What Are Heat Exchangers And How Do They Work?

What Are Heat Exchangers And How Do They Work? business factory production

A heat exchanger is a device used to transfer heat between two or more fluids or bulk solids. In other words, heat exchangers are used in both cooling and heating processes. Heat exchangers play a key role in many processes that you may not be aware of. 

The reality is a great many fluids and bulk solids act differently at different temperatures. With QC margins getting smaller and smaller, it’s important to have reliable input to create a reliable output. 

The process of heat exchange has developed significantly over time and there have been innovative ways to find better, more efficient solutions to challenges both known and new. 

Common processes that use heat exchangers are heating and cooling of seeds, oils and fertilizers, cement, metals, minerals and sands, sugar, potash, and more. Thanks to technological advances in the science of heating, cooling and drying, there are an array of heat exchangers that are better suited for certain industries. 

Shell And Tube Heat Exchanger 

Shell and tube heat exchangers have been around for over 100 years and are still the most common type. They’re simple in design and can be constructed at a low cost, even in low volumes. The advantages of shell and tube heat exchangers are myriad. The first is that they are designed to be smaller, with a lower cost and a design that makes it easier and less expensive to service. This type of exchanger is ideal for oil refineries and other large chemical processes as well as seawater coolants and higher-pressure applications. 

Adiabatic Wheel Heat Exchanger 

An adiabatic wheel heat exchanger is made up of a large wheel with threads. The threads rotate through the hot and cold fluids to extract or transfer heat. This kind of heat exchanger employs an intermediate fluid to store heat. The heat is transferred to the opposite side of the exchanger unit. An adiabatic wheel heat exchanger is especially suitable when it is agreeable for a minimum amount of mixing to happen between the two streams. This type of heat exchanger is most often used in chemical industries, such as petroleum refining and petrochemical processing as well as in the food industry, for processes like milk pasteurization and the canning of processed foods. 

Plate And Shell Heat Exchanger 

Plate type heat exchangers incorporate flat plates stacked to allow ease for flow. At times, a plate type heat exchanger, like the ones manufactured by Solex Thermal Science can be more compact and less expensive than shell and tube. Advantages of shell and tube heat exchangers are that they have a compact design and can operate at higher pressure scenarios and at higher temperatures. Because the plate and shell heat exchanger has stainless steel options, it can be more affordable and has a wide range of different applications. This type of exchanger is most ideal for food processing and pharmaceutical production. 

Shell and tube heat exchangers, adiabatic wheel heat exchangers, and plate and shell heat exchangers all have their pros and cons. The best type of heat exchanger depends on factors such as an organization's industry, facility design, and financials.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post about what heat exchangers are and how they work.

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