high levels on shell side of steam exchangers if they exist; the only requirement I have seen so far is that the level be relatively stable for some time period so that the shell can aclimate. The other factor is to narrow your temperature scale down to within 5 or 10 degrees or so because the temperature difference may only be slight. This depends on the pressure the exchanger is actually running at. I do have a couple of images if you want to post your e-mail address and Ill send them to you.
E Mail Address LWilcox 12/6/2003
Steam Heat Exchangers ron lucier 12/21/2003
Under steady state conditions seeing level is very difficult at best. The HX has to be un-insulated and the surface has to have a high emissivity. I have had very limited success and only on horizontal heat exchangers. You didn't specify horizontal or vertical.

I was able to detect eroded baffles in vacuum pump heat exchangers about 15 years ago. I probably have some videotape around here somewhere of the inspection but I don't have anything recent.

The suggestion of narrowing the temperature span is a good one - try adding an isotherm as well and if you are successful, let us know (so we can get you results published to the rest of the IR community!)


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