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Shell and Tube Condenser Selection

Selecting the appropriate configuration for a shell and tube condenser is not always a sim-
ple task considering the number of option available. The best choice depends on many
factors including vapor and condensate characteristics, operating pressure, coolant
characteristics, and others. The charts included here can help get you started onto the right
path in selecting an appropriate condenser configuration.

The charts contain footnote numbers. Below are the comments that correspond to these
footnotes:




THE CHEMI CAL ENGI NEERS’ RESOURCE PAGE
Advantages:
1. Can use finned or enhanced tubes
2. Multipassing and variable baffle spacing
can be used
3. Can handle freezing condensate
4. Good control of venting
5. Can use a falling water film but need a
sump and possibly a sump pump
6. Hot condensate return and removal of
small amounts of low boilers
7. Handles dirty or polymerizing vapors
Disadvantages:
8. Possible slugging of condensate
9. Flooding
10. Possible venting problems
11. Poor for pressures below 25 mm Hg abs.
12. Tube vibration problems
13. Tubesheet vents required
14. Design information is limited. If coolant
is condensate, then an external cooler is
required. With water coolant there may
be water pollution problems.

Special Comments:
15. This unusual arrangement has no known practical applications
16. Flooding limits velocity, and this combination is very poor
17. Fractionation is low and should be used only for small amounts of low
boilers leaving the condenser
18. It is necessary to maintain shear flow by variable baffle spacing and
using pressure drop
Reference: Heat Exchanger Design Handbook, 1998, G.F. Hewitt, Begell House
Condenser Selection: Total Condensation
High Pressure Very Low Pressure
Yes Intermediate Very Corrosive
> 400 °C No
Moderate Yes
No If applicable
Downflow (7) Upflow (6,9) Cross "X" (10) Baffled Downflow Upflow
Single Comp. Vapor G, A G, A F, B G, B G, B G, B G, C
Multicomp. Vapor F, B G, B F, C G, B G, B (18) G, C F, C
Subcooled Cond. P, E G, A X, E F, C P, C F, B X, E
Pressure Drop
High G, B G, C X, C G, B G, B G, C X, C
Low P F G G F G F
Coolant
Liquid G G G G G G G
Gas G G G G G G G
Boiling G G G X X G G
Acceptability : G (Good) F (Fair) P (Poor) X (Not Applicable or Not Recommended)
Predictability : A (Ave.) B (Fair) C (Poor) E (No Method or Not Recommended)
X
X, E
G
G
X
Direct Contact
Condensation (14)
G, B
P, C
X, E
Horizontal
(8)
Vertical (13) Horizontal (1) Vertical (5,10)
Severe Coolant
Severe Vapor
Freezing
Tube-side Condensation (4,11) Shell-side Condensation (2,3,12)
Pressure
Corrosive Vapor
Temperature
Fouling
Condenser Selection: Partial Condensation
High Pressure Very Low Pressure
Yes Intermediate Very Corrosive
> 400 °C No
Moderate Yes
No If applicable
Downflow (7) Upflow (9) Cross "X" Baffled (2) Downflow (2,5) Upflow (15)
Single Comp. Vapor G, A G, A X, E P, B P, B F, B P, B
Multicomp. Vapor P, B G, B X, E (17) F, B P, C (18) P, B X, E
Non-cond. Gas G, A G, A X, E (16) G, B G, B F, A X, E
Pressure Drop
High G, B G, C P, C G, B G, B G, C X, C
Low P G F G P G F
Coolant
Liquid G G G G G G G
Gas G G G G G G G
Boiling G G G X X G G
Acceptability : G (Good) F (Fair) P (Poor) X (Not Applicable or Not Recommended)
Predictability : A (Ave.) B (Fair) C (Poor) E (No Method or Not Recommended)
Pressure
Corrosive Vapor
Temperature
Fouling
Severe Coolant
Severe Vapor
Freezing
Tube-side Condensation (4,11) Shell-side Condensation (3,4,12)
Horizontal
Vertical (13) Horizontal (1) Vertical
Direct Contact
Condensation (14)
X, E
F, C
F, B
X
X, E
G
G
X

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