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Design Considerations for Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

When preparing to design a heat exchanger, do you ever wonder where to start? ou!ve done it before, but you hate that feeling of getting half way through the design and reali"ing that you forgot to consider one i#portant ele#ent$ The thought process involved is %ust as i#portant as the calculations involved$ &et!s try to #ap out a heat exchanger design strategy$ We!ll do so with a series of 'uestions followed by infor#ation to help you answer the 'uestions$ ($ )s there a phase change involved in #y syste#? * 'uic+ loo+ at the boiling points co#pared with the entrance and exit te#peratures will help you answer this 'uestion$ ,$ How #any -"ones- are involved in #y syste#? -.ones- can best be defined as regi#es of phase changes where the overall heat transfer coefficient /0o1 will vary$ 0sing T23 /Te#perature2Heat1 diagra#s are the best way to pinpoint "ones$ The syste# is defined as co2current or countercurrent and the diagra# is constructed$ The diagra# on the left illustrates the use of T23 diagra#s$ These diagra#s should acco#pany your basic /input2output1 diagra# of the heat exchanger$ Che#ical 4( enters the shell at ,55 5C as a superheated vapor$ )n .one (, it releases heat to the tubeside che#ical /Che#ical 4,1$ .one ( ends %ust a Che#ical 4( begins to condense$ The tubeside

/Che#ical 4,1 enters as a li'uid or gas and does not change phase throughout the exchanger$ Che#ical 4( leaves .one ( and enters .one , at its boiling te#perature, Tb($ T6 #ar+s the te#perature of Che#ical 4, when Che#ical 4( begins to condense$ )n .one ,, Che#ical 4( condenses to co#pletion while Che#ical 4, continues to increase in te#perature$ The te#perature of Che#ical 4, when Che#ical 4( is fully condensed is denoted at T66$ 7inally, in .one 8, both che#icals are li'uids$ Che#ical 4( is si#ply liberating heat to Che#ical 4, as it beco#es a subcooled li'uid and exits the shell at (55 5C$ Defining "ones is one of the #ost i#portant aspects of heat exchanger design$ )t is also i#portant to re#e#ber that if your process si#ulator does not support "oned analysis /such as Che#cad )))1, you should #odel each "one with a separate heat exchanger$ Thus, the previous illustration would re'uire 8 heat exchangers in the si#ulation$ 90T, do not draw 8 exchangers on your :7D /:rocess 7low Diagra#1$ This is all happening in one exchanger$ 8$ What are the flowrates and operating pressures involved in #y syste#? This infor#ation is critical in establishing the #ass and energy balance around the exchanger$ ;perating pressures are particularly i#portant for gases as their physical properties vary greatly with pressure$ <$ What are the physical properties of the strea#s involved? )f you!re using a process si#ulator, obtaining the physical properties of your strea#s should be %ust a clic+ of the #ouse away$ However, if perfor#ing the calculation by hand, you #ay have to do so#e esti#ating as the strea#s #ay not be of pure substances$ *lso, you should get the physical properties for each "one separately to ensure accuracy, but in so#e cases it is acceptable to use an average value$ This would be true of Che#ical 4, in the tubes since it is not changing phase or undergoing a truly significant te#perature change /over (555C1$ :hysical properties that you will want to collect for each phase of each strea# will include= heat capacity, viscosity, ther#al conductivity, density, and latent heat /for phase changes1$ These are in addition to the boiling points of the strea#s at their respective pressures$ >$ What are the allowable pressure drops and velocities in the exchanger? :ressure drops are very i#portant in exchanger design /especially for gases1$ *s the pressure drops, so does viscosity and the fluids ability to transfer heat$ Therefore, the pressure drop and velocities #ust be li#ited$ The velocity is directly proportional to the heat transfer coefficient which is #otivation to +eep it high, while erosion and #aterial li#its are #otivation to +eep the velocity low$ Typical li'uid velocities are (28 #?s /82(5 ft?s1$ Typical gas velocities are (>285 #?s />52(55 ft?s1$ Typical pressure drops are 852@5 +:a />2A psi1 on the tubeside and ,5285 +:a /82> psi1 on the shellside$ @$ What is the heat duty of the syste#? This can be answered by a si#ple energy balance fro# one of the strea#s$ B$ What is the esti#ated area of the exchanger? 0nfortunately, this is where the real fun begins in heat exchanger designC ou!ll need to find esti#ates for the heat transfer coefficients that you!ll be dealing with$ These can be found in #ost textboo+s dedicated to the sub%ect or in :erry!s Che#ical

Engineers! Handboo+$ ;nce you!ve esti#ated the overall heat transfer coefficient, use the e'uation 3D0o*DTl# to get your preli#inary area esti#ate$ Ee#e#ber to use the above e'uation to get an area for each "one, then add the# together$ A$ What geo#etric configuration is right for #y exchanger? Fow that you have an area esti#ate, it!s ti#e to find a geo#etry that #eets your needs$ ;nce you!ve selected a shell dia#eter, tubesheet layout, baffle and tube spacing, etc$, it!s ti#e to chec+ your velocity and pressure drop re'uire#ents to see if they!re being #et$ Experienced designers will usually co#bine these steps and actually obtain a tube si"e that #eets the velocity and pressure drop re'uire#ents and then proceed$ So#e guidelines #ay be as follows= 8?< in$ and ($5 in$ dia#eter tubes are the #ost popular and s#aller si"es should only be used for exchangers needing less than 85 #, of area$ )f your pressure drop re'uire#ents are low, avoid using four or #ore tube passes as this will drastically increase your pressure drop$ ;nce you have a geo#etry selected that #eets all of your needs, it!s on to step 4G$ G$ Fow that ) have a geo#etry in #ind, what is the actual overall heat transfer coefficient? This is where you!ll spend #uch of your ti#e in designing a heat exchanger$ *lthough #any textboo+s show FuD5$5,B/FEE15$A/F:E15$88 as the -funda#ental e'uation for turbulent flow heat transfer-, what they so#eti#es fail to tell you is that the exponents can vary widely for different situations$ 7or exa#ple, condensation in the shell has different exponents than condensation in the tubes$ 0se this funda#ental e'uation if you #ust, but you should consult a good resource for accurate e'uations$ ) highly reco##end the following= Handboo+ of Che#ical Engineering Calculations, ,nd Ed$, by Ficholas :$ Chopey fro# HcIraw2Hill publishers /)S9F 55B5((5,(,1$ *lso, don!t forget to include the transfer coefficient across the tube wall and the fouling coefficient$ These can be very significantC (5$ What is the actual area of the exchanger using the !actual! heat transfer coefficient? )f you recall, you used esti#ated heat transfer coefficients to get an initial area$ Fow it!s ti#e to recalculate the area$

THE LOOP
Fow you!re on your way, pic+ a new geo#etry corresponding to your new /-actual-1 area, chec+ the velocity and pressure drop, calculate the overall heat transfer coefficient again$ How does it co#pare with the previously calculated value? )f it is not within >2(5J, recalculate the process over and over /using your new value for 0o1 until it doesC Sounds li+e alot of wor+$ *dd in the fact that so#e of the individual heat transfer coefficients re'uire iterative solutions and it!s not hard to see why people usually use a co#plex spreadsheet or a progra# to do this$ ou can save so#e ti#e by using esti#ates that you!ve undoubtedly seen, however you #ust reali"e that each ti#e you esti#ate, you!re losing accuracy$ Ee#e#ber two #ain ite#s= ($ .;FED *F*& S)S ,$ *CC0E*C ;7 )F)T)*& ;KEE*&& HE*T TE*FS7EE C;E77)C)EFT The "oned analysis is the +ey to starting the process correctly$ The accuracy of the initial overall heat transfer coefficient will in part deter#ine how #any ti#e you will be going through the calculation$

Other Considerations:

Haterials of Construction Ease of Haintenance Cost of Exchanger ;verall Heat )ntegration