The principle is always the same in the world of heat transfer: heat energy flows from hot to cold. Heat Exchangers are designed to efficiently transfer, or exchange, energy between fluids of differing temperatures, without mixing the two. The temperature of a liquid or gas product can be controlled by circulating heat transfer media (thermal oil, water, air, steam, etc.) on one side of the exchanger and the process fluid on the other. If the heat transfer media is hotter than the process, it will raise the temperature of the process fluid. If cooler, it will have the opposite effect, cooling the process.
Heat Exchangers of varying types are used in almost every industry (chemical, pharmaceutical, plastics, metals, polymers, foods, etc.) for many purposes; heating, cooling, drying, curing, and melting. Exchangers are often used when direct heating of a process material with electric or flame is impractical or dangerous (e.g. combustibles). Cooling is a common application for Exchangers as it allows for a shorter cool-down period for a process or equipment.
Properly designing a system to heat or cool a process via a Heat Exchanger system takes the following into consideration:
- The flow rate and type of the material to be heated (gallons per minute, lbs/hr, etc)
- The temperatures and pressures of the two fluids (process and heat transfer) and the desired temperature result for the process
- Determine the total fluid volume of the process (HEAT system, exchanger, piping, etc.)
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