This paper presents an analytical model and experimental study of adhesion and fluid shear removal of calcium carbonate scale on polypropylene and copper tubes in laminar and turbulent water flows, with a view toward understanding how scale can be controlled in solar absorbers and heat exchangers. The tubes are first coated with scale and then inserted in a flow through apparatus. Removal is measured gravimetrically for Reynolds numbers from 525 to 5550, corresponding to wall shear stresses from 0.16 to 6.0 Pa. The evolutionary structure of the scale is visualized with scanning electron microscopy. Consistent with the predictive model, calcium carbonate is more easily removed from polypropylene than copper. In a laminar flow with a wall shear stress of 0.16 Pa, 65% of the scale is removed from polypropylene while only 10% is removed from copper. Appreciable removal of scale from copper requires higher shear stresses. At Reynolds number of 5500, corresponding to a wall shear stress of 6.0 Pa, 30% of the scale is removed from the copper tubes. The results indicate scale will be more easily removed from polypropylene, and by inference other polymeric materials, than copper by flushing with water.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.