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Heat Transfer

40 www.aiche.org/cep April 2007 CEP
R
ecognizing the need for a more effective procedure
for designing heat exchangers, Heat Transfer
Research, Inc. (HTRI), a global research and
development consortium, organized the Exchanger Design
Margins Task Force (EDMTF) in 2005. Twenty-five com-
panies — engineering contractors, heat exchanger fabrica-
tors and processors (box, p. TK) — are currently repre-
sented on the EDMTF. Its goal is to establish a consensus
for the definition and application of design margins. This
consensus is needed because design margins have tradi-
tionally been concealed in fouling factors instead of being
explicitly designated, thereby resulting in inconsistent
margin application and ambiguous design comparisons.
Defining “design margin”
Heat exchanger design margin is defined as any heat
transfer area exceeding what is required by a clean heat
exchanger to satisfy a specified duty, as defined by Eqs. 1–3:
In order of magnitude: U
clean
≥ U
actual
≥ U
required
.
Modern heat exchanger design software calculates the
clean overall heat-transfer coefficient incrementally by:
where the subscript j denotes the variable value at a spe-
cific increment, and U
clean,j
, based on the clean outside
area, excluding fouling resistances, is given by:
The logarithmic mean area for increment j is:
The actual overall heat-transfer coefficient is calculated
incrementally from:
For increment j, U
actual,j
, the actual overall heat-transfer
coefficient based on the clean outside area, including foul-
ing resistances, is therefore:
Improving
Heat Exchanger
Designs
Christopher A. Bennett
R. Stanley Kistler
Thomas G. Lestina
Heat Transfer Research, Inc.
David C. King
BP p.l.c.
This article defines and explains the
factors that affect heat exchanger
design margins. With the proper
application of design margins,
capital costs can be lowered and
plant operation improved.
% Excess Area from Fouling = 100
U
U
clean
actuaal
actual
requi
U
U







( )
=
1 1
100 % Overdesign
rred
clea
U







( )
=
1 2
100 % Total Excess Area
nn
required
U







( ) 1 3
U
A
U A
clean
o total
clean j o j
j
n
= ( )
=

1
4
1 ,
, ,
U
A
U A
actual
o total
actual j o j
j
n
= ( )
=

1
7
1 ,
, ,
A
A A
A
A
lm j
o j i j
o j
i j
,
, ,
,
,
ln
=







( ) 6
1 1 1
U h
A
A
x
k
A
A
clean j o j
o j
lm j
w j
m j
o j
i j , ,
,
,
,
,
,
,
= + +
hh
i j ,
5 ( )
Reprinted with permission from CEP (Chemical Engineering Progress), April 2007.
Copyright © 2007 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).
CEP April 2007 www.aiche.org/cep 41
The overall heat-transfer coefficient required by a spe-
cific heat exchanger to satisfy the process conditions is:
The effective mean temperature difference (EMTD) is:
The logarithmic mean temperature difference over
increment j (LMTD
j
) is computed by applying the standard
LMTD formula to the inlet and outlet temperatures of an
increment. The average total fouling resistance, based on
the clean outside area, is:
Reasons for adding a design margin
Margins are added to heat exchangers during the design
stage to account for fouling, uncertainties in heat transfer
methods and fluid properties, variable process or ambient
conditions, lessons learned from previous experience, and
risks associated with an exchanger that does not meet the
process requirements.
Fouling. Fouling is defined as a conductive resistance
that accumulates on the heat-transfer surface. It can lead to
an unacceptable pressure drop.
A common misconception is that heat exchangers
always foul. A few streams that usually do not foul are
listed in Table 1a. Other streams, such as boiler feedwater
and cooling water, can be maintained relatively clean with
proper attention. However, some process streams, such as
those listed in Table 1b, can foul heavily.
During heat exchanger design, fouling is traditionally
handled by adding fouling resistances, common-
ly known as fouling factors, to the overall heat-
transfer resistance, as shown in Eq. 8. These fouling resist-
ances can be obtained from multiple sources, including
company experience and the Tubular Exchanger
Manufacturers Association (TEMA) standards (1).
Fouling factors have become quite controversial in
recent years for many reasons. Published fouling resistanc-
es often do not reflect true performance; for some servic-
es, they are too high, while for others, they are too low.
Fouling factors are static values, but some fouling mecha-
nisms are dynamic. Temperature and velocity can greatly
influence fouling, but published fouling factors account
for these effects in a limited manner, at best. Fouling fac-
tors often implicitly account for uncertainty in the heat
transfer methods, which can result in the duplication of
uncertainty effects.
Nomenclature
A
i,j
= inside area of increment j, m
2
A
lm,j
= logarithmic mean area of increment j, m
2
A
o,j
= outside area of increment j, m
2
A
o,total
= total outside heat-transfer area, m
2
EMTD = effective mean temperature difference, K
h
i,j
= inside heat-transfer coefficient of increment j,
W/m
2
-K
h
o,j
= outside heat-transfer coefficient of increment j,
W/m
2
-K
j = counting variable, dimensionless
k
m,j
= metal thermal conductivity of increment j, W/m-K
LMTD = logarithmic mean temperature difference, K
LMTD
j
= logarithmic mean temperature difference of
increment j, K
n = number of increments, dimensionless
Q
j
= calculated duty of increment j, W
Q
specified
= specified duty, W
Q
total
= total calculated duty, W
R
f
= total fouling resistance, m
2
-K/W
R
fi,j
= inside fouling resistance of increment j, m
2
-K/W
R
fo,j
= outside fouling resistance of increment j, m
2
-K/W
U
actual
= overall heat-transfer coefficient, based on outside
area, including fouling resistance, W/m
2
-K
U
actual,j
= overall heat-transfer coefficient, based on outside
area, including fouling resistance, of increment j,
W/m
2
-K
U
clean
= overall heat-transfer coefficient, based on outside
area, excluding fouling resistance, W/m
2
-K
U
clean,j
= overall heat-transfer coefficient, based on outside
area, excluding fouling resistance, of increment j,
W/m
2
-K
U
required
= overall heat-transfer coefficient, based on outside
area, needed by a specific design to satisfy
process specifications, W/m
2
-K
x
w,j
= wall thickness of increment j, m
U
Q
A EMTD
required
specified
o total
= ( )
,
9
1 1
10
1
EMTD Q
Q
LMTD
total
j
j j
n
= ( )
=

R
n
R
A
A
R
f fo j
o j
i j
fi j
j
n
= +






( )
=

1
11
1
,
,
,
,
1 1
U h
R
A
A
x
k
A
actual j o j
fo j
o j
lm j
w j
m j
o
, ,
,
,
,
,
,
= + + +
,,
,
,
,
, ,
j
i j
fi j
o j
i j i j
A
R
A
A h
+ ( )
1
8
Table 1. Fouling tendencies of common streams.
a. Streams that Typically Do Not Foul
Refrigerants
Demineralized Water
Non-Polymerizing (Olefin-Free) Condensing Gases
Liquid Natural Gas (LNG)
b. Streams that Typically Foul Heavily
Crude Oil
Crude Oil Distillation Overhead
Amines
Hydrogen Fluoride (HF)
Coal Gasification
Improperly Maintained Cooling Water
42 www.aiche.org/cep April 2007 CEP
The main reason fouling factors are so controversial,
however, is that they can result in significant overdesign,
resulting in the specification of an expensive heat
exchanger with unnecessary area. For many applications,
fouling factors should not contribute more than 20%
excess area to the heat exchanger design.
Uncertainty. There are uncertainties associated with both
the fluid properties (2) and the methods used to determine
heat-transfer coefficients (3). These uncertainties propagate
through the computations (4) and result in a calculated
overdesign that can deviate from the true value. This devia-
tion will result in a heat exchanger that performs more or
less efficiently than the computations say it should.
Literature values for heat-transfer coefficient uncertain-
ties are given in Table 2 (4). Fluid property uncertainties
vary dramatically depending upon the predictive method
used, and the reader is encouraged to peruse the literature
for values (2). Uncertainty propagation is highly depend-
ent on the heat transfer methods utilized, as well as the
relative thermal resistances.
Variable process conditions. Process conditions can
vary due to day-to-day changes in process operations and
turn-up and turn-down conditions. Turn-up is particularly
critical at present, as existing plants are pushed harder to
generate additional revenue. Turn-up can result in exceed-
ing the erosion velocity for the fluid/metal combination
and presents the potential for vibration damage to tubular
designs. Because turn-down often results in lower veloci-
ties, it can cause the exchanger to foul.
Variable ambient conditions. When one of the heat
exchanger streams is influenced by ambient conditions, it
results in a variable EMTD, which affects the unit’s per-
formance, particularly in such devices as air coolers and
once-through cooling water exchangers. Process reduc-
tions occur when design temperature limits are exceeded.
Previous experience. One of the most frequently cited
reasons for adding margin to a heat exchanger design is that
is how it has always been done. As the example covered
later will demonstrate, this is not always the best practice.
While accounting for the performance of previously
designed units is important, it should not be the only fac-
tor considered. The heat exchanger designer should initial-
ly consult the company’s design recommendations.
Fouling factors and overdesign should then be assigned as
the field experience and anticipated turn-up dictate.
Risk. Heat exchangers are often intentionally oversized
because of perceived risk. Because certain heat exchangers
are particularly essential to operations, the designer will
intentionally overdesign a unit to ensure that it will satisfy
the duty no matter what occurs during operation. What the
designer needs to realize, however, is that excessive
overdesign can actually cause fouling and other problems
with the exchanger and plant operations.
Problems with excessive design margin
The excessive use of design margin has several draw-
backs. Clearly, superfluous heat-transfer area translates direct-
ly to unnecessary capital cost. Needless heat-transfer area
also results in a larger, heavier exchanger; weight and foot-
print are very important considerations for offshore applica-
tions. Worst of all, excessive design margin can also result in
accelerated fouling — becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Designers often incorporate excess margin by increasing
the shell diameter. This increases the cross-sectional area
available for flow, resulting in lower shellside velocities for
Heat Transfer
Table 2. Uncertainties in single-phase heat-transfer
coefficient as a function of geometry (4).
Exchanger Uncertainty in
Geometry Heat-Transfer Coefficient
Shell-and-Tube
Tubeside ±10%
Shellside ±20%–50%
Plate-and-Frame ±10%–30%
Plate-Fin ±20%
Basic Design Algorithm
Detailed design algorithms for fouling mitigation and excess
margin reduction have been published elsewhere (5) and will
not be reiterated here. Instead, the following is the most
basic of design algorithms.
1. Check company experience with the heat exchanger to
be designed.
2. Decide on fouling factors.
a. If a stream is determined to be non-fouling, do not
use a fouling factor for that stream in Eq. 8.
b. If a stream is known to foul, use a fouling factor in
Eq. 8 according to the company’s best practices.
3. Place the most heavily fouling stream on the tubeside
to facilitate cleaning, if necessary, and to avoid the areas of
low velocity that occur on the shellside.
4. Design for high velocities within erosion and vibration
limits. If possible,
a. Tubeside velocity should be ≥ 2 m/s.
b. Shellside B-stream (the main crossflow stream
through the bundle) (6) velocity should be ≥ 0.6 m/s.
Exceptions to this general high-velocity rule for fouling
mitigation include corrosion, geothermal brines, and slurries
that present an erosion limit. Note the importance of metal
selection on corrosion and erosion.
5. Keep overdesign (Eq. 2) between 0 and 20% where
industry experience permits. Consider larger overdesigns for
tubeside laminar flow, mist flow boiling, and shellside mixture
condensation in deep gravity flow.
CEP April 2007 www.aiche.org/cep 43
a given flowrate. Furthermore,
the number of tubes increases,
which reduces tubeside veloci-
ty. Lower velocities often
increase the rate of fouling.
Over-performance caused by
excess heat-transfer area can
also accelerate fouling because
the process stream temperature
change will be greater than
desired, requiring the flowrate
of the utility stream to be
reduced or other measures to be
taken. Turn-down results in lower
velocities, which can initiate or
accelerate fouling.
Example
To illustrate the significant
impact that excess margin can have
on heat exchanger design, consider a
gas compression process of an off-
shore facility as depicted schemati-
cally in Figure 1. Production gas first
enters a partial condenser, where the
heavy ends are condensed and the light
ends cooled. The condensate is subsequent-
ly removed in a separator. Then the gas is
compressed and enters another partial con-
denser, where the remaining heavy ends are
condensed. Effluent from the second partial
condenser enters another separator and then
proceeds through a triethylene glycol (TEG)
contactor to strip water from the process
stream. The process stream proceeds
through the final separator, is compressed
again, and is cooled in a final heat exchang-
er before being metered and exported.
The final heat exchanger in the train is
the focus of this discussion because experi-
ence has revealed that neither stream fouls
under normal operating conditions. The
shellside fluid is chlorine-treated once-
through seawater and the tubeside fluid was
modeled as supercritical methane.
Three configurations for this final heat
exchanger were analyzed, and the salient
details are presented in Table 3. The base
case is the one-shell-pass, four-tube-pass
(1-4) CEU TEMA type that is currently in
service (illustrated in Figure 2). The cen-
I Figure 1. Gas compression process at an offshore facility analyzed in the example.
Production
Gas
CW
CW
Triethylene Glycol
Contactor
Compressor
Gas/Liquid
Separator
Metering
Package
Compressor Gas/Liquid
Separator
Gas/Liquid
Separator
Heat
Exchanger
Cooling
Water
(CW)
Heat
Exchanger
Heat
Exchanger
Gas
Export
Table 3. Salient details of the heat exchanger designs.
BFU with
In-service Fouling
Parameter CEU Factors BFU
Heat-Transfer Area, m
2
187 154 93.5
Tube Material Titanium Titanium Titanium
Relative Cost 1.5 1.3 1
Estimated Weight, kg 5,700 5,350 5,000
Estimated Footprint, m × m 0.81 × 7.0 0.78 × 5.9 0.78 × 4.6
Total Fouling Resistance, m
2
-K/W 0.000429 0.000429 0
U
clean
, W/m
2
-K 1,540 1,510 1,510
U
actual
, W/m
2
-K 928 917 1,510
U
required
, W/m
2
-K 748 757 1,250
Overdesign, % 24.1 21.1 21.0
Excess Area From Fouling, % 65.9 64.9 0
Total Excess Area, % 106 99.8 21.0
Q
specified
, MW 4.29 4.29 4.29
EMTD, °C 30.7 36.8 36.8
B-Stream (6) Fraction 0.382 0.685 0.691
Tube-Side Velocity, m/s 2.95 2.88 2.89
B-Stream (6) Velocity, m/s 0.86 1.10 1.05
I Figure 2. One-shell-pass, four-tube-pass (1-4) CEU heat exchanger in service at the example
offshore facility.
44 www.aiche.org/cep April 2007 CEP
tral baffle spacing was 22.6% of the shell inside diameter,
resulting in a low B-stream (6) fraction and inefficient
heat transfer. Individual fouling factors of 0.000176 m
2
-
K/Wwere used for both streams (which combined via Eq.
11 to yield a total fouling resistance of 0.000429 m
2
-
K/W). These specifications resulted in a heat-transfer area
requirement of 187 m
2
and a total excess area of 106%.
The second heat exchanger design investigated was a
two-shell-pass, four-tube-pass (2-4) BFU TEMA type
(Figure 3), with the same fouling factors (0.000176 m
2
-
K/W) for both streams as in the CEU exchanger. A lower-
cost front head (TEMAType B) was used because fouling
will not be a problem, thereby negating the need for easy
access to the tubesheet. An F-shell was selected to reduce
the exchanger footprint and weight via increased EMTD
across the exchanger. U-tubes were chosen to prevent ther-
mal expansion problems resulting from the large terminal
temperature difference of this exchanger. Titanium was
utilized to avoid corrosion problems.
This BFU configuration reduced the heat-transfer area
requirement by 18%, with the exchanger cost dropping con-
comitantly. The total excess area is
still quite high at 99.8%, and the
total excess area is not simply the
sum of the overdesign and the
excess area from fouling factors;
this demonstrates the compounding
of fouling factors in the overdesign.
The third exchanger design con-
sidered was an identical BFU
except that no fouling resistance
was used in Eq. 8. An equivalent
overdesign of 21% was achieved
by shortening the tubes. Changing
the tube length is normally the
most economical approach for
adjusting heat transfer area. U
clean
, duty, EMTD, and the
velocities were effectively the same between the two BFU
designs, confirming the comparability of this approach.
Comparing the BFU design with no fouling factors
with the other two designs reveals striking differences. For
example, the heat transfer area is reduced to only 93.5 m
2
,
resulting in an exchanger that is 23% less expensive than
the BFU with fouling factors and 33% less expensive than
the in-service CEU. Because no fouling factors were used,
the overdesign and total excess area are identical at 21%, a
reasonable value that gives flexibility to the process. The
weight and footprint of this exchanger are also less than
the other designs, which is an important consideration for
this offshore application. Because the in-service exchanger
does not foul and this design has similar temperatures,
velocities, and metallurgy, we are confident in the
viability of this low-cost design.
Heat Transfer
Alfa Laval Lund AB
APV North America, Inc.
BASF Aktiengesellschaft
Bechtel Ltd.
BP p.l.c.
Celanese Ltd.
Chevron Energy Technology Co.
ConocoPhillips Co.
Eastman Chemical Co.
Ecodyne MRM, Inc.
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc.
ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co.
High Performance Tube, Inc.
Joseph Oat Corp.
Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc.
Koch Heat Transfer Company, L.P.
Mitsubishi Chemical Engineering Corp.
Nooter/Eriksen, Inc.
Reliance Engineering Associates (P) Ltd.
Shell Canada Ltd.
Shell Global Solutions International B.V.
Shell Global Solutions (U.S.), Inc.
Statoil ASA
Technip
Toyo Engineering Corp.
Companies Represented on the Exchanger Design Margins Task Force
Literature Cited
1. Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers Association,
“Standards of the Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers
Association,” 8th ed., TEMA, New York (1999).
2. Reid, R. C., J. M. Prausnitz and B. E. Poling, “The
Properties of Gases and Liquids,” 4th ed., McGraw-Hill,
New York (1987).
3. Lestina, T., and K. Bell, “Thermal Performance Testing of
Industrial Heat Exchangers,” Advances in Heat Transfer, 35,
pp. 1–55 (2001).
4. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, “Single-Phase
Heat Exchangers,” ASME Performance Test Code 12.5,
ASME, New York (2001).
5. Nesta, J., and C. A. Bennett, “Reduce Fouling in Shell-and-
Tube Heat Exchangers,” Hydrocarbon Processing, 83 (7),
pp. 77–82 (2004).
6. Palen, J. W., and J. Taborek, “Solution of Shellside Flow
Pressure Drop and Heat Transfer by Stream Analysis
Method,” Chem. Eng. Progress Symposium Series, 65 (92),
pp. 53–63 (1969).
I Figure 3. Two-shell-pass, four-tube-pass (2-4) BFU heat
exchanger studied in the example.
CEP
CEP April 2007 www.aiche.org/cep 45
CHRISTOPHER A. BENNETT is a researcher specializing in fouling at Heat
Transfer Research, Inc. (HTRI; 150 Venture Dr., College Station, TX,
77845; Phone: (979) 690-5069; Fax: (979) 690-3250; E-mail:
cab@htri.net). He holds a BS in chemical engineering from the Univ. of
Toledo and an MS and PhD in chemical engineering from the Univ. of
Michigan. His diverse research experience in wet chemistry, surface
chemistry, materials science, mathematical modeling and aquatic
biology has proven very useful to understanding heat exchanger
fouling. Bennett co-chairs the HTRI Exchanger Design Margins Task
Force and chairs the HTRI Crude Oil Fouling Task Force.
R. STANLEY KISTLER is vice president, research and software
development at HTRI (Phone: (979) 690-5070; Fax: (979) 690-3250; E-
mail: rsk@htri.net). He obtained his undergraduate and master’s
degrees, as well as his PhD in chemical engineering with an emphasis
on boiling, from the Univ. of Missouri-Rolla. Since joining HTRI in 1973,
he has primarily focused on software development. He has also
conducted experimental research on shellside single-phase flow.
Kistler has helped develop many HTRI workshops and has taught
dozens of courses and workshops around the world. He also serves as
a guest lecturer for academic courses and has been involved in various
engineering events in academia. An AIChE Fellow, Kistler is past chair
of AIChE’s Heat Transfer and Energy Conversion division, and has
chaired numerous sessions at National Heat Transfer Conferences. He
co-chairs the HTRI Exchanger Design Margins Task Force.
THOMAS G. LESTINA, P.E., vice president, engineering services at HTRI
(Phone: (979) 690-5063; Fax: (979) 690-3250; E-mail: tgl@htri.net),
has 20 years of engineering project management experience. As the
person responsible for HTRI training, he develops, customizes and
teaches at HTRI events and member companies. In addition, he has
developed and taught the course, Heat Exchanger Design and
Operation for ASME/AIChE. He also manages HTRI’s growing contract
services and technical support. Prior to joining HTRI, he worked as a
lead engineer for MPR Associates, Inc. A licensed Professional
Engineer in Texas, Lestina earned a BS in mechanical engineering from
Union College (Schenectady, NY) and an MS in mechanical engineering
from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY). He is a member of
ASME and serves as chair of the technical committee for the ASME
Performance Test Code 12.5, Single Phase Heat Exchangers.
DAVID C. KING is a senior heat transfer consultant for BP p.l.c (Chertsey
Rd., Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex, TW16 7LN, UK; Phone: +44-1932-
775621; Fax: +44-1932-738414; E-mail: dave.king@uk.bp.com). With 32
years of experience working in the refining, petrochemical, and
exploration and production sectors, he is currently responsible for
developing and leading a global heat exchange community and for
providing leadership in heat transfer to the exploration and production
sector. He developed the case for establishing HTRI’s Exchanger
Design Margin Task Force and has actively participated in task force
activities. He holds a BSc Honors in fuel and combustion engineering
from Leeds Univ.