The Uses Of Heat Exchangers In The Chemical Industry

Heat exchangers are some of the most frequently used tools in the chemical industry. They have played an important role in the chemical processes of many sectors for decades, helping to cool hot liquids and heat cold liquids. Temperature control of corrosive liquids or condensation of corrosive gases requires heat exchangers, which effectively transfer energy between streams of fluids. Heat exchangers in the chemical industry come with various applications.

Here are different types of heat exchangers suitable for various chemical processes:

Air-cooled Heat Exchanger

Air-cooled heat exchangers (ACHE) are often used for heat recovery and exhausting hot gases. They are used for processes such as steam or petrochemical cooling. It operates by allowing a liquid – usually water or a thermal oil – to flow through tubings while air is pumped around these tubes, hence cooling the liquid. Because the heat exchanger is specially designed with finned tubes, it allows for greater efficiency in heat transfer.

Heat Exchanger with Gasket Plate

A gasket plate heat exchanger is suitable for facilitating fluid-to-fluid heat exchange or transferring heat from fluids to vapor. This is done by passing a fluid through a set of plates that are lined together. Gasket plate heat exchangers are optimal for when the fluids cannot come into contact with each other, such as in the case of extremely acidic chemicals.

Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger

The shell and tube heat exchanger is usually selected for high-pressure applications or applications whose heat transfer needs to happen in a vacuum. It works by allowing fluid or gas to flow through a set of tubes enclosed in a metal shell. The fluid or gas is chosen based on the corrosiveness of the substance and the state of the finished product – either fluid or gaseous. The great containment abilities of the shell and tube heat exchanger make it a preferred choice for handling toxic gasses and chemicals.

Heat Exchangers Suited for Corrosive Media

Corrosive chemicals such as hot hydrochloric, hydrofluoric, and sulfuric acids require careful selection of material and design of heat exchanger to ensure utmost safety. Being heated, these chemicals pose a corrosion threat to most metals. To combat this, specialized alloy metals used to create the tubes of heat exchangers have been developed, making them more resistant to corrosion.

The type of heat exchangers you require would depend on their types of functions. Many setups can be adapted to fit the desired application or various processes. In addition, one should take into account the types of by-products that your heat exchanger produces. For example, a heat exchanger that cools down a chemical solution with water would cause water vapor to form, which can be used to generate thermal energy.


Sometimes, custom solutions are required to design a heat exchanger fit for your chemical process. Regardless, when it comes time to plug your heat exchanger’s leaking tubes, you can count on Torq N’ Seal Plug’s expertise and wide equipment catalog to help you find the perfect solution.

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