The tubular heat exchanger is a type of heat exchanger consisting of a bundle of tubes arranged inside an envelope called the “shell”.
In the industrial sector, it represents more than 60% of installations dedicated to heat exchange.
How does a tubular heat exchanger work?
Similarly to other types of heat exchangers, the operation of a tubular heat exchanger is based on the exchange between two fluids, one “primary” whose role is to provide heat, the other “secondary” soaking up this calorific energy.
One of the working fluids circulates inside the tubes, while the other flows through the shell, above the tubes. Baffles are installed inside the shell to improve heat transfer outside the tubes while distribution boxes, which are located on both sides of the bundle of tubes, ensure the circulation of the fluid within the tubes.
Thanks to its specific technology, the shell and tube heat exchanger offers the advantage of being able to work with many fluids.
This type of heat exchanger can for example operate with the following exchanges:
- Water/high pressure steam
- Water/thermal fluid
- Boiler or Condenser
- Heating or cooling
As these fluids can flow in different ways, there are three basic flow configurations within the tubular heat exchanger:
– Co-current: both fluids enter the heat exchanger at one end and leave at the opposite end.
– Counter-current: the two fluids flow across the heat exchange surface in opposite directions, resulting in a significant temperature difference.
– Cross-current: the two fluids flow perpendicular to one another.
Advantages of the tubular heat exchanger
Although the tubular heat exchanger is based on an older technology than the plate heat exchanger, it is suitable for a wider range of applications (air-to-water, gas-to-gas, liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger…) and remains essential for high pressure or very dirty fluids.
In addition, the shell and tube heat exchanger is more robust and thus more resistant to significant temperature variations and high pressures.
This type of heat exchanger is therefore particularly suitable when several service and operating constraints exist, such as a pressure/temperature pair imposing significant wall thicknesses or environmentally hazardous fluids.
More about Quiri, experts in the design and manufacture of tubular heat exchangers
Quiri Thermal Exchanges is an expert company in the design and manufacture of tubular heat exchangers and pressure vessels. Our experts are able to provide solutions for numerous applications such as condensers, boilers, refrigeration evaporators or even oil or gas coolers, based on your specifications and taking into account your requirements and constraints. Quiri Thermal Exchanges also provides heat exchanger parts and welded components, such as test rings or spare bundles. For more information about our industrial shell and tube heat exchangers, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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