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Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

A reliable source for Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers information and leading Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers Companies & Manufacturers.

Shell and tube heat exchangers are a class of heat exchanger types. They are most common in oil factories and other huge chemical processes and are suited for higher pressure applications. As its name implies, they consist of a shell (a huge pressure vessel) with bundled tubes inside it. Read More…

Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers Shell and tube heat exchangers are comprised, as the name suggests, of an exterior shell with a bundle of tubes running through the middle of it. These exchangers are the most common type of tube heat exchangers used in the process, petroleum and HVAC industries, and are used widely in large chemical processes.
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Leading Manufacturers

Medford, WI  |  715-748-5888

Enerquip is your trusted shell and tube heat exchanger partner. Our in-house, thermal design engineers and ASME welders and fabricators can design and build custom engineered solutions for your company’s specific needs. Our experience and expertise have earned us a preferred supplier status with leading companies in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, cannabis, personal care, chemical, refining, and renewable energy markets. When you need a solution that is guaranteed to work, trust the helpful heat exchanger experts at Enerquip.

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Enerquip, LLC $$$

Decatur, IL  |  217-422-2770

Mason Manufacturing is a custom fabricator of shell and tube heat exchangers, ASME pressure vessels, columns, and tanks. Located in Decatur, Illinois, Mason has over 60 years of experience providing customers with custom fabricated vessels that conform to customer specifications, applicable codes, accepted industry standards and that are consistently shipped on time with competitive pricing. It’s our promise.

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Mason Manufacturing LLC $$$

Canton, SD  |  605-764-2347

Adams Thermal Systems is a leading manufacturer of heat exchangers. Our heat exchanger products are efficient, cost-effective, and exceed the industry requirements. All products are made in our state-of-the-art facilities with our expert employees. The Adams Thermal Systems team works closely with each customer throughout the process to ensure their needs are met.

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Adams Thermal Systems, Inc. $$$

Bellmawr, NJ  |  800-210-5000

Mercer Gasket & Shim is a leader in the heat exchanger industry. Our products can be made with a variety of different materials including brass, stainless steel, and titanium. We are your industry experts when it comes to heat exchangers. We are ISO 9001:2008 certified.

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Mercer Gasket & Shim $$$

Bear, DE  |  302-834-9500

Elanco, Inc. has been a recognized heat exchanger manufacturer industry since 1978. Our extinguish small company works hard to design and manufacture superior heat exchangers that meet our customer's specific needs. Every product we manufacture meets our quality control standards to create the highest standard heat exchangers.

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Elanco, Inc. $$$

Milwaukee, WI  |  800-488-0230

Anguil designs, manufactures, installs and services heat and energy recovery systems for industrial applications and manufacturing operations. By utilizing waste heat from energy consuming processes, Anguil heat exchanger technologies reduce a company’s operating costs, lower their carbon footprint and lessen their energy consumption. Our track record includes the ability to blend time-tested, standard products with innovative, custom engineered solutions.

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Anguil Environmental Systems, Inc. $$$
placeholder image Enerquip, LLC Mason Manufacturing LLC Adams Thermal Systems, Inc. Mercer Gasket & Shim Elanco, Inc. Anguil Environmental Systems, Inc.

What are Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers?

Shell and tube heat exchangers are a class of heat exchanger types. They are most common in oil factories and other huge chemical processes and are suited for higher pressure applications. As its name implies, they consist of a shell (a huge pressure vessel) with bundled tubes inside it.

One fluid flows through the tubing, and the other passes over the tubing (via the shell) to facilitate heat transfer between the two fluids. The group of tubes is called a tube bundle and can be composed of many tube types such as longitudinally finned, plain, etc.

Design of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

There can be many differences in the shell and tube design. Usually, the ends of all tubes are connected to plenums through holes in tube sheets. The tubes can be straight or U-shaped, called U-tubes.

Most shell and tube heat exchangers are either four, two, or one-pass designs on the tube side. This is the number of instances the liquid in the tubes flows through the liquid in the shell. In single-pass heat exchangers, the liquid goes in one end and out the other of each tube.

In power plants, surface condensers are often one-pass straight tube heat exchangers. However, two and four-pass designs are common since fluid can enter and leave on the same side.

There are often perplexes directing flow in the shell side, so the fluid doesn't cut through the shell side. This leaves poor low flow volumes.

A countercurrent heat exchanger is very efficient since it enables a high log average temperature difference between the cold and hot streams. Most companies nevertheless do not utilize two-pass heat exchangers with a U-tube because they can break easily and are more expensive to build.

Selection of Tube Material

To transfer heat well, tube material must have good heat conductivity. Because heat energy transfers from the hot to cold side via the tubes, there's a temperature difference through the tubes' width. Because of the tube material's propensity to expand at different temperatures, thermal stresses happen during operation. This is after any stress from high pressure from the liquids themselves.

Tube material also must be well-matched with both the tube and shell side fluids for long durations in the operating conditions to minimize corrosion. These requirements demand a careful choice of durable, thermally conductive, corrosion resistant, and high-quality tube materials.

Typically metals, like aluminum, stainless steel, copper alloy, non-ferrous copper alloy, carbon steel, Inconel, nickel, titanium, and Hastelloy. Fluoropolymers like PFA and FEP also produce the tube material because of their high resistance to high temperatures.

Types of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

Many configurations of the parts can be considered. Three primary combinations are presented below.

Fixed Tube Sheet Heat Exchanger

In this type, the tube sheet and shell are welded together. This leads to an easy and inexpensive structure, and cleaning the tube bores can be done mechanically or chemically. The outer surface of the tubes is, however, inaccessible besides chemical cleaning. Rear headers are common in L, M, and N types.

Fixed Tube Sheet Heat Exchanger

U-Tube Heat Exchanger

Any front header can be used here, and the rear header is commonly M-Type. U-tubes allow limitless thermal expansion. The tube bundle can also be excluded for cleaning purposes, and a small bundle to shell clearance may be obtained. Since it is hard to clean inside the tubes using mechanical tools, it's normal to use this type only when the fluid in the tube side is clean.

U-Tube Heat Exchanger

Floating Head Heat Exchanger

Here the tube sheet is not welded to the shell but is allowed to move or float. The tube sheet at the front header has a diameter larger than the shell's and is sealed like in the fixed tube sheet. The tube sheet at the back header end has a smaller diameter than the shell and permits the bundle to be drawn out through the shell.

Floating Head Heat Exchanger

Applications of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

The simple design makes it perfect for cooling for a variety of applications. The most common application is the cooling of hydraulic liquid and oil in combustion engines, transmission, and hydraulic power packs.

With the right selection of material, they can also be applied to heat or cool other mediums, like swimming pools or charge air. In addition, the cylindrical construction of the enclosure is highly resistant to pressure and enables all ranges of pressure applications.

Advantages of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

Below are some of the shell and heat exchanger's benefits:

  • Inexpensive compared to plate heat exchangers.
  • Relatively simple construction and easy to maintain.
  • Suitable for higher pressure and temperature compared to plate heat exchangers.
  • Pressure drop is less than for plate heat exchangers.
  • It is easy to locate and fix leaking tubes.
  • Tubes can be 'double walled' to decrease the chances of the shell side liquid leaking to the tube side liquid or vice versa.

Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers Informational Video


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