You see it in the distance, clouds of smoke rising from smokestacks and you wonder, how much energy is being wasted? Surprisingly less than you can imagine with helpful energy save machines known as “heat exchangers.” Running a business is oftentimes a costly affair that can end up breaking a business when the bills get too much for the company to handle.
One such bill is energy cost. Every company has one and most go to great lengths to eek out as much energy they can with very little getting wasted. Heat exchangers give businesses an advantage over their energy conservation, but what is it?
You sit inside a machine that has a heat exchanger: your car! Ships and planes, too. And at home? On a hot day what do you normally turn on? An air conditioner, a perfect example of a heat exchanger.
Their primary function is taking two or more fluids with different temperatures that are close enough for the two to enact thermal contact.
Another great example are steam condensers. You see, a cloud of smoke is not equally dense, some spots are lighter and others are denser. So, a steam condensers job is to snag some of that denser cloud of smoke. The steam condensers then stores that dense steam and cools it with cool water, in turn, turning the steam back into water. Water, in this example, is used as a chiller–usually found indoors–the other being air cooled–usually found outside. The reason is because not all the steam released was actually used as a energy source, some gets wasted. Steam condensers are built to keep the loss of energy as low as possible, thereby saving companies on their energy bills.
Types of Heat Exchangers
So, not only are there several kinds of heat exchangers, the list becomes more complicated when you introduce the different heat exchanger designs: parallel-flow, counterflow configuration and cross-flow configuration.
Parallel-flow heat exchangers have two fluids that always travel in the same direction. The end result is that when they reach their destination, the two fluids meet together.
Cross flow configuration, or cross flow heat exchangers, are similar to parallel-flow heat exchangers but only in definition. Rather than the two liquids run in the same direction, one fluid flows through a tube with the other follows perpendicular to the first.
With shell and tube heat exchangers, one fluid runs through a tube with another fluid running the shell of the exchanger. This creates an opportunity for both fluids to transfer their heat between each other.