Heat Exchangers Explained

Wattco electric heating products

Considering the inventiveness of engineering, there are new technologies arriving at a fast pace. In particular, the heating business has seen an ebb-and-flow of inventiveness and growth over the years, between the methods of heating and marketability of products. One such section of engineering within the heating industry is that of heat exchangers. There are current expectations for the heat exchanger market to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% between now and 2021, increasing the market value to USD 19.14 billion. For those that don’t know too much about how heat exchangers work, let’s take an exploration into them and their different properties.

Principally, a heat exchanger works by transferring heat between a solid object and a fluid, or a solid object and two or more fluids (think of your basic space heater, refrigerator, fuel oil heaters, or air conditioner). These objects will be at different temperatures from one another and will be in thermal contact (such that energy can be easily transferred between them). As per the second law of thermodynamics, heat can only be transferred from a hot object to a cold object, so the thermal connection from the separating wall must be structurally sound.

Regarding the basic types of exchangers, if the fluids only pass each other once, the heat exchanger is referred to as a single-pass heat exchanger; otherwise, it is known as a multi-pass heat exchanger. Further, the materials are likely separated from one another, so intermixing doesn’t take place. While similar in basic construction, there are a variety of different heat exchangers out there: parallel-flow or counter-flow configuration, cross-flow configuration, and shell-and-tube configuration.

  1. Parallel-Flow or Counter-Flow Configuration:In a parallel-flow configuration, two fluids enter the heat exchanger at the same end and travel parallel to one another to the opposite end. On the contrary, counter-flow configuration heat exchangers enter from the opposite end of their tubes.
  2. Cross-Flow Configuration:In this configuration, heat is transferred from the thermal energy storage plating and travels, through the fluid, in a roughly perpendicular pattern in the exchanger.
  3. Shell-And-Tube Configuration:Used for high pressure applications, this configuration consists of a number of tubes, each which contains its own fluid that must be heated or cooled throughout the heat exchange process.

With these products, whether they are being used for cooling, as portable chillers, or as heat sinks, you can properly utilize them as advantage engineering products. Along with the three types of heat exchangers listed above, there are a number of other examples:

Plate Heat Exchanger:

This type of the various advantage engineering products is one that directly works as a heat sink. By having numerous plates of conductive material, each at a different temperature, placed near one another, heat is transferred from one plate and two the next, and so on. Arranged in a gasket pattern, these are advantageous for their smaller volume and lower cost.

Plate-and-Shell Heat Exchanger:

A combination of the plate heat exchanger and the shell-and-tube heat exchanger, this is one of the advantage engineering products that contains fully welded circular plates that transfer heat energy by a connected nozzle. They are unique for their high pressure, high high heat transfer, and high operating temperature.

Waste Heat Recovery Unit:

This type of advantage engineering products recovers excess steam from another machinery and transfers it into heat for a workable medium, whether that be gas or oil.

Direct Contact Heat Exchanger:

In the absence of a separating wall, a direct contact heat exchanger can transfer heat between multiple, separated, multi-phase mediums (gas-to-liquid, solid-to-gas). The primary means through which these advantage engineering products work is by using a driving force, something that creates the transfer in energy, which is usually achieved by gravity, pressure, or liquid exchange.

There are a great variety of heat exchangers on the market, but knowing which type will work best for your home or business is incredibly important. By doing the research and talking with a professional, you can find the perfect heat exchanger to suit your specific needs.

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