CFD Methodology for Heat Exchangers

Heat exchangers are one of the mostly used equipment in the process industries. Heat exchangers are used to transfer heat between two process streams. One can realize their usage that any process which involves cooling, heating, condensation, boiling or evaporation will require a heat exchanger for these purposes. Process fluids, usually are heated or cooled before the process or undergo a phase change. Different heat exchangers are named according to their applications.

For example, heat exchangers being used to condense are known as condensers, similarly heat exchangers for boiling purposes are called boilers. Performance and efficiency of heat exchangers are measured through the amount of heat transferred using least area of heat transfer and pressure drop. A better presentation of its efficiency is done by calculating over all heat transfer coefficient. Pressure drop and area required for a certain amount of heat transfer, provides an insight about the capital cost and power requirements (Running cost) of a heat exchanger. Usually, there is lots of literature and theories to design a heat exchanger according to the requirements.

A good design is referred to a heat exchanger with least possible area and pressure drop to fulfill the heat transfer requirements.

Heat Exchanger Classification:

At present heat exchangers are available in many configurations. Depending upon their application, process fluids, and mode of heat transfer and flow, heat exchangers can be classified.

Heat exchangers can transfer heat through direct contact with the fluid or through indirect ways. They can also be classified on the basis of shell and tube passes, types of baffles, arrangement of tubes (Triangular, square etc.) and smooth or baffled surfaces. These are also classified through flow arrangements as fluids can be flowing in same direction (Parallel), opposite to each other (Counter flow) and normal to each other (Cross flow). The selection of a particular heat exchanger configuration depends on several factors. These factors may include, the area requirements, maintenance, flow rates, and fluid phase.


A case study on Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger in Ansys Fluent is explained by the following videos :




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