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Heat Exchanger Design and Practices

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.1981.AdvCourseHeatExch.390
pages 615-629

Robert V. Macbeth
UKAEA, Atomic Energy Establishment, Winfrith, Dorset, England


In the thermal design of heat exchangers we have to deal with something like 12 to 15 independent variables. We deal with most of them simply by doing what is customary. There is usually no alternative. It is the consequence of insufficient experimental data, although the underlying cause is the large number of variables. We do not have to examine every permutation, but we are talking about many hundreds of systematically performed experiments.
Professor Bergelin and Co-workers at the University of Delaware made an onslaught on the problem in the 1950's, but heat exchanger testing is very time consuming and they barely scratched the surface. What was needed was a drastic speeding up of the process of data acquisition. The break-through came in 1967 when Gay and Co-workers at the University of Aston in Birmingham showed that a particular mass transfer technique produced results, comparatively quickly and cheaply, that were practically identical to the Delaware data. In 1971 the Harwell based consultancy and testing service (HTFS) set in operation a scheme to produce large quantities of heat exchanger design data using the mass transfer technique. This scheme has been in operation now for 10 years and a vast amount of data has been produced. In this lecture the author describes some of the important findings that have emerged from the work and their likely effect on heat exchanger design and practices.

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