The concept of heat exchanger efficiency is extended to the heat exchanger networks. General expressions that can be used for determining the overall efficiency and effectiveness of heat exchangers connected in series regardless of the heat exchanger type have been presented. A simple, accurate, approximate algebraic expression is provided for determining the efficiency of the heat exchanger. The approach presented is far more general compared to the traditional approaches, providing the designer the flexibility to select the efficiency of the individual heat exchangers, the overall system efficiency, the number of heat exchangers, as well as the type of heat exchanger to select, by utilizing a single equation. An expression is derived for determining the minimum number of shells, as a convenient alternative for the traditional methods currently in use.

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