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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 22, 2021

Innovative fouling-resistant materials for industrial heat exchangers: a review

  • Caroline Françolle de Almeida , Manon Saget , Guillaume Delaplace , Maude Jimenez , Vanessa Fierro and Alain Celzard ORCID logo EMAIL logo


Fouling of heat exchangers (HEs) has become a major concern across the industrial sector. Fouling is an omnipresent phenomenon but is particularly prevalent in the dairy, oil, and energy industries. Reduced energy performance that results from fouling represents significant operating loss in terms of both maintenance and impact on product quality and safety. In most industries, cleaning or replacing HEs are currently the only viable solutions for controlling fouling. This review examines the latest advances in the development of innovative materials and coatings for HEs that could mitigate the need for costly and frequent cleaning and potentially extend their operational life. To better understand the correlation between surface properties and fouling occurrence, we begin by providing an overview of the main mechanisms underlying fouling. We then present selected key strategies, which can differ considerably, for developing antifouling surfaces and conclude by discussing the current trends in the search for ideal materials for a range of applications. In our presentation of all these aspects, emphasis is given wherever possible to the potential transfer of these innovative surfaces from the laboratory to the three industries most concerned by HE fouling problems: food, petrochemicals, and energy production.

Corresponding author: Alain Celzard, Université de Lorraine, CNRS, IJL, F-88000 Epinal, France, E-mail:

Award Identifier / Grant number: ECONOMICS, n°ANR-17-CE08-0032

Award Identifier / Grant number: TALiSMAN Project (2019-000214)

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: The authors wish to thank the ECONOMICS project (ANR-17-CE08-0032) for the financial support. CFDA, AC, and VF gratefully acknowledge the financial support from ERDF [TALiSMAN project (2019-000214)].

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.


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Supplementary Material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (

Received: 2020-10-30
Accepted: 2021-04-30
Published Online: 2021-07-22
Published in Print: 2023-01-27

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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