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Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, VoL 33, No.

4, 1997


O. K. Krasnikova, L. P. Komarova, and T. S. Mishchenko


Coiled tubular heat exchangers are widely used in power generation, cryogenics, and in the gas, petroleum, and chemical industries and other areas of industry. Among the large number of designs for equipment of this type, a coiled smooth-tubular heat exchanger [1-3], which consists of a bundle of smooth tubes wound as coaxial layers onto a cylindrical core, is the most commonly used. Spacers are arranged as straight strips between the layers of tubes to form circular channels for passage of gas in the intertubular space. The tubes are in an unstaggered arrangement. The heat exchanger has high reliability and adaptability and is fairly compact. However, it has a number of design shortcomings. With layer winding of the tubes it is virtually impossible to achieve a fixed width for the circular channels in all the tubular layers. It only occurs discretely in different positions of the spacers. The varying width of the circular channels results in a nonuniform flow of gas in the intermbular space and consequently to a deviation of the aqueous equivalents of the heatexchanging flows from the calculated ratios. As a result of this, it is not possible to achieve high efficiency values in the traditional designs of coiled smooth-tubular heat exchangers [4, 5]. Moreover, heat transfer is insufficient in the unstaggered bundle because of the incomplete flow around the whole perimeter of the tubes. These shortcomings can be eliminated if the umtaggered arrangement of the tubes is changed to a staggered one (Fig. 1). A staggered arrangement of the tubes produced with specially profiled spacers achieves a more complete and uniform flowround, so that quite high heat efficiency values can be obtained and the degree of heat exchange increased. The profiled spacers can generally be made with any ratio of longitudin~i (t2) to transverse (q) pitch, but the optimum ratios [6, 7] are:

I d~5<'tl <d ;
[ (d+ 8) _<t2 -<3,75 d,


where 8 is the thickness of the spacer, d is the external diameter of the tubes. Lower values of pitches t 1 and t2 cannot be assigned became of design constraints; higher pitch values are not suitable because of the occurrence of through-flows that do not undergo turbulization. A uniform distribution of gas flow around the tubes is also necessary for an increase in thermal efficiency. It is well established that in all types of coiled heat exchanger this is achieved by adjusting the length of the tubes on changing the number of tubes per layer. The number of tubes per layer can be determined from the permissible flow distribution inequality for a given thermal efficiency. All the layers of the bundle are divided into groups. The number of layers of tubes in each group is determined from the corresponding equations. The number of layers of tubes in the first group is given by
Mz s ~

_ e(D+d)

+ 1,


where D is the diameter of the core; e is the coefficient of permissible relative inequality of flow along the length of the tube:


z..- Lm
L,.~ '


Translated from Khimicheskoe i Neftegazovoe Mashinostroenie, No. 4, pp. 25-26, July-August, 1997. 0009-2355/97/3304-0377518.00 9 Plenum Publishing Corporation 377


Fig. 1. Design of coiled heat exchanger with staggered tube arrangement: 1) core; 2) tube; 3) spacers; 4) shell; 5) packing component.

Fig. 2. External view of one of the experimental heat exchangers.

where Lrnax and Lmin are the maximum and minimum length of a tube respectively. The ratio of the number of layer of tubes in different groups is:
Mi < z l - Zs-i


z j - zj-,'

where zi and zj are the numbers of tubes per layer in the i-th and j-th ~oups. In a specific case with the same change from group to group the number of layers of tube in all the groups should be the same. The heat and hydraulic properties of the heat-exchange surface in the intertubular space of a coiled heat exchanger with staggered arrangement of tubes have been determined on an experimental test bed, which is described in detail in [8]. The thermal properties were studied by the method of steady-state heat flow. The heat exchange coefficient in the intertubular space was calculated using a known equation relating the required coefficient to the heat exchange coefficient inside the tube and the heat transfer coefficient. The pressure loss coefficient, which takes into account the total pressure losses due to form and friction resistance and the many constrictions and enlargements of the channels, was determined in hydraulic tests. The geometric properties of the heat-exchange surface of model heat exchangers that were studied (Fig. 2) were as follows: external diameter of tube 4 ram; lateral pitch 2.8 ram; longitudinal pitch 7.8 ram; equivalent diameter 3 ram; ratio of free volume of coil to total volume 0.414


m3/m3; ratio of surface areas of tubes to total volume of coil 560 m2/m3; ratio of surface area of tubes to free volume of coil 1380 m2/m3. The results of the heat experiments on the model heat exchangers take the form of an equation relating the heat exchange factorj to the Reynolds' number Re: j = 0,36 Re -~ wherej = (~/wcp pr2/3; Re = wde/~; o~ is the heat-transfer coefficient; w is the mass flow rate in the mean cross-section of free volume; Pr is the Prandfl criterion; cp is the specific heat of the gas; d e is the equivalent diameter of the channels in the intertubular space of the heat exchanger. The results of the hydraulic experiments take the form of an equation relating the pressure loss coefficient f and Reynolds' number Re:
f - - 3 Re -~

wheref 2p(Ap/w2)/(Sme/F); p is the density of gas; Ap is the pressure loss in the intertubular space; Sine is the'mean crosssection of the free volume of intertubular space; F is the area of the heat-transfer surface. The Reynolds' number range studied was 100 _< Re < 1000. Arithmetic mean values of temperature and pressure were used to determine the physical properties of the gas. The maximum error in determining the heat exchange factor and coefficient of pressure loss did not exceed +_.15%. The design developed for the coiled smooth-robe heat exchanger was used in the production of industrial equipment - - a heat exchanger used for a mini-power plant and a heat exchanger forming part of a gas pumping plant installed on a natural gas main. The heat exchanger in the mini-power plant is used for the utilization of heat from hot off-gases of a gas-turbine engine. The tube material is corrosion-resistant steel, with tube diameter 8 x I ram, external diameter of heat exchanger 750 mm and length 1200 ram, area of heat-transfer surface 22 m2, weight 290 kg. The rated thermal efficiency of the heat exchanger is 96 %. During operation the efficiency is slightly higher. The area of the heat-transfer surface, weight, and overall dimensions of a traditional coiled heat exchanger with unstaggered arrangement of tubes and circular channels between the layers of tubes are 1.6 times greater for the same conditions. The heat exchanger of the gas-pumping station functions under the following conditions. Natural gas at a pressure of 6 MPa is heated in the robes from the temperature of the surroundings to 750 K. The natural gas is heated by hot air being conveyed into the intertubular space. The equipment has the following characteristics: diameter of tubes 6 x 1 ram; corrosionresistant steel as the tube material; external diameter of body 300 mm, length 1000 ram; area of heat-transfer surface 5.54 m2; weight 108 kg. The weight and overall dimensions of a traditional coiled heat exchanger operating under the same conditions are 1.3 times greater. Thus, the design developed for the coiled heat exchanger with staggered arrangement of tubes has demonstrated properties that are an improvement over those of the traditional design under laboratory and industrial conditions. It can be recommended for use in cooling and thermal energy plants.


2. 3. 4.

V. A. Grigor'ev and Yu. I. Krokhin, Heat- and Mass-Exchange Equipment in Cryogenic Engineering [in Russian], Energoizdat, Moscow (1982), p. 311. G. N. Danilova, Heat-Exchange Equipment in Cooling Plants [in Russian], Mashinostroenie, Leningrad (1973), p. 238. V. I. Epifanovaya and L. S. Aksel'rod (eds.), Air Separation by a Deep Cooling Method [in Russian], Vol. 2, Mashinostroenie, Moscow (1973), p. 567. Yu. B. Svetlov, V. Ya. Krasnosel'skii, and E. M. Sarmatova, "Calculation of a multicbannel heat exchanger with unequal flow distribution," Khim. Neft. Mashinostr., No. 6, 21-23 (1987). 379

7. 8.

O. K. Krasnikova, "Stochastic model for calculation of heat exchange equipment in a cryogenic plant," K'him. Neff. Mashinostr., No. 5, 8-11 (1988). USSR Patent No. 1,746,185, MKI F 28 D/702. "A heat exchanger." Russian Patent No. 2,050,525 MKI 6 F 28 D 7/02. "A heat exchanger." O. K. Krasnikova, V. V. Usanov, T. S. Mishchenko, et al., "Tubular heat exchangers of helium refrigeration plants," KhJm. Neft. Mashinostr., No. 5, 17-20 (1975).