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Analysis of a shell and tube

heat exchanger system

Gbor Kles
20/12/2017 CBT5-2-E17

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Title: Analysis of a shell and tube heat exchanger system

Group: CBT5-2-E17
Supervisor: Rudi P. Nielsen
University: Aalborg University Esbjerg
Study: Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, BSc 5th semester
Theme: Refinery products and processes
Period: 4/9/2017 20/12/2017

Gbor Kles




In the petrochemical industry, heat transfer through conduction and convection
with the help of heat exchangers aids the oil refining process. Many products are
obtained through the distillation of crude oil and the product stream have a great
significance in reusing heat to stimulate heat transfer within a heat exchanger.
Thus, heat transfer within heat exchangers has been chosen as the method of
evaluating different characteristics and properties, using a shell and tube heat
exchanger as the base model. In addition, it is questioned whether heat
exchangers could be used to preheat crude oil to a high temperature to ease the
work of the furnace, which could positively benefit expenditures. For this, a
mathematical model has been set up, which could be used later to determine
these properties. Also, by changing several properties, it could be analysed how
factors, such as dimensions of the shell- and tube-side of the heat exchanger or
fluid characteristics affect the overall outcome.


Table of contents
Abstract -3-
1. Introduction -5-
2. Problem analysis -6-
2.1 Initial problem statement -6-
2.2 Crude oil -7-
2.2.1 Introduction -7-
2.2.2 Formation -8-
2.2.3 Composition -9-
2.2.4 Types - 10 -
2.3 Oil refineries - 11 -
2.3.1 Fractional distillation - 11 -
2.3.2 Petroleum products - 12 -
2.3.3 Other processes - 13 -
2.4 Mechanisms of heat transfer - 15 -
2.4.1 Heat transfer - 15 -
2.4.2 Conduction - 16 -
2.4.3 Convection - 23 -
2.4.4 Radiation - 27 -
2.5 Heat exchangers - 28 -
2.5.1 Introduction - 28 -
2.5.2 Types of heat exchangers - 29 -
2.5.3 Heat exchangers in oil refineries - 34 -
2.6 Problem formulation - 37 -
3. Experimental part - 38 -
3.1 Objective - 38 -
3.2 Method - 38 -
3.3 Reason - 39 -
3.4 Heat exchanger type, material, and dimension selection - 40 -
3.5 Fluid properties - 41 -
3.6 Mathematical model - 42 -
4. Conclusion - 47 -
Bibliography - 48 -
Appendix A - 52 -


1. Introduction
Petroleum has been a crucial part of human development since the early 20th
century, redefining politics, society and science in a way that is almost
unimaginable. The invention of the internal combustion engine has raised the need
for petroleum, which lead to its utilisation in numerous fields of engineering. Ever
since humankind recognised the importance of using petroleum products in
everyday life, industry specialists were prompted to design a technology that would
allow to take advantage of black gold. These endeavours resulted in the creation of
the crude distillation tower, which uses heat to extract different products from
petroleum. Although the procedure had been in use for decades, making it more
energy- and cost efficient has always been a goal target. This is where heat
exchangers enter the equation. They have several functions in a distillation system,
such as providing crude with an initial heat boost, reheating products and using the
excess heat to power the refining tower, while attempting to lower energy input in
the initial parts of the procedure, making it more efficient. One could easily
overlook the importance of such units, however there are countless physical
exchanges happening inside a heat exchanger. Heat exchangers rely on the transfer
of energy in the form of heat between materials. Heat conduction, convection and
radiation are all heat transfer processes that occur inside a heat exchanger, and by
designing a heat exchanger, it is the goal to have a configuration and materials that
mutually work together for the best benefit in a specific situation. Heat exchangers
are applied in many ways, such as refrigerators, air conditioners, radiators on a tiny
to large scale, power production in plants and chemical processing. Differentiating
and applying the best heat exchanger to a process is extremely important to gain the
most out of processes. For that, many heat exchanger types have been constructed,
such as double-pipe, compact, plate, regenerative and shell-and-tube heat
exchangers. The report is aimed to analyse the effects of a heat exchanger in the
chemical processing field and to investigate different outcomes with the change of
properties within the heat exchanger. For these applications, the most popular type
to use is the shell-and-tube heat exchanger, due to its versatility in most conditions,
environments and their method of working with fluids of different characteristics.
By designing a heat exchanger that is cost-efficient, simply-structured and takes
advantage of all heat transfer properties to the best extent, a great deal of
complications could be saved. With the forthcoming popularity of renewable
energies, it is of a great interest to make oil refineries as profitable, utilitarian and
efficient as possible to stay a relevant and determinant part of the energy industry
in the future.


2. Problem analysis
2.1 Initial problem statement
The oil industry is constantly growing in the modern era, to serve the need for
petroleum products in the everyday life, making it crucial for human development.
Therefore, it is of a high priority to make oil refineries as efficient as possible. Past
endeavours have shown that a good starting point for a more efficient system are
well-designed heat exchangers. To create a heat exchanger with favourable
properties, many factors must be taken into consideration. Such factors are the
different mechanisms and rate of heat transfer, which depend and change based on
the selected material and dimensions of a heat exchanger.
Thus, to better understand how heat exchangers aid the refining process, it is
important to first examine the different heat transfer mechanisms and physical
properties of the used materials. The goal is to investigate the correlation between
these mechanisms and how they can affect and be applied to a heat exchanger.
Considering the importance of heat exchangers, a major question is of importance
to be answered:

How can heat transfer be utilised in heat exchangers?


2.2 Crude oil

The following chapter will introduce the reader to the basics of crude oil, such as
its origins, formation, composition and types. It will lead to its utilisation in
petroleum refineries where different products are gained by distilling the crude.

2.2.1 Introduction
Crude oil is an unrefined petroleum product that was created through 10-600
million years of plant and animal degradation, resulting in a fossil fuel, which
consists of hydrocarbons, organic compounds and small amounts of metals. It can
be found in places, such as underground reservoirs, inside sedimentary rocks, and
close to the surface in tar sands. (1, 2)
Crude oil can be accessed by drilling and is usually accompanied by natural gas,
that sits above it due to its lighter density. After extraction, crude oil can be refined
and made into various petroleum products. These products are arguably the most
crucial sources of energy nowadays, but it cannot be replaced at the rate it is being
used, thus it is considered a non-renewable resource. (1, 3) Figure 1 shows and
underground oil reservoir, where oil and gas are trapped between sedimentary

Figure 1: An underground oil reservoir. Resources are trapped between sedimentary layers, sealed by an
impermeable trap rock. (4)


2.2.2 Formation
During the years of organism decay in the sedimentary layers of Earth, there was
very small or no amount of oxygen present. The little oxygen present was used up
and in the absence of oxygen the bacteria responsible for decomposition of the
remains of plants and animals, these remains accumulated over time to form a large
mass. The biomass was converted into a carbon-rich material and later it formed
additional organic layers mixed with sand, silt and mud. The deposition of new
sedimentary layers exerted high pressure on these formations while natural heat
coming from the Earth provided a hot environment. The combination of these
factors helped the organic mass to transform into crude oil and natural gas. (2)
In the meantime, the mud and silt layer over the petroleum turned into a porous
shale layer due to the high-pressure environment which allowed the newly
formed petroleum to travel from its source through the cracks until it reached so
called reservoir rocks. A reservoir rock was the destination for the crude as there it
was trapped by an impermeable sediment layer and gathered there until being
discovered. (2)
Figure 2 shows the process of crude oil formation from the decomposition of
organisms and accumulation of sedimentary layers to the present-day layout of an
underground oil reservoir:

Figure 2: Timeline of oil formation. (5)


2.2.3 Composition
Crude oil, more commonly known as petroleum, can have a different composition
depending on the type of crude and the method of extraction. Hydrocarbons are the
primary constituents of crude, accounting for around 50-97 vol% of the raw
material. Nitrogen, oxygen (partially a result of hydraulic fracturing), sulphur and
other organic compounds take up circa 6-10 vol%. Finally, metals, such as copper,
nickel, vanadium and iron make up less than 1 vol% of crude oil. The data is
collected in Table 1 found below:

Table 1: Constituents of crude oil by their volume percentages in crude oil. (6,7)

Constituents Volume %
Hydrocarbons 50-97
N, O, S, other organic compounds 6-10
Metals (Cu, Ni, V, Fe) <1

Dividing the composition of crude oil into elements, it contains around 83-85 wt%
carbon atoms, 10-14 wt% hydrogen, 0.1-2 wt% nitrogen, 0.1-1.5 wt% oxygen and
0.5-6 wt% sulphur, plus a very small amount of trace metals as depicted in Table 2:

Table 2: Weight percentage of elements in crude oil. (8, 9)

Element Weight %
Carbon 83-85
Hydrogen 10-14
Nitrogen 0,1-2
Oxygen 0,1-1,5
Sulphur 0,5-6
Metals < 0,1


Hydrocarbons in crude oil are further divided to paraffins/alkanes (15-60 wt%),

naphthenes (30-60 wt%), aromatics (3-30 wt%), and asphaltenes (0-20 wt%). The
variation of hydrocarbons is highly diverse, depending on the geographic region of
the source. In Table 3, the collected weight percentages of different hydrocarbons
in the crude can be found. The range of weight percentage is based on different
classes of petroleum, while the average weight percentage takes hydrocarbon
amounts of known petroleum types collectively:

Table 3: Different hydrocarbons and their weight percentages in the total hydrocarbon amount. (8-10)

Hydrocarbon Weight % Average weight %

Paraffins 15-60 30
Naphthenes 30-60 49
Aromatics 3-30 15
Asphaltenes 0-20 6

2.2.4 Types
The variation of different compounds within crude oil defines its type, physical and
chemical properties. Hydrocarbons play an important role in it, since their ratio in
the crude will give its unique density (API gravity is a common unit of measure)
and viscosity. For example, crude oil is classified as light crude, when paraffins are
in abundance in the crude. This type of crude is the least dense and viscous. In
comparison, heavy crude has a greater concentration of naphthenes and
asphaltenes, thus it will be much denser and viscous than light crude. (11) Table 4
shows the individual wt% of different hydrocarbons in various types of crude oil:

Table 4: Major classes of compounds in crude oils in weight percentage. (11)

Type of crude oil Paraffins Naphthenes Aromatics Asphaltenes

Light crude 92 1 8 0
Medium crude 78 6 15 1
Heavy crude 38 20 29 13

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2.3 Oil refineries

2.3.1 Fractional distillation
Oil refining is a multi-stage process which happens inside a fractional distillation
tower, commonly called a crude distillation unit (CDU). Since crude oil contains
many different types of hydrocarbons, they must be separated by their boiling point
ranges to gain usable products. In the distillation column, crude oil is exposed to
high-temperature heat the temperature gradient fluctuates from the bottom to the
top thus the hydrocarbon chains get vaporized and can be separated individually,
based on their various boiling temperatures. (2) In Figure 3 a crude distillation
tower and the gained products (with their boiling temperatures) are shown:







Figure 3: Layout of a typical crude distillation unit. (12)

Different processes happen inside a distillation column. Firstly, heat is applied to

crude oil - by a furnace, using high pressure steam of around 600C. Crude oil is
then vaporized by the high temperature, and the gases now in vapour phase, enter
the fractional distillation column where the different substances start to elevate
based on their densities.

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Since the column is the hottest at its bottom part and gets cooler while moving to
its top part, the rising vapours are being cooled down the more they move upwards.
The vapour will condense to liquid form after it reaches a height within the
distillation unit, where the temperature of the column is the same as the boiling
point of the substance. The trays between the columns capture the condensed
substances at different heights. (2)

2.3.2 Petroleum products

After the separation of the vapours, products are removed from each stage, which
are the following:

Table 5: Overview and properties of different petroleum products from the top to the bottom part of the
distillation tower. (2)

Product Boiling temperature Number of carbon atoms

Petroleum gas < 40C 1-4
Naphtha 60-100C 5-9
Gasoline 40-250C 5-12
Kerosene 175-325C 10-18
Gas oil / Diesel distillate 250-350C 12
Lubricating oil 300-370C 20-50
Fuel oil & heavy gas 370-600C 20-70
Residuals > 600C 70

Petroleum gas, also known as methane, ethane, propane and butane is gained first,
separating at below 40C. They consist of 1-4 carbon atoms, and are regarded as
small alkenes. It is widely used for heating, cooking and making plastics. It is also
used to create LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) after being liquefied by added
pressure. (2)
Naphtha is a product that is later used to create gasoline, as it is an intermediate of
it. Naphtha boils between 60-100C and consists of 5-9 hydrocarbons and is used to
produce chemicals. (2)
Gasoline or petrol is gained at temperatures between 40-250C and is a mix of
alkanes and cycloalkanes with 5-12 carbon atoms. It is an extremely important
product, due to its predominant use as motor fuel in vehicles, such as cars. (2)
Kerosene is obtained at between a temperature of 175-325C and is a mix of
alkanes containing 10-18 carbons and aromatics. Its purpose lies in being a jet fuel
and fuel for other big engines. (2)

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Gas oil or diesel distillate, or simply diesel oil is being separated at 250-350C and
contain 12 or more carbons. They are predominantly used as diesel fuels in vehicles
and as heating oils. (2)
Lubricating oil is produced between 300-370C and it contains longer alkane
chains (20-50 carbon atoms), cycloalkanes and aromatics. It is used in motor oils,
grease and as other lubricants. (2)
Fuel oil and heavy gas are obtained and temperatures between 370-600C and they
consist of long chain alkanes (20-70 carbon atoms), cycloalkanes and aromatics.
They are used as industrial fuels. (2)
Residuals are finally gained by separation at over 600C. They are solid substances
that form multiple-ringed products (70 or more carbons), such as asphalt, tar, coke
and waxes. These are the main uses of these residuals, but many other products can
be created from them. (2)

2.3.3 Other processes

The basic operation of the CDU and the ongoing processes have been explained,
however it is important to note that there are several steps that must be taken before
the crude enters column. Purifying the petroleum before it enters the column is an
essential part to obtain a product of better quality but it can also eliminate safety
For example, desulphurisation of the crude is a standard procedure, and is done to
avoid any hazards since sulphur is highly toxic and reactive, and to gain better
quality products. Depending on sulphur content, crude can be categorised as either
sour or sweet. When the sulphur impurity in the crude exceeds 0,5%, it is
considered as sour, while below it the crude is sweet. Purification is costly,
therefore petroleum products derived from sour crude are usually more expensive,
thus sweet crude is the preferable substance. (13, 14)
In addition, crude is often treated by a desalter unit, that removes accumulated salts
within the crude before it would get heated up. (15) Afterwards, the crude can go
through several heat exchanger units to gain an initial high temperature, so that in
the next step it puts less strain on the fired heater.
Since the furnace is the place where the crude gets vaporised, it needs to provide
the system with a constant input of heat energy, which on a large scale can be
extremely cost-intensive, and with the help of heat exchangers, efficiency can be
improved. (16, 17)

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Similarly, several processes are applied after the products leave the column. One of
them is the utilisation of reflux, during which a portion of the top parts liquid, now
cooled down by a condenser, is reintroduced to the top part of the column. This
way, the down flowing reflux helps the vapour fractions to cool down and
condense, providing added efficiency. (18, 19)
Furthermore, a reboiler has a crucial role in the refining process, because it is the
main source of heat for the distillation column. The reboiler utilises the heat from
the bottom product, which is directed to this heater after it leaves the column. In the
reboiler, the product is heated up and depending on the column, a hot stream of
liquid or vapour fluid is sent back to the column, which then further powers the oil
refining process. (20) The location of the reflux drum and reboiler can be observed
in Figure 4:

Figure 4: Scheme of a crude distillation tower and the location of a reflux drum and reboiler within the system.

Separating the substances is not the last step that can be taken to use them
beneficially. Collected fractions can be further cooled in condensers, separate of the
distillation column, from where they can be moved to storage tanks or transported
to undergo other procedures. In some cases, chemical conversion can be applied to
certain mid-products. This conversion happens by breaking the longer hydrocarbon
chains into shorter ones. For example, more gasoline can be gained this way, by the
conversion of diesel fuel. (2)

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2.4 Mechanisms of heat transfer

2.4.1 Heat transfer
Heat is defined as a form of energy that can be transferred from one system to
another due to temperature difference. When systems undergo a process, going
from an equilibrium state to another one, an analysis of the amount of heat
transferred is carried out. Energy is always being transferred from a higher-
temperature medium to a lower-temperature medium, and when both the mediums
reach equal temperatures, heat transfer comes to a halt. (22)
There are three types of heat transfer: conduction, convection, and radiation. All
three comply to the rule mentioned above, that there must be a temperature
difference between media, and that energy, in the form of heat, is being transferred
from higher to lower temperatures. (22)
In this chapter, a detailed introduction to heat transfer methods will be given,
emphasising the mechanisms for heat exchangers.

Figure 5: Types of heat transfer. (23)

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2.4.2 Conduction
During heat conduction, energy is transferred by the interaction between particles,
where more energetic particles gradually give more energy to the less energetic
particles. When particles absorb heat energy, they start to vibrate, and through that
vibration they transfer heat to nearby particles. It occurs in solids, liquids, and
gases too. While in solids, it happens through molecule vibration and energy
transport by free, delocalised electrons, in liquids and gases it is by molecule
collision and diffusion. (22)
The rate of heat conduction depends on several factors, such as the material of the
medium, its geometry, thickness, and the temperature difference. (22)

The rate of heat transfer (Q) through a wall is doubled when the temperature
difference (T) across the wall or the area (A) is doubled, and is halved when the
thickness of wall (L or x) is doubled. (22) This can be expressed by Correlation 1:

()( )

Correlation 1 proves, that the rate of heat conduction is proportional to the heat
transfer area and the difference in temperature, and is inversely proportional to the
thickness of the layer. (22) In Figure 6 a demonstration of these properties can be
viewed applied to a wall:

Figure 6: To showcase the correlation above, take a plane wall, through which steady heat conduction is
occurring. In the figure, A is the area, x (x = L) is the wall thickness, and the temperature difference across the
wall is T = T2 T1. The material of the wall has a thermal conductivity value of k. (22)

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From Correlation 1, Equation 1 can be derived:

1 2
[W] (1)

Equation 1: Rate of conduction heat transfer. Thermal conductivity is indicated with k. (22)

Thermal conductivity (k) is a measurement of a materials ability to conduct heat.

An explanation to how thermal conductivity affects heat transfer and conduction
will be given in later paragraphs. (22)
In the case, of x > 0, Equation 1 is reduced to differential form, representing
Fouriers law of heat conduction:

= [W] (2)

Equation 2: Fouriers law of heat conduction. The temperature gradient is expressed by dT/dx, which translates
to the slope of the temperature curve in a T, x diagram. A T, x diagram shows the rate of temperature change
with the change of layer thickness (x). (22)

Fouriers law of heat conduction, expresses that when a direction is taken, the rate
of heat conduction will be proportional to the temperature gradient in the given
direction. Heat conduction will occur in the direction of decreasing temperature.
When the wall thickness increases, temperature and thus the temperature gradient
decreases, resulting in a negative unit. To make sure that heat transfer in the
positive x direction stays a positive quantity, a negative sign is introduced to
Equation 2. (22) Specific heat

The specific heat is a property of different materials to store thermal energy. It is
defined as the thermal energy required to raise the temperature of a unit mass of a
substance by one degree. There are two types of specific heats that can be of
interest; specific heat at constant volume (Cv) and at constant pressure (Cp).
As an example, taking water and iron at room temperature shows that their specific
heats (Cp) are 4.18 kJ/kgC and 0.45 kJ/kgC respectively. This comparison
shows that water can store almost ten times as much energy as iron per unit mass.

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CBT5-2-E17 Thermal conductivity

A measure of a materials ability to conduct heat is called thermal conductivity (k),
and is defined as the rate of heat transfer through a unit thickness of the material
per unit area per unit temperature difference. (22)
The higher the value of thermal conductivity of a material is, the better heat
conductor it is. Furthermore, the lower the value is, the material has a weaker
ability to conduct heat; some of these materials are referred to as insulators.
To demonstrate thermal conductivity, take iron at room temperature, which has a k
value of 80.2 W/mC. This number indicates, that a 1-m-thick iron wall would
conduct heat at a rate of 80.2 W per a m2 area per one C temperature difference
across the wall. (22)
In Figure 7 the range of thermal conductivities of some common materials is

Figure 7: Range of thermal conductivity of some common materials and states of matter. Gases and so called
insulators tend to be the least conductive, while metals and their alloys with non-metallic crystals have the
highest thermal conductivities. (22)

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Thermal conductivity of gases

According to the kinetic theory of gases, their thermal conductivity is proportional
to the square root of the absolute temperature (T [C]), and inversely proportional
to the square root of individual molar masses. Thus, with increasing temperature
and decreasing molar mass, the thermal conductivity of a gas will increase. As
previously mentioned, heat transfer in gases happens by molecules colliding and
diffusing. These molecules are moving freely in space; therefore, they have kinetic
energies. By heating a gas, its molecules will have an increased temperature and
kinetic energy as well, thus movement will be quicker. When molecules in this
more energetic state collide with molecules that have a lower value of kinetic
energy, the energy from the higher temperature molecule will transfer to the
molecule with lower energy; this process effectivity depends on the number of
continuous collisions, which will go on until the heat balance is satisfied. Since
molecules in gases are not densely packed, molecules have less change of
meeting and colliding with other molecules, however ultimately it will happen.
For this reason, gases are not very good at conducting heat. (22)

Thermal conductivity of liquids

Compared to gases, molecules in liquids are more densely packed, therefore they
have a stronger intermolecular field. Since molecules in liquids are more frequent,
molecular energy exchange will happen more frequently. This makes them a
stronger thermal conductor than gases, but still weaker than solids. In contrast to
gases, when heating most liquids, their thermal conductivities decrease; water
being an exception. However, similarly to gases, with increasing molar mass,
conductivity will decrease. Although most liquids are mediocre heat conductors,
some metals in their liquid forms have high thermal conductivities, notably
mercury and sodium. (22)

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Thermal conductivity of solids

Unlike gases and liquids, solids conduct heat in a different manner. Since they have
a defined lattice structure, the molecules are positioned at fixed points. This makes
the molecules of a solid bound to the structure, therefore the molecules counter to
gases and liquids are not able to move freely in space, but they still collide with
other molecules to exchange energy. Collision is induced when molecules gain
heat, and start to vigorously vibrate; these vibrational motions are called lattice
vibrational waves. At this point energy is being passed on through the rapid
vibration and collision of molecules, as they are extremely close to one another.
Crystalline solids, such as diamond, usually have an extremely organised lattice
structure due to the arrangement of molecules, which helps them to conduct heat
exceptionally. (22)
Vibration aside, another effect generates heat conduction as well, namely energy
transport via free flow of electrons. This is an occurrence in only metallic solids.
These free delocalised electrons are whizzing around inside the solid and bump into
all the ions inside the metal, thus doing swift energy exchange. These free electrons
are the reason why metals are such good thermal conductors. (22) In Figure 8
different mechanism of thermal conductivity can be seen:

Figure 8: Different mechanisms of thermal conductivity attributed to various states of matter. Gases and liquids
share molecular collision and diffusion; however, solids conduct heat through lattice vibration. An extra
mechanism of metals and their alloys is the flow of free delocalised electrons, which plays a crucial role in them
being very good heat conductors. (22)

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Although pure metals are great at conducting heat, it is not the case with metal
alloys (see Figure 7). When two good conductors are made into an alloy, the alloys
thermal conductivity will not have a value between the individual heat conductivity
value of each material, but rather lower than both separate materials. The reason for
this occurrence is that even small amounts of dissimilar molecules in a pure metal
disrupt the flow of energy. (22)

In most calculations that evaluate thermal conductivity, it is a common routine to

use a k value of a material at average temperature to make calculations less
complex. Also, when analysing heat transfer, a material is assumed to have
uniformity in all directions, being isotropic. (22) Although for calculation it is
convenient to eliminate the variation of thermal conductivity by temperature
changes, in Figure 9 these changes for different materials can be observed:

Figure 9: Variation of thermal conductivities of some materials with temperature change. Most materials tend
to see an increase or decrease in conductivity when temperature increases. (22)

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CBT5-2-E17 Thermal diffusivity

A measure of a materials ability to diffuse heat throughout itself in a unit of time is
called thermal diffusivity (). It is a property that often appears in transient heat
analyses and is defined by Equation 3:

[2 /s] (3)

Equation 3: CP is the heat capacity of a material with the unit J/m3C. The difference between heat capacity
and specific heat (CP) is that heat capacity is expressed as heat storage capability per unit volume, while specific
heat is expressed as heat storage capability per unit mass (J/kgC). (22)

The generation of heat into a medium will be faster when thermal diffusivity is
high. The lower the value is, the slower the heat propagation will occur, since a
material with low thermal diffusivity absorbs heat but conducts small amounts
further. (22) Table 6 shows the thermal diffusivity values of some common
Table 6: Thermal diffusivity of some common materials at room temperature (20C). Note that thermal
diffusivity is basically the ratio of heat conducted through the chosen material to the heat it stores. (22)

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2.4.3 Convection
Essentially, convection is heat conduction in the presence of fluid motion. During
convection, energy is being transferred between a solid surface and a fluid (liquid
or gas) in motion, therefore conduction and fluid motion are involved. The quicker
the fluid motion is, the higher the convection heat transfer will be. Heat transfer is
improved when bulk fluid motion is present between the solid and fluid. When
there is no bulk motion, heat is transferred purely by conduction between the solid
surface and the fluid. (22)

In Figure 10, a hot block is cooled by the wind that flows over its surface. Firstly,
heat is transferred to the layer of air that is adjacent to the surface by conduction.
Afterwards, the energy that has been transferred to the air is taken away from the
surface by convection. This happens due to conduction within the air, where
molecules are moving randomly, and bulk motion of the air, which replaces hot air
molecules with cooler ones, thanks to a so-called convection current (see Figure
11). This current is based on the change of density going from a cold to hot
molecule. Hot molecules will become less dense, rise and be replaced by heavier,
yet cold molecules. (22)

Figure 10: Energy transfer due to convection, from a hot surface to cool air. (22)

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Figure 11: The mechanism of a convection current. (24)

Two types of convections can be differentiated: forced and natural (free)

convection. Convection is forced when there is an external factor a fan or pump
forcing the fluids to flow over a surface. Convection is natural when fluid motion is
evoked by temperature differences in the fluid. Temperature differences lead to
density differences; thus, buoyancy forces will be induced and result in fluid
motion. (22) A comparison of forced and natural convection can be observed in
Figure 12:

Figure 12: The medium used to cool a hot surface area is air in both situations, however during forced
convection, air is directed to the surface by an external source, a fan in this case. On the contrary, during
natural convection air is free to move around the surface of the object, creating a convection current. (22)

The rate of convection heat transfer can be expressed by Newtons law of cooling:

= ( ) [] (4)
Equation 4: The convection heat transfer rate is proportional to the temperature difference. The convection
heat transfer coefficient is indicated by h [W/m2C]. Through surface area As, convection heat transfer occurs.
Ts is the temperature of the surface and T is the temperature of the surroundings, which is the fluid in this case.
At the surface Ts = T. (22)

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The convection heat transfer coefficient (h) is not a property of the fluid but a
parameter whose value depends on the variables that also affect convection, such as
the surface geometry, fluid properties and motion and bulk fluid velocity. (22) In
Table 7 a comparison of h values can be found:
Table 7: Typical values of the convection heat transfer coefficient h. (22) The overall heat transfer coefficient

As mentioned before, most heat exchangers utilise two fluids that are separated by
a wall. Firstly, heat from the flowing hot fluid is transferred to the wall by
convection. Heat is then transferred through the wall by conduction, and finally,
heat from the wall is transferred to the cold fluid by convection once again. (22)
The thermal resistance network for this process can be seen in Figure 13:

Figure 13: Thermal resistance network for a typical double-pipe heat exchanger. Subscripts i and o indicate the
inner and outer parameters, respectively. Surface areas will be A i=DiL and Ao=DoL for the inner and outer
surface areas of the tube. (22)

- 25 -

The thermal resistance of the tube wall in a double-pipe heat exchanger will be:

ln( / )
= [/] (5)

Equation 5: Do and Di are the outer and inner diameters of the tube wall, while k accounts for the thermal
conductivity of the wall material and L is the tube length. (22)

Then the total thermal resistance is:

1 ln( / ) 1
= = + + = + 2
+ (6)

Figure 14: The inner and outer heat transfer surface areas. The inner surface area is wetted by the inner fluid
and the outer surface area by the outer fluid. (22)

When analysing heat exchangers, it is convenient to express the heat transfer rate
between two fluids by Equation 7:

= = = = (7)

Equation 7: A single resistance R is used to express all thermal resistances in the path of heat flow, from the hot
to cold fluid. (22)

- 26 -

In Equation 7, U represents the overall heat transfer coefficient. Its unit is the same
as for the ordinary convection coefficient h, W/m2C. By cancelling T, Equation
7 reduces to:

1 1 1 1 1
= = == + + (8)

Equation 8: Since every heat exchanger has two heat transfer surface areas (A i and Ao) that are usually not equal,
there will be two heat transfer coefficients as well (U i and Uo). (22)

2.4.4 Radiation
Although from the perspective of heat exchangers heat radiation is negligible and is
usually discarded, it can be beneficial to understand its mechanics, since it still has
a role in the overall heat transfer within a system.
Thermal radiation is a form of radiation during which a body emits radiation due to
its temperature. It differs from electromagnetic radiation because the latter is not
related to temperature. All masses emit thermal radiation above absolute zero
temperature (-273,15K), therefore all solids, liquids, and gases will emit, absorb,
and transmit radiation to some extent. (22)

- 27 -

2.5 Heat exchangers

2.5.1 Introduction
A heat exchanger (HX) is a unit operation that lets two fluids a liquid or a gas
to exchange heat, without them being mixed or directly contacting each other.
Therefore, a requirement to call a device a heat exchanger is that heat must be
transferred from one fluid to another without transferring the fluid itself. Heat
exchangers are used in great versatility and their function varies. For example,
refrigerators and air conditioners take heat away from a space, thus they work as a
direct opposite to heating systems; nonetheless they still exchange heat. (25)
Another application of heat exchangers can be found in engines, where the heat
from exhaust gases is reused beneficially instead of wasting it away. Essentially,
heat exchangers are placed near the exhausts, and when hot gas passes by, the
water flowing through copper fins gets heated up and heat is transferred back to the
plant for possible recycling or re-fuelling the engine or furnace in the form of hot
water. Furthermore, heat exchangers are also used in chemical processing and
power production in power plants. (22, 25)
In vehicle engines, cooling fluid is used to prevent the engine from overheating. In
some cases, heat exchangers are used to claim the heat from the coolant, which
then is introduced to the passengers inside the vehicle. This way, electric heaters
can be eliminated from the vehicle, due to it being heated by warm air coming from
the heat exchanger. Car radiators work in a similar fashion, except that the radiator
lets cold air to flow through, which then cools the engine and the coolant but heats
the air. This waste heat of the radiator is then used to warm up the passenger
compartment. (25)
These examples show that heat exchangers, as the name would suggest, are not
only used to heat buildings, spaces or instruments, but also to cool them. Often heat
exchange is not something that is desired or facilitated but is rather a by-product,
other times heat exchangers are purposely placed in areas where they can provide
beneficial properties.
When working with heat exchangers, heat transfer involves convection in each
fluid and conduction through the wall that separates the fluids. The contributions of
these effects on heat transfer is analysed by the overall heat transfer coefficient
(U). Since temperatures vary in a heat exchanger, the temperature difference at a
given location will show the rate of heat transfer at that location. (22)
A specific procedure is often used in the analysis of heat exchangers called the
logarithmic mean temperature difference (LMTD). It gives the temperature
difference between two fluids for the whole heat exchanger. (22)

- 28 -

Another procedure that is often used in the analysis of heat exchangers in the
number of transfer units (NTU) method, which is used when the outlet
temperatures of the fluids are unknown. (22)

2.5.2 Types of heat exchangers

The basic principle of heat exchangers has been explained, although it is important
to understand how they work based on their many different types that are
Double pipe
The simplest type of heat exchanger is called a double-pipe heat exchanger. This
configuration involves two pipes with different diameters. One of the fluids flows
through the smaller pipes while the other fluid flows through the tube-shaped space
between the smaller pipes. Based on the direction of flow in this heat exchanger,
two arrangements are available: parallel flow and counter flow. In parallel flow, the
hot and cold fluids enter the heat exchanger at the same end, and they will flow in
the same direction. On the contrary, in counter flow, both fluids enter at a different
end of the heat exchanger and will flow in opposite directions. (22)

Figure 15: Flow types and their corresponding temperature profiles in a double-pipe heat exchanger. It can be
seen, that in parallel flow, the end temperature of both fluids is more similar than in counter flow. (22)

Another commonly used type of heat exchangers is the compact heat exchanger. It
is designed to have a large heat transfer surface area per unit volume, thus a high

- 29 -

rate of heat transfer can be achieved between fluids in a small volume. The ratio of
these two is the area density (), and a compact heat exchanger has an area density
of over 700 m2/m3. Some compact heat exchangers are car radiators ( = 1000
m2/m3), glass ceramic gas turbine heat exchangers ( = 6000 m2/m3), the
regenerator of a Stirling engine ( = 15000 m2/m3), and the human lung ( = 20000
m2/m3), which is one of the most compact heat exchangers, due to the extremely
small diameter of tubes; blood vessels. A more familiar object that is also
considered a compact heat exchanger is a commercial radiator found in most
buildings. The radiators tubes are bent and packed densely, thus the area density
and rate of heat transfer consequently will be high. (22, 26)
Compact heat exchangers are used in cases, when there are weight and volume
limitations for the design. To reach a high surface area, closely spaced thin plates
or corrugated fins are attached to the wall that separates the fluids. (22)

Figure 16: Thin plates and corrugated fins (bent and folded) are added to heat exchangers to increase area
density. (27)

Another flow direction is introduced in compact heat exchangers called cross-flow.

In this case, the fluids flow perpendicular to each other and it can be further
categorised as unmixed flow and mixed flow. (22)

- 30 -

Figure 17: Part (a) is said to be an unmixed cross-flow, because plate fins block the fluid from mixing due to the
interfin spacing, which makes the fluid flow through that space without flowing in transverse direction; parallel
to the tubes. Part (b) is called a mixed cross-flow, because the fluid is allowed to flow in transverse direction
(parallel to the tubes). The heat transfer characteristics of a heat exchanger are heavily affected by mixing of a
fluid. (22)

One of the most commonly used heat exchangers in industrial applications is the
shell-and-tube heat exchanger. A shell-and-tube heat exchanger consists of many
tubes, often hundreds of them, which are placed inside a shell. The tubes axes are
parallel to the axes of the shell. One fluid flows in the closed shell that encapsulates
the tubes, and the other fluids flows through the tubes, thus heat transfer takes place
between the shell and the tubes. (22, 25)
An addition to the shell-and-tube heat exchanger are baffles. They are placed in the
shell and they help by directing the flow of the fluid in the shell, so that it flows
with a higher velocity (rising the heat transfer coefficient), resulting in a maximised
efficiency. Conclusively, baffles enhance heat transfer and they provide uniform
spacing between the tubes. (22)
Shell-and-tube heat exchangers also have a part called headers. These headers are
large flow areas located at the two ends of the shell, where they connect to the
tubes. Their purpose is to accumulate the fluid that will enter and leave the heat
exchanger. (22)

- 31 -

Figure 18: The design of a simple typical shell-and-tube heat exchanger. This one is a one-shell-pass and one-
tube-pass heat exchanger. (22)

Shell-and-tube heat exchangers are classified by their number of shell and tube
passes. For example, when all the tubes make one U-turn within the shell, it will be
called a one-shell-pass and two-tube-passes heat exchanger. Another example is a
two-shell-passes and four-tube-passes heat exchanger, which has two passes in the
shell and four passes in the tubes. (22)

Figure 19: A comparison of multipass flow arrangements between a one-shell-pass and two-tube-passes (a) and
a two-shell-passes and four-tube-passes (b) heat exchanger. For (a), it is visible that the tube passes through the
shell once while making one U-turn, while in (b) the tube makes two U-turns and passes the shell twice. (22)

- 32 -

A widely-used type of heat exchanger is the plate exchanger, sometimes called a
plate and frame heat exchanger. It consists of numerous thin, big-surfaced metal
plates. The metal plates also have a corrugated structure which enables them to
utilise the free space as tiny flow passages. Every cold fluid flow is surrounded by
two hot fluid flows, because they flow in alternate passages. This accounts for an
extremely good heat transfer rate. They are also easily upgradable just by placing
new plates inside the heat exchanger. This dynamic configuration and effective
heat transfer makes them a popular choice in many applications. (22, 25)

Figure 20: A dissected illustration of a plate heat exchanger. Hot and cold fluid streams are indicated with red
and blue arrows, respectively. (28)

Finally, in Appendix A another type of heat exchanger is presented, the

regenerative heat exchanger.

- 33 -

2.5.3 Heat exchangers in oil refineries

In the petrochemical industry, shell and tube type heat exchangers are the most
commonly used to transfer heat between two fluids. They take role in preheating
the fluids. The reason why they are so widely used lies in their construction, since
they can be easily upgraded and maintained. (29) Figure 21 shows the location of a
heat exchanger in the oil refining process.

Figure 21: Flow of crude through different instruments within a refinery system. Heat exchangers can be found
in the preliminary steps, having the task to preheat the crude before it enters the crude distillation unit. (29)

U-tube heat exchanger

A U-tube heat exchanger is used in the crude distillation unit, where it exchanges
heat between the crude and medium pressure steam. (29) It has many advantages:
The tube bundles are free to expand, and due to the temperature difference
between the tubes and the shell, they will not exert thermal pressure. This
leads to a decent thermal performance,
A simple structure makes its price lower,
Maintenance is easy, because tube bundles can be removed (they are not
fixed) and cleaned,
It is a good choice for a high-temperature and pressure environment, owing
it to the light structure. (30)

- 34 -

Figure 22: Depiction of a U-tube heat exchanger. It is named after the bent, U-shaped tubes within the shell.

Fixed tube sheet heat exchanger

The fixed tube sheet heat exchanger is a popular application, because its
construction is simple and economical; in fact, it is the cheapest out of all heat
exchanger types. (32) This is due to the structure of the heat exchanger, which only
requires the bundles of tubes to be placed inside and weld to the shell. While the
tube bores can be cleaned easily, the surface of the tubes is not accessible, therefore
the maintenance is more complicated. Another downside to this type is that often
expansion bellows must be added to the shell. Although their main function is
beneficial bellows eliminate stress caused by expansion, when the temperature
difference between the tubes and shell is high they are also a source of failure sue
to their weaker construction. (33)

Figure 23: Structure of a fixed tube sheet heat exchanger. (34)

- 35 -

Floating head heat exchanger

The floating head HX has an extra part attached to it, called a floating head, which
helps heat transfer between the fluids and allows the tubes too freely expand and
contract, because they are not welded to the shell. This type of heat exchanger is
the most efficient one used in the oil industry because in can be applied to high-
pressure and temperature environments, while maintenance is also simple due to
removable tube bundles. It is used to exchange heat between naphtha and crude and
serves as a preheater of the crude before it enters the crude distillation unit. (29, 33)

Figure 24: The structure of a floating head heat exchanger. (35)

Kettle type heat exchanger

A kettle type heat exchanger is basically a reboiler and is used when the fluids are
high pressure gases, thus the vaporisation rate of the environment is high (prone to
fouling). Since it must handle big load fluctuations due to the gases, it has special
shell which has enough space for the tubes to expand. It is used to reboil the
bottoms product (liquid residuals) by vaporising it, and send it back to the
distillation tower to aid the process with extra heat. It also provides the bottom part
of the distillation unit with heat. (29, 36)

Figure 25: A kettle type reboiler/heat exchanger showing the flow of fluids. (37)

- 36 -

2.6 Problem formulation

Concerns over the reduction of operating expenses of oil refineries and the
efficiency of heat exchangers applied there lead to deal with the case regarding
optimisation. The optimisation should start with analysing the given system,
however by designing it to be efficient from the start would be the most ideal case.
Since heat exchangers are used extensively at various points of the oil refining
process, it would be beneficial to evaluate how their input affects the entire
outcome. Heat exchangers are devices that are driven by heat transfer disciplines,
such as conduction and convection. Selecting an appropriate type of heat exchanger
is crucial for the oil refining process, just as much as the materials used for parts of
a heat exchanger. A combination of these heat transfer properties and the nature of
the heat exchanger will dictate how much heat will a fluid acquire by flowing
within a heat exchanger. Furthermore, hence a furnace is placed before the crude
distillation unit, whose duty is to vaporise crude oil before entering the distillation
tower, it is important to design a process which eases the burden of the furnace and
its energy input. A well-designed heat exchanger system should utilise heat coming
from some product streams and transfer it to the fluid that is desired to be heated
up, so when the crude enters the furnace, it would need less work to vaporise the
crude; leading to a cut in costs at one of the most wallet draining part of the oil
refining process. To evaluate the above-mentioned properties, finding a
mathematical method to analyse and calculate heat transfer focusing on
optimisation is of great importance. Therefore, the rest of the report will attempt to
answer the following question:

How to set up a mathematical model to analyse the properties of a heat

exchanger system?

- 37 -

3. Experimental part
3.1 Objective
The aim of this chapter is to make an initial design and size a heat exchanger
network to reduce the energy demand of pre-heating a crude by utilising the
product streams from the crude distillation unit. This requires selecting a
favourable type of heat exchanger, sizing each unit, evaluate physical and chemical
properties of different materials and using mathematical models, to approximate
and calculate various values that are effecting heat transfer rate. An attempt will be
made to reduce the burner load of the furnace by introducing a system of heat
exchangers that will heat up the crude before entering furnace. This is done in the
interest of lowering the energy input of the furnace; a costly process. Data can be
either computed in Microsoft Excel or Matlab, where changes in some values and
their effect on the outcome can be measured and compared.

3.2 Method
For this experiment a base case of a heat exchanger-distillation tower cooperation
will be presented. The procedure is the following:
Firstly, crude enters the system at room temperature. The fluid travels to the first
heat exchanger, where it is heated up by the hot kerosene fluid stream. After
reaching a higher temperature, it approaches the second heat exchanger and is
heated again to a higher temperature by the hot gas oil fluid outlet. After leaving
the second unit, the crude enters the third heat exchanger where it is further heated.
When the hot crude leaves the last heat exchanger, it enters the furnace where it is
vaporised. From the furnace the crude, now in vapour form, travels to the
distillation unit and finally enters it. The crude vapour, as described before, is
separated by fractions according to the various boiling temperatures of the
fractions. Three product outlets are defined kerosene, gas oil, and fuel oil that
are connected to the shell side of the heat exchangers. When they leave the
distillation unit individually, their heat can be utilised by the heat exchanger to heat
up the crude flowing in the tube at each heat exchanger unit. After recovering a
certain amount of heat, the products leave the system through the heat exchangers.
In Figure 26 an outline of the system which will be dealt with can be seen:

- 38 -


HX 1

HX 2
Gas oil
HX 3
Fuel oil

Furnace CDU

Figure 26: Scheme of the HX-CDU system and flow direction of fluids.

3.3 Reason
The importance of this study lies in the efficiency-oriented industrial approach to
petroleum distillation. Since most parts of the distillation unit are self-reliant and
units such as a reflux drum or reboiler can provide the system with different heat
temperatures, it makes the utilisation of heat rather efficient. However, the furnace
outputs a huge amount of work to maintain a constant heat that can vaporise the
crude. This is extremely energy consuming the least to say. The idea behind
applying heat exchangers to the system is, that by giving an initial heat boost to the
crude, the furnace need to apply less energy to vaporise the crude, thus saving
energy and lowering the costs of the overall refining procedure.

- 39 -

3.4 Heat exchanger type, material, and dimension selection

To present a base study case, certain properties and dimension must be defined
first. Since the focus is on heat exchangers in oil refineries, a shell-and-tube type
heat exchanger will be in the centre of attention throughout the analysis. More
precisely the defined heat exchanger is a single-phase (liquid-liquid), one tube-side
pass, one shell-side pass (ignoring baffles), counter current flow (higher Log Mean
Temperature Difference) unit.
To have decent heat transfer rates, a material with good thermal conductivity value
should be chosen. The material must withstand high temperature and pressure
fluctuations, be compatible with the fluids in question and resist corrosion, fouling
or any failures to a certain degree. This material is usually a metal, and throughout
the report, a low carbon steel will be used of type AISI 1025. This carbon steel is
commonly used for heat exchangers operating in oil refineries, both as the tube and
shell material, therefore this report will utilise the thermal conductivity value of
AISI 1025 carbon steel, which is 51,9 W/mK. (38)
As for the dimensions, typical data for heat exchangers is considered. The most
common outer tube diameter used is 1, which is about 2,54 cm. For that size, the
thickness is defined to be 0,165 (0,42 cm) and the inner diameter is 0,67 (1,7
cm). The tube diameter should have a size that allows the flow to be turbulent for
better heat exchange. Most tubes are between 6-9 m long, therefore an average
initial tube length of 7,5 m is specified, with one tube being present. (39)

Several assumptions have been made to simplify this numerical experiment. These
assumptions include:

Counter current flow through the heat exchanger,

The outer tube or shell is perfectly insulated,
No phase change occurs in this model (liquid-liquid),
The fluid is a liquid in both the shell and tube,
The fluid has a constant density throughout the system,
The overall heat transfer coefficient U is constant throughout the system,
Baffles and fouling factor are disregarded. (40)

- 40 -

3.5 Fluid properties

It is a critical part of any heat exchanger design to analyse the properties of the
fluids involved, as different fluids will yield various results. In Table 8, several key
properties of the chosen fluids are shown:
Table 8: Properties of crude, kerosene, gas oil and fuel oil. (11, 41-46)

Mass flow Specific Density, Viscosity Inlet T, Outlet T,

rate, kg/s heat, kJ/kgK kg/m (dynamic), Pa/s K K
Crude 0,278 1,8 850 0,001 288 873
Kerosene 0,139 2,16 820 0,002 523 340
Gas oil 0,0972 2,05 890 0,009 573 372
Fuel oil 0,04167 1,88 960 0,016 773 502

Mass flow is originally specified to be 1000 kg/h for the crude. To have a balance
in units, this is converted to kg/s. Also, this applies to the product streams, which
are originally 500 kg/h for kerosene, 250 kg/h for gas oil, and 150 kg/h for fuel oil.
Note that the original density of the crude is of an average value taken from light
crudes. Also note that the density and viscosity values were calculated for room
temperature for simplicitys sake, however a correction factor can be applied later
to get more precise values. Dynamic viscosity values were obtained from kinematic
viscosity and density calculations. Heat recovery from the product stream is
generally between 50-75%, therefore in this case a percentage between this interval
will be taken, 65%. This mean that the outlet temperature of the product streams
should be 65% of the inlet temperature (at which they enter a heat exchanger).

- 41 -

3.6 Mathematical model (47)

The heat transfer rate across a heat exchanger can be expressed in the form

= (9)

where: Q = heat transfer rate

U = overall heat transfer coefficient
A = heat exchanger area
Tm = average temperature difference between the fluids

Overall heat transfer coefficient:

The total resistance to heat transfer from one fluid to another is represented by the
overall heat transfer coefficient. By performing a standard conduction analysis on a
system, U or the product UA can be derived for a chosen geometry. To express it,
first take heat transfer across a tube wall as shown in Figure 27:

Figure 27: A circular tube heat exchanger. (47)

The heat transfer rate from the fluid to the wall through a length segment z is

= 1 2 ( 1 ) (10)


1 = (11)
1 2

- 42 -

The temperature drop across the wall is

1 2 = ln ( ) (12)

The temperature drop from the wall to the cold fluid is

2 = (13)
2 2

Adding Equations 11, 12, and 13 gives the temperature drop from the hot fluid to
the cold fluid:

1 1 1
= [2 + 2 ln ( ) + 2 ] (14)
1 2

= ( ) (15)

1 1 1 1
[2 + 2 ln ( ) + 2 ] (16)
1 2

UA is usually used to describe heat exchanger performance, because the heat

transfer area of the tube interior and exterior are different. Equation 7 represents
heat transfer across a small length of z, where the temperatures of the hot and cold
fluids are considered constant. However, in a real heat exchanger design case, hot
and cold fluid temperatures vary across the length of the heat exchanger. This
phenomenon is illustrated by a double-pipe heat exchanger of counter flow in
Figure 28:

Figure 28: Fluid temperature profile in a double-pipe heat exchanger. (47)

- 43 -

To calculate the temperature variation across the heat exchanger, z must be

assigned to be a differential length. This way, the heat transfer across the
differential length segment z is

= = ( ) (17)

where dA is the area associated with length dz. By integrating Equation 17 over the
length of the heat exchanger, the total heat transferred across the heat exchanger is

2 2
1 = 1 ( ) (18)

= (19)

1 2
1 ( ) (20)

is the average temperature difference between the hot and cold fluids over the
length of the heat exchanger. Equation 16 now shows the total area of the heat
exchanger (instead of a small length segment), therefore the expression for UA in
Equation 8 must be modified to express the actual area of the heat exchanger

= 1 1 1 (21)
+ ln( )+

where: n = number of tubes

hi = convective heat transfer coefficient on the tube interior
Ai = interior surface area of one tube
ho = convective heat transfer coefficient on the tube exterior
Ao = exterior surface area of one tube
ri = inner radius of tube
ro = outer radius of tube
k = thermal conductivity of tube
L = length of tube

- 44 -

Log mean temperature difference (LMTD):

The total heat transfer a double-pipe heat exchanger should be calculated through
the expression

where Tm is the average temperature difference between the hot a cold fluid.
Assuming counter current flow, the steady state heat transferred through a
differential area dA is

= ( ) = ( ) (22)

This heat across a differential area can be written in terms of the Overall Heat
Transfer Coefficient as
= ( ) (23)

From Equation 22, dTh and dTc can be expressed as

= ( (24)


= (25)
( )

1 1
= ( ) = [( + ( ] (26)
) )

Substitute dQ from Equation 23 into Equation 26 to get

( ) 1 1
( )
= [( + ( ] (27)
) )

If the terms on the left side of Equation 18 are constant, integrating from point 1 to
point 2 along the length of the heat exchanger is possible

2 ( ) 2 1 1
1 ( )
= 1 [( + ( ] (28)
) )

1 1
( )|12 = [ + ] (29)
( ) ( )

- 45 -

and results in

( ) 1 1
[( )2 ] = [( + ( ] (30)
1 ) )

Taking advantage of the expression

= ( ) (1 2 ) = ( ) (2 1 ) (31)

1 1 2
= (32)
( )

1 2 1
= (33)
( )

Substitute Equations 32 and 33 into Equation 30 to get

( )
[( )2 ] = [(1 2 ) + (2 1 )] (34)

Rearranging Equation 34 gives

( )( 1)
= [(2 2 ) / (1 = (35)
2 2 )] 1 1


( 2 )(1 1 )
[(2 (36)
2 2 ) / (1 1 )]

Equation 27 is called the Log Mean Temperature Difference (LMTD). It represents

the effective, average temperature difference between the two fluids over the heat
exchangers length. Although this applies to only double-pipe type heat exchangers
with single-phase fluids, extending Equation 9 with correction factor F gives the
heat transfer of other than double-pipe heat exchangers:

= (37)

- 46 -

4. Conclusion
The goal of this project was to analyse a heat exchanger system and come up with
numerical methods to solve equations regarding properties within this system. The
shell-and-tube heat exchanger is a good choice when working with oil refineries,
because they are versatile in their functionality and can provide several benefits for
the heat transfer processes. Comparing some plausible materials, light crude was
selected to be the most convenient fluid to run through the tube-side of the heat
exchanger, while three product outlets were appointed the role of the shell-side
fluid. This way kerosene, gas oil, and fuel oil heat up the crude within the tube,
which in return demands less energy from the furnace to get vaporised before
entering the crude distillation unit. Potentially, costs can be cut by putting less
strain on the furnace.
As a matter of providing guidelines for future investigation, it is quite essential to
introduce perspectives for the project that could be dealt with in another
experiment. There are certain aspects of the topic that could be carried over and
being analysed more deeply to achieve even more regarding the area of field.
Firstly, implementing the mathematical models discussed above would be an
important step, as to uncover the numerous property values, and to find out whether
using additional heat from certain petroleum products would how much affect the
work of the furnace. Certain values could be changed and experimented with, such
as changing the dimensions of the tube, heat transfer area, possibly using less or
more heat exchangers to reach the same benefits; and implement all of this to
Microsoft Excel or Matlab.

- 47 -

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Appendix A

A regenerative heat exchanger, also called a regenerator, has a mechanism where
heat from a hot fluid is stored in a thermal storage before interacting with the cold
In a static-type regenerator, a porous mass serves as the matrix of the heat
exchanger. It has a high heat storage capacity, and it transfers heat from the hot
flowing fluid to the cool one, therefore in this case, the porous matrix works as a
temporary thermal storage medium. (22)

Figure 29: Sketch of a static-type regenerative heat exchanger. The matrix, a porous material, picks up heat
from the hot fluid flowing on one side and transfers it to the cold fluid. (48)

In a dynamic-type regenerator, a rotating drum acts as a medium to transport heat

from the hot fluid to the cold fluid. This happens by the periodic flow of the fluids
in different sections of the drum while it stores the heat and gives it away. (22)

Some heat exchangers with a specific field of application receive extra names, such
as condenser, boiler and space radiator. In a condenser, one fluid is cooled and it
condenses while flowing through the heat exchanger. In a boiler, one fluid
vaporises due to absorbing heat. In a space radiator, heat is transferred by radiation
from the hot fluid to the surrounding space. (22)

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Figure 30: Depiction of a condenser heat exchanger. The condensing fluid is captured in the bottom of the heat
exchanger, in the hot well, and is released from the system. (49)

Figure 31: In a boiler, a fluid is vaporised and the vapour product, steam, is released from the heat exchanger.

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