The food & beverage industry is a massive end-user of heat exchangers, for applications such as thermoregulation of production goods or heat recovery. Special executions to meet the hygienic requirements of the sector are the ABC here.
Equipments are indeed exposed to frequent cleaning cycles, using aggressive and potentially corrosive chemical agents. The corrugation on plates creates several grooves and recesses where persistent residual biofilms can stuck, that must be removed in order too avoid growth and proliferation of microbes, fungus and bacteria.
An innovation showed at the last Hannover Messe comes from the INM Leibniz Institute for New Materials, in Germany, being nano-coatings that combine anti adhesive, anticorrosive and, on demand, antimicrobial properties, able to reduce the effort for cleaning heat exchangers, lowering the exposition to corrosion.
The researchers obtained anti-adhesive properties adding a hydrophobic compound similar to common Teflon. The nano-coating inhibit the formation of any biofilm, and allows residues to be removed more easily, before they clog up the transfer channels. Structures acting as a diffusion barrier in the coating inhibit the sensitivity for corrosion, while the employ of colloidal copper has an antimicrobial effect, preventing the proliferation of microbes.
The innovative nano-coating can be employed with stainless steel, steel, titanium and aluminium, and can also be adapted for special mechanical loads, preventing the amount of abrasion at points of contact in transfer surfaces, in presence of mechanical vibrations.