You are on page 1of 6

Model Plate Fin Exchangers in Aspen HYSYS

Simulations Featuring
Webinar Q&A
This document summarizes the responses to questions posed before and during the webinar. Additional
questions should be directed to AspenTech Support.
Questions Submitted Prior to the Event:
Q: Please show the fundamental equations used to compute the overall coefficient.
A: The equations used by Aspen Plate Fin Exchanger are documented on the Aspen HTFS Research
Network. You will need to subscribe in order to view our Design Handbook and Research Reports.
Q: Can Aspen EDR be used with Aspen HYSYS Dynamics?
A: Currently, Aspen EDR can only be used in steady-state simulation.
Q: Is there anything about modeling "core in kettle" in this webinar? Can you model “core in
kettle” type exchangers using Aspen EDR?
A: Yes, you can model core in kettle with Aspen Plate Fin Exchanger. Select plate-fin kettle as the
Exchanger type in the Application Options, Figure 1. Then, specify the Kettle geometry on the plate-fin
Kettles form, Figure 2.

Figure 1: Select plate-fin kettle

Figure 2: Specify the kettle geometry

Q: Is it possible for Aspen EDR to calculate a plate-fin heat exchanger operating as a reflux
A: We do not currently have this capability in our plate-fin program. It is available in a Shell & Tube heat

Questions Submitted During the Webinar:

Q: What is EDR?
A: EDR is an acronym for Exchanger Design & Rating and is AspenTech’s software family for designing
Shell & Tube, Air Cooled, Plate, Plate Fin, and Fired Heater equipment.
Q: Is Aspen EDR is separate tool or an Aspen HYSYS module?
A: Aspen EDR is a separate suite of products from Aspen HYSYS. Aspen EDR can be used as a stand-
alone for heat exchanger fabricators, or it can be utilized in conjunction with Aspen HYSYS or Aspen Plus
to simulate exchanger performance in the context of the flow sheet.
Q: What is the difference between MUSE and EDR Plate Fin? Is one better to use in certain
A: Plate-fin was released in 2009 and was designed to replace MUSE. It has a more advanced
integration structure to handle different geometries of plate-fin exchangers more readily than MUSE
could. We also greatly improved the integration with Aspen HYSYS.
Q: What versions of Aspen Plus and Aspen HYSYS can incorporate Aspen EDR designs?
A: The integration has been possible for many years; however, V7.3 and higher shows that the
integration is much easier to use. Notably, in V8.0 the full Aspen EDR console was accessible from the
simulators for multiple types of heat exchangers.

Q: If we have an existing plate-fin exchanger configuration, can we change the rating method from
end point or weighted to EDR Plate Fin and run the model as usual to achieve the same results as
going into the Aspen EDR environment?
A: No, changing the model type to Aspen EDR will not run the Aspen EDR sizing optimization
automatically. Once you change the model type to EDR Plate Fin in Aspen HYSYS, you will need to
import the Aspen EDR file to specify the rigorous design. Once the file has been imported into Aspen
HYSYS, the Aspen EDR model will run in simulation mode in the flowsheet, which means that the design
will be fixed but the process conditions will be set by the Aspen EDR model.
Q: At the design stage of a new exchanger, we input the fouling factor. In debottlenecking, do we
need to perform "fouling factor adjustment" to match actual exchanger performance, then perform
the debottleneck?
A: Typically, many clients would do this. In this case study, Petrofac tried to match the information from
the client in the original case and then use the same fouling factors.

Q: Can you change Aspen EDR to select the smallest exchanger dimensionally or the lightest
A: Two different demonstrations were done during this webinar—one on Rigorous Shell & Tube sizing
from within Aspen HYSYS and the other for designing a plate-fin exchanger and importing the model into
Aspen HYSYS. The Shell & Tube design can be calculated to find the minimum area or the minimum cost
(typically what customers use). The plate-fin exchanger is good for quickly and accurately finding the
configuration of a multi-stream exchanger. This also designs on the basis of minimizing the area of the
exchanger. The weights are calculated as a result of the design found.
Q: Some plate-fin manufacturers have Fin Codes with geometric information of fin size, height,
thickness, pitch, etc. Does Aspen HYSYS have a database with those Fins Codes? What about
Aspen EDR?
A: Aspen EDR finds the best geometry of fins to meet the process requirements. It looks at fin height and
fin frequency, as well as fin type and whether it’s plain, perforated, or serrated fins—then finds the best
optimum. Our correlations are generally accepted in the industry and our single-phase, boiling, and
condensing coefficients for these fin types are widely accepted. You can introduce fabricators coefficients
into the system if you’d like to use those correlations, but ours are typically used as the baseline.
Q: How important was the hydraulic model for the design within Aspen EDR?
A: The hydraulic model helped with the line drop, as well as the equipment drops.
Q: Could you use a better solvent to reduce to the minimum of the Mercaptan in the sweetening
unit and respect the sales gas spec?
A: In this specific case, the licensor had to be contacted and the client was reluctant to make any
changes to the licensor processes. Also, this was an existing plant; therefore to make changes or suggest
new systems was very difficult. For additional information, please contact AspenTech Support.

Q: How do you properly design the layer patterns for a plate-fin? Does Aspen EDR do it by itself?
A: You can directly specify layer patterns in Aspen Plate Fin Exchanger and look at interlayer effects.
Many of the leading fabricators use our tool that way. When you’re designing and simulating the
exchanger, for most purposes, the stream simulation used is more than adequate. If you want to get into
the details of the design and ensure that the design will not be subject to high thermal stresses for
example, then you can impose the layer pattern—but this is not an output of the first-shot design. This
tends to be a detail that a plate-fin exchanger fabricator will specify to minimize the risk of damaging
thermal stresses. It will have some impact on overall thermal performance, but usually this isn’t too

Q: Is AspenTech currently working with vendors to have some standard products available as
selectable models, similar to what has been done with plate frame models within Aspen EDR?
A: Plate-fin exchangers are typically custom designed for each process application. Our design
optimization suggests the appropriate geometry for each set of process conditions.
Q: Which fouling factors are used for all 3 streams on PFHX?
A: In this design example, we didn’t specify any fouling resistance. Typically, fouling resistances in Plate-
fin heat exchangers are very low because they are made for clean stream applications. If you want to
specify fouling resistances for each stream, you can enter values on the Process Data form in the
program input as shown below in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Enter values on the Process Data form

Q: Lauren ran the case after updating the geometry in Aspen EDR. What was that case for?
A: In the recording, Lauren performs a demo of this and shows the value behind it. In Aspen Plate Fin
Exchanger, if you go to the Application Options, you can see the drop down menu for Calculation Mode.
The first option is Design which takes the inlet and outlet stream conditions and finds the appropriate
exchanger area and geometry needed to achieve the desired heat transfer. When you update the file
geometry, it takes the exchanger design found in Design mode and it makes it fixed—meaning you have
the inlet stream conditions and the plate-fin geometry. Then, in Simulation mode it calculates the outlet
stream conditions which gives you more accurate outlet conditions than your Aspen HYSYS flowsheet,
because you’re using a rigorous model rather than a simple model.
Q: What are the recommended UA values for PFHX?
A: This value is highly dependent on process conditions and will very in each case.
Q: Inside LNG exchangers in Aspen HYSYS, there is the possibility to simulate Wound Coil
exchangers. Does Aspen EDR have this capability?
A: There is a wound coil model in Aspen HYSYS, but it is not fully rigorous.
Q: What is the approach temp min/max for PFHX?
A: Plate-fin exchangers can take advantage of very small temperature differences—sometimes as low as
1 degree Kelvin. The maximum temperature approach is determined by thermal stress limitations of the
equipment and with large temperature differences, another exchanger type might be more suitable.
Q: Do the costs in Aspen EDR come from Aspen Capital Cost Estimator (ACCE)?
A: The costs developed by Aspen EDR can be fine-tuned to increase estimate accuracy and ultimately be
consistent with ACCE outputs, including major cost drivers such as material costs. Typically, the costs
output by Aspen EDR are used as relative costs to compare one heat exchanger design to another. Later
on, you may do rigorous costing for the entire project using one of the products from the Aspen Economic
Evaluation suite, which includes stand-alone tools such as Aspen In Plant Cost Estimator or Activated
Economics which is a feature in Aspen Plus and Aspen HYSYS.
Q: What is the Area Ratio and its significance?
A: When you look at the sales gas exchanger, it stated that the area ratio was less than one—meaning
that the area was inadequate to give you the outlet temperatures. In other words, the outlet temperature
couldn’t be achieved with the existing configuration.
Q: Regarding hydraulics, how do you account for the equipment inlet/outlet nozzle elevation
differences in Aspen HYSYS?
A: In Aspen Plate Fin Exchanger and all of the other Aspen EDR programs, you can specify that
gravitational pressure drop be taken into account. This can be very important in two phase applications,
particularly if the exchanger is operating in thermosiphon mode. All of the Aspen EDR programs can
factor in gravitational pressure drops and you can specify the elevations where necessary. See Figure 4.

Figure 4: Take pressure changes into account
Q: Does operation warning allow integration between Aspen EDR and simulation mode?
A: Yes, operation warnings will be active when the Aspen EDR model is run in simulation mode. You can
view them by opening the EDR Browser from the EDR Plate Fin tab.

Figure 5: Operate the EDR Browser
Q: In a first analysis, constant UA need not be assumed, if flow rates increase because of
increased heat transfer coefficients for sensible heat steams, can these increase at the 0.6 power
of flow and translate into a higher U?
A: Yes, if you can separate “U” and “A”, you can allow “U” to vary with process changes. You have to be
careful about apportioning changes to the specific hot or cold streams. For single-phase exchanger
applications, this may be adequate for limited changes in process flow rates. In any 2-phase
applications—such as the exchangers in the gas process models we discussed during the Webinar on
October 8
—this approach will not work. In addition, for processes where we are using a lot of
compressor power in a self-refrigerated process, exchanger pressure drop is very important. For both of
these reasons, rigorous exchanger modeling is extremely valuable.