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Heat Exchanger Anti-Vibration

ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company (EMRE) has developed and patented a suite
of anti-vibration technologies, DTSTM, STSTM and SBXTM, that can be retrofitted into existing heat
exchangers or used in new applications.

Potential applications include:

Tube chatter elimination by stiffening bundles (vertical and U-bend


bundles as well) with DTS or STS technology
Failed bundle retrofit replacement using DTS or STS technology
while reusing existing shell
Lower shell side pressure drop by decreasing the number of
baffles and including DTS or STS technology to avoid vibration
problems in conventional exchanger
Eliminate a potential vibration problem due to capacity increases by
retrofitting an existing exchanger with DTS or STS technology
Retrofit SBX technology into existing shell to reduce shell side
pressure drop

Expect these advantages:

Improved reliability by elimination of tube vibration problems


Increased energy savings by reduced pressure drop in
compressor circuit
Increased throughput at same pressure drop in existing
exchanger

DTS technology

DTS technology consists of dimpled and corrugated straight metal strips that are inserted into
a heat exchanger bundle to reduce vibration by stiffening the bundle. As figure 1 shows, the
corrugations on each strip act as a wedge to slightly deflect the tubes. The dimples on one end
of each thin strip provide a locking mechanism to hold the strip in place. DTS strips are inserted
in alternate lanes, only in the regions of the bundle where the tubes are vulnerable or where a
vibration analysis calculation predicts a high risk for damage.
figure 1:
DTS strip installed in bundle
figure 2:
DTS strips applied as U-bend stiffener

The strips can be used in all common tube layouts and can be fabricated from many different
metals. Strips have been successfully fabricated from SS304, Titanium, Duplex, Carbon Steel,
Monel and Brass. DTS is typically applied in bare tube bundles and can be applied to any
common tube layout.

STS technology

STS technology (figure 3), consists of a corrugated pair of identical thin metal strips that are
welded together and inserted into alternate lanes in a heat exchanger bundle. The saddle
portion of the STS provides a wide contact area against the tubes instead of a point contact.
A locking device on each strip keeps it in position in the bundle. STS is typically applied in
finned tube bundles with a square tube layout.

figure 3:
STS strips inserted in
tube bundle
SBX technology
SBX technology consists of an axial-flow exchanger in which a relatively small number of hori-
zontal and vertical tube support stations (slotted baffles), along with a number of strategically
placed DTS or STS strips, provides low shell side pressure drop with vibration-free operation.

Figure 4 illustrates an SBX bundle that was designed for a gas-compression circuit in a chem-
ical plant. By retrofitting the existing shell with an SBX bundle containing integral-fin tubes,
the plant was able to reduce pressure drop from 16 to 4 psi (110 to 28 kPa) while maintaining
the existing feed preheat duty. In this case, the savings captured from reduced operating ex-
pense (reduced pressure drop) and capital avoidance (used existing shell/foundation/piping)
more than offset the cost of the finned tubes.

figure 4:
SBX bundle designed for compressor circuit
The HTRI Xvib software includes DTS and STS options for evaluating vibration in shell and
tube heat exchangers. This modification is available to all Xvib users beginning with Version 6

For information on software contact:

www.HTRI.net