Heat exchangers are equipment used for transferring heat from a hot medium to a cold medium. Scientific and Industrial applications use heat exchangers for effective thermal management. Heat exchangers are manufactured using materials that can effectively conduct heat and include materials like stainless steel, copper, nickel, aluminum, plastic, ceramic, etc.
Types of heat exchangers
Heat exchangers are available in different shapes and sizes and these include plate, plate fin, tube fin, double pipe, shell, and tube type. These types are based on their design. Different industries use different types of heat exchangers based on their utility. Heat exchangers are used widely in the petroleum refining industry, laser applications, and food processing industry.
Customized Heat Exchangers
Usually, manufacturers offer ready to use heat exchangers for standard applications but ready to use heat exchangers are not suitable for all the applications, and customized heat exchangers are required to meet the specific requirements of the application. Before suggesting the final design and configuration of the heat exchanger, thermal design engineers study the requirements of an application. There are several aspects taken into consideration while designing a heat exchanger and it largely depends upon the application in which it is going to be used and the required heat transfer rate. Other aspects taken into consideration include cost, available space to fix the device, maintenance, and flexibility in cleaning.
Thermal design engineers get flexibility in selecting the material, and the size and shape of the customized heat exchanger. It helps them address the specific issues like cost, the required level of protection against corrosion, measures against contamination, surface finish requirements, fixing it within an application, maintenance, and flexibility in cleaning.
Heat exchangers used in the industries like pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, and food processing must be addressing the issue of contamination and to address this issue materials like stainless steel (304L and 316L) are the ideal selection. Use of double pipe with highly polished material is ideal for such applications. To address the issue of the corrosion materials such as Titanium, AL—6XN, Monel 600, Alloy 20, and Hastelloy are ideal materials.
Heat exchangers which use metal tubes – tubes are available in different diameters and different thickness and they should be selected depending on the required rate of heat transfer. If the liquid passing through the tube is corrosive then the protection layer is applied to the metal body of the tube. Nickel offers protection against corrosion at high temperatures. Another aspect taken into consideration is that once the device is operational how it will be cleaned regularly. If dust gets accumulated on the surface of the tubes and fins, then it can degrade the performance of the device, so it must be designed in a way that it can be cleaned easily, and also the cleaning material should not damage the metal body. Cost is another important aspect taken into consideration. If the customers have a low budget and they do not require high reliability system, they can go for cheaper materials like aluminum and plastic for manufacturing the device and avoid the use of costly materials like high grade stainless steel, copper, and nickel.