Airborne particles and performance degradation

Clean air is vital to all combustion processes. Ambient air however contains multiple particles coming from sources as diverse as industrial processes and transport to vegetation and volcanos. 

Particle type and quantity vary depending of your environment. By example, you will find approximately 10,000 particles per dm3 in the air in the artic; 1,000,000 in the country side and 1,000,000,000 if you are located beside a highway. Of these particles, 99% are under 1 micron (μm) or 0.000 001m. Hair, by example, is approximately 70 μm. 

We breath about 27 kg or 60 lbs of air per day while a 15 MW engine will ingest about 4300 tons of air in the same day. If particles enter the machinery, they can cause erosion, fouling or corrosion of the turbine internals.To avoid unnecessary damage to the machinery, it is vital to have a well suited inlet system for the environment. 

Erosion is mainly caused by relatively coarse particles, above 5 μm in size. 

Smaller particles in the sub micron size (under 2 microns) cause fouling of turbine blades and cooling coils, which rapidly reduces performance and becomes a serious threat to the turbine.

Hot corrosion is an accelerated corrosion of metal surfaces that results from the combined effect of oxidation and reactions with sulfur compounds and other contaminants such as chlorides. Effective capture of small particles and airborne salt is therefore of vital importance for long and efficient operation.

Learn more about fouling

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