1.Heat Transfer Plates of PHE

      A plate heat exchanger is a type of heat exchanger that uses metal plates to transfer heat between two fluids. This has a major advantage over a conventional heat exchanger in that the fluids are exposed to a much larger surface area because the fluids are spread out over the plates. This facilitates the transfer of heat, and greatly increases the speed of the temperature change.

      The plate heat exchanger (PHE) is a specialized design well suited to transferring heat between medium- and low-pressure fluids. Welded, semi-welded and brazed heat exchangers are used for heat exchange between high-pressure fluids or where a more compact product is required. In place of a pipe passing through a chamber, there are instead two alternating chambers, usually thin in depth, separated at their largest surface by a corrugated metal plate. The plates used in a plate and frame heat exchanger are obtained by one piece pressing of metal plates. Stainless steel is a commonly used metal for the plates because of its ability to withstand high temperatures, its strength, and its corrosion resistance.

      The plates are often spaced by rubber sealing gaskets which are cemented into a section around the edge of the plates. The plates are pressed to form troughs at right angles to the direction of flow of the liquid which runs through the channels in the heat exchanger. These troughs are arranged so that they interlink with the other plates which forms the channel with gaps of 1.3–1.5 mm between the plates. The plates are compressed together in a rigid frame to form an arrangement of parallel flow channels with alternating hot and cold fluids. The plates produce an extremely large surface area, which allows for the fastest possible transfer. Making each chamber thin ensures that the majority of the volume of the liquid contacts the plate, again aiding exchange. The troughs also create and maintain a turbulent flow in the liquid to maximize heat transfer in the exchanger. A high degree of turbulence can be obtained at low flow rates and high heat transfer coefficient can then be achieved.


      As compared to shell and tube heat exchangers, the temperature approach in a plate heat exchangers may be as low as 1 °C whereas shell and tube heat exchangers require an approach of 5 °C or more. For the same amount of heat exchanged, the size of the plate heat exchanger is smaller, because of the large heat transfer area afforded by the plates (the large area through which heat can travel). Increase and reduction of the heat transfer area is simple in a plate heat-exchanger, through the addition or removal of plates from the stack.

      To achieve improvement in PHE’s, two important factors namely amount of heat transfer and pressure drop have to be considered such that amount of heat transfer needs to be increased and pressure drops need to be decreased. In plate heat exchangers due to presence of corrugated plate, there is a significant resistance to flow with high friction loss. Thus to design plate heat exchangers, one should consider both factors. For various range of Reynolds numbers, many correlations and chevron angles for plate heat exchangers exist. The plate geometry is one of the most important factor in heat transfer and pressure drop in plate heat exchangers, however such a feature is not accurately prescribed. In the corrugated plate heat exchangers, because of narrow path between the plates, there is a large pressure capacity and the flow becomes turbulent along the path. Therefore, it requires more pumping power than the other types of heat exchangers. Therefore, higher heat transfer and less pressure drop are targeted. The shape of plate heat exchanger is very important for industrial applications that are affected by pressure drop.

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