Heat exchangers are devices for maintaining the required temperature for the applications. In many applications, the transfer of excess heat is necessary. Oil Refineries, Food and Beverage industry, Chemical Plants, Steel Plants, Laser applications, Electronics industry are the major users of heat exchangers.
Based on design there are many types of heat exchangers, which include plate type, shell and tube type, finned tube types. All the types are unique and each type has an advantage over the other in some aspects.
Custom Heat Exchangers
Standard heat exchangers are available in the market for many applications. However, you need to consult the manufacturer for customized ones. The use of standard ones is okay for simple applications like heating and cooling systems for residential and commercial buildings since these are relatively simple applications. However, there are complex applications, where you need to install Custom Heat Exchangers.
Design concerns of Custom Heat Exchangers
Thermal design engineers study the application and recommend which type of heat exchanger is best for the application. Many factors are taken into consideration before finalizing the design. These factors include the required heat transfer rate, space available to fit heat exchanger into the application, and the type of application.
Heat transfer rate
If the application is generating a lot of heat and needs to cool down fast, then a huge surface area of the metal pipes would be needed to build heat exchangers. Long metal tubes with fins attached to them, and liquid moving inside the pipe to extract the heat would be an ideal solution.
The size and the shape of the heat exchanger are dependent on the space available to fit them in the application. Maintenance issues, safety regulations, and industry standards are other aspects taken into consideration. There are a variety of materials used to build heat exchangers. These include 316L Steel and 304L Steel. Corrosion-resistant materials like Titanium, Alloy 20, Hastelloy, Monel 500, and AL-6xn are also popular.
Industry-specific needs are also taken into consideration. Like, for the pharmaceutical industry use of carbon steel is not advisable, since it can cause contamination problems.
After the design is finalized, the next step is to decide the coating of the metal surface. The proper coating is necessary to prevent any damage to the metal due to the expansion caused by heat.
If you want to replace an old heat exchanger with a new one, the utility data of the old one, its dimensions, and how it is supported are taken into consideration. Also, the cause for the failure of the old one needs to be studied, so that the new one will have features, which will prevent it from failing for the same reasons.