Two shell-and-tube heat exchangers (STHXs) using continuous helical baffles instead of segmental baffles used in conventional STHXs were proposed, designed, and tested in this study. The two proposed STHXs have the same tube bundle but different shell configurations. The flow pattern in the shell side of the heat exchanger with continuous helical baffles was forced to be rotational and helical due to the geometry of the continuous helical baffles, which results in a significant increase in heat transfer coefficient per unit pressure drop in the heat exchanger. Properly designed continuous helical baffles can reduce fouling in the shell side and prevent the flow-induced vibration as well. The performance of the proposed STHXs was studied experimentally in this work. The heat transfer coefficient and pressure drop in the new STHXs were compared with those in the STHX with segmental baffles. The results indicate that the use of continuous helical baffles results in nearly 10% increase in heat transfer coefficient compared with that of conventional segmental baffles for the same shell-side pressure drop. Based on the experimental data, the nondimensional correlations for heat transfer coefficient and pressure drop were developed for the proposed continuous helical baffle heat exchangers with different shell configurations, which might be useful for industrial applications and further study of continuous helical baffle heat exchangers. This paper also presents a simple and feasible method to fabricate continuous helical baffles used for STHXs.

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