What Are Heat Exchangers?
Heat Exchangers do exactly as their name suggests: they exchange heat from one medium to another. Many homes rely on gas central heating for warmth in the winter months — these systems burn natural gas jets to heat water being pumped through a network of pipes. This is a good example of a Heat Exchanger at work in a domestic setting: heat is transferred from the gas jets to the water in the pipes; the gas cools as it passes, or exchanges, the heat energy across to the water in the pipes, which heats up.
Industrial Heat Exchangers work on the same principle. Heat passes from one fluid (in this context a ‘fluid’ is either liquid or gas) to another fluid without the fluids having to come into direct contact with each other. In the gas central heating example, the hot gas is separated from the cold water by the pipes themselves. This separation is a key feature specific to the heat exchange process: they ‘exchange’ or transfer heat, but they do so whilst retaining in the system the fluid that carries the heat.
How Are Heat Exchangers Used?
Heat Exchangers can be used in many situations, from cooling or heating buildings to increasing the efficiency of machinery and engines. Not only can they be used to transfer heat into systems (as in the gas central heating example, above) but they can also be used to transfer heat out of a system. Essentially performing a cooling function like that required in domestic refrigerators, for example, or industrial chillers.
They can be found at the heart of many day-to-day processes. Such as air-conditioning units that remove unwanted heat from the air in rooms and remove it in liquid form; in exhaust tail pipes where they can harness the heat in engine fumes; in power plants where they can be used to capture the heat carried in exhaust gases and channel it to be more productive. Heat Exchangers placed in power plant smokestacks bring copper fins containing cold water into contact with the hot exhaust gases that are drifting upwards. Heated as a result, the water can be pumped back into the power plant and reused. As an energy-saving heating agent itself, or put to use in the local vicinity to heat nearby office or residential buildings.
Heat Exchangers are often used in diesel-powered buses — the fluid that cools the engine passes through an exchanger to reclaim the engine heat, which in turn can be used to warm cold air pumped from outside the bus into the passenger compartment as a heating medium. Car radiators are good examples of Heat Exchangers at work in every-day situations: to cool the engine, water is pumped through the radiator, which itself is designed to incorporate parallel aluminium fins. As the car travels forward at speed, cold air blows across the fins in the radiator, directly removing some of the heat and cooling the water to keep the engine from over-heating — and again, as an energy-saving bonus, the engine’s waste heat can be harnessed to heat the passenger compartment.
Many energy-efficient showers also make use of Heat Exchangers positioned in the waste-water outlet to capture any heat that may be left in the dirty water as it flows away, using it to help heat the clean water flow without risk of contamination.
Heat Exchanger Product Range
There are many types of Heat Exchanger and all are ideally suited to one application or another. At Aqua Group we have access to all the different types and are therefore not blinkered by one manufacturer or another. We can advise on the best type to fit your individual process.
We have a wealth of knowledge in the application of Heat Exchangers for many different industrial processes. All in a variety of environments and can advise you on the best type to fit your budget.
- Brazed Plate
- Gasketed Plate
- Shell and Plate
- Co axial
- Shell and Tube
- Tube in Tube
- Scrape Type
- Falling Film
- Mild Steel
- 304/316 Stainless Steel
All of the above come in different materials dependant on your process whether it be food, pharmaceutical, chemical, marine, off shore, nuclear or plain water. We have a material that will suit. All can be offered with various certification from ASME VIII, PED and LLOYDS certification.