(C) 2006
Harry R Cripps

Selecting a suitable type of heat exchanger

There are numerous different heat exchanger designs on the market with a wide range of materials of construction.

The majority of exchangers separate the fluids either by tubes (eg shell and tube exchangers) or plates eg (plate and frame exchangers).

Many specialised forms of exchanger have been developed for specific applications.

The most appropriate exchanger design depends on a number of factors, principally:

  • Temperature and pressure of operation
  • Nature of fluids to be handled
  • Site engineering and safety standards
  • Approach temperature required
  • Space available
  • Budget available/payback required
Correct choice of exchanger type is therefore an important decision. If in doubt, specialist advice should be sought before selecting an exchanger type or materials of construction.

Note: Many exchanger manufacturers specialise in only a few types. Therefore they cannot always advise objectively. A reputable supplier should not recommend a unit unsuitable for the duty specified but it may not be the most cost effective solution if they don’t happen to supply the design most suitable for a particular application.

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