A shell-and-tube heat exchanger is modeled and numerically analyzed using a commercial finite volume CFD package. The heat exchanger is small, has a single shell and a single tube pass, and its shell side is baffled. The baffles are 25% or 36% cut single-segmental baffles. Tube layout is the staggered layout with a triangular pitch. There is no leakage from baffle orifices and no gap between the baffles and the shell. It is observed that the shell side flow and the temperature distributions are very sensitive to modeling choices such as mesh, order of discretization and turbulence modeling. Various turbulence models are tried for the first and second order discretizations using two different mesh densities. CFD predictions of shell side pressure drop and overall heat transfer coefficient are obtained and compared with Kern and Bell-Delaware method results. After selecting the best modeling approach, the sensitivity of the results to flow rates and the baffle spacing is investigated. It is observed that the flow and temperature fields obtained from CFD simulations can provide valuable information about the parts of the heat exchanger design that need improvement. Correlation based approaches may indicate the existence of the weakness but CFD simulations can also pin point the source and the location of it. Using CFD together with experiments may speed up the design process and may improve the final design.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.