If you ask an average person what a slurry is, likely they don’t conjure up images that are very flattering – sludge never sounds good. In fact, most people’s experience with slurries is through negative information in the news, such as a mining spill disaster that threatens the water supply, destroys homes and creates environmental disaster. But the fact is that slurries have applications across a great many industries besides the coal industry. From cement slurries in the petroleum industry to meat slurries and even a form of gel explosive, many industries make use of slurries. Even the paper we write on was originally a slurry!
In essence, a slurry is just a mixture of solids and liquids that exists somewhere like a pipeline, a feed tank or a reactor. But unlike other dense liquids, a slurry has more attributes that matter – particle size and shape, distribution, etc. Most of the major problems with slurries are actually due to a poor understanding of how they work – and equipment or systems that don’t respect their properties. Some of the properties of the liquid become, well, more complicated once it becomes a slurry. And because this can actually alter the product or lessen equipment life, that can make the issue more complex, including excessive build-up on pipe walls or reactivity issues between the solids and liquids.
Understanding the properties you are working with and the equipment you need can help you reduce costs and provide more efficiency. For example, the Komax Klean-Wall Heat Exchanger provides a 300% efficiency increase over other standard slurry heaters, tube and shell exchangers. Additionally, it won’t clog – a significant improvement over other equipment carrying sludge or slurries. Because wall build up can degrade efficiency, going with a Komax product helps eliminate constant build up because of the high level of turbulence at the boundary walls. Reducing fouling means greater efficiency! Slurries need not be a worry with a Komax product.