You would expect that replacing an old piece of equipment with a new, seemingly identical one would result in better performance and higher efficiency. But that is not always the case. When it comes to reboiler tubes, old is sometimes better than new.
During an ethylene plant turnaround, a 38-year-old tube bundle within a vertical thermosiphon reboiler was replaced with a new, seemingly identical bundle. After the turnaround, the reboiler was not able to achieve the same performance, and the heat duty loss was substantial.
This article investigates this mystery and serves as a lesson for engineers who are revamping heat-transfer equipment with a like-for-like replacement. It demonstrates a thorough method of troubleshooting a thermosiphon reboiler suffering from poor heat transfer...
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