Fouling Testing for Crude Oil and Petroleum Products

Drawing on decades of experience, HTRI provides fouling testing on contract to both member and non-member companies throughout the world. Our crude oil fouling testing program can provide data to help keep heat exchangers running longer, cleaner, and more efficiently.

To request a test, please fill out the Fouling Testing form and submit online.

How can fouling tests guide your project?

  • Measuring fouling propensity and anticipated fouling characteristics of various crudes and blends
  • Assessing the impact of additives, such as antifoulants, production additives, and slop
  • Estimating fouling thresholds at different temperatures and velocities
  • Evaluating the impact of metallurgy
  • Interpreting chemistry data
  • Assessing primary fouling mechanisms and providing mitigation strategies

What does a fouling test include?

Customized Testing Plan

HTRI researchers will help design a project test plan to best suit your project goals.

Status Updates

Many testing projects involve multiple tests with each test spanning 1-4 weeks. Our fouling researchers will work directly with you keeping you updated as your tests are running. You won’t have to wait for the report; we will share the results as we get them.

Testing Report

Once testing is complete, you will receive a report containing a summary of the tests performed and test methods, analysis of the results, and recommendations to guide your project.

Data

If you want to further analyze the data or prepare your own plots, we provide a spreadsheet containing flow formation, physical properties, duty, bulk, and surface temperatures, fouling resistance, and measured heat transfer coefficients for each test.

Deposit Inspection

We inspect every deposit and provide the images in your report.

Samples

We sample your crude before and after each test, as well as collect the fouling deposit. By analyzing the chemical properties of these samples, we gain insight to the dominant fouling mechanism and mitigation strategy.

Chemical Characterization

From more than 20 years of fouling studies, we know the chemistry that impacts fouling. We can help you analyze your samples with more than 20 optional chemical characterizations, such as SARA, oil compatibility, particle size distribution, and carbon residue, if requested.

Fouling Test Units

HTRI has three fouling units, each a different tool for specific tests. As part of developing a testing plan, our experts will help pick the right rig for your project.

  Rotating Fouling Unit
(RFU)
High-Temperature Fouling Unit
(HTFU)
High-Temperature Fouling Unit 2
(HTFU2)
Picture

Test section schematic
Geometry rotating cup about heated probe in-tube flow in-tube flow
Number of test sections 1 2 2
Flow paths 1 2 2
Fluid charge volume 2.8 L / 0.74 gal 33 L / 10 gal 90 L / 24 gal
Max. pressure 6200 kPa / 900 psig 6201 kPa / 900 psig 6202 kPa / 900 psig
Max. bulk temperature 315 °C / 600 °F 315 °C / 600 °F 315 °C / 600 °F
Max. wall temperature* 500 °C / 930 °F 400 °C / 750 °F 400 °C / 750 °F
Max. duty 600 W / 2047 Btu/h 2300 W / 7847 Btu/h 2300 W / 7847 Btu/h
Max. shear stress 3.2 Pa / 0.067 lbf/ft2 30 Pa / 0.63 lbf/ft2 30 Pa / 0.63 lbf/ft2
Max. velocity 1700 rpm 3.3 m/s / 10.8ft/s 3.3 m/s / 10.8ft/s
Typical run duration 8-48 hours 2-4 weeks 2-4 weeks
Measurement capacity
  • wall temperature
  • bulk temperature
  • pressure
  • stirring speed
  • heater power
  • wall temperature
  • bulk temperature
  • pressure
  • pressure drop
  • band heater power
  • flow
  • density
  • wall temperature
  • bulk temperature
  • pressure
  • pressure drop
  • band heater power
  • flow
  • density
Advantages
  • quick run time
  • easy access to deposit
  • small volume sample
  • higher bulk temperature limit
  • in-tube geometry
  • larger volume to heated area
  • wider range of operating conditions
  • 2 test conditions per run
  • in-tube geometry
  • larger volume to heated area
  • wider range of operating conditions
  • 2 test conditions per run
  • improved design and controls
*Note: The maximum wall/surface temperature of units is dependent on the operating conditions in use.

Getting Started

Fouling testing services are available through HTRI Proprietary Contracts. In order to speed up the process and allow us to better serve your needs, please fill out the Fouling Testing form and submit online.

Download information sheet 
Download information sheet