Flow and pressure drop on the shellside of cylindrical heat exchangers


This work presents pressure distributions and fluid flow patterns on the shellside of a cylindrical shell-and-tube heat exchanger. The apparatus used was constructed from glass enabling direct observation of the flow using a dye release technique and had ten traversable pressure instrumented tubes permitting detailed pressure distributions to be obtained. The `exchanger' had a large tube bundle (278 tubes) and main flow areas typical of practical designs. Six geometries were studied: three baffle spacings both with and without baffle leakage. Results are also presented of three-dimensional modelling of shellside flows using the Harwell Laboratory's FLOW3D code. Flow visualisation provided flow patterns in the central plane of the bundle and adjacent to the shell wall. Comparison of these high-lighted significant radial flow variations. In particular, separated regions, originating from the baffle tips, were observed. The size of these regions was small in the bundle central plane but large adjacent to the shell wall and extended into the bypass lane. This appeared to reduce the bypass flow area and hence the bypass flow fraction. The three-dimensional flow modelling results were presented as velocity vector and isobar maps. The vector maps illustrated regions of high and low velocity which could be prone to tube vibration and fouling. Separated regions were also in evidence. A non-uniform crossflow was discovered with, in general, higher velocities in the central plane of the bundle than near the shell wall._The form of the isobar maps calculated by FLOW3D was in good agreement with experimental results. In particular, larger pressure drops occurred across the inlet than outlet of a crossflow region and were higher near the upstream than downstream baffle face. The effect of baffle spacing and baffle leakage on crossflow and window pressure drop measurements was identified. Agreement between the current measurements, previously obtained data and commonly used design correlations/models was, in general, poor. This was explained in terms of the increased understanding of shellside flow. The bulk of previous data, which dervies from small-scale rigs with few tubes, have been shown to be unrepresentative of typical commerical units. The Heat Transfer and Fluid Flow Service design program TASC provided the best predictions of the current pressure drop results. However, a number of simple one-dimensional models in TASC are, individually, questionable. Some revised models have been proposed.

Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: heat exchanger,shellside,pressure drop,flow distribution,mathematical models,visualisation
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2023 08:22
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2010 13:19
Completed Date: 1988-04
Authors: Murray, P.W.


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