Brazed aluminum plate-fin heat exchangers (BAHX, commonly known as 'cold boxes') are susceptible to NOx gum/salt accumulation due to equipment operating at cold temperatures and high pressures that favor their formation. Flushing cryogenic temperature equipment with ambient temperature methanol raises concern about potentially thermally shocking and damaging the BAHX. To address this issue, Chart Energy and Chemicals (a manufacturer of cold boxes) and a close industry partner investigated an in-field BAHX undergoing an alcohol wash event. This paper details methods used including a dynamic 3-D analysis for flow, thermal and structural simulation. Tips are provided on practices to avoid. Finally, a set of general guidelines applicable to general alcohol wash procedures is offered that mitigates NOx gums/salts instabilities and does not damage a BAHX.
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