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Applied Thermal Engineering 22 (2002) 16431660

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Thermal design of multi-stream heat exchangers


n-Nu ~ez n M. Pico
a c

a,*

, G.T. Polley b, M. Medina-Flores

Institute for Scientic Research, University of Guanajuato, Lascurain de Retana no. 5, Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico b 96 Park Road, Swarthmoor, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 0HJ, UK Faculty of Mechanical Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Gto., Mexico Received 15 August 2001; accepted 22 March 2002

Abstract The thermal design of multi-stream heat exchangers of the plate and n type is presented. Although originally used in low temperature processes, their application is extrapolated to above temperature processes and it is shown that, conceptually, multi-stream exchangers could replace whole heat recovery networks. The approach is based on the use of temperature vs. enthalpy diagrams or composite curves, which show how a multi-stream exchanger can be subdivided into block sections that correspond to enthalpy intervals and indicate the entry and exit points of the streams. A design methodology for plate and n exchangers in countercurrent arrangement, characterized by the maximization of allowable pressure as a design objective is extended to the design of multi-uid exchangers. The methodology uses a thermohydraulic model which relates pressure drop, heat transfer coecient and exchanger volume. The potential applicability of the methodology is demonstrated on a case study. 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Multi-stream exchangers; Platen exchangers; Composite curves; Thermo-hydraulic model

1. Introduction The rst applications of exchangers for the simultaneous transfer of heat between more than two streams were developed for cryogenic processes [1]. The type of exchangers employed for this purpose were shell and helical tubes and plate and n. Shell and helical exchangers are able to

Corresponding author. Tel.: +52-473-73-27519; fax: +52-473-73-26252. n-Nu ~ez). n E-mail address: picon@quijote.ugto.mx (M. Pico URL: http://www.pinchtechnology.com (G.T. Polley).

1359-4311/02/$ - see front matter 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 1 3 5 9 - 4 3 1 1 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 0 7 4 - 1

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Nomenclature A Ac a b Cp CP dh f fs H HT h hA j k Kh Kp L _ m Np Pr DP Q R Re RW St T V VT W x y supercial heat transfer area (m2 ) free ow area (m2 ) coecient in heat transfer vs. Re correlation (Eq. (8)) exponent in heat transfer vs. Re correlation (Eq. (8)) heat capacity (J/kg C) heat capacity-ow rate (W/C) hydraulic diameter (m) friction factor ratio of secondary surface area to total surface area enthalpy (kW) exchanger height (m) heat transfer coecient (W/m2 C) total surface areaheat transfer coecient product (W/C) Colburn factor (St Pr2=3 ) uid thermal conductivity (W/m C) constant in heat transfer coecient equation (thermo-hydraulic model) constant in pressure drop equation (thermo-hydraulic model) exchanger length (m) mass ow rate (kg/s) number of passages per stream Prandtl number pressure drop heat load (W) thermal resistance due to fouling (m2 C/W) Reynolds number wall thermal resistance (m2 C/W) Stanton number temperature (C) passage or channel volume (m3 ) total volume of heat exchanger (m3 ) exchanger width (m) coecient in friction factor vs. Re correlation (Eq. (9)) exponent in friction factor vs. Re correlation (Eq. (9))

Subscripts 1 side 1 of exchanger 2 side 2 of exchanger w wall conditions Greek letters a total heat transfer area of one side of exchanger to total exchanger volume (m2 /m3 )

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b d e j l q g s

total heat transfer area of one side of exchanger to volume between plates in that side (m2 /m3 ) plate spacing (m) plate thickness (mm) n thermal conductivity (W/m C) viscosity (kg/m s) density (kg/m3 ) n temperature eectiveness n thickness (mm)

handle one cold and two or more hot streams or vice versa, whereas the geometrical features of plate and n exchangers make them suitable for handling more than two hot and more than two cold stream in the same unit. As it has been suggested, heat recovery networks require a minimum of N 1 individual exchangers, where N is the number of streams plus utilities that take part in the process [2], then potential savings in terms of space, weight and supporting structure could be achieved if all these heat duties were to be processed in a single unit. There is therefore an incentive for developing design methodologies for multi-stream exchangers. The main concerns regarding the widespread use of heat exchangers of the plate and n type for multi-uid applications are the limited range of temperature and pressure at which they can operate and the restrictions regarding their application to relatively clean uids. Since a multi-stream exchanger represents a single unit where a number of dierent streams will exchange heat, it is expected that a complex set of heat transfer paths will take place within the unit [3]. This complexity arises as a result of the participating streams not having the same entry and exit temperatures; not having the same physical properties and, therefore, not having the same heat transfer capabilities. A multi-stream heat exchanger may consist of a large number of passages or channels with several cold and hot streams. Heat transfer calculations of such systems performed on a channel by channel basis is complicated due to the number of channels involved and the interaction between them. Previous work on multi-stream exchangers has been based on a simplication known as the common wall temperature assumption which implies that at any position normal to the direction of the ow, all separating plates are at the same temperature [4]. Subsequent studies have replaced the common wall temperature assumption for a more exhaustive analysis that include all possible paths for the ow of heat within a multi-stream unit such as the heat conduction through ns of non-adjacent layers [3,57]. Current design approaches for multi-uid exchangers consider the design of block sections per stream in an independent way [810]. The result of this design exercise is a set of ow lengths that correspond to the heat duty and pressure drop of each stream. A single ow length is arrived at by selecting a common length and iteratively changing n type on the other streams until nal dimensions match within a reasonable limit. The thermal design of a plate and n multi-stream heat exchanger must reveal the following: total exchanger volume; exchanger dimensions (height, width and length); number of channels or

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passages per stream; type of ns per stream; heat transfer coecients and pressure drop. In this work, the basic elements and basic understandings that lead to the development of a rational design methodology are presented. The design methodology developed in this paper involves the following ve major steps: (1) The construction of temperature vs. enthalpy diagrams or composite curves to determine the enthalpy intervals, their temperature eld, heat load and stream population [1114]; (2) stream ramication per interval to achieve uniform passage heat load; (3) the use of a volume design equation [15] to determine block length and width; (4) appropriate selection of ns or secondary surfaces per stream for achieving uniform eective (hA) values [13,14]); (5) determination of block height, number of passages and pressure drops; and (6) reconciliation of block dimensions by pressure drop relaxation. The main assumptions made in the development of this work are: steady state operation, single phase heat transfer process, adiabatic operation, constant uid properties, constant heat transfer coecients, negligible longitudinal heat conduction through walls, and no ow mal-distribution is considered. Also it is assumed that the thermal and friction performance data for the ns reported by Kays and London [16], which will be used in this work, are valid for uids with Prandtl number greater than 1.

2. Graphical representation of a multi-stream heat exchanger The composite curves, as those shown in Fig. 1, represent the heat balance of an entire process. They are composed of a hot and a cold composite curve. The hot composite curve represents the total heat that must be removed and is obtained by the thermal summation of all hot streams that take part in the process; on the other hand, the cold composite curve, represents the total amount of heat that must be added to the process and is obtained by the thermal summation of all cold streams present in the process. When both curves are superimposed, the overlap between them indicates the amount of heat that can be recovered within the process, whereas the overshoot on both ends indicates the amount of external heating and cooling required for the process to be in thermal balance. When constant physical properties are assumed, composite curves are formed by straight lines where each change in slope is related to the entry and exit of a stream. If a vertical line is drawn whenever a change in slope occurs, the whole heat recovery process is sectioned into various intervals. These are called enthalpy intervals and are characterized by a temperature eld (inlet and outlet temperatures), a heat load and a stream population. Techniques for the construction of these curves are well established [17]. The point of closest approximation between the curves is termed the Pinch. The heat transfer needs of a process are met through a heat exchanger network. Considering that the minimum number of two stream heat exchangers needed to fulll the thermal duty of the process is calculated from N 1, where N is the total number of process streams plus utilities [2], then performing all these duties in a single unit, potential savings in the form of space, weight and supporting structure could be achieved. Overall, the whole heat duty of the process could be met if a single heat exchanger was able to accommodate all of the hot and cold streams involved. Fig. 2a shows how every enthalpy interval is characterized by a stream population and each interval could be thought of and de-

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Fig. 1. Temperature vs. enthalpy diagrams or composite curves for the representation of the energy balance of a process.

Fig. 2. Representation of the stream population within enthalpy intervals and its relation to entry and exit points in a multi-stream heat exchanger. (a) Stream population in enthalpy intervals and (b) multi-stream exchanger entry and exit points.

signed as a block where the entry and exit temperatures of the streams are xed. Once every block has been sized, they are put together to become the multi-stream exchanger, as shown in Fig. 2b.

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3. Pressure drop and heat load distribution The stream population per enthalpy interval is characterized by a set of streams each with a given ow rate, permissible pressure drop, and heat load. In this work it is assumed that the allowable pressure drop per stream corresponding to a particular enthalpy interval is distributed linearly according to the fraction of heat load. Thus:   DHi;interval 1 DPi;interval DPi;Total DHi;Total where i is the stream number. Now for the heat load per stream to be uniform, streams need to be split in such a way that the total number of hot branches be equal to the total number of cold branches. One way of accomplishing this is by using the simple approach of Fig. 3, where the stream population and heat capacity-ow rate (CP) of streams for a given enthalpy interval are shown. Each stream has been split so that every passage or channel exhibits the same heatP load and the total number P of hot CPcold passages equals the total number of cold passages. In Fig. 3, CPhot 8 W/C and 16 W/C. This indicates that the heat capacity-ow of the cold passages must be twice as big as the heat capacity-ow rate of the hot passages. One way of achieving this is by having eight hot passages, each with a CP of 1 W/C, and eight cold passages each with a CP of 2 W/C. In a general form, the ratio of the CP any hot passage to the CP of any cold passage can be expressed by:   CPhot passage 1 P 2 P CPcold = CPhot CPcold passage

Fig. 3. CP distribution per passage for achieving uniform heat load.

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As will be seen later, the nal number of passages on the hot and cold side is a function of the block width, which is specied at some stage in the design approach. Besides, in a typical application, most streams will end up with a fractional number of passages. Since fractional passages must be changed to an integer value. A rating analysis, that is beyond the scope of this paper, must be conducted in order to consider the eect of this change upon performance.

4. Volume design equation for plate and n exchangers The geometrical features of plate and n heat exchangers make them capable of performing heat duties where simultaneous heat transfer between more than two streams takes place. Fig. 4 shows a countercurrent arrangement of this type of construction. A typical assembly is composed of plates between which, ns are tted. The function of these ns is threefold: to increase heat transfer surface area, to increase heat transfer coecient by promoting turbulence and to provide mechanical support between plates. The channels formed between the plates constitute the passages through which, in an alternate manner, hot and cold uid circulate in countercurrent ow arrangement. The main geometrical parameters of a plate and n exchanger are: ratio of total surface area of one side of the exchanger to volume between plates (b), plate spacing (d), ratio of secondary surface area to total surface area (fs ), hydraulic diameter (dh ), n thickness (s) and n thermal conductivity (j). Once the surface type is specied, all these parameters are automatically known. A design methodology for plate and n exchangers in countercurrent arrangement characterized by the maximization of allowable pressure as a design objective, as developed by Picon et al. [15] is extended here for a multi-uid application. In countercurrent arrangement, only one uid is able to fully utilize its allowable pressure drop. This stream is referred to as the critical stream [15]. The design of the exchanger proceeds by specifying the type of n (or secondary surface) for each stream. In the case of a multi-stream application, a critical stream must be chosen for

Fig. 4. Typical assembly of a plate and n exchanger and a multi-stream application. (a) Plate and n exchanger and (b) multi-stream heat exchanger in countercurrent ow arrangement.

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every enthalpy interval. The critical stream will be matched with an opposing stream which will be termed the reference stream. This allows the relevant block dimensions (length and width) to be computed so that the rest of the streams will have to accommodate their heat load within these dimensions. The basis of the sizing approach is a volume design equation. This model is presented below. The basic heat transfer design equation for a two stream heat exchanger Q UAF DTLM can be combined with the denition of overall heat transfer coecient to give     ! Q 1 1 1 A1 1 A1 R1 R2 Rw F DTLM g1 h1 g2 A2 h2 3

where A1 and A2 represent the total heat transfer area; h1 and h2 , the clean heat transfer coecients and R1 and R2 , the thermal resistance due to fouling on sides 1 and 2 respectively. Rw is the wall thermal resistance and F is the log mean temperature dierence correction factor. For a counter ow arrangement F has the value of 1. The application of this equation to the case of compact heat exchangers of the plate and n type requires that total heat transfer areas for each side be expressed in terms of volume. A parameter that relates total surface area of one side of the exchanger to total exchanger volume is a. From this denition, A1 and A2 are related to total exchanger volume from: A1 a1 V T and A2 a2 VT 5 where a can be expressed by:     d1 d2 a1 b1 and a2 b2 d1 d2 d1 d2

where b is the total surface area of one side to the volume of that side and d is the plate spacing for side 1 and 2 respectively. After substitution of (5) into (4) we have     ! Q 1 1 1 1 VT R1 R2 Rw 7 DTLM g1 a1 h1 g2 a2 h2 Eq. (7) represents the total exchanger volume as a function of heat duty, surface geometry and heat transfer coecients; g1 and g2 are the temperature eectiveness of the total surface area of side 1 and 2 respectively and they can be calculated from h i 8 9 h 1=2 d < tanh 2 = ks 2 h i 1 g 1 fs 8 : ; 2h 1=2 d
ks 2

where fs is the ratio of secondary surface area to total surface area. The key to the derivation of a design procedure where full pressure drop utilization becomes a design objective is the development of a thermo-hydraulic model that relates the allowable pressure drop to the total exchanger volume and to the heat transfer coecient of that side of the exchanger. As mentioned before, this can only be achieved if the heat transfer and friction per-

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formance of the surfaces are known. Kays and London [16] present a comprehensive set of experimental data for a reasonable large number of compact surfaces. These data include thermal and friction performance. The thermal performance is presented as the Colburn factor (j St Pr2=3 ) as a function of the Reynolds number; the friction performance is given as the friction factor (f) as a function of the Reynolds number. These data can be correlated to equations of the form [13]: j a Reb and f x Rey The basic expressions for the development of the thermo-hydraulic model are: j St Pr2=3 St hAc _ Cp m _ dh m lAc 11 12 10 9

Re

13

Combining Eqs. (9),(11)(13) and solving for the heat transfer coecient, we have:  1 b 1 h Kh Ac where Kh _ 1b lb Cp am b dh Pr2=3

14

15

Now, for the hydraulic performance of the exchanger, the frictional pressure drop across the core of a compact exchanger can be expressed by: DP _2 2fLm qdh A2 c 16

Combining Eqs. (5), (10), (13) and (16) we obtain:  3 y 1 DP Kp VT Ac where Kp _ 2 y l y a 2xm
1 y qdh

17

18

Combining Eqs. (14) and (17) and rearranging we have:

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" h Kp

Kh
1b=3y

!

DP VT

#1b=3y 19

Eq. (19) represents the thermo-hydraulic model and relates the stream frictional pressure drop to the total exchanger volume and the stream heat transfer coecient. As can be seen from this equation, once the compact surface is dened for each stream, the geometrical features and heat transfer and friction performance are known, therefore we have the streams heat transfer coefcients only as a function of the total exchanger volume. Solving Eq. (7) together with Eq. (19) applied to each stream yields the total exchanger volume. The exchanger free ow area per stream can be computed from Eq. (17). Then, the free ow area is related to frontal area according to: r Ac Afr bdh 4 VT Afr 20

where r can be calculated from: r 21

The exchanger length (L) is easily calculated from the total volume and total free ow area as: L 22

Now, it is only left to compute the dimensions of the frontal area. In this case we have one degree of freedom, this is, xing the exchanger width (W) will determine the exchanger height (HT) and this in turn will allow us to x the number of passages per stream (Np ). To this end, the following equation applies: Np Ac Wd 23

One problem that still remains unsolved is how to ensure that the rest of the streams will fulll their own heat duties despite the fact that the exchanger width and length have been set. This can be solved by ensuring that all hot streams will exhibit similar (ghA) value and so will all the cold streams. The only means of achieving uniform (ghA) values is by selecting the right secondary surface or n for each stream.

5. Fin type selection Now, given the block length and width, a search methodology is implemented amongst all available n types in order to achieve uniform (ghA) values on the hot side and on the cold side for the remaining streams. The search can be implemented using the following expression: ghA ghbV 24

where V is the steam volume per passage. Since length (L) and width (W) are common dimensions to all passages within an enthalpy interval, then an eective (ghA) can be expressed as:

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ghAeffective ghbd

25

For every other stream, the heat transfer coecient can be computed from Eqs. (14), (15), (20) and (21) using the n geometrical data. Once uniform (ghA) values are found, the nal block height can be calculated from: # " i i X X 26 Np d i 1 Np i e HT
1 1

where e is the plate thickness. There exits a wide variety of ns available to the designer. Kays and London [16] present the geometrical and heat transfer and friction characteristics of a reasonably large number of ns, 57 of which are used in this work [13].

6. Pressure drop relaxation As it might be expected, apart from the width, the nal block dimensions of each enthalpy interval will not be uniform. The block length depends on the heat load and pressure drop and the block height depends on the nal number of passages, so both dimensions will be dierent for each enthalpy interval. The block width is a degree of freedom in design that can be xed and is the same for all blocks. Therefore, at this stage, we have a series of blocks that only have the width as a common dimension. Fig. 5 shows what a multi-stream exchanger might look like at this stage. Achieving uniform block height can be done by relaxing pressure drop on critical stream. In this work, pressured drop relaxation is achieved through the manipulation of the Reynolds number [13,14]. To do this, a reference value is chosen among the various block heights. Blocks whose heights are dierent from the reference height are redesigned by iteratively changing the Re number of the critical stream until the expected value is reached. A computer code has been

Fig. 5. Non-uniform block dimensions after maximizing pressure drop on critical stream.

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Fig. 6. Algorithm for the design of multi-stream plate n heat exchangers.

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implemented to perform the whole design methodology. A summary of the design algorithm is shown in Fig. 6. 7. Implementing the methodology A hypothetical case is chosen to demonstrate the methodology introduced above. Table 1 shows the streams, operating conditions and physical properties of a process for which a multistream heat exchanger is to be designed. A minimum temperature approach of 20 C for constructing the composite curves is to be used. Fig. 7 shows the composite curves and the enthalpy intervals for a DTmin of 20 C. This diagram shows six enthalpy intervals of which intervals 1, 5 and 6 correspond to utility exchangers and intervals 2, 3, and 4 to process to process heat recovery. Only the design of the latter intervals will be considered here.
Table 1 Process data for case study Stream type H1 H2 C1 C2 Supply temperature (C) 150 90 20 25 Target temperature (C) 60 60 125 100 Mass ow rate (kg/s) 25 106.7 27.7 37.5 DP (kPa) 46 60 30 86 q (kg/m3 ) 700 700 750 750 Cp (J/ kg C) 800 750 900 800 l (cP) 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5 k (W/m C) 0.12 0.12 0.12 0.12

Fig. 7. Composite curves of case study for a 20 C DTmin .

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Fig. 8. Stream population per enthalpy interval for case study. Table 2 Pressure drop distribution Stream H1 H2 C1 C2 DP per interval (kPa) I 4.43 8.0 II 1.37 2.5 0.77 III 27 49.5 15.23 51.6 IV 13.2 7.4 25 2.76 9.4 3.84 V VI Total DP (kPa) 46 60 30 86

Table 3 Heat load and inlet and outlet temperatures per interval Interval II III IV TH;in (C) 65.3 90 150 TH;out (C) 64 65.3 90 TC;in (C) 20 25 70 TC;out (C) 25 70 91.8 DTLM (C) 42.13 29 35.74 DH (kW) 124.65 2471.8 1200.0

Stream population in each of the intervals is shown in Fig. 8. The allowable pressure drop per stream is distributed proportionally to the heat load in each interval. This is shown in Table 2. Heat load, inlet and outlet temperatures for each interval are presented in Table 3.

8. Results and discussion Design of interval II starts by specifying the critical stream. In this case, only cold stream C1 occurs in this interval and has the lowest allowable pressure drop of all the stream population, therefore it is designated as the critical stream. Hot stream H1 is considered the reference stream. The same criteria applies to interval III and IV. The results of the design exercise are given

M. Pic on-N u~ nez et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 22 (2002) 16431660 Table 4 Block dimensions Interval II III IV Length (m) 0.085 1.36 0.747 Width (m) 1 1 1 Height (m) 0.11 0.214 0.232 Volume (m3 ) 0.0094 0.291 0.173

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Table 5 Detailed design (Section 2) Stream H1 H2 C1 No. of passages 1.2 5 6.2 Surface type Plain-n 15.98 Plain-n 11.11 (a) Louvered 3=411.1 (ghA) (W/C) 3410 3379 3080 Re 22,262 14,697 4618 h (W/m2 C) 1732 1475 1535 DP (kPa) 1.034 1.742 0.768

Table 6 Detailed design (Section 3) Stream H1 H2 C1 C2 No. of passages 2.4 9.7 5.5 6.6 Surface type Plain-n 15.08 Plain-n 15.08 Louvered 3=411.1 Louvered 3=411.1 (ghA) (W/C) 2267.5 2168.4 3351.6 3496.5 Re 9508 7594 5241 5900 h (W/m2 C) 1086 1036 1676 1751 DP (kPa) 8.7 11.3 15.2 13.8

Table 7 Detailed design (Section 4) Stream H1 C1 C2 No. of passages 13.2 6 7.2 Surface type Plain-n 15.08 Louvered 3=411.1 Louvered (3/16)11.1 (ghA) (W/C) 901.8 3188 3302 Re 1756 4853 6517 h (W/m2 C) 440 1591 1985 DP (kPa) 0.481 7.4 13.82

in Table 4 where block dimensions and volume are presented. Tables 57 contain detailed block design information. Surface nomenclature is the same as that introduced by Kays and London [16].

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Table 8 Reconciled block dimensions (nal design) Interval II III IV Length (m) 0.06 1.3 0.747 Width (m) 1 1 1 Height (m) 0.236 0.231 0.232 Volume (m3 ) 0.014 0.302 0.173

Table 9 Final detailed design (Section 2) Stream H1 H2 C1 No. of passages 2.5 10 12.6 Surface type Plain-n 15.08 Plain-n 11.11(a) Louvered 3=411.1 (ghA) (W/C) 1997 2089 1945 Re 10,601 7336 2300 h (W/m2 C) 1104.4 1018.5 951.6 DP (kPa) 0.243 0.48 0.17

Table 10 Final detailed design (Section 3) Stream H1 H2 C1 C2 No. of passages 2.6 10.5 5.9 7.2 Surface type Plain-n 15.08 Plain-n 15.08 Louvered 3 11.1 4 Louvered 3 11.1 4 (ghA) (W/C) 2210 2096 3165 3320 Re 8799 7021 4850 5457 h (W/m2 C) 1041.6 955 1951.2 1659.8 DP (kPa) 7.52 9.83 12.92 15.77

Table 11 Final detailed design (Section 4) Stream H1 C1 C2 No. of passages 13.2 6 7.2 Surface type Plain-n 15.08 Louvered 3 11.1 4 Louvered 3 8.7 4 (ghA) (W/C) 977 3188 3302 Re 1756 4853 6517 h (W/m2 C) 440 1591 1985 DP (kPa) 0.481 7.4 13.82

As can be seen from Table 4, the three sections have dierent block heights. In the next stage of the design procedure, common block height is sought. In this case, a block height of 0.23 m that corresponds to block IV is taken as the reference dimension. Blocks II and III are redesigned for new Reynolds numbers, until the specied height is reached. The nal results are shown in Tables 811.

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The design of a multi-stream exchanger in sections allows to easily identify the entry and exit points of the streams along the ow length of the unit. For the case under study here, the core dimensions of the multi-stream exchanger are: 2.107 m long, 1 m wide and 0.236 m high. The exchanger width can still be manipulated, if desired, to increase the block height. Thus, reducing width by half, the exchanger height doubles resulting in the following frontal dimensions: 0.5 m wide and 0.452 m high. As shown in Tables 911, the nal number of passages are fractional. For a real application, however, their number must be integer. So, in Section 2, for instance, the number of passages of streams H1, H2, C1 and C2 could be 3, 10, 6 and 7 respectively. This change aects the heat transfer coecient and pressure drop of the streams involved. A decision can be still be made whether go for the nearest upper or lower integer for a given stream. The nal choice will depend on whether (ghA) is brought closer to the reference value. In any situation, a rating analysis must be carried out to determine the eect upon nal temperatures of the streams. The maximization of the allowable pressure drop of stream C1 is a design objective with which the process starts. Table 2 indicates the pressure drop assigned to C1 in intervals II, III and IV. The block designs of Tables 57 show that the pressure drop of C1 was maximized in each interval. However, this leads to non-uniform block dimensions which is undesirable as far as the construction of the unit is concerned. In order to remedy this situations, a reconciliation stage is implemented where pressure drop is now relaxed for arriving at uniform block heights. Therefore, in multi-stream exchangers, full utilization of available pressure drop is seldom achieved. One aspect that still needs to be considered in detail is that a n type must be specied for critical and reference stream. Since a wide number of n types are available to the designer and the nal block dimensions are a function of the ns chosen, then a large number of possible designs can be produced. A design guide that could be used is that high performance ns result in large frontal areas and short ow lengths. In any case, the n choice will depend on availability, cost and desired block dimensions.

9. Conclusions A systematic design methodology for multi-stream heat exchangers of the plate and n type has been introduced. The application of this approach to liquidliquid processes must be realized with caution since the heat transfer and friction performance of ns used in this work were obtained for gases for which Pr number is lower than 1. In the case of using validated data for a particular application, the method is reliable. The method proposed in this paper presents an advantage over other methods presented in the literature. For instance, this method results in homogeneous heat load per channel and also produces equal number of hot and cold channels. This feature eliminates the thermal imbalance that results when the heat load and the number of passages are dierent. This thermal imbalance forces designers to look for means of arriving at an optimum stream ow passage distribution. Also, the method proposed here provides a clear indication of the thermal and physical entry and exit points of the various participating streams and introduces the concept of n type selection for achieving uniform (ghA) values. In the steady state, achieving uniform (ghA) values resolves the problem of ow passage arrangement. This is so since from the thermal point of view, all hot

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passages on the one hand and all cold passages on the other, exhibit similar performance and therefore there is no dierence what the stream ow passage distribution is. However, for applications where a multi-stream exchanger replaces whole heat recovery networks, the matching arrangement becomes a function of the operability requirements of the process.

References
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