A heat exchanger is a special device that assists in heat transfer through one channel to another usually by conduction. Basically, in almost all applications, there is a solid barrier that prevents the media from mixing up with each other. One side of the wall contains the hot fluid, while the other side has the cool fluid flowing through the channels. Depending on the structure, the exchanger can be more efficient in performing heat transfer. Fins or corrugations are often included in the exchanger’s design in order to make this possible.
Perhaps the most practical application of a heat transfer device is the one that is found in automobiles. The car radiator prevents overheating of the vehicle’s engine by cooling the heated water that travels through a series of tubes. The same thing goes with the other mechanisms in various industries such as power plants, cooling appliances and oil refineries.
In general, the two most commonly used heat exchangers are the shell-and-tube and flat plates devices. A shell-and-tube exchanger involves several tubes that are often collectively called a bundle. This bundle is contained inside a “shell” or a pressure vessel. Whether the purpose is to heat or cool the fluid, the end result would be the exact opposite of the temperature of the fluid being fed through the tubes. This type of exchanger is usually adopted in industries that require high-pressure applications.
The flat plate heat exchanger, on the other hand, involves the use of several sheets of stainless steel that are assembled in a stack. Unlike its main counterpart, which is the shell-and-tube exchanger, the flat plate device offers higher heat transfer coefficients. Its structure is purposely designed to allow more surface area that is deemed beneficial for the increased efficiency of the said heat transfer device. Another good addition is its weight, which is actually five times lighter than the shell-and-tube variety. Gasketed plates are often preferred for most industry applications simply because they can be disassembled conveniently for cleaning and tune-ups. The fact that the plate exchanger is both cost-efficient and compact makes it a practical choice for use in power plants and other similar industries.
A majority of the heat exchangers today are made from durable materials such as iron, steel, copper and aluminum. In order for an exchanger to transfer heat effectively, it must be equipped with corrosion-resistant parts. Due to the amount and frequency of the liquids being transferred through the exchanger, oxidization and damage are simply inevitable.
Some of the home appliances that use heat exchangers in their systems are the airconditiong units and refrigerators. On the other hand, large industries such as the food processing firms and oil refineries make use of huge heat exchangers that include the cooling towers and water chillers. Actually, the application of heat transfer devices varies greatly on purpose. They are capable of heating and cooling both the air and water for specific purposes. Industrial-purpose exchangers are always mammoth-sized because they have to be efficient enough to meet certain temperature levels. Residential heat exchangers are rarely seen as separate units, but they are otherwise found in some cooling appliances.
Heat Exchangers Specialist (S) Pte. Ltd. (HES) was setup by a group of experience heat exchangers technical specialist and designer to provide engineering design & fabrication of heat exchangers, heat transfer equipment, pressure vessel as well as process piping and process skid system packages.
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