In order to improve heat transfer performance of conventional segmental baffled shell-and-tube heat exchangers (STHXs), the shell-and-tube heat exchanger with combined helical baffles (CMH-STHX) were invented. In the present study, the CMH-STHX is compared with three other STHXs which were set up with continuous helical baffles (CH-STHX), discontinuous helical baffles (DCH-STHX) and segmental baffles (SG-STHX), by Computational Fluid Dynamics method. The numerical results show that, for the same mass flow rate at the shell side, the overall pressure drop of the CMH-STHX is about 50% and 40% lower than that of SG-STHX and CH-STHX. The heat transfer coefficient of the CMH-STHX is between those of CH-STHX and DCH-STHX and it is 6.3% lower than that of SG-STHX. The heat transfer coefficient under unit pressure drop hp is introduced to evaluate the comprehensive performance of STHXs. The hp of the CMH-STHX is 7.5%, 6.5% and 87.4% higher on average than those of the CH-SHTX, DCH-STHX and SG-STHX. Furthermore, the total heat transfer rate of CMH-STHX is about 25% higher than that of SG-STHX for the same total pressure drop of shell side. Supported by these results, the new heat exchanger (CMH-STHX) may be used to replace the conventional shell-and-tube heat exchanger in industrial applications.

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