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Varying patterns of open and blind holes route the liquids from one channel to the next. Gaskets round the edges of the plates and round the holes form the boundaries of the channels and prevent external leakage and internal mixing.
The product is introduced through a corner hole into the first channel of the section and flows vertically through the channel. It leaves at the other end through a separately gasketed corner passage. The arrangement of the corner passages is such that the product flows through alternate channels in the plate pack. The service (heating or cooling) medium is introduced at the other end of the section and passes, in the same way, through alternate plate channels. Each product channel consequently has service medium channels on both sides. For efficient heat transfer the channels between the plates should be as narrow as possible; but both flow velocity and pressure drop will be high if a large volume of product must pass through these narrow channels. Neither of these effects is desirable and, to eliminate them, the passage of the product through the heat exchanger may be divided into a number of parallel flows. In figure 6.1.16 the blue product flow is divided into two parallel flows which change direction four times in the section. The channels for the red heating medium are divided into four parallel flows which change direction twice. This combination is written as 4 x 2 / 2 x 4, i.e. the number of passes times the number of parallel flows for the blue product over the number of passes times the number of parallel flows for the red service medium. This is called the grouping of the plates.
Fig. 6.1.16 The system of parallel flow pattern for both product and heating/ cooling medium channels. In this example the combination is written 4 x 2 / 2 x 4.
Tubular heat exchangers
Tubular heat exchangers (THE) are in some cases used for pasteurisation/ UHT treatment of dairy products. The tubular heat exchanger, figure 6.1.17, unlike plate heat exchangers, has no contact points in the product channel and can thus handle products with particles up to a certain size. The maximum particle size depends on the diameter of the tube. The tubular heat exchanger can also run longer between cleanings than the plate heat exchanger in UHT treatment. From the standpoint of heat transfer the tubular heat exchanger is less efficient than a plate heat exchanger. Tubular heat exchangers are available in two fundamentally different types; multi/mono channel and multi/mono tube.
The heat transfer surface of a multichannel tubular heat exchanger, shown in figure 6.1.18, consists of straight tubes of different diameters concentrically located on a common axis by headers (1) at both ends. The tubes are sealed against the header by double O-rings (2), and the whole assembly is held together by an axial compression bolt (3). The two heat exchange media flow in countercurrent in alternate annular channels between concentric tubes. The service medium is always
Fig. 6.1.17 The tubular heat exchanger tubes are assembled in a compact unit.
Dairy Processing Handbook/chapter 6.1