What criteria should you use to select a heat exchanger design for your process?

The criteria used when selecting a type of heat exchanger include the following:

  • Application – How does your heat exchanger need to perform to help carry out your process objectives (e.g. condensing, boiling)?
  • Operating Specifications – What pressures and temperature ranges will be used during different phases of the process?
  • Material of Construction – Do the sudden temperature changes encountered during the process put the unit at risk of suffering thermal stress?
  • Characteristics of Thermal Fluid – Is a corrosion resistant material of construction needed due to your heating/cooling medium’s predisposition to fouling?
  • Accessibility to Utilities – Will the heat exchanger require a connection to cooling water, steam, hot oil, etc.?
  • Space Constraints – Does the system layout and floorplan prohibit the use of certain models of heat exchangers due to limited headroom?
  • Housekeeping – Is the heat exchanger design conducive to carrying out the cleaning and maintenance procedures that will need to be performed on a routine basis?
  • Scalability – Will the unit be able to carry out the heat transfer needs of the existing system and any future process developments?
  • Cost – How much are you willing to spend on a unit based on the range of options available to you? (You must consider purchase cost, installation cost, operating cost, and maintenance cost.)
  • Environment – Is the unit energy efficient and what type of carbon footprint does it leave?