Applications of Heat Exchangers in Chemical Industry – WorldOfChemicals

Heat Exchangers Applications in Chemical Industry

Category : General Chemicals
Published by : Data Research Analyst, Worldofchemicals.com

Heat exchangers have been successfully employed for decades in the chemical industry in the most diverse sectors, such as the cooling and heating of base, intermediate and final products, heat recovery or also the tempering of containers, reactors and autoclaves. They are mainly used to transfer the heat from one fluid/gas to another. While there are a variety of applications and adaptations of the heat exchanger, here are their four typical adaptations:

1.Cooling hot liquids

2.Heating and drying

3.Heating cold liquids

4.Cooling and condensing

Take a look at the broader applications of the above mentioned heat exchangers in the chemical processing industry:


1. Air Cooled Heat Exchanger


An air-cooled heat exchanger (ACHE), otherwise known as a finned tube heat exchanger works by passing a liquid in a series of tubes while pumping air over or around the pipework to cool the liquid. The efficiency of these units comes from its design – the extended fins that protrude into the air/gas flow and improve the heat transfer ability of the structure.

Such type of heat exchangers are often used for heat recovery purposes to exhaust hot gases. This is done by transferring the heat in the gas to the liquid (usually water or thermal oil). ACHEs are usually used in chemical industries for applications like petrochemical cooling and steam cooling. However, since air (both hot and cold) can be reused for a variety of functions, the ACHEs can be used for a variety of applications.


 2. Shell And Tube Heat Exchanger


These types of heat exchangers work by passing the fluid/gas through a series of tubes thatare enclosed ina large metal shell. You can choose to pass the fluid/gas from the sheel or tube side depending on the level of corrosiveness of the substance as well as final state (fluid/gaseous) of the desired prodcut.

The shell and tube heat exchangers are typically used for high pressure applications as well as those which require a vacuum condition to carry out the heat transfer process. Shell and tube heat exchangers are the most popular type of heat exchangers used in the chemical industry due to its containment abilities which is extremely beneficial when handling noxious or toxic gases and chemicals.


3. Gasket Plate Heat Exchanger


Plate heat exchangers or gasket plate heat exchangers work by passing fluids through a series of plates that are compacted together side-by-side and are most suitable for fluid to fluid heat exchange or in case of heat transfers from fluids to vapour.

The gasket plate heat exchanger is usually used for liquid to liquid applications and also when both liquids cannot come in contact when being processes. This works extremely well when working with highly acidic chemicals or oils using water, thus enabling the formation of vapour which can be further used for a variety of purposes.

While heat-exchangers can be classified on the basis of how they function, it can be adapted to suit a variety of processes. Therefore, it is advisable to thoroughly analyse your processing needs, the materials in question as well as the possible by-products that can be formed while using the heat exchanger. For instance, if you use a heat exchanger to cool down a chemical solution using water, the vapour that is formed post the heat exchanging process can then be used to generate thermal energy. So, be sure to keep your process requirements as well as the possible outcomes in mind before planning the design of your heat exchanger!


Author Details

Jigar Patel is the director of Oriental Manufacturers. He writes on topics related to process machinery production, turnkey solutions, best industry practices and his personal insights!‌


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