Do You Know The Different Types Of Heat Exchangers?

The responsibility of transferring or exchanging heat, usually from one fluid to another, falls on devices known as heat exchangers. This is their primary responsibility. Heat exchangers are not, however, used exclusively in applications for heating – like space heaters – but can additionally be put to good use in cooling applications – like air conditioners and refrigerators.

Classifying Heat Exchangers by Fluid Flow Direction

The direction in which the liquids used in the heat exchanger flow help to distinguish what type of heat exchanger it is. Where this classification is applied, heat exchangers can be countercurrent, crossflow, or parallel flow.

  • The most effective type of heat exchanger is the countercurrent heat exchanger in which fluids flow in opposite directions. Where one enters, the other exits.
  • Fluid paths run perpendicular to each other in cross-flow heat exchangers.
  • Fluids exit and enter the exchanger side by side, both moving in the same direction, in parallel flow heat exchangers.

Classifying Heat Exchangers by Their Composition

Heat exchangers are not only classified by the direction in which the fluid flows but can vary by type due to their composition. Heat exchangers can be made of hot plates that have room for fluid to flow in between or they can be can be made from multiple tubes. But the liquid to liquid transfer of heat is not what all heat exchangers depend upon. Other mediums can be used in certain cases.

There are four different types of heat exchangers which are detailed below.

Adiabatic Wheel Heat Exchanger

Used to store heat, an intermediate fluid is used in this kind of heat exchanger. The fluid transfers heat to the exchanger unit’s opposite side. The large wheel which has threads rotating through both cold and hot fluids is called the adiabatic wheel. This is responsible for transferring or extracting heat.

Regenerative Heat Exchanger

Fluid passes along both sides of a regenerative heat exchanger, which can be either a shell and tube or a plate heat exchanger. The exiting fluid is utilized as a warming technique for fluid which is incoming, because the exiting fluid gets very hot. This maintains a near constant temperature. Regenerative heat exchangers are big energy savers because of the clinical process. Nearly every bit of relative heat is transferring from fluid that is exiting to fluid that is incoming. A very small amount of energy is needed to lower and raise the overall fluid temperature, in order to maintain a constant temperature.

Plate Heat Exchanger

Thin plates with small amounts of space between them are joined and typically maintained by a small rubber gasket in plate heat exchangers. Fluid flows between plates through an opening in the corners of the rectangular plates. Here, the surface area is large. The fluid, as it flows, extracts heat from the plates. The fluid channels alternate cold and hot fluids, so these heat exchangers can effectively heat fluid as well as cool it. Refrigeration applications are common users of this type of heat exchanger.

Tube and Shell Heat Exchanger

Liquid flows through multiple tubes in this kind of heat exchanger. Divided into two sets, the tubes in the first set contain whatever liquid must be cool or heated. The tubes in the other set hold the liquid that triggers the heat exchange. This either warms the set by transferring to the liquid inside its own heat – or – removes heat from the first tube set because it absorbs and then transmits the heat away, essentially cooling the liquid. One must take care, when designing this kind of heat exchanger, to determine the tube diameter and correct tube wall sickness. Both must allow maximum heat exchange.

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