The design requirements for a large shell and tube vertical heat exchanger (to be used in a sulfur recovery tail gas treatment unit) included startup, shutdown and upset conditions that would subject the exchanger to significant temperature changes. The exchanger was designed to the requirement of the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Section VIII Division 1 [1]. A detailed analysis of the thermal profiles and related stresses was performed to confirm the use of a flexible tube sheet design. The heat exchanger uses high pressure superheated steam on the shell side to heat a low pressure process gas on the tube side. The heat exchanger was sized and thermally rated, using commercially available analysis software. The proposed design was analyzed by Finite Element methods that included both thermal and stress analysis. These evaluations confirmed that a flexible tube sheet design was satisfactory when using specific dimensions.

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