4 Heat Exchanger Types and Applications

Have you ever been driving down the highway and seen smoke drifting up from a smokestack? The truth is, all that smoke is wasted energy that could be used for another purpose. That’s why heat exchangers exist.

A heat exchanger allows the heat from a fluid (liquid or gas) to pass through a second fluid without the two ever coming into direct contact with each other.

For example, a heating furnace burns natural gas that is carried over water by pipes. If the gas and the water came into direct contact, the heat exchange would stop and the water would never warm up.

Heat Exchanger Types

Even though all heat exchangers perform the same function, there are different types that have varied applications. Learning about these different heat exchangers will help you determine what the right equipment is for your business.

Let’s take a look at the 4 types of heat exchangers and their applications below:

1. Double Tube Heat Exchangers:

Double tube heat exchangers use what is known as a tube within a tube structure. There are two pipes where one is built inside the other. Just like the example above, one fluid flows through the inner pipe while the second fluid flows around the first fluid in the outer pipe.

This type of heat exchanger is known for being the most basic and affordable of all. Its size makes it ideal for tight spaces, allowing for some extra flexibility in the layout of the manufacturing process.

2. Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers:

Out of all the types of heat exchangers, shell and tube heat exchangers are the most versatile. A shell and tube heat exchanger is designed with a number of tubes placed inside a cylindrical shell.

The popular design of this type of heat exchanger allows for a wide range of pressures and temperatures. If you need to cool or heat a large amount of fluids or gases, the application of the shell and tube heat exchanger is an option to consider.
While smaller in size compared to some of the other types, a shell and tube heat exchanger can be easily broken-down, making cleaning and repairs easy.

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3. Tube in Tube Heat Exchangers:

Similar to the other types of heat exchangers, a tube in tube heat exchanger is comprised of two tubes, one for each fluid. However, the tubes are coiled together to form an outside and inside pattern.

The application for a tube in tube design can get fairly creative. Since the tubes are coiled together, most designs for this type are compact. Applications for a tube in tube heat exchanger center around high temperature and high pressure. Since it runs at a higher output, a tube in tube heat exchanger tends to have greater efficiency.

4. Plate Heat Exchangers:

While all of the types of heat exchangers discussed so far have a similar design, the plate heat exchanger is the exception. Metal plates are used to transfer heat between two fluids. The plate is a metal shell, with spaces inside each plate that act as hallways for fluids to travel through.

With a plate heat exchanger, there is a greater surface area in contact with the fluids, so it has better rates of heat transfer compared to all other types. Although plate heat exchangers can be more expensive, the efficiency gained by the design is a big plus.

This type of heat exchanger is best used in places like power plants because of its durability and low repair rates.

Zwirner Equipment Offers Reconditioned Stainless Steel Heat Exchangers For Your Business

At Zwirner Equipment, our goal is to provide you with high quality, stainless steel equipment that will help keep your operations running smoothly and efficiently. We offer heat exchangers including plate, tube in tube, double tube or pipe, and shell and tube to fit all your business needs. We also carry components such as valves and frames if you have existing heat exchangers.

Learn more about our stainless steel equipment and services we offer and contact us today to get started.

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