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  • Writer's pictureKenney Eka

How Shell & Tube Heat Exchangers work

Shell and tube heat exchanger is one of the many types of heat exchanger designs. It is the most common type of heat exchanger used in oil refineries and other large chemical processes, and is suited for higher-pressure applications.

As its name implies, this type of heat exchanger consists of a shell (a large pressure vessel) with a bundle of tubes inside it. One fluid runs through the tubes, and another fluid flows over the tubes (through the shell) to transfer heat between the two fluids.

Two fluids, of different starting temperatures, flow through the heat exchanger. One flows through the tube side (Yellow Arrow) and the other flows outside the tubes but inside the shell (Red Arrow). Heat is then transferred from one fluid to the other through the tube walls, either from tube side to shell side or vice versa.

The fluids can be either liquids or gases on either the shell or the tube side. In order to transfer heat efficiently, a large heat transfer area should be used, leading to the use of many tubes. In this way, waste heat can be put to use in order to efficiently conserve energy.

They are also used in liquid-cooled chillers for transferring heat between the refrigerant and the water in both the evaporator and condenser, and in air-cooled chillers for only the evaporator.

Find out More on the different types of Heat Exchangers for you!

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