Heat and Mass Transfer

, Volume 55, Issue 12, pp 3633–3644 | Cite as

Investigation of deposition and self-cleaning mechanism during particulate fouling on dimpled surfaces

  • Hannes DeponteEmail author
  • Lukas Rohwer
  • Wolfgang Augustin
  • Stephan Scholl


Structuring of surfaces increases the efficiency of heat exchangers, but influences the deposition of particles suspended in the fluid. It is assumed, that spherical dimples suppress the deposition of particles or even induce a permanent cleaning of the occupied surface. In this study the self-cleaning mechanism of dimpled surfaces in heat exchangers is investigated to describe the influencing factors and mechanisms of particulate fouling. To get a detailed insight into fundamental deposition mechanisms, experiments on different dimpled surfaces have been carried out. According to conditions of industriell problems, e.g. cooling water fouling using river or sea water, concentrations of particles (spherical glas, dp,50 = 3 μm) of c = 2 g/l to c = 10 g/l were used. Influences of enforced turbulence due to structuring of surface with dimples or increasing fluid velocity were investigated and visualialized with μPIV technique. Furthermore, different test durations and number as well as the geometry of the dimples were considered and evaluated with specially developed analytical methods. In extension of preceding studies on the effect of a single dimple the influencing parameters were quantified and the effect of multiple dimples in a row were investigated experimentally. A repeatable fouling pattern was observed for the different structured surfaces. The quantitative results show that the surface coverage is generally decreased downstream of the dimples. Therefore, the results confirm earlier findings suggesting an advantage of dimpled surfaces against other surface structures with respect to thermo-hydraulic efficiency as well as reduced fouling propensit. Thus, this study has shown the occurrence of self-cleaning mechanisms of the surface downstream of the dimple and provides the possibility to estimate values for the reduction of particulate depositions on dimpled surfaces. All results presented were obtained by analyzing the surface around the dimple.




concentration (g/l)


diameter (m)


dimples diameter (m)


total channel height (m)


number of particles


fouling resistance


Reynolds number


time (m, s)


dimples depth


fluid velocity (m/s)




width of the trail

x, y, z

cartesian coordinates



coverage (%)


viscosity (Pa s)


density (kg/m3)


volume fraction of particles



upstream of the dimple


downstream of the dimple


based on the channel


based on the dimple


mass based


mean particle value





charge-couple device


micro particle image velocimetry


planar Plate


row of dimples


single dimple



The authors like to thank the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG, grant no. SCHO 842/19-1) for financial support.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest statement

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Chemical and Thermal Process Engineering (ICTV)Technische Universität BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany

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