Heat exchangers are used In various industrial projects and applications to effectively transfer heat between two or more fluids(gases, liquids, or vapors) at varying temperatures. The heat transferring process, be it cooling or heating, could be between liquid-to-liquid, liquid-to-gas, or gas-gas, depending on the heat exchanger used for the operation. Likewise, the heat exchanger utilized for an operation can depend on certain factors, including heat transfer mechanisms, construction components and materials, and flow configurations.
Common variants of heat exchangers include the Plate-Frame and shell-and-tube heat exchangers. In this article, you will learn about plate and frame vs. shell and tube, their design characteristics, and their differences.
Plate and Frame Heat Exchanger
Every variant of heat exchanger has its peculiar design characteristics. Likewise, the plate and frame heat exchanger, or the plate type heat exchanger, is constructed from several layers of thin corrugated plates stacked together to generate a channel through which fluids can flow. The plates can be stacked through welding, brazing, or bolting. Each pair of plates is stacked in such a way that a second passage is created between pairs for other forms of fluids to flow through.
Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger
The shell and tube heat exchangers are used in several industrial processes, including Hydraulic and lube oil cooling, cooling of engines, compressor and turbine, and heat removal. It has a wide range of temperature and pressure capability, making it flexible for varying work operations.
A shell and tube exchanger is designed by mounting several tubes inside a cylindrical shell. This type of heat exchanger only allows two liquids to exchange heat, one flowing outside the tubes while the other flowing through the tubes.
Differences between the Plate and frame vs. the Shell and Tube exchangers
While the shell-and-tube and the plate-frame are both useful in various industries, they have peculiar design characteristics that make them preferable for specific projects:
- Capacity: The plate and frame exchanger perform multiple duties and can easily adjust to meet changing needs. When built into sections, you can get more straightforward divider outlines or convoluted divider plates with different associations. This makes it efficient to recover, cool, and warm fluid in a singular warmth exchanger or various fluids with the same source. On the other hand, the shell and tube exchanger has a steady design from installation and can be complex to disassemble.
- Cleaning and Maintenance: The plate-and-frame exchanger is designed to operate efficiently for a long duration without maintenance. Likewise, due to its design, it can be quickly taken apart for mechanical cleaning or inspection. However, the shell and tube exchanger can be difficult to disassemble for proper cleaning.
- Low Cost: The plate and frame exchanger is a lower-cost option than the shell and tube exchangers. It uses a significantly smaller floor space and weighs less, which means more savings on transportation, handling, shipping, and installation costs. However, the shell-and-tube exchanger has smaller designs with lower costs.
- Energy loss: the plate heat transfer does not require insulation and is very efficient in saving energy. The shell, however, requires insulation because of the high heat loss in the system.
- Function: The plate heat exchanger is ideal for low-duty oil cooking, barrage cooling, small district heating, etc. On the other hand, the shell and tube exchanger is suitable for mining machinery, swimming pool heating, hydraulic power packs, and the like.
- Heat Transfer Coefficient. The plate-and-frame heat exchanger has higher heat recovery and transfers heat five times more efficiently than the shell-and-tube design, which has a low yield output.
- Fouling/Scaling: The plate-and-frame has corrugations and inherent turbulence that makes it less susceptible to fouling. However, the shell-and-tube heat exchanger has a circular cross-section and laminar flow, which makes it about five times more susceptible to scaling.
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