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Specification Tips to Maximize Heat Transfer: Shell and Tube

Choosing the right shell and tube heat exchanger for your application

Heat exchangers are widely used in various industries including chemical, oil & gas, power generation, food & beverage, HVAC & refrigeration, pulp & paper to name a few, and are expecting strong growth over the coming years driven in part by a rising focus on environmental impact and improving efficiency standards.

Although used for varied applications, a heat exchanger’s primary role is to transfer heat from one fluid or gas to another in order to control the temperature of a system and manage waste heat. Growing environmental concerns and regulations are motivating energy-intensive industries to look at ways to improve heat exchanger performance and maximize energy efficiency use.

Choosing the right heat exchanger to fit the needs of specific applications and systems is critical in achieving optimal efficiency.

Operating conditions, ease of access for inspection and maintenance, and compatibility with process fluids are just some of the variables to be considered when assessing heat exchanger options. Other factors include:

  • Maximum design pressure and temperature
  • Heating or cooling applications
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Material compatibility with process fluids
  • Gasket compatibility with process fluids
  • Cleanliness of the streams
  • Temperature approach

A properly selected, installed, and maintained heat exchanger can help enhance the reliability and efficiency of a fluid system by optimizing energy consumption and reducing associated operating costs. In this whitepaper we look at the specification tips to maximize heat transfer in shell and tube style heat exchangers in order to boost heat exchanger performance and increase efficiency.

Shell and tube exchangers

The shell and tube exchanger’s flexible design, high pressure and temperature capabilities, and its ability to handle high levels of particulate material make it the most common heat exchanger used. Mechanically simple in design and a proven technology, the shell and tube offers a low-cost method of heat exchange for many process operations. Following is a brief description of each of the most common shell and tube configurations:

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