Both heat exchangers work similarly by trading heat between two fluids via thermal conduction. But they are different in their construction method. Due to the similarity, it’s challenging to decide which will suit you. Therefore, you need to understand the benefits of each.
Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers:
These heat exchangers contain small tubes in a shell or a large cylinder. They are simple and are built of metals that allow heat transfer, such as aluminium alloys and steel. Their production cost can be low due to their simplicity and flexibility. These exchangers are suitable for applications where regular maintenance and servicing are required. For example, most designs are easy to disassemble in marine environments. They are among the best and most effective heat exchangers because they are compact and provide excellent heat transfer. They are useful for turbine coolers, evaporators, condensers, feed water preheating, etc.
How do shell-and-tube heat exchangers operate?
How they work is simple and is based on thermal contact and flow of two liquids. In these exchangers, a hot fluid flows around a cold fluid, transferring heat toward the cold fluid direction. When two pieces of material make contact, there’s an exchange or transfer of heat through a conductive surface. In this case, these exchangers provide a medium for two fluids to exchange heat through conductive metals.
During the process, one fluid flows through the shell and the tube. The shell fluid goes through the shell inlet at the top and the tube inlet at the bottom right. Therefore, these heat exchangers come with two compartments: the tube and shell side. Before using the exchangers, you need to allocate the inlet of the hot and cold fluid. https://dreamtechnews.com/write-for-us/
What are the advantages of using shell-and-tube heat exchangers?
These devices are common because of their simplicity. In addition, heavy equipment manufacturers use them because they are easy to dismantle. Here are some of the advantages:
- Easy to dismantle and service
- A great solution for seawater coolant or fluids susceptible to clogging in narrow spaces.
- Small designs, which makes them low cost.
- Provides better insulation options. It can be a three or two-pass header configuration.
- Suitable for hydraulic power packs, sea water-cooled vessels, swimming pool heating, and mining machinery.
- Cheaper than plate-type exchangers
- Their heat effectiveness is less than the plate-type cooler
- The expansion of the tube cooler is impossible.
- Requires more space compared to their counterparts
- Cleaning can be challenging
Plate Heat Exchangers
The principles of plate heat exchangers are similar to shell and tube. However, their construction is very different. Plate heat exchangers use several layers of flat plates stacked to make a series of channels for the liquids to flow through. Sometimes they can be compact at a low cost, but they don’t have design flexibility like shell and tube. They are made of stainless steel, which makes them suitable for applications like pharmaceutical production and food processing.
How do They work?
Multiple plates are stacked, and the gasket inside helps prevent the fluid from entering alternating plates. You can rotate the gasket to close the right or left holes. So, the two fluids flow in every other channel between the plates. The holes align to form a pipe-like channel which the fluids flow through.
The channels between the plates have varying temperatures, and hot flows to the cold. It means the hot fluid transfers some of its thermal energy to the cooler fluid. The fluids never mix, and the heat is transferred through the metal plates. So, the hot fluid cools down, and the cold fluid heats up.
- Has high-temperature capabilities
- High operating pressure capabilities
- Suitable for beverage cooling, low-duty oil cooling, and small district heating.
- It’s easy to expand capacity by introducing plates in pairs
- It’s easy to clean and effortless.
- Maintenance is easy
- The primary cost is high because titanium plates are costly.
- There’s a limitation of working temperature due to bonding material between plates.
- Finding leakages is challenging
- Joints can run down due to the working conditions
- Disassembling and assembling is time-consuming
- Different parts are exposed to erosion because titanium is a pure metal
- The pressure drop by the plate cooler is higher than the tube cooler.
You have everything you need to know about these two types of heat exchangers. But the most preferred heat exchanger is the shell and tube because it’s easy to service and compatible with seawater. On the other hand, the plate type can be hard to use in such an application unless you gasket it with titanium plates. Also, the price will go up compared to if you used the shell and tube.