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Vishwas V. Wadekar,
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This article gives a broad overview of compact heat exchangers. • Offshore applications. food processing. making them a cost-effective alternative to shell-and-tube exchangers in many applications. • In recent years. equipment with increased throughput yet occupying less floor space is required. shell-and-tube exchangers are selected for most chemical process industries (CPI) applications. often tortu- CEP December 2000 www. where incentives are much greater for weight. More often than not. and it describes the different types of CHEs. such as refrigeration and air conditioning. All rights reserved. have become test beds for new CHE applications. including some specifically for hightemperature. forcing engineers to look for alternatives to conventional shell-andtube exchangers. It provides some background on the thermal benefits of CHEs. compact heat exchangers do have a number of real (and some perceived) limitations and disadvantages. high-pressure applications in the CPI. etc. 39 . the concepts of thermal effectiveness and temperature approach. though.Compact Heat Exchangers ©Copyright 2000 American Institute of Chemical Engineers. and compact heat exchangers are now gaining increased attention as viable cost-effective alternatives. Several factors are responsible for this change: • The advantages of CHEs are becoming increasingly apparent in their original fields of application. new CHEs have been introduced. variety of heat exchangers can be employed to heat or cool process streams. • In many retrofit applications.aiche. • Software tools for the selection and design of CHEs are now available from independent sources. though. Copying and downloading permitted with restrictions. A Compact heat exchangers (CHEs) offer high heat-transfer coefficients and large surface areas with a small footprint. it offers guidelines for selecting an appropriate CHE for a particular application. Of course. highlighting the practicality and advantages of some of the CHEs. Finally. cryogenics. the cost and energy saving benefits offered by CHEs over the conventional shell-and-tube heat exchanger make it imperative that they be considered as a serious alternative. and the degree of compactness of an exchanger. this situation is gradually changing.and space-saving equipment. • There is increased awareness about CHEs through specialist conferences and study groups. Thermal benefits of CHEs To understand some of the advantages of compact heat exchangers. let’s start with the basic question for the overall heat transferred within a heat exchanger: Q = UAFt∆Tlm (1) Due to their inherently complex. However.

Schematic diagram of stream temperatures in a two-stream exchanger. For any given flow arrangement. Thermal effectiveness vs. the thermal effectiveness rises with an increase in the overall heat-transfer coefficient and heat-transfer area. For the unit shown in Figure 1.Compact Heat Exchangers ■ Figure 2. Compact heat exchangers can generally be configured as essentially pure countercurrent flow devices. The curves approach different limiting values of thermal effectiveness asymptotically — (2) The temperature approach is the minimum difference between the CEP local stream temperatures in the exchanger. followed by crossflow. Because they characterize the thermal performance of an exchanger. . (T1. 1 is likely to be higher for CHEs. If a two-stream heat exchanger is handling streams with equal thermal capacity. Ft = 1. in ■ Figure 1. mcp (flow rate times heat capacity) [i. therefore. Ft is a correction factor for the log mean temperature difference. such as plate-fin exchangers. it remains the same everywhere throughout the exchanger because the two stream temperature profiles are parallel to each other. although the rate of increase slows down asymptotically. ∆Tlm. provide high overall heat-transfer coefficients. For a given mean temperature difference.5 and 1. Thus.. 40 www. CHEs tend to have higher heat-transfer coefficients for both the hot and the cold streams. a smaller mean temperature difference will be December 2000 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 NTUmax = UA/Cmin Thermal effectiveness and temperature approach These two terms are often used in connection with heat exchangers. In view of the high values of the overall heat-transfer coefficient and the heat-transfer area. the heat duty that could be achieved in a compact heat exchanger will be higher. coupled with the value of Ft close to unity. This increases the CHE’s overall heat-transfer coefficient.4 Cocurrent 0. This is illustrated in Figure with an intermediate value for crossflow. is simply given by the ratio of the actual temperature change for a stream to the maximum possible temperature change. (mcp)Stream 1 = (mcp)Stream 2]. the temperature change for Stream 1 is (T1. the incremental cost of incorporating a larger heat-transfer area is generally less for CHEs than for shell-and-tube exchangers. number of transfer units. respectively. T2. ε. Some – T2. If the heat exchanger had an infinite area. and then cocurrent flow. In Eq. which further increases the total effective heat-transfer area significantly. contain extended surfaces or secondary heattransfer area.8 0.e. Thus. if the streams within a heat exchanger are flowing in a true countercurrent manner. 1. The maximum possible temperature change for Stream 1 is. then the thermal effectiveness. in out T1. which plots thermal effectiveness against the maximum number of transfer units (NTUmax). the thermal effectiveness will be given by ε= T1. in Eq. Thermal effectiveness is a ratio of the actual heat transferred in the exchanger to the thermodynamic maximum. they are especially relevant and frequently used in quantifying the thermal benefits of compact heat exchangers. For the example depicted in Figure 1. the outlet temperature of Stream 1 would be equal to the inlet temperature of Stream 2. the countercurrent flow arrangement provides the maximum thermal – T2. Alternatively. 0.aiche. Exchangers that contain more heat-transfer area.0 for cocurrent and countercurrent flow. to account for the departure from pure countercurrent flow. with Ft nearly approaching the value of unity. U.out – T1.out – T1.6 Crossflow 0. 1 can be interpreted in two ways. It should be noted that exchangers with higher thermal effectiveness result in closer temperature approaches. for given heat duty. Note that for a given position along the x-axis.2 ous and noncircular flow passage structure. This means that the value of the heattransfer area. and have pure countercurrent flow tend to have a higher thermal effectiveness. Due to the higher area density (heat-transfer area per unit volume of the exchanger).0 Countercurrent Thermal Effectiveness T1. A. Eq. Cmin is the minimum of (mcp)Stream 1 and (mcp)Stream 2. out 1.

CEP Gasketted plate-and-frame heat exchanger This exchanger.4 to 0. Degree of compactness Heat exchangers can be classified in a variety of ways.9 mm. which translates to area densities of about 100 m2/m3. Hydraulic Diameter.. As shown in Figure 4.2 mm equivalent diameter and area densities of more than 10. The hydraulic diameter for flow between plates is approximately twice the plate spacing. Plate-fin exchangers. Plate-type exchangers (e. The plate thickness is usually in the range of 0. which include the printed circuit heat exchanger.2 m to over 3 m long. mm 60 10 1 0. 1). Examples are the various types of exchangers containing cross-corrugated channels. with flow passages of 0. Ref. compact heat exchangers offer high overall heat-transfer coefficients and heattransfer areas. consists of a pack of plates held together in a frame.5 and 5 mm. Hence. the category to which car radiators belong. spiral plate heat exchangers. Figure 4 shows an exploded view of the assembly of a plate heat exchanger. Flow channel size and heat-transfer area density for various types of heat exchangers. many CHEs can be configured as nearly ideal countercurrent flow devices.000 m2/m3.1 Human Lungs Specialty Plate-Fin Plate Shell-and-Tube 100 1.Plate heat exchanger In the broadest sense.g. which forms the cross-corrugated passages in the plate heat exchanger with chevron patterns of the consecutive plates pointing in opposite directions. they are also available in other higher alloys and metals (such as titanium) for special duties. and some proprietary welded exchangers.g. with widths typically 20% to 40% of their length. The plates are normally made of stainless steel. Figure 3 compares several broad categories of heat exchangers. have channels with hydraulic diameters of roughly 1 to 2 mm and area densities of over 2.000 Area Density. their elimination means that CHEs have less propensity to foul. they fall on or very near the high thermal effectiveness curve for countercurrent flow in Figure 2. The human lung. entering and leaving via ports in the corners of the plates. The exchanger can be completely dismantled for cleaning. In many cases. plate-and-frame exchangers) generally have 5-mm to 8mm channels and area densities more than 200 m2/m3. As mentioned earlier.aiche. have channel sizes of about 2 mm and area densities between 800 and 1. Again. the higher the area density. December 2000 www. the possibility of blockage of the small flow channels by suspended particles needs to be taken into account for not-so-clean fluids. Each plate has a gasket around the edge and around the ports. this calls for the installation of strainers before the streams enter the exchanger. The flow passages of compact heat exchangers offer another advantage. except for special wide-gap plates sometimes used for viscous or fibrous materials. m2/m3 ■ Figure 3. this category includes all heat exchangers that use plates in their construction.000 m2/m3. referred to as a plate-and-frame heat exchanger or simply a plate heat exchanger. The gaskets around the plate edge define the flow paths and are arranged to make the two streams flow in alternate plate passages. is shown for comparison. and the plate spacing varies between 2.000 10.500 m2/m3. the two streams flow in alternate channels between plates. Figure 5 shows a typical chevron pattern. Shelland-tube exchangers use plain tubes that are typically 10 to 30 mm in diameter. Speciality heat exchangers. Although compact exchangers are less likely to foul on this basis. One way that is especially relevant to compact heat exchangers is based on two closely related parameters — the flow channel size and the heat-transfer area 41 . Thus. More details of construction are available from a number of sources (e. the smaller the flow channel size in the exchanger. Normally. they can operate at a high thermal effectiveness. making them especially suitable for close temperature approach duties. Because such zones are more susceptible to fouling. This is the main reason for its widespread use in the food industry and other “clean” applications. The flow velocities of the streams tend to be more uniform across the flow width thereby minimizing the stagnant or low-velocity zones within the exchanger. Plates can be from 0..

org/cep/ December 2000 even higher temperatures if flexibility and accessibility are not necessary. Other variants have the chevron pattern running along the length rather than width of the plate. Ref. that is. designated as β in Figure 5.and highchevron angle plates can also be referred to as hard and soft plates. and somewhat higher pressures can be achieved using heavy-duty frames. There may be a single chevron pattern. whereas a plate with a high chevron angle has lower heat transfer and lower pressure drop. CEP chevron angle is an important design variable. or multiple rows of chevrons across the plate width. For the cross-corrugated plates formed from the chevron pattern. the corrugation patterns in adjacent plates are at an angle to each other. Typical chevron pattern on a plate ■ Figure 4.) For single-phase liquid duties involving moderate temperatures and pressures. selecting soft or hard plates (or a combination) to match specific pressure drop and heat-transfer requirements is relatively straightforward.Compact Heat Exchangers β Soft Plate β Hard Plate ■ Figure 5. The gasketted construction also makes these units unsuitable for refinery applications where prolonged resistance to fire may be required. (Fully welded exchangers can operate at 42 www. the pattern on the distribution regions of the plates is also important and plays a significant role in uniform distribution of a stream in a given plate channel (3–4). This design is useful when a suitable gasket mate- . The low. The gaskets. plate-and-frame exchangers can be a cost-effective alternative to the conventional shell-and-tube exchanger. Operating pressures up to 20 bar are standard. The most common type of plate has crossed corrugations. giving a lattice of support points where they touch and a complex flow channel shape between the plates. employed to seal the flow passages. 2). Therefore. respectively. The corrugations are usually formed as chevrons.aiche. This also gives the flexibility of adding or removing some plates to accommodate changes in the heat duty. with a lower limit of –25°C and an upper limit of 160°C to 180°C. Flow passage structure in plate exchangers Plate heat exchangers have corrugated plates. the local flow geometry has the same cross-corrugated structure. Partially welded plate heat exchanger This variant of the plate-and-frame heat exchanger attempts to combine some of the advantages of gasketted and welded construction. For single-phase duties. providing complete accessibility to the heat-transfer surface. Exploded view of a plate-and-frame heat exchanger. The chevron angle is the angle of the corrugations with respect to a horizontal line. Partially welded plate-and-frame exchangers (discussed later) allow the user to balance the advantages of flexibility and accessibility arising from the gasketted construction against the higher temperature and pressure operation with a wider range of fluid types offered by the welded construction. depending on the specific gasket material. A plate with a low chevron angle offers a high heat-transfer coefficient and high pressure drop. reliable information is generally available on the effect of chevron angle on heat transfer and pressure drop (for example. The main limitation of the plateand-frame heat exchanger is that the process fluids must be compatible with the gasket material. as in Figure 5. In addition to the main chevron pattern. The main advantage of this type of exchanger is that it can be opened. In all cases. reflecting the resistance that they present to a flowing fluid. Courtesy of Alfa Laval Thermal Inc. however. usually limit the operating temperature range. The corrugations provide both support against internal pressures and heat-transfer enhancement.

the plate pack is welded fully and is completely free of gaskets. Plate lengths are usually 1 m or less. Advantages of accessibility and flexibility also remain the same except for the access to the welded side of the plates. The plates are made of stainless steel and higher alloys. does come in contact with the circular port gaskets mounted on the gasketted side of the plates. although larger units with longer CEP plates are continually becoming available. Plates are made from stainless steel or higher alloys. Brazing also increases the operating temperature and pressure range considerably. The plate pack is held within a frame in a conventional manner. Brazed plate heat exchanger. Ducts of the same material as the plates are welded to the plate pack at the port holes and carry fluids to and from the flanges attached to the frame and the plate pack. Welded-pair plate exchangers have the same operating temperature and pressure limits as the fully gasketted plate-frame exchangers. The exchanger’s overall size is still relatively small compared to the large plate-and-frame units. the plate pack cannot be opened for cleaning and plates cannot be added or removed from it. rial cannot be found because of the chemical aggressivenes of one of the fluids. Brazing eliminates the need for both a frame and gaskets. while flowing through the ports. Such a heat exchanger is referred to as a weldedpair plate exchanger (Figure 6). The stack is formed by welding the plates alternately around the ports and around the outer periphery. In this arrangement. or Teflon). Pairs of plates are welded together around the edges to form gasket-free channels through which the aggressive fluid can flow. a fully welded platepack construction has been introduced in the market. They should be used only for relatively clean fluids because of their small passages and inaccessibility of the heat-transfer surface for mechanical cleaning. Because these gaskets are circular and therefore easy to seal. The exchanger can operate from –195°C to 200°C at pressures up to 30 43 . plate heat exchanger. Brazed plate heat exchanger This design (Figure 7) has a plate structure similar to that of the conventional plate-and-frame heat exchanger. One stream flows through the plate pairs and the other between the alternate plate gaps. eliminating the need for a gasket between the front plate and the head plate of the frame. It consists of a stack of welded circular cross-corrugated plates fitted into a cylindrical shell. Courtesy of Alfa Laval Thermal Inc.aiche. These exchangers are now widely used in the refrigeration industry for single-phase and two-phase duties.Endplate Gasket Service Welded Seal Flowplate Gasket Welded Seal Flowplate Welded Gasket Seal Flowplate Gasket Welded Seal Head Process Endplate Pair Flowplate Pair Flowplate Pair Sealplate Pair ■ Figure 6. Courtesy of APV Heat Exchanger Product Group. but the plate pack is brazed together using copper as the brazing material. Partially welded. More recently. Plate diame- ■ Figure 7. they can be made from a less flexible but more chemically resistant material. December 2000 www. Plate-and-shell heat exchanger An interesting variant of the plate exchanger is the plate-and-shell heat exchanger (Figure 8). They are probably the cheapest stainless steel exchangers available on the market today. and are relatively small. They are particularly useful for duties involving ammonia as a working fluid where copper brazed heat exchangers cannot be used. such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE. Gaskets are used between the welded pairs for the less aggressive fluid. or welded-pair. nickel brazed plate heat exchangers have been introduced to the market. However. Completely welded plate heat exchanger Recently. because it is welded. The welded construction allows the exchanger to operate at temperatures up to 350°C and pressures up to 40 bar. The aggressive fluid.

the effective length of the block consists of finning laid parallel to the block axis. Plate-and-shell heat exchanger.000 mm.Compact Heat Exchangers ■ Figure 8. each stream flows in a number of layers. These exchangers have been used in single-phase and two-phase duties in refrigeration and other industries. they provide the benefit of a multistream capability. It is claimed that plate-and-shell exchangers can handle duties involving thermal cycling. In cryogenic duties where economics are dominated by the cost of energy required to generate the low December 2000 viding the secondary area for heat transfer. coupled with the aluminum construction. The equivalent hydraulic diameters of these subchannels are. are typically 590 to 787 fins/m (15 to 20 fins/in. Serrated fins significantly increase .2 m deep (the stack height). Fin heights and fin frequencies determine the size of these subchannels. means that for a given heat-transfer area. These units can operate in the temperature range of –200°C to 600°C and at pressures up to 40 bar. with the sealing provided by the side bars along the edges. In addition to pro- 44 www. because they are made from aluminum. the maximum operating temperature for aluminum alloys decreases rapidly with increasing pressure. Fin heights are typically between 5 and 9 mm. ensuring that all the cold streams produced in a process are used to cool the incoming warm streams. Brazed aluminum exchangers can be used for streams at pressures up to 100 bar and generally within a temperature range of –269°C to 100°C. to give true counterflow heat exchange among the streams. 1. nearly rectangular subchannels by the fins.2 m long. in the main heattransfer region.2 m wide. perforated. Within the plate-fin core. In low-temperature cryogenic applications. At the end of the exchanger. they cannot be used for higher temperature applications. The overall size of these exchangers can be up to 1. thus. while fin frequencies. These small passages result in heat-transfer area densities of about 800 to 1.500 m2/m3. others prefer serrated fins with a long serration length. It consists of alternating layers of plates (referred to as parting sheets) and corrugated fins. pads of finning are laid at an angle and serve as distributors. However.). The parting sheets and fins provide the primary and secondary surface for heat-transfer.aiche. Four basic fin geometries (Figure 10) are used in plate-fin exchangers. All manufacturers make plain. such close temperature approach is of vital importance. with appropriate alloys for the headers and nozzles. ters range from 200 to 1. they can be used at temperatures up to 200°C. and 6. respectively. Their derivatives made of stainless steel and titanium have more potential applications in the CPI. and serrated (offset strip) fins. the exchangers are smaller and lighter than any other exchanger type. Standard designs can accommodate heat-transfer areas from 0. However. The perforations help to equalize flows among the subchannels. The headers and nozzles are welded onto the outside of the block. They can operate at a thermal effectiveness up to 98% and are able to handle temperature approaches down to less than 2°C. Plate-fin heat exchanger The conventional brazed aluminum plate-fin heat exchangers are used extensively in cryogenic applications. Some make wavy fins. mitigating against local blockage or pressure fluctuations arising from the evaporation process. Brazed aluminum plate-fin heat exchanger A typical brazed aluminum exchanger handling multiple streams is illustrated in Figure 9. the brazed fins hold the heat exchanger together. Perforated fins are often used for boiling. only a few millimeters. such as air separation and ethylene plants. Such high area density. They are used for single-phase CEP and two-phase duties involving boiling and condensation. The perforations provide a small enhancement over plain fins for improved single-phase performance. These distribute the flow coming from the headers and nozzles into the main heat-transfer passages or collect the flow coming from the passages and direct it into the headers and nozzles. Flow passages are formed between the consecutive parting sheets. each of which is divided into numerous parallel. because the plate pack is able to expand and contract within the shell.5 to 500 m2 in a single unit. In most plate-fin exchangers.

The effect of the braze on process fluids has sometimes been of concern to potential users.6 m by 1.5 m long) for CPI applications.3 m. CEP December 2000 www. Support Plate Cap Sheet Plain Fins Serrated (Offset) Fins Perforated Fins Wavy (Herringbone) Fins ■ Figure 10. the standard length of the serrations is 3 mm (q in. mainly for single-phase duties. They generally employ plain fins. Some manufacturers.6 m by 0. These are typically small exchangers — blocks with sides less than 0. Therefore. serrated. Inlet both heat transfer and pressure drop over plain fins. and wavy fins. however. because other fin types are difficult to manufacture in stainless steel. some manufacturers are trying to develop diffusion bonding techniques for stainless steel plate-fin exchangers to avoid problems associated with the copper braze. Sometimes. Brazed aluminum plate-fin heat exchanger. They are used for single-phase gas duties. Stainless steel exchangers have been used for some time in vehicle and aerospace applications. Plain. Plain fins find applications in condensation and single-phase duties. they are also used for boiling duties because they are thought to aid the onset of boiling. Copper is used as the braze metal for stainless steel exchangers. but they normally have lower fin heights (less than 5 mm high) because of the relatively poor thermal conductivity of stainless steel. A longer length (12 or 15 mm) results in a fin whose performance is between that of perforated fins and standard serrated fins. where lower pressure drop characteristics may be more important. can supply larger brazed stainless-steel plate-fin units (up to 0.■ Figure 9. Nozzle Header Outlet Distributor Fin Wear Plate Heat Transfer Fin Spacer Bar Parting Sheet Stainless steel plate-fin heat exchanger Plate-fin heat exchangers can be manufactured of materials other than aluminum so that they can be operated at higher temperatures and 45 . For serrated fins.aiche. where the increase in heat-transfer coefficient is most desirable. Brazed stainless steel exchangers are geometrically similar to brazed aluminum plate-fin exchangers. perforated.).

K.” in “Compact Heat Exchangers for the Process Industry. U. Welded compact heat exchanger Plate-and-frame exchangers with After Bonding After Superplastic Forming After Ironing ■ Figure 11.. December 2000 Diffusion-bonded titanium plate-fin heat exchanger Another development in the manufacture of plate-fin heat exchangers capable of high-pressure. The heat exchanger core is assembled by diffusion bonding these elements together. E. D. Oswald. Rugby. Davison. and D. offering the same advantage of high thermal effectiveness. Foumeny and P. Indianapolis. Paper 1/2-CHE-5. International Conference on Convective Flow Boiling. Edwards.K. Harwell. F. “Performance of an Industrial Plate Heat Exchanger: Effect of Chevron Angle. (1992).. Canada. as well as other morecomplicated patterns. Industrial Session. Wadekar. Heggs. New York. “Process Heat Transfer. O. A.K. AIChE.Compact Heat Exchangers Literature Cited 1. R... pp.. these exchangers are similar to aluminum plate-fin exchangers. The exchangers can be manufactured of either stainless steel or various higher alloys. published by Taylor & Francis. Vol 89. Heggs. 2. New York (1999). U.” Chapter 17. published by IChemE.0 mm deep. O. pp. .” Vol. These three sheets are then expanded superplastically in a closed die at elevated temperatures by pressurizing the unbonded regions between the plates. can be etched.” AIChE Symposium Series. H. Ramshaw. Kumar. A. the secondary surface). 10. however. “Heat Exchange Engineering. Steps in manufacturing an element for a diffusion-bonded titanium plate-fin exchanger. Wallingford. Heggs. 7. National Heat Transfer Conference. Ellis Horwood. 6. 3. The use of titanium coupled with the metallurgical benefits of the manufacturing technology allow them to operate at temperatures above 550°C and at pressures above 200 bar. E. H. J. Kumar. “The Importance of Corner Header Distributor Designs in Plate Heat Exchangers. pp. “Flow Distribution Effects in a Plate Frame Heat Exchanger. Shah. J. A. G. 8. Vol. C. pp. Philadelphia. E.. and J. 1. This forms a single element equivalent to a single layer of plate-fin geometry. I. where the middle sheet forms the subchannels (i. PA.. L. E. Different wavy frequencies are offered to accommodate a range of pressure drop and heat-transfer characteristics. V. U. CEP Printed-circuit heat exchanger The printed-circuit heat exchanger is manufactured by diffusion bonding technology.. 2. J. “A New Durable Gas Turbine Recuperator. Jackson.” Prepared for the Energy Efficiency Office by Energy Technology Support Unit (ETSU). (1994). are trapezoidal rather than rectangular. U. G. 46 www. U. V. 262–267 (1993).. 81–86 (1994).. “Heat Exchange Engineering. which resemble printed circuit boards (Figure 12). D. 9. “Intensified Heat Transfer: The Way Ahead?. The other main advantage of this type of exchanger is that titanium which is a highly corrosion-resistant material. published by IChemE. ASME 99-GT369. Thonon. 5. Clarke. and B. Foumeny and P. L. Butterworth.5 and 2.” CRC Press. Begell House Inc. Bott.. 361–367. S. “Guide to Compact Heat Exchangers. U. In terms of general heat transfer and pressure drop performance. L. 2. and L. The term “printed circuit” is used because semicircular flow passages are chemically etched onto flat plates. Haseler. “A Compact Ceramic Plate-Fin Heat Exchanger for Gas Turbine Heat Recovery. ASME. R.” R. Dawson.aiche.e. Three sheets of titanium are diffusion bonded at selected positions using a bond inhibitor. and R. Wanniarachchi.K. ed. Zigzag..” ASME Gas Turbine Conference. high-temperature operation is the application of superplastic forming and diffusion bonding technology (which was originally developed for titanium turbine blades) (5). 195–199 (1997). IChemE Symposium Series 129. U.. Chichester. “The Use of a Novel Manufacturing Process for High Performance Titanium PlateFin Heat Exchanger. IN.. and no other metal is involved as a braze. (1991). The typical height of the trapezoidal subchannels is 2 to 5 mm. Ellis Horwood. Fowler.. Brighton. Chichester. The subchannels.000 bar and temperatures up to 900°C. H. London (1994). Adderley. A. (1991). R. and somewhat larger than the subchannels in aluminum plate-fin exchangers.K. K. The flow passages in a printed-circuit heat exchanger are normally between 0. and T. Ferrato.K. J. L.. 57–70 (1995). They are made as wavy rather than straight subchannels. eds. and P.K. M. Haseler. eds. P.. Rugby.” Proceedings of the 10th International Heat Transfer Conference.” Keynote Paper IV.” Chapter 15. Heavner. 4. The manufacturing technique is illustrated in Figure 11. and the cross-section approximates a semicircle. “Boiling in Compact Heat Exchangers/Industrial Practice and Problems. Banff.” 3rd U. Hewitt.K. F. pp.” Vol. All the existing applications of these exchangers are for single-phase duties (6). Various combinations of crossflow and counterflow can be employed in the exchanger as required. Shires. Clawley. and A. and New York. C. The plates are then stacked and diffusion bonded together to produce an exchanger capable of operating at pressures up to 1.

large plates up to 10 m long and 1. fully welded plate packs were discussed earlier.” The “coarse filter” makes a preliminary cut by rejecting the obviously unsuitable types and leaving behind those that are capable of performing the specified duty. Selection Choosing an appropriate compact heat exchanger for a given duty is a complex process. Because of the large plate size. But when it is. typically in a crossflow arrangement. Unlike existing recuperators. More recently.000 m2. With special gaskets made from carbon fibers. This exchanger is not yet being manufactured on a commercial scale. A typical application for this type of exchanger is feed effluent duty in a catalytic reforming plant. Air In Air Out Construction of a spiral recuperator. But. 7.a cylindrical shell. and 47 . are described in Ref. Courtesy of Heatric. the use of large plates helps reduce the cost differential. it is made from two continuous sheets of metal wound into a spiral with a corrugated sheet providing finned channels for the hot gas stream (Figure 13). In this case. However. these exchangers are used for highly corrosive fluids such as acid and salt solutions in the mineral processing industry.5 m wide are welded together and the plate pack is contained within Spiral recuperator A new recuperator has been developed to withstand thermal cycling (8). In one. along with examples of their applications. Printed-circuit heat exchanger. A detailed discussion of ceramic and polymer film heat exchangers is given by Ramshaw (9). This arrangement can operate at pressures up to 300 bar and temperatures ranging from –200°C to 700°C.aiche. we are separating the various types of CHEs into suitable and unsuitable designs using technical criteria as the “filters. the high pressure on the air side maintains the contact between the gas-side fins and the adjacent sheet. a preliminary selection procedure can be compared to a simple two-stage separation process that applies a coarse filter followed by a fine filter. Graphite is also used as a material of construction for carbon block exchangers. An unusual feature of the spiral recuperator is that the fins on the gas side of the matrix are not physically ■ Figure 13. Instead. polymer films. The “fine filter” then Gas In CEP December 2000 www. the heat-transfer area of a single unit can be as high as 10. ■ Figure 12. There are also other types of proprietary welded designs. it is likely to be costeffective because it can be manufactured by a continuous process. Ferrato and Thonon (10) have investigated the use of ceramic plate-fin heat exchangers for high-temperature applications. Gas Out attached to the pressure retaining sheets. Some of the proprietary exchanger types and their pressure and temperature limits. Nonmetallic exchangers Compact heat exchangers can also be fabricated of nonmetallic materials of construction. for specialized applications. Graphite is used in making plates for the conventional plate-and-frame heat exchanger. where circular passages are machined in a solid carbon block. such as graphite. Air enters the top and flows down. while the gas enters at the bottom and flows upward. All welded exchangers are more expensive than the gasketted plate heat exchanger.

2. pressure. a final selection can be made. Table 1 can be used to apply this coarse filter to the CHEs covered December 2000 tures ranges. Maximum pressure. Incoloy. This involves considering the following: 1. Step 2: The fine filter All of the exchangers identified in Step 1 as capable of performing the duty need to be investigated further in Step 2 to narrow down the choice. Eq.000 Stream Types Liquid-Liquid Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Liquid-Liquid Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Liquid-Liquid Two-phase Liquids Liquid-Liquid Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Liquid-Liquid Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Liquid-Liquid Gas-Liquid Two-Phase Materials Frame: Carbon Steel Plates: Stainless Steel. the heat-transfer area can be multiplied by cost per unit area to obtain the cost of the ex- . For example.e. Based on these two parameters. 3. Hastelloy.500 700–800 >2. further narrows the choice based on heat-transfer area and exchanger cost. Titanium Aluminum. To determine the heat-transfer area. and these will be ruled out for higher-pressure services.aiche. Titanium Inconel Incoloy Temperature Range (°C) –35 to +180 –35 to +180 –195 to +200 –200 to +600 –269 to +100 <550 –200 to +900 Maximum Pressure (bar) 25 25 30 40 90 200 300–400 Cleaning Methods Mechanical Chem/Mech* Chemical Chem/Mech* Chemical Chemical Chemical Multistream Capability Not Common No No No Yes Yes Yes *Chemical cleaning on the welded side and mechanical cleaning on the other side. This involves approximating the heattransfer area and cost for each exchanger. especially for the proprietary exchanger types. the exchangers that cannot be used for a given duty can be rejected. for example. Nickel. Many CHEs can be employed only up to moderate pressures. 1 can be rearranged: A = 1/U (Q/∆T) (3) In principle. one or CEP more exchangers could be left as viable. As a result of this filtering. if there is a likelihood of a violent chemical reaction. Note that Table 1 is by no means exhaustive and could be supplemented with relevant data from manufacturers. Stainless Steel. Gasketted exchangers. can also be taken into account. where the outlet temperature of the hot stream is higher than the inlet temperature of the cold stream.. such as mechanical or chemical cleaning of the heat-transfer surface. Compatibility refers to that between the fluid and the materials of construction for the heat exchanger. and so on. Another factor is temperature cross — i. This could include such factors as the consequences of leakage of one stream into another. and fluid compatibility. Titanium. so some exchanger types can be ruled out on this basis. A preliminary selection guide to compact heat exchangers. If there is a temperature cross. Incoloy. Plate-andFrame (Gasketed) Partially Welded Plate-andFrame Brazed Plate-Fin DiffusionBonded Titanium Plate-Fin Brazed Plate Plate andShell Printed Circuit Compactness (m2/m3) Up to 200 Up to 200 Up to 200 — 800–1. multistream capabilities. Hastelloy. Other factors. Other issues. Source: Adapted from (7). Step 1: The coarse filter Based on considerations of operating temperature. Temperature range. Graphite Frame: Stainless Carbon Steel Steel Plates: Stainless Steel. a double-wall type heat exchanger should be considered. Fluid compatibility. Nickel Alloy Titanium S/S. may be excluded if there is a problem of compatibility between the fluid and the gasket material. Stainless Steel. 4.Compact Heat Exchangers Table 1. Different exchangers have different tempera- 48 www. then only exchangers that can be configured as countercurrent devices can be used.

Hewitt et al. 49 .13 600 0. Logarithmic interpolation should be used to interpolate for in-between values of Q/∆T.48 1. However. Note that the ratio may be different for dif- ferent heat exchangers and flow configurations if the value of the correction factor is different. V. 1) and using logarithmic interpolation if necessary.93 524 1. WADEKAR is Research Manager at HTFS.46 467 1. Dept. If there is one heat exchanger or heat exchanger flow configuration that is significantly better (by a factor of 1.25 875 0. E-mail: vishwas.08 120 1. He is a member of the Heat Transfer Society.07 105 1.01 155 1.05 130 1.16 Treated Cooling Water U 105 484 938 720 142 1.26 * Units for U are W/m2•K. (Phone: +44-1235-434249.93 173 1.54 524 1.81 1. Cold-Side Fluid Parameter* LowPressure Gas HighPressure Gas Process Water Hot-Side Fluid LowHighViscosity Viscosity Organic Organic Condensing Liquid Liquie Steam Condensing Hydrocarbon Condensing Hydrocarbon With Inert Gas Low-Pressure Gas (1 bar) U C 55 2.aiche.74 86 1. (1) proposed cost factors (C) based on Q/∆T. 3.76 68 2. Recently. U. Typical heat-transfer coefficient (U) and cost factor (C) data for a shell-and-tube heat exchanger with Q/DT = 5. He has authored or coauthored a number of technical and research papers in the area of compact heat exchangers.88 300 1.20 429 0.5 or so).20 Boiling Organic Liquid U C 99 1. December 2000 www. then this type warrants a detailed design and cost estimation.95 375 1.62 100 1.87 500 1. In addition to leading his research team at Harwell.wadekar@hyprotech.05 153 1. and of AIChE.K.41 0.55 818 0. Fax: +44-1235-831981.99 388 1. Calculate the area of the heat exchanger using Eq. 6. V. U. It should be noted that extensive CEP tables of information giving C values. he chairs the HTFS Industrial Review Panel on compact heat exchangers.87 161 1.88 102 1. Harwell. 2. from a heat balance. ∆T. units for C are $/W•K..K. of Chemical Technology. Calculate the cost of the heat exchanger by multiplying C and Q/∆T.07 1.68 530 0.65 1.30 722 1.08 138 1.78 130 1. He obtained his BChemEng and PhD degrees from Bombay Univ. as well as software for selection of heat exchangers. 4. changer.71 99 1. Source: Adapted from (1).08 0.01 286 1. Obtain values of C and U from tables such as Table 2 (which is adapted from Ref.87 500 1.432 0. especially those containing extended surfaces.44 818 0. If there are several exchangers with comparable costs. (Complete tables for shell-and-tube and plate-and-frame heat exchangers are given in Ref.000 W/K for shell-and-tube exchangers handling a variety of streams. Calculate the heat duty.000 W/K.76 375 Table 2 presents typical data for the overall heat-transfer coefficient and the cost factor at Q/∆T = 5.82 High-Pressure Gas (20 bar) U C 93 1.26 336 1. he has started teaching a short course on compact heat exchangers at the AIChE Spring National Meeting. then all of them need to be investigated in detail. it may be difficult to define the heat-transfer area. and boiling heat transfer.16 1.76 63 2. between the streams. 5. using a correction factor (Ft) if necessary.24 107 1. 1.01 1.08 600 0. 1.55 82 1.05 286 1. 3. Estimate the mean temperature difference.65 375 1. is available from CEP commercial sources.32 677 0. for some exchangers.91 140 1.05 240 1.) The steps involved in the application of this fine filter can be illustrated as follows. He has lectured internationally and presented numerous training courses related to compact and other exchanger types. For this reason.13 93 1. AEA Technology Hyprotech.607 764 345 C 1.62 336 1.17 Low-Viscosity Organic Liquid High-Viscosity Organic Liquid Boiling Water U C U C U C 99 1.Table 2. multiphase flow heat and mass transfer. Calculate the ratio Q/∆T.