The design process for heat exchangers in the process industries and for similar applications in the power and large-scale environmental control industries is described. Because of the variety of substances (frequently multicomponent, of variable and uncertain composition, and changing phase) to be processed under wide ranges of temperatures, pressures, flow rates, chemical compatibility, and fouling propensity, these exchangers are almost always custom-designed and constructed. Many different exchanger configurations are commercially available to meet special conditions, with design procedures of varying degrees of reliability. A general design logic can be applied, with detailed procedures specific to the type of exchanger. The basis of the design process is first a careful and comprehensive specification of the range of conditions to be satisfied, and second, organized use of a fundamentally valid and extrapolatable rating method. The emphasis in choosing a design method is upon rational representation of the physical processes, rather than upon high accuracy. Finally, the resultant design must be vetted in detail by the designer and the process engineer for operability, flexibility, maintainability, and safety.

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