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Thermal Fluid System Design

Typical Heat Exchanger (Car Industry)
Heat Exchanger Thermal Design Problem
• From the quantitative analysis, there are a number of heat
exchanger thermal design problems. Two of the simplest and
most important problems are referred to as the rating and
sizing problems.

• Rating Problem
– Determination of heat transfer and pressure drop performance of
either an existing exchanger or an already sized exchanger is referred
to as rating problem.
– Inputs to the rating problem are:
• heat exchanger construction,
• flow arrangement and overall dimensions
• complete details on the materials and surface geometries on both sides, including their
non-dimensional heat transfer and pressure drop characteristics (j or Nu and ƒ vs, Re),
• fluid flow rates,
• inlet temperatures and
• fouling factors.
Heat Exchanger Thermal Design Problem

• Sizing Problem.
– The design of a new heat transfer means the
determination/selection of an exchanger construction type,
flow arrangement, tube/plate and fin materials, and the
physical size of an exchanger to meet the specified heat
transfer and pressure drops within all specified constraints.
Typical Pressure Drop vs Flow Rate
Pressure Drop Analysis (Heat Exchanger)
• Fluids need to be pumped through the heat exchanger in most applications. It is
therefore essential to determine the fluid pumping power required as part of
the system design and operating cost analysis.
• The fluid pumping power is proportional to the fluid pressure drop, which is
associated with fluid friction and other pressure drop contributions along the
fluid flow path. (what are some of those contributing elements???)
• The fluid pressure drop has a direct relationship with exchanger heat transfer,
operation, size, mechanical characteristics, and other factors, including economic
considerations. (oil and water which one is costly??)
• Two major contributions to pressure drop are associated with (a) core or matrix
and (b) flow distribution devices.
Pressure Drop Analysis (Heat Exchanger)
Importance of Pressure Drop
• The determination of pressure drop (P) in a heat exchanger is essential for many
application for at least two reasons:
– (1) the fluid needs to be pumped through the exchanger, which means that
fluids pumping power is required. This pumping power is proportional to the
exchanger pressure drop.
– (2) the heat transfer rate can be influenced significantly by the saturation
temperature change for a condensing/evaporating fluid if there is a large
pressure drop associated with the flow. This is because saturated temperature
changes with changes in saturated pressure and in turn affects the temperature
potential for heat transfer.
Pressure Drop Analysis (Heat Exchanger)
• The size of a heat exchanger can be reduced by forcing the
fluids through it at higher velocity thereby increasing the
overall transfer coefficient. What are the units?? and what
does it mean???
• But higher velocities will results in larger pressure drop and
correspondingly larger pumping costs. See slide 5
• The selection of optimum pipe size has a bearing on the
pumping cost. Refer to slide 5
• For a given flow rate, the smaller diameter pipe may involve
less initial (capital) cost but definitely higher pumping cost
for the life of the exchanger as demonstrated by slide
number 5.
Fluid Pumping Power
•• It is known that the pressure drop of an incompressible fluid flowing
through pipes and fittings is given as

• The power requirement to pump fluid in steady state can simple be

represented as below.

Note that

• So the power requirement is proportional to the cube of mass flow rate of

the fluid and it may be further increased by dividing it by the pump (fan
or compressor) efficiency.
• Since the pumping cost increases tremendously with higher velocities a
compromise between the larger overall heat transfer coefficient and
corresponding velocities will have to be made.
Fluid Pumping Power
Equation below is used to evaluate pumping power for heat exchanger design


Now we can introduce the following relationships:


Where G is referred to as the core mass velocity (G = um), Ao is the minimum free flow area.
ƒ is the fanning friction factor and Re is the Reynolds number as defined above

Mass velocity could also be expressed as 2.3

Fluid Pumping Devices
The most common fluid pumping devices are fans, pumps, and compressors. A fan is a low-
pressure air –or gas –moving devices, which uses rotary motion

Fans and pumps are volumetric devices and are commonly used to pump fluids through heat
exchangers. This will mean that a fan will develop the same dynamic head (pressure rise per unit
fluid) at a given capacity (volume flow rate) regardless of the fluid handled.

This means that the pressure rise across a fan will be proportional to the fluid density at a given
volumetric flow rate for all other conditions being equal.

Note that the head, dynamic head or velocity head is referred to as the kinetic energy per unit
weight of the fluid pumped

Thus the pressure rise across a fan (which is mainly consumed as the pressure drop across a heat
exchanger) can be expressed in terms of the head “H” as follows:

Major Contributions Pressure Drop in Heat Exchanger

The pressure drop associated with a heat exchanger is considered as a sum of two major
a) pressure drop associated with the core or matrix
b) pressure drop associated with fluid distribution devices such as inlet/outlet headers
manifolds, tanks, nozzles, ducting etc.

Note that the purpose of the heat exchanger is to transfer thermal energy from one fluid to the
other; and for this purpose, it requires pressure difference (and fluid pumping power) to force
the fluid flow over the heat transfer surface in the exchanger. Ideally most of the pressure drop
available, should be utilised in the core and a small fraction in the manifolds, headers, or other
flow distribution devices.

If the manifolds and header pressure drops are small, the core pressure drop dominates. The core
pressure drop is determined separately on each fluid side. It consists of one or more of the
following contributions, depending on the exchanger construction:
a) friction losses associated with fluid flow (skin friction plus drag)
b) momentum effect (pressure drop or rise due to the fluid density changes in the core
c) pressure drop associated with sudden construction and expansion at the core inlet
and outlet
d) gravity effect due to change in elevation between the inlet and outlet of the exchanger
Major Contributions Pressure Drop in Heat Exchanger Con

The gravity effect is generally neglected for gases. For vertical liquid flow through the exchanger,
the pressure drop or rise due to the elevation change is given by


The pressure drop is analyzed differently for different types of heat exchanger
Analysis of Plate Heat Exchanger Pressure drop
mentioned before, pressure drop in a plate heat exchanger consists of three contributions:
a) pressure drop associated with the inlet and outlet manifolds and ports
b) pressure drop within the core (plate passages)
c) pressure drop due to the elevation change for a vertical flow exchanger.

e pressure drop in the manifolds and ports should be kept as low as possible (generally‹ 10%,
t may be as high as 25 to 30% or higher in some design).

mpirically, it is calculated as approximately 1.5 times the inlet velocity head per pass. Since the
rance and exit losses in the core (plate passages) cannot be determined experimentally, they are
cluded in the friction factor for the given plate geometry.

though the momentum effects is negligibly small for liquid, it is also included in the following P

te the pressure drop (rise) caused by the elevation change for liquid is given by equation 2.5

mming all contributions, the pressure drop on one fluid side in a plate heat exchanger is given as

Is the fluid mass velocity in the port, np in the number of passes on the given fluid side, De is the
equivalent diameter of flow passages (usually, De equals twice the plate spacing) and o and i
are fluids mass densities evaluated at local bulk temperatures and mean pressures (outlet & inlet)
A 1-pass 1-pass plate heat exchanger with chevron plates is being used to cool hot water with
cold water on the other fluid side. The following information is provided for the geometry and
operation conditions:
• number of flow passages 24 on the hot-water side, plate width 0.5m, plate height 1.1m, port
diameter 0.1m, channel spacing 0.0035m, equivalent diameter 0.007m

• hot-water flow rate 18 kg/s, mean dynamic viscosity 0.00081 Pa.s and mean density
995 kg/m3 for both manifolds and core.

• the hot water is flowing vertically upward in the exchanger. The friction factor for the plate is
given by ƒ= 0.8Re-0.25, where Re = GDe/ is the Reynolds number.

Compute the pressure drop on the hot-water side and evaluate the pumping power required if
the efficiency of the pumping device is 87%