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Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger (PCHE) are one of the most compact heat
exchangers on the market and make a great alternative to shell-and-tube
heat exchangers. Flat metal plates that make up the center of the heat
exchanger are arranged on top of each other and diffusion bonded. The
plates form a solid metal block that allows efficient fluid flow passages.
Their reduced energy costs and low fluid inventory make them attractive
alternatives to conventional designs. This printed circuit heat exchanger
being made by Stainless Steel 316, alloys, nickel and titanium. One of the
example of PCHE are heatric.

Manufacturing Process of PCHE

As the name PCHE implies, the same technique is applied as the one used
for manufacturing printed circuit boards in the electronics industry. In the
first step of the manufacturing process, fine grooves are photo-chemically
etched into one side of a flat metal plate forming the fluid passages. The
etched-out plates are thereafter alternately joined by diffusion bonding,
which is the second step and results in compact, extremely strong, allmetal heat exchanger cores. The diffusion bonding process includes a
thermal soaking period to allow grain growth, thereby essentially
eliminating the interface at the joints, which in turn gives base-material
strength and very high pressure containment capability throughout the
entire exchanger, in addition to the avoidance of corrosion cells. Because
of diffusion bonding, its expected lifetime exceeds that of any other heat
exchanger, based on a brazed structure. The complete heat exchanger

core is composed by welding together as many of these blocks as the

thermal duty (flow capacity) of the heat exchanger requires.

Structure of Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger

Plates are etched to give flow channels

Stacked to form exchanger block
Block diffusion welded under high pressure and temperature
Bond form is as strong as metal itself

Special Feature of PCHE

The conventional continuous zigzag PCHE flow paths do not allow

the boundary layer growth and encourage turbulent flow. By
enhancing heat transfer area and increasing local flow velocity at
channel bending points, this zigzag channel shape enhances the
heat transfer performance compared with the heat exchangers that
have straight channels.
Flexibility - The versatility is particularly shown in the area of
allowed fluid types and flow configurations. The variety of fluids for
which PCHEs includes single-phase liquids, gases, and boiling and
condensing two-phase flow
Does not use or contain any gaskets or braze material - the risk of
leaks or fluid incompatibility is substantially reduced

Limitation of PCHE

PRESSURE DROP: roughly inversely proportional to channel

diameter. At high pressure, pressure drop is not a constraint but at
low pressure, it is quite difficult to use PCHE.
Temperature range at 200 C 900 C

Pressure up to 600 bar