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Department of Chemical Engineering, KSK Campus University of Engineering & Technology Lahore

Criteria for the selection of heat exchanger

Suitable on the grounds of operating pressure and temperature, fluid-material compatibility, handling, extreme thermal conditions Estimating the cost of those which may be suitable

General considerations
Tubes and cylinders can withstand higher pressures than plates If exchangers can be built with a variety of materials, then it is more likely that you can find a metal which will cope with extreme temperatures or corrosive fluids More specialist exchangers have less suppliers, longer delivery times and must be repaired by experts

Double pipe heat exchanger

Normal size Double-pipe heat exchangers are competitive at duties requiring 100-200 ft2 Built of carbon steel where possible

Advantages/disadvantages of double-pipe HE

Easy to obtain counter-current flow Can handle high pressure Modular construction Easy to maintain and repair Many suppliers


Become expensive for large duties (above 1MW)

Scope of double pipe HE

Maximum pressure 300 bar(abs) (4500 psia) on shell side 1400 bar(abs) (21000 psia) on tubeside Temperature range -100 to 600oC (-150 to 1100oF) possibly wider with special materials Fluid limitations Few since can be built of many metals Maximum = 0.9 Minimum T = 5 K

Shell and tube heat exchanger

Size per unit 100 - 10000 ft2 (10 - 1000 m2) Easy to build multiple units Made of carbon steel where possible

Advantages/disadvantages of S&T
Advantages Extremely flexible design Easy to maintain and repair Can be designed to be dismantled for cleaning Many suppliers world-wide Disadvantages Require large plot (footprint) area - often need extra space to remove the bundle Plate may be cheaper for pressure below 16 bar (240 psia) and temps. below 200oC (400oF)

Scope of shell and tube (Essentially the same as a double pipe)

Maximum pressure 300 bar(abs) (4500 psia) on shell side 1400 bar(abs) (21000 psia) on tubeside Temperature range -100 to 600oC (-150 to 1100oF) possibly wider with special materials Fluid limitations Few since can be built of many metals Maximum = 0.9 (less with multipass) Minimum T = 5 K

Plate and frame heat exchanger

Plates pressed from stainless steel or higher grade material titanium incoloy hastalloy Gaskets are the weak point.Made of nitrile rubber hypalon viton neoprene

Advantages of plate and frame HE

High heat transfer - turbulence on both sides High thermal effectiveness - 0.9 - 0.95 possible Low T - down to 1K Compact - compared with a S&T Cost - low because plates are thin Accessibility - can easily be opened up for inspection and cleaning Flexibility - Extra plates can be added Short retention time with low liquid inventory hence good for heat sensitive or expensive liquids

Disadvantages of plate & frame HE

Pressure - maximum value limited by the sealing of the gaskets and the construction of the frame. Temperature - limited by the gasket material. Capacity - limited by the size of the ports Block easily when solids in suspension unless special wide gap plates are used Corrosion - Plates good but the gaskets may not be suitable for organic solvents Leakage - Gaskets always increase the risk Fire resistance - Cannot withstand prolonged fire (usually not considered for refinery duties)

Scope of plate & frame HE

Maximum pressure 25 bar (abs) normal (375 psia) 40 bar (abs) with special designs (600 psia) Temperature range -25 to +1750C normal (-13 to +3500F) -40 t0 +2000C special (-40 to +3900F)

Flow rates
up to 3,500 m3/hour can be accommodated in standard units Fluid limitations Mainly limited by gasket Maximum = 0.95 Minimum T = 1 K

Principal Applications
 Gasketed plate and frame heat exchangers have a large range of applications typically classified in terms of the nature of the streams to be heated/cooled as follows:  Liquid-liquid.  Condensing duties.  Evaporating duties.    

Gasketed units may be used in refrigeration heat pump plants and extensively used in the processing of food and drinks.

Comparison with Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

In quantitative terms, for a certain heat duty 200 m2 of heat transfer surface requires a plate and frame heat exchanger approximately  3 metres long,  2 metres high and  1 meter wide. For a tubular heat exchanger achieving the same effect, some 600 m2 of surface would be required in a shell  5 metres long and  1.8 metre in diameter,  plus the extra length  needed for tube bundle removal.

Welded plates heat exchanger

Wide variety of proprietary types each with one or two manufactures Overcomes the gasket problem but then cannot be opened up Pairs of plates can be welded and stacked in conventional frame Conventional plate and frame types with all-welded (using lasers) construction have been developed Many other proprietary types have been developed Tend to be used in niche markets as replacement to shelland-tube

Principal Applications
As for gasketed plate and frame heat exchanger, but extended to include more aggressive media. Welded plate heat exchangers are used for the evaporation and condensation of refrigerants such as ammonia and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and for different chemicals.

Comparison with Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

As for gasketed plate and frame units.

Plate Fin Exchangers

Formed by vacuum brazing aluminium plates separated by sheets of finning Noted for small size and weight. Typically, 500 m2/m3 of volume but can be 1800 m2/m3 Main use in cryogenic applications (air liquifaction) Also in stainless steel

Scope of plate-fin exchanger

Max. Pressure Temperatures Fluids Duties Flow configuration Multistream Low T Maximum T High 90 bar (size dependent) -200 to 150oC in Al Up to 600 with stainless Limited by material Single and two phase Cross flow, Counter flow Up to 12 streams (7 normal) Down to 0.1oC 50oC typical Up to 0.98

use only with clean fluids

Principal Applications

The plate-fin heat exchanger is suitable for use over a wide range of temperatures and pressures for gas-gas, gas-liquid and multi-phase duties. Typically, these involve Chemical and petrochemical plant: Hydrocarbon off-shore applications: Miscellaneous applications:

Comparison with Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

A plate-fin heat exchanger with 6 fins/cm provides approximately 1,300 m2 of surface per m3 of volume. This heat exchanger would be approximately 10% of the volume of an equivalent shell and tube heat exchanger with 19 mm tubes.

Spiral heat exchangers

The classic design of a spiral heat exchanger is simple the basic spiral element is constructed of two metal strips rolled around a central core forming two concentric spiral channels. Normally these channels are alternately welded, ensuring that the hot and cold fluids cannot intermix

Operating Limits
 Maximum design temperature is 400oC set by the limits of the gasket material.  Special designs without gaskets can operate with temperatures up to 850oC.  Maximum design pressure is usually 15 bar, with pressures up to 30 bar attainable with special designs.

It is ideal for use in the food industry as well as in brewing and wine making. Spiral heat exchangers have many applications in the chemical industry including TiCl4 cooling, PVC duties, oleum processing and heat recovery from many industrial effluents. Spiral heat exchangers also provide temperature control of sewage sludge.

Comparison with Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

Spiral designs have a number of advantages compared to shell and tube heat exchangers: Optimum flow conditions on both sides of the exchanger. An even velocity distribution, with no dead-spots. An even temperature distribution, with no hot or cold-spots. More thermally efficient with higher heat transfer coefficients. Small hold up times and volumes. Removal of one cover exposes the total surface area of one channel providing easy inspection cleaning and maintenance.

Stream Location (Rules of thumb)

more corrosive fluid goes tube-side saves costs when using alloys, cheaper to construct tubes from alloys rather than the shell and tubesheet higher pressure stream goes tube-side small diameter tubes handle stress better than large diameter shells. more severely fouling fluid goes tube-side easier to clean tube-side using high pressure water lance, brushing, chemical cleaning, etc. fluid with lower film coefficient goes shell-side allows use of finned tubing to increase Aoho fluid with low Pmax goes shell side