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Thermally Conductive Polyethylene/Expanded Graphite Composites as Heat Transfer Surface: Mechanical, Thermo-Physical and Surface Behavior

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submitted on 2024-05-15, 11:20 and posted on 2024-05-15, 11:20 authored by Patrik Sobolčiak, Asma Abdulgader, Miroslav Mrlik, Anton Popelka, Ahmed A. Abdala, Abdelnasser A. Aboukhlewa, Mustapha Karkri, Hendrik Kiepfer, Hans-Jörg Bart, Igor Krupa

Composites of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and expanded graphite (EG) are prepared for heat exchangers in multi-effect distillation (MED) desalination. At 50 wt.% EG loading, the thermal conductivity of HDPE was increased by 372%. Moreover, the surface wettability of the HDPE/EG composite was enhanced by corona and RF plasma treatment as demonstrated by the increase in surface free energy from 28.5 mJ/m2 for untreated HDPE/EG to 55.5 and 54.5 mJ/m2 for HDPE/EG treated by corona and RF plasma, respectively. This enhanced surface wettability was retained over a long time with only a 9% and 18% decrease in RF and corona plasma-treated samples’ surface energy after two months. The viscoelastic moduli and the complex viscosity profiles indicated that EG content dictates the optimum processing technique. At loading below 30 wt.%, the extrusion process is preferred, while above 30 wt.% loading, injection molding is preferred. The plasma treatment also improved the HDPE/EG composite overall heat transfer coefficient with an overall heat transfer coefficient of the composite reaching about 98% that of stainless steel. Moreover, the plasma-treated composite exhibited superior resistance to crystallization fouling in both CaSO4 solution and artificial seawater compared to untreated composites and stainless-steel surfaces.

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Published in: Polymers
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Novel Thermally Enhanced Polymer Heat Exchanger for Multi Effect Distillation (MED) Desalination Plants -



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2020

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute - HBKU
  • Qatar University
  • Center for Advanced Materials - QU
  • Texas A&M University at Qatar

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