Different Types of Heat-Exchanging Systems


Heat exchangers are necessary in a variety of environments and/or situations that require temperature control. In addition to hot water storage tanks, this includes fuel oil heaters and other systems. There are three basic types of heat exchangers:

  • Parallel-flow or counterflow configurations
  • Cross-flow configurations
  • Shell-and-tube configurations

It’s important to note that heat exchangers usually have a lifespan of more than 40 years when the shell portion doesn’t become corroded or significantly damaged.

These heat exchanging systems are necessary for a variety of purposes:

  • To transfer heat between two or more fluids
  • To transfer fluids between solid surfaces and a fluid
  • To transfer heat between solid particulates and a fluid

Heat exchanges occur at varying temperatures when in thermal contact. When fluids only need to pass each other once, for example, these are referred to as single-pass heat exchangers. When they need to pass more than once, these systems are referred to as multi-pass heat exchangers.

With cross-flow heat exchangers, one fluid flows through tubes while the other passes around these tubes in a perpendicular fashion. When using a parallel-flow heat exchanger, the fluid on the tube side and the shell side both flow in the same direction. In this situation, both fluids have the same point of entry and exit with a significant difference in temperature.

In order for a heat transfer to occur, the fluids need to be at different temperatures. Furthermore, they must come into what is referred to as thermal contact. A heat exchange can only occur when hotter fluids come into contact with cooler fluids. This is what is referred to as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Basically, when a heat exchange occurs, it involves convection which occurs when each fluid is conducted through the walls separating these systems.

Exceptionally-high heat transfer rates can be attained when there is a close proximity to the process fluids within diffusion-bonded heat exchanger cores. These rates have an efficiency rate of up to 98% within these circumstances. Furthermore, this allows temperatures to potentially approach up to 20 degrees centigrade.

In order to further absorb heat, Advantage water chillers have proven to be effective. Engineers note that these types of systems are utilized for secondary, or back-up, cooling systems. In order to reduce the heat from water, for example, Advantage water chillers are able to circulate this fluid and then absorb the heat. Furthermore, Advantage water chillers have a variety of industry-specific applications.

Given the necessity for these systems to function optimally within a variety of environments and industries, it’s important to conduct further research and investigation. There are a variety of products and services available to determine which type of system would be indicated.

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