A heat exchanger is a device used to transfer heat between one or more fluids.
A heat exchanger is a device used to transfer heat between one or more fluids. The fluids may be separated by a solid wall to prevent mixing or they may be in direct contact. What are heat exchangers used for? They are widely used in space heating, refrigeration, natural-gas processing, air conditioning, power stations, petrochemical plants, chemical plants, petroleum refineries, and sewage treatment.
A heat exchanger allows heat from a fluid (a gas or a liquid) to pass to a second fluid (another liquid or gas) without the two fluids having to mix together or come into direct contact. If that's not completely clear, consider this. In theory, we could get the heat from the gas jets just by throwing cold water onto them, but then the flames would go out! The essential principle of a heat exchanger is that it transfers the heat without transferring the fluid that carries the heat.
A shell and tube heat exchanger is a class of heat exchanger designs. It is the most common type of heat exchanger in oil refineries and other large chemical processes, and is suited for higher-pressure applications. As its name implies, this type of heat exchanger consists of a shell (a large pressure vessel) with a bundle of tubes inside it. One fluid runs through the tubes, and another fluid flows over the tubes (through the shell) to transfer heat between the two fluids. The set of tubes is called a tube bundle, and may be composed of several types of tubes: plain, longitudinally finned, etc.
The plate heat exchanger (PHE) is a specialized design well suited to transferring heat between medium- and low-pressure fluids. Welded, semi-welded and brazed heat exchangers are used for heat exchange between high-pressure fluids or where a more compact product is required. In place of a pipe passing through a chamber, there are instead two alternating chambers, usually thin in depth, separated at their largest surface by a corrugated metal plate. The plates used in a plate and frame heat exchanger are obtained by one piece pressing of metal plates. Stainless steel is a commonly used metal for the plates because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, its strength, and its corrosion resistance.
The Number of Transfer Units (NTU) Method is used to calculate the rate of heat transfer in heat exchangers (especially counter current exchangers) when there is insufficient information to calculate the Log-Mean Temperature Difference (LMTD). In heat exchanger analysis, if the fluid inlet and outlet temperatures are specified or can be determined by simple energy balance, the LMTD method can be used; but when these temperatures are not available The NTU or The Effectiveness method is used.
A regenerative heat exchanger, or more commonly a regenerator, is a type of heat exchanger where heat from the hot fluid is intermittently stored in a thermal storage medium before it is transferred to the cold fluid. To accomplish this the hot fluid is brought into contact with the heat storage medium, then the fluid is displaced with the cold fluid, which absorbs the heat.
These exchangers are composed of many thin, slightly separated plates that have very large surface areas and small fluid flow passages for heat transfer. Advances in gasket and brazing technology have made the plate-type heat exchanger increasingly practical. Plate heat exchanger exchanges more heat more quickly because it has lots of thin metal plates or fins with a large surface area.
When compared to shell and tube exchangers, the stacked-plate arrangement typically has lower volume and cost. Another difference between the two is that plate exchangers typically serve low to medium pressure fluids, compared to medium and high pressures of shell and tube. A third and important difference is that plate exchangers employ more countercurrent flow rather than cross current flow, which allows lower approach temperature differences, high temperature changes, and increased efficiencies.