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COMPACT HEAT EXCHANGERS — PART 1:

Designing

Christopher Haslego, Alfa Laval Graham Polley, www.pinchtechnology.com

Heat Exchangers

Use these design charts for preliminary sizing.

Plate-and-Frame

C

onsidering available heat exchanger technoloed metal plates ﬁtted between a thick, carbon-steel frame. gies at the outset of process design (at the Each plate ﬂow channel is sealed with a gasket, a weld or process synthesis stage) is not general pracan alternating combination of the two. It is not uncommon tice. In fact, procedures established in some for plate-and-frame heat exchangers to have overall heatcompanies preclude it. For instance, some purchasing detransfer coefficients that are three to four times those found partments’ “nightmare” is having to deal with a single supin shell-and-tube heat exchangers. plier — instead they want a general speciﬁcation that can This three-part series outlines the lost opportunities and be sent to all equipment vendors, in the mistaken belief the importance of proper heat exchanger selection. This artithat they are then operating on a “level playing ﬁeld.” cle discusses some general aspects of plate-and-frame heat This omission is both unfortunate and costly. It results in unnecessary capital expenditure and in reduced energy efficiency. It also hinders the development of energy saving technology. Pinch analysis is the key tool used by engineers to develop ﬂowsheets of energy-intensive processes, where heat exchanger selection is particularly important. Yet, this tool is hindering the adoption of a more-progressive approach because of the way it is restricted to traditional heat exchangers. Numerous articles have been published regarding the advantages of compact heat exchangers. Brieﬂy, their higher heat-transfer coefficients, compact size, cost effectiveness, and unique ability to handle fouling ﬂuids make them a good choice for many services. A plate-and-frame heat exchanger (Figure 1) consists of pressed, corrugat- s Figure 1. Cutaway drawing of a plate-and-frame heat exchanger.

32

www.cepmagazine.org

September 2002

CEP

°F Temperature Out. with compact technologies.06 Btu/h-ft-°F. 5. these basic parameters should result in a good shell-and-tube design that uses a minimum amount of C276 material. Specifying plate-and-frame heat exchangers Engineers often fail to realize the differences between heat transfer technologies when preparing a speciﬁcation to be sent to vendors of different types of heat exchangers. The following important points should be noted regarding the charts and their use: 1. The accuracy of the charts will not be compromised for most materials of construction. Basis for heat exchanger quotation. LMTD = (T hot . limited literature correlations are available to help in the preliminary design of plate-and-frame heat exchangers.out − Tcold . A process stream needs to be cooled with cooling water before being sent to storage. For example. compared to about 420 ft2 for a shell-and-tube exchanger. If the cooling water ﬂow is reduced to 655 gal/min and the outlet water temperature allowed to rise to 115°F. liquid-liquid designs.33 Btu/h-ft-°F. For ﬂuids in excess of 500 cP.cepmagazine. The basis for the heat exchanger quotation was speciﬁed as shown in the table.67 Btu/h-ft-°F (which is the value for stainless steel). outlines a procedure for accurately estimating the required area. The load being transferred to the cooling tower is the same. 2.in Thot .in LMTD (2 ) (3) ( 4) NTUcold = 1 1 ∆x 1 = + + U hhot k hcold CEP September 2002 www. psi 500 280 150 15 Shellside 1.” This simple statement could result in vastly different conﬁgurations compared with the designs that would result from the original speciﬁcation.in ) ( ) (1) NTUhot = Thot . the overall heat-transfer coefficient (U) is calculated by Eq. use the 100 cP line on the graphs.in − Tcold . This could have been in the form of the following statement: “The process stream is to be cooled with cooling water.out ln hot . The cooling water is available at 80°F and must be returned at a temperature no higher than 115°F. gal/min Temperature In.out − Tcold . The unit is smaller and less expensive. the effect is exactly the opposite. the plate-and-frame heat exchanger would contain about 185 ft2 of area. Up to 2.85 Btu/lb-°F. Accuracy should be within ±15% of the service value for the overall heat-transfer coefficient. Part 2 (which will appear next month) covers integrating plate-and-frame exchangers (and other compact technologies) into pinch analysis for new plants.out − Tcold . increasing water ﬂow will minimize heat-transfer area. heat capacity = 0. According to the engineer’s calculations.in − Thot . A plate-andframe unit designed to the above speciﬁcation is limited by the allowable pressure drop on the cooling water. heat capacity (Cp) = 0. Tubeside Flowrate. Examples will help clarify their use. density (ρ) = 55.out − Thot . This article introduces a series of charts (Figures 2–7) that can be used for performing preliminary sizing of plateand-frame exchangers. engineers often find themselves at the mercy of the equipment manufacturers. After the local heattransfer coefficients (h) are read from the charts. A typical plate-and-frame exchanger designed to meet the speciﬁcation would have about 650 ft2 of area.Table. density = 62. Rather than supplying a rigid speciﬁcation to all heat exchanger manufacturers.85 Btu/lb-°F. and it uses less water.out LMTD Tcold .800 80 92 15 temperature is 115°F. The process engineer realizes that with the water ﬂow being placed on the shellside. However.org 33 . With shell-and-tube heat exchangers. The following physical properties for water-based ﬂuids were used for the basis: thermal conductivity = 0. assuming a nominal 10% excess heat-transfer area.50mm-thick plates. consult equipment manufacturers. the engineer should have explained the goal for the process stream.in T − Tcold . The stream requires C276. larger ﬂowrates will enhance the heat-transfer coefficient.000 gal/min of water is available at 80°F. These charts are valid for single-pass units with 0. 6. The larger water ﬂow actually drives up the cost of the unit. Wetted-material thermal conductivity is taken as 8. 4. exchangers. For ﬂuids with viscosities between 100 and 500 cP. The maximum return Design charts for plate-and-frame exchangers When it comes to compact heat-transfer technology. to guard against corrosion. this metallurgy makes the stream a candidate for the tubeside of a shell-and-tube heat exchanger.0 lb/ft3. °F Allowable Pressure Drop. The following physical properties for hydrocarbonbased ﬂuids were used for the basis: thermal conductivity (k) = 0. 4. 3. Consider the following example. while Part 3 (which also will appear next month) deals with the application of plate-and-frame exchangers and pinch technology to retroﬁts. and shows how these units can be used to simplify processes. an expensive high-nickel alloy. Equations 1–3 are used to calculate the log-mean temperature difference (LMTD) and number of transfer units (NTU) for the hot and cold streams.0 lb/ft3. The heat-transfer correlations apply to single-phase.

4. Pressure Drop. a pressure drop of 15 psi corresponds to hhot ≈ 50 Btu/h-ft2-°F.000 12. Then from Eq. Use Figure 2. Step 5: Calculate U.9 = 1.25 < NTU < 2.000 1 cP 12.0.5 cP 5 cP 9.000 30 100 cP 20 25 Pressure Drop.33 cP and the average viscosity of the oil in the unit is 215 cP. 4. Step 1: Calculate the LMTD.0 < NTU < 5.500 2.000 50 100 150 200 18. reduce the local heat-transfer coefficient by 15% from 3.000 Correction: For liquids with average viscosities less than 2.000 500 0 5 h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient. psi s Figure 4.500 3.500 3. a pressure drop of 15 psi corresponds to hcold ≈ 3. kPa h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.000 2.000 5 cP 1. the chart for hydrocarbons when 0. Pressure Drop.000 12. Use Figure 5.000 Water-Based Fluids 15.66. The maximumallowable pressure drop through the plate heat exchanger is 15 psi on the hot and cold sides.0 cP. Again. 2 and 3. From Eq.000 15.0 < NTU < 4. 2. NTUhot = (200 – 175)/64.Heat Exchangers Pressure Drop.000 Btu/h-ft2-°F.000) and U = 49 Btu/h-ft2-°F. W/m2-K h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient. Btu/h-ft2-˚F 3.000 5 cP 6.000 2. The average viscosity of the water passing through the unit is 0.0.25 < NTU < 2.67 Btu/h-ft°F. kPa h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient. .000 lb/h of SAE 30 oil.000 10 cP 500 0 5 10 15 3. Step 2: Calculate NTUhot and NTUcold.0.org September 2002 CEP Using the charts Consider the following example. The heat exchanger will be pressuredrop-limited and the heat-transfer coefficient will not change appreciably over this viscosity range for plate-and-frame exchangers. the 1. which applies to waterbased liquids when 0.000 1. The oil enters the exchanger at 60°F and leaves at 168°F.000 2. From Eqs.000 6. psi s Figure 2. LMTD = [(200 – 168) – (175 – 60)]/ln[(200 – 168)/(175 – 60)] = 64.5 cP 9. Btu/h-ft2-˚F 3.38 and NTUcold = (168 – 60)/64. Heat-transfer correlations for water-based ﬂuids. W/m2-K 50 Water-Based Fluids 100 150 1 cP 200 18. Heat-transfer correlations for water-based ﬂuids. Reading from the chart.000189 + 1/3. 1. Assume a stainless steel plate with a thickness of 0.5 < NTU < 4. 34 www.cepmagazine.500 50 100 150 200 18.500 1. Step 3: Read hhot from the appropriate chart.000 2.500 2. the exact viscosity line needed for pure water (0. Btu/h-ft2-˚F 3. However.9°F. the line representing 100 cP can be used for viscosities up to about 400–500 cP.500 2.000 1.000 30 100 cP 500 0 5 10 15 20 25 Pressure Drop.0.000 100 cP 10 15 20 25 30 Pressure Drop.500 3.50 mm is being used.0 cP line provides a very good estimate of the heat-transfer coefficient for pure water.000 9.500 1.000 10 cP 3.5 cP 1 cP 15.0. 0. 150.000 lb/h of water is being cooled from 200°F to 175°F by 75. W/m2-K h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.0. Step 4: Read hcold from the chart.9 = 0. Reading from the chart.000 3.25 < NTU < 2.33 cP) in this case is not available.000 2. Although there is not a viscosity line for 215 cP. Water-Based Fluids 2. psi s Figure 3.000 10 cP 6. 1/U = (1/50 + 0. Type 316 stainless steel has a thermal conductivity of 8.000 1. Heat-transfer correlations for water-based ﬂuids. kPa h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.

46 cP and the 5 cP average viscosity of the brine in the 10 cP 200 unit is 1.500 Btu/h-ft2-°F.000 2. psi ognized and exploited at the earliest stages of the plant design. The maximum-allow100 cP able pressure drop through the plate 0 heat exchanger is 10 psi on the hot 5 10 15 20 25 (water) side and 20 psi on the cold (brine) side. Heat-transfer correlations for hydrocarbons.600 3. respectively. h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.400 1. W/m2-K 200 h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient. hhot ≈ 2. and the spacing between process equipment can be reduced. From the charts for 2.Pressure Drop. W/m2-K 50 100 150 200 35 .14.0. Pressure Drop. U is calculated to be 918 2 -°F. If the plant is to Pressure Drop.600 3. 4.400 1.600 800 30 September 2002 www. The amount of 1. s Figure 7. the properties for stainHydrocarbon-Based Fluids less steel are used for preliminary 1 cP 600 sizing. Btu/h-ft2-˚F h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.600 800 30 200 h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.000 lb/h of water is being Hydrocarbon-Based Fluids 800 cooled from 200°F to 100°F by 1 cP 150.000 2.0 < NTU < 4.400 1. Thus.5 < NTU < 4. Al1. kPa be housed in a building.800 3.org h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.000 lb/h of NaCl brine.5 cP 400 support the plant. NTUhot and NTUcold are 2.0 (water Pressure Drop. and 3.400 4. The brine enters the exchanger at 50°F 600 and leaves at 171°F.0 < NTU < 4. 0. Since the spacing between equipment is reduced. a smaller plot is needed for the process plant.5 cP viscosity of the water passing 400 through the unit is 0. 0 Let’s now consider the implications 5 10 15 20 25 of this. we stress again that the 100 cP savings associated with size and 0 weight reduction can only be 5 10 15 20 25 achieved if these advantages are recPressure Drop. psi The individual exchangers are smaller. 800 titanium.5°F. 5 cP piping costs are lower. Btu/h-ft2-˚F CEP 400 2.400 4. W/m2-K 1.25 < NTU < 2. Pressure Drop. Btu/h-ft 5.0. s Figure 6.000 structural steel used to support the plant can be reduced.800 3. 200 10 cP However.600 3. 150.10 cP.400 4. Heat-transfer correlations for hydrocarbons. The average 2. psi The LMTD is calculated to be 38.600 800 30 Implications of size reduction 5 cP Alternative technologies offer 10 cP 200 significant size advantages over 100 cP shell-and-tube heat exchangers. the load on that structure is also reduced.0. Heat-transfer correlations for hydrocarbons.800 3. The 1 cP 600 weight advantage extends to the design of the foundations used to 2.0.0 cP. and because 800 Hydrocarbon-Based Fluids of the weight saving.59 s Figure 5. Btu/h-ft2-˚F 5.000 2. the build50 100 150 ing can be smaller.cepmagazine.5 cP 5.000 though the material of choice may Correction: For liquids with average viscosities less than 2. reduce the local heat-transfer be titanium or palladium-stabilized coefficient by 15% from 3. kPa h = Local Heat-Transfer Coefficient.000 Btu/h-ft2-°F 50 100 150 and hcold ≈ 2.0 < NTU < 5. kPa based). 2.000 Now let’s consider another example.

A single plate-and-frame exchanger handles three process streams … Thermal expansion considerations can also lead the designer to opt for multiple tube passes. easier and more straight-forward. where the outlet temperature of the cold stream is higher than the inlet temperature s Figure 10.285 lb/h ∆Ptotal = 30 psi ty. the Water. 175˚F This adds to the savings associated 168˚F 171˚F with reduced size and weight and 100˚F also has safety implications. (Hot) Water The use of multiple tube passes has four detrimental effects. it results in wasted tubeside pressure drop in the return headers. If such large tube Styrene. the designer is tempted to in285˚F crease the number of tubeside passes in order to maintain a reasonable tubeside heat-transfer coefficient. Third. thereby leading to increased shell diameter and cost..cepmagazine. because the cost of a floating head is generally lower than the cost of installing an expanStyrene Cooling sion bellows in the exchanger shell.655 lb/h 248˚F restriction drives the design toward 80˚F ∆P = 14. which reduces the effective(Cold) mean-temperature driving force and possibly produces a temperature cross (i. as shown in Figure 8). the designer must split the duty between multiple heat exchangers arranged in series. First. significant role in the design of shell-and-tube heat exchangers. In addition.6 psi large tube counts. it is common to find that some users place restrictions on 160˚F 160˚F tube length. 36 www. The situation on the left does not involve a temperature cross. Mechanical constraints play a s Figure 8. For instance.org September 2002 CEP . 100˚F counts lead to low tubeside velociStyrene. Such a restriction can 112˚F Styrene. the pass-partition lanes introduced into the bundle give rise to an increase in the quantity of shellside fluid bypassing the tube bundle and a reduction in shellside heat-transfer coefficient. it leads to a reduction in the number of tubes that can be accommodated in a given size shell.285 lb/h have important implications for the ∆P = 9.e. In the case of exchangers requiring large surface areas. while the one on the right does. 290. Second. 290. If a temperasix units.Heat Exchangers Reduced plant complexity The use of alternative heat exOne shell-and-tube exchanger Three shell-and-tube exchangers changer technologies can signifiOne plate exchanger One plate exchanger cantly reduce plant complexity by reducing the number of heat ex200˚F 200˚F changers through improved thermal contacting and multi-streaming. s Figure 9.5 psi 130˚F design. Temperature Cross No Temperature Cross plant maintenance will be safer. and most significantly. Finally. ture cross occurs. 248. the use of multiple tube passes results in the thermal contacting of the streams not Styrene being pure counter-flow. The simpler the plant structure. the easi60˚F 50˚F er it is for the process operator to understand the plant. for bundles having more than four tube passes. … whereas the equivalent shell-and-tube design requires of the hot stream.

Fax: +44-1229-585-708. POLLEY (Phone: +44-1229-585-330. For areas (A) less than 200 ft2: C = 401 A 0. Figure 10 is the equivalent shell-and-tube solution — to avoid temperature crosses. In 1990. Polley.. and is a member of AIChE. Heat Transfer Society for their work on heat-transfer enhancement. Heat Transfer Society. CHRISTOPHER HASLEGO is a design engineer with the Process Technology Div. This results in better use of the available temperature driving force and the use of single heat exchangers.com). pose much less of a corrosion risk.K. Another popular function of multi-streaming is to lower material costs.) Such units can be considered to contain a whole heat exchanger network within the body of a single exchanger. (2000). Nasr were awarded the Ackrill Trophy by the U. once they are cooled to a certain temperature.5 to 2. Some streams.4631 for Grade 1 titanium (6) For areas larger than 200 ft2: C = 136 A 0. WIT Press. Up next Being able to estimate the area and prices of plateand-frame heat exchangers is an important first step in including alternative heat-transfer technology in process synthesis.116 ft2 of surface area). The remaining articles in this series (which will appear next month) focus on the integration of plate-and-frame (and other compact technology) into CEP pinch analyses.6907 for Type 316 stainless steel (7) C = 131 A 0. Picon Nunez. E-mail: chris. he and Dr. he also maintains a website dedicated to chemical engineering entitled “The Chemical Engineers’ Resource Page” at www. heat-recovery-system design and the development of process and equipment design methodologies. Literature Cited 1.344 ft2 of surface area distributed across six separate exchangers. and P. Manchester. Sunden.haslego@alfalaval..com.cepmagazine. eds.K. Phone: (804) 236-1318.335 ft2 of surface area in a single unit. The result is a major reduction in piping cost.0. A good example of multi-streaming is a plate heat exchanger that serves as a process interchanger on one side and a trim cooler on the other. He holds BTech.335 ft2 of effective surface area is used. One side of the exchanger can be made of a moreexpensive corrosion-resistant alloy while the other side can utilize stainless steel or a lower alloy. U. A single exchanger with 1. CEP September 2002 www.com) is retired from the Univ.7514 for Grade 1 titanium (8) Typical installation factors for plate-and-frame heat exchangers can range from 1. He received a BS in chemical engineering from West Virginia Univ.. E-mail: gtpolley@compuserve. His research activities have involved condensation heat transfer. Correlations used to formulate charts were developed by Alfa Laval (formerly Alfa Laval Thermal) through comprehensive research and development and decades of industrial experience. of Alfa Laval (5400 International Trade Dr. whereas the equivalent shell-and- Budget pricing correlations For plate-and-frame heat exchangers with a design pressure up to 150 psi and a design temperature up to 320°F. Multi-streaming The traditional shell-and-tube heat exchanger handles only one hot stream and one cold stream. It is not uncommon to find plate-fin exchangers transferring heat between ten individual processes. He is the current president of the U. Engineers often overlook the opportunities of using a plate-and-frame exchanger as a multi-stream unit. U. the following cost equations can be used to estimate the purchased cost. and in 1992.pinchtechnology. J. GRAHAM T. This arrangement is particularly useful for product streams that are exiting a process and must be cooled for storage. Southampton. Distribution and recombination of process flows is undertaken inside the exchanger.com. T. Some heat exchanger technologies (most notably plate-fin and printed-circuit exchangers) can handle many streams. the plateand-frame design involves the use of 1. A member of AIChE. As mentioned earlier. Heggs. His focus is heat transfer in the inorganic base chemicals industry. six individual exchangers are needed: the cooler having two shells in series (each with 1. boiling heat transfer. Richmond... depending on the size of the unit. B.cheresources. he has developed the website www. he was awarded the Moulton Medal by the Institution of Chemical Engineers for his work on oil refinery revamping. where he was the director of the Centre for Process Integration. Fax: (804) 236-1360. of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. Figure 9 shows a plate-and-frame unit applied to three process streams.” Chapters 9 and 10. tube design has 11.Many of the alternative heat-exchanger technologies allow the application of pure countercurrent flow across all size and flow ranges. (The principles behind the design of multi-stream exchangers and the operability of such units are discussed in Ref.4887 for Type 316 stainless steel (5) C = 612 A 0. VA 23236.K. MSc and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from Loughborough Univ.K.440 ft2 of effective surface area) and the heat recovery unit having four shells in series (each with 2. “Recent Advances in Analysis of Heat Transfer for Fin Type Surfaces. this is a common oversight when exchanger selection is not made until after the flowsheet has been developed.org 37 . So. of Technology. 1. and G. To promote the application of process integration technology. M.

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