Types of heat exchangers and their characteristics
Types of heat exchangers and their characteristicsKeeping in mind that there are various types of heat exchangers is of great utility you are looking for a device that fulfills the functions that they perform.
Understanding the different types of heat exchangers that can be found, there is a wide variety of circumstances in which they are required.
These items range from domestic use, in which heat exchangers can be found in everyday appliances such as heating and cooling systems to industrial activity. They become involved in complex functions such as chemical processing.
What is a heat exchanger?
Although they can have numerous shapes and characteristics, all heat exchangers have their primary function in common: the transfer of heat between two parts or elements. Broadly speaking, this transfer can occur between two hydraulic fluids or between a fluid and the surface of a solid element.
In any case, they are two parts that are in contact with each other and in whose link the heat transfer from one to the other takes place. The forms of contact and the characteristics of each part can vary, and that is what gives rise to the appearance of different types of heat exchangers.
One of the most important aspects of a heat exchanger is that its characteristics must favor the transfer of thermal energy. Due to this, in most cases, the use of metal plates or tubes is used, which stand out for their heat conduction capacity.
Classification and characteristics
There are different criteria for classifying the types of heat exchangers, and each of them has its own logic.
First of all, it is possible to find a classification of heat exchangers based on the type of contact established between the fluids or parts. In this sense, one can speak of direct contact and indirect contact heat exchangers. In the first case, the fluids that take part in the process are mixed so that the mixture between them is total.
For the case in which it is necessary to work with two fluids without them losing their particular properties, that is, without combining them, there are indirect contact heat exchangers.
Within this group are, for example, surface exchangers and mixing exchangers. Either way, the transmission of thermal energy occurs without the need for fluids to be joined.
Another criterion for classifying heat exchanger types is the relative orientation of the fluids: parallel flow, counterflow, cross-flow, single pass, and multi-pass heat exchangers, among others, can be accessed.
Finally, the types of heat exchangers can be organized according to their structure: the physical form they present and the material from which they are made, such as plate, concentric tube, and tube bundle and shell heat exchangers.
Uses in the industry
The heat transfer that can occur through an exchangers' use gives rise to numerous possibilities in fluid handling.
It is not only about modifying the temperature of a specific fluid. For example, through this process, it is feasible to alter its state, achieving processes such as boiling and condensation, among others.
For all this, heat exchangers are usually present and used by different industrial activity sectors such as pharmaceuticals and food, where chemical processing and handling of sanitary fluids are essential in terms of production.
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