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journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng

Two types of welded plate heat exchangers for efficient heat recovery in

industry

Olga P. Arsenyeva b,, Leonid L. Tovazhnyanskyy a, Petro O. Kapustenko a, Genadii L. Khavin b,

Anna P. Yuzbashyan a, Pavlo Yu. Arsenyev b

a

b

National Technical University Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, 21 Frunze Str., 61002 Kharkiv, Ukraine

AO SPIVDRUZHNIST-T LLC, Krasnoznamenny per. 2, off. 19, 61002 Kharkiv, Ukraine

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 18 December 2015

Revised 19 February 2016

Accepted 13 March 2016

Available online 21 March 2016

Keywords:

Plate heat exchangers

Heat transfer

Crude oil preheat train

Fouling mitigation

a b s t r a c t

The developments in design theory of welded Plate Heat Exchangers (PHEs), aiming to enhance the heat

recovery and efficiency of energy usage, are presented. The thermal and hydraulic performance of the

unit is estimated using two approaches: by proper selection of plate corrugation pattern and by adjusting

the numbers of passes for heat exchanging streams. The optimisation problem targeting the minimal heat

transfer area under the requirements of proper operating conditions is observed. The optimising variables

include the number of plates with different corrugation geometries in one pass. To estimate the value of

the objective function in a space of optimising variables the mathematical model of PHE is developed. The

possibilities of their application as heat exchangers in preheat train of crude oil distillation unit of the oil

refinery are analysed basing on obtained design parameters with the effect of flow movement arrangement in the unit and its influence on shear stress and fouling formation. The comparison of Plate-andShell and Compabloc types of welded PHE is discussed.

2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

The separation of the oil products into fractions such as LPG,

naphtha, kerosene, diesel and atmospheric residue is carried out

in the crude oil distillation unit due to the different boiling point

temperatures. Oil refining is energy-intensive, requiring significant

amounts of heat energy. From 7% to 15% of the crude oil input is

used by the refinery processes, according to Szklo and Schaeffer

[1]. The amount of energy consumed by the distillation unit comes

up to 3545% of the total energy consumption by the refinery [2].

Usually this process is performed by the crude oil heating by other

products, available at the refinery, among which are light and

heavy distillates, atmospheric residue and others. These hot products are pumped in the preheat trains prior to the distillation fire

heater to increase the temperature of crude oil by heat recuperation. The bigger amount of recuperated heat can lead to considerable saving of energy required to be supplied in the fire heater and

corresponding reduction of green house gases emission. But the

increasing of heat recovery for the preheat train with traditional

shell-and-tube heat exchangers (HE) requires additional heat

transfer area in a number of locations. This has an adverse effect

Corresponding author. Tel.: +380 577202278; fax: +380 577202223.

E-mail address: o.p.arsenyeva@gmail.com (O.P. Arsenyeva).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2016.03.064

1359-4311/ 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

transfer area can be very expensive. One way to overcome this

problem is to enhance the performance of heat exchangers with

intensified heat transfer technique, as it is shown by Jiang et al.

[3] on example of shell-and-tube HEs enhanced with tube inserts.

Another important issue is to maintain the heat recovery on higher

level over the period of plant operation before cleaning heat

exchangers [4], that is also possible with fouling mitigation on

intensified heat transfer surfaces.

The heat transfer intensification is an intrinsic feature of modern Plate Heat Exchangers (PHEs). The design and operation of

PHEs are well described in the literature, e.g. [5]. PHE channels

are formed by specially corrugated plates produced by stamping

from thin metal sheets. It is observed that high heat transfer coefficients and low fouling tendencies are typical characteristics of

PHE channels of complex geometry because of high levels of turbulence, effects that are similar in principle to those observed in

enhanced tubes and tubes with inserts [6]. The advantages of PHEs

in many applications were demonstrated by plate-and-frame type

of PHEs, which were initially introduced in 1930th and gradually

undergone significant improvements in their construction and

design, especially in the last decades [7]. In many industrial applications plate-and-frame PHE has up to four times higher overall

heat transfer coefficients than traditional shell-and-tube HEs at

764

the same conditions, require much less material for heat transfer

surface, much more compact and suitable for economically viable

solutions [8]. It is confirmed by a number of researchers, as e.g.

Hajabdollahi et al. [9] have found in their study case of water to

water HE that the comparison of the optimum results for plateand-frame PHE shown 13% improvement in the total cost compared with shell-and-tube heat exchanger at the same operating

conditions. To similar conclusion came Perevertaylenko et al. [10]

in their study of cost effective ways for amine absorption unit

design in CO2 post-combustion capture process. The use of PHEs

in Heat Exchanger Network (HEN) of Absorption Desorption Unit

allowed with the same or even 15% smaller purchased cost of heat

exchangers to save up to 13% more energy as compare to optimised

HEN with conventional shell-and-tube HEs.

Important feature of plate-and-frame PHE is its ability to be disassembled for mechanical cleaning of heat transfer surface, as the

channels between plates are sealed by elastomeric gaskets. On the

other hand, the presence of gaskets is limiting the range of plateand-frame PHE application by temperatures lower than maximum

180 C and pressures below 25 bar. In the construction of welded

PHE the gaskets between plates are eliminated, that allows to

widen significantly the range of its application on temperatures

and pressures. Such PHEs can be used in preheat trains of crude

oil distillation units with temperatures up to 350 C [12]. Nowadays there are a number of different by construction principles

types of welded PHEs produced by contemporary PHE manufacturers, as is discussed in a book by Klemes et al. [5]. In this paper are

considered two recently most widely used types of welded PHEs:

Plate-and-Block HE and Plate-and-Shell HE (PSHE).

The most known representative of Plate-and-Block type is Compabloc HE [11], which was originally developed and manufactured

in 1980s. According to the data, published by Andersson et al. [12]

for the moment of publication it was installed more than 750 Compabloc HEs in oil refineries around the world on different positions,

among which 200 units were installed for operating in the crude

oil preheat train. Comparing with the conventional shell-andtube units, Compabloc is more compact and requires less space

for installation. The value of surface area per unit volume for heat

transfer core can reach up to 200 m2/m3 and more, while for shelland-tube HEs this parameter is from 7 to 10 m2/m3. The complex

channel geometry formed by the corrugated plates provides the

different channel spacing, which varies from zero value in contact

points to the double height of the corrugation in the largest gap.

The Compabloc heat exchanger is based on the square shaped

plates welded in blocks arranged in different passes combination

for hot and cold streams movement, see Fig. 1. At the presented

picture each stream goes through four individual groups of plates

with cross flow between two heat exchanging streams. The flows

are directed into passes using the baffle plates extending across

the whole cross-section of the heat exchanger collector. The hot

stream enters the unit from the top, and cold from the bottom of

the unit creating overall counter flow arrangement with cross flow

in individual groups of plates. While cross flow is less effective for

heat transfer, the conditions for streams distribution across individual channels are much better, than in conventional plate-andframe PHE with pure counter flow. There are much smaller local

hydraulic resistances in channels inlet and outlet zones, where

the channel cross section area not changing so dramatically as in

distribution zones of counter flow PHE. The stream is entering

Compabloc PHE channel through the full its width, no additional

change of cross section area. In plate-and-frame PHE and PSHE

with parallel flow of streams (see Fig. 2) part of the channel width

is blocked to arrange the outlet (or inlet) of opposed stream. It creates additional hydraulic resistance at channel inlet and exit.

The Plate-and-Shell type HE was first commercially produced

by Vahterus Oy Company [13] in 1990s and now is manufactured

(courtesy of OAO AlfaLaval Potok).

Fig. 2. The construction and operation principle of Plate-and-Shell PHE, after Freire

and Andrade [14].

welded together round plates, as shown in Fig. 2. The schematic

drawing of heat transfer plate is presented in Fig. 3a. The plates

with prolonged form are also manufactured by some producers.

In this PHE the counter flow arrangement of streams can be

organised and also multiple passes on both streams. The possible

corrugations forms are presented in Fig. 3b. In Compablocks

produced by AlfaLaval the triangular shape of corrugations is used

(see Figs. 3b and 4).

In some applications PSHE can be less costly than Compabloc

HE and consume less material for production. Welded construction

of plate pack prevents any intermixing between channels (Freire

and Andrade [14]). PSHE allow using this type of heat exchangers

for high temperature and pressure. They can be used for general

cooling and heating duties, as condensers, evaporators, reboilers

and steam heaters and operate under the temperature beyond

765

Fig. 3. The drawing of PSHE plate (a) and possible forms of corrugations on PHE plates (b).

Fig. 4. The possible organisation of passes inside PHE: (a) single pass arrangement; (b) multi pass arrangement.

400 C and the pressure up to 100 bar [5]. Many researchers investigated the application of PSHE for different duties. Nakaoka and

Uehara [15] carried out the research of PSHE used for ocean thermal energy conversion. In this work they provide the technique

for prediction of overall heat transfer coefficient and friction factor

for the water side of the heat exchanger. Freire and Andrade [14]

observe the possibility of PSHE application as steam generator in

naval nuclear reactors. The application of PSHE in oil refinery for

pre-heat train of crude oil is the efficient solution for energy saving

and needs proper design of the units and investigation of fouling

formation in this equipment for the observed duties.

The welded construction allows to extend considerably the PHE

application range on working temperature and pressure, while

limiting the access to heat transfer surface for mechanical cleaning

of fouling deposits. The cleaning is possible with rinsing by chemical solutions or with partial access to heat transfer surface from

the sides of PHE channels for both streams surfaces in Compabloc

PHE or only for one of them in PSHE. In welded PHEs made on the

principle of conventional plate-and-frame PHE the access to heat

transfer surface is not possible for both streams. Such type of

PHE is not considered in present study.

The efficient use of welded PHEs in different recuperation systems and heat exchanger networks (HENs) require reliable method

for their rating and sizing. The commercial, proprietary computer

software models available in the industry can be used for detailed

design, especially on a stage of ordering the equipment. But these

codes are not suitable for the grass root HEN optimisation and its

retrofit [3]. Hence compact but accurate enough and reliable

method is required for the welded PHE performance calculation,

optimisation. The essentials of different heat exchangers design

are exhaustively described and analysed in literature, see e.g.

[16]. The features of PHE construction renders to their thermal

and hydraulic design procedure considerable differences compare

to design of shell-and-tube HEs [8]. The detailed analysis of different approaches to plate-and-frame PHE design is presented by

Arsenyeva et al. [17] and more recently in a book [5]. The features

of welded PHEs construction introduce some additional specifics in

their design procedure. PSHE with parallel flow of heat exchanging

streams can be modelled practically in the same way as plate-andframe PHE [18]. But the Compabloc type HE has the construction

feature of cross flow in one pass of streams movement with possibility to arrange overall counter flow in PHE as a whole unit. This

issue was not much addressed in the literature, e.g. Tamakloe

et al. [19] have used mixingmixing model of cross flow in their

modelling of Compabloc PHE. Compare to model of not mixing

streams or model with one stream not mixing another fully

mixed, mixingmixing model gives lowest prediction of heat

exchanger efficiency [16]. From the point of hydraulic modelling

the important difference with plate-and-frame PHE is the possibility to arrange much better entry and exit zones of the PHE channel

without additional blockage in places of gaskets support. These

zones can make considerable contribution to a total pressure loss

in PHE [20]. The correct accounting of all these features of welded

PHEs is important requirement for their accurate modelling and

design.

The implementation of enhanced heat transfer equipment into

industry requires the reliable operation of the installed equipment

766

the process goes on, the heat exchangers tend to the fouling formation on heat transfer surface due to chemical and physical properties of heat carrier streams. It affects the heat transfer and

hydraulic performance of the units. In refineries 20% of all energy

consumption is considered to be lost due to the fouling in heat

exchange equipment [21]. The grows of fouling deposit on the heat

transfer surface affects the heat transfer capacity of the heat

exchanger, that results in more fuel consumption. The application

of heat transfer equipment with lower level of fouling formation

can reduce the energy consumption in oil refinery applications.

The problem to correctly design the heat exchanger accounting

the fouling formation on its surface with possibility to predict the

level of deposit in time and provide the reliable maintenance

schedule for the heat transfer equipment cleaning is of big importance, as shown by Assis et al. [22]. Depending on the origin of the

crude oil, its composition varies. The main important factor for

fouling formation is the amount of asphaltenes, their tendency

for solubility and reactivity with the rise of temperatures. The

problem of prediction the fouling level in heat transfer equipment

is complicated because of the variability of crude oil types and its

compositions. Extensive experimental researches of fouling in heat

exchangers of preheat trains at crude oil distillation units have

established that under some conditions exchangers may not foul.

It is particularly interesting since if to find and maintain such

favourable conditions in heat exchanger then the fouling problem

is ultimately solved. To deal with this phenomenon Ebert and Panchal [23] introduced the concept of threshold fouling models for

crude oil fouling inside tubes of shell-and-tube heat exchanger,

expressing fouling rate as a difference between deposit formation

and suppression terms and introducing dimensional parameters

which are vary for different crude oils and can be adjusted. Polley

et al. [24] modified the form of threshold model introducing in

removal term the rate of convective mass transfer between surface

of fouling deposit and bulk of fluid. For tube side of shell-and-tube

HEs the threshold conditions predicted with this model were confirmed in industrial tests, see e.g. [25]. Later for complex channel

geometries Polley et al. [26] have proposed to use EbertPanchal

model with deposition term expressed through film heat transfer

coefficient. To extend fouling model to tubes with inserts and other

channels of complex geometries Yang and Crittenden [27] proposed another approach. They modified Yeap et al. [28] model by

incorporating surface shear stress into the removal term and

equivalent velocity creating the same shear stress in smooth tube

as in tube with heat transfer enhancement. In paper [29] the influence of equivalent velocity was expressed through surface shear

stress, that made model application for different intensified surfaces more convenient.

Expensive cost related to the maintenance shutdown of the

refinery impose that it should be planned carefully and heat transfer equipment in operation should stand the operating periods

between cleaning. It requires the corresponding design of the heat

exchangers, with the maximum allowable fouling formation

deposit not to be achieved between the shutdowns. It needs the

reliable estimation of shear stress at the heat transfer surface in

the channels and determining fluid properties.

The properties of crude oils are significantly varies depending

on its type and origin, being significantly dependent of operating

conditions, especially temperature [30]. At temperatures below

50 C at pipeline transportation conditions heavy crude oils exhibit

a non-Newtonian behaviour and require knowledge of their rheological properties [31]. As shown by Djemiat et al. [32], rheology is

important at a low shear rate, while it was also noted that the

Newtonian behaviour occurs at high values of the gradient of shear

rate. When designing HEs at higher temperatures and shear stresses crude oil and its products are regarded as Newtonian fluids,

The design and selection of HEs for crude oil preheat train must

account the possibility of working with crude oils of different origin with which refinery is expected to work and corresponding

temperature correlations for crude oil and its products properties.

In the presented here case study the one possible crude oil is

analysed to obtain clear picture on comparison of two types of

welded PHEs at different process conditions, which can be also

used for analysis of applications in other industries. In a paper

are presented the main features of the welded PHEs modelling

and design with Equations for heat transfer and pressure loss calculation in PHE channels of different geometry. The cross flow local

arrangement of streams and overall counter flow in Compabloc is

compared to pure counter flow in PSHE with accounting for plates

construction differences and fouling formation on heat transfer

surfaces.

2. Thermo-hydraulic design of PHE

The cold and hot streams inside PHE can be distributed using

single pass construction, or multi passes (see Fig. 4). As a rule,

the multi-pass arrangement of streams can provide more wide

range of possible distribution of the allowed pressure drop inside

PHE, but also it needs special and more complex construction for

the separation and organising the movement of streams to the

proper channels. Thus the single pass construction is easier to

design and further maintenance and, as a rule, is cheaper, than

multi pass. But in some applications, especially where the considerable difference between flow rates on the hot and cold side exist,

the design with single pass arrangement of heat carriers movement is not the best solution.

For the PHE design the operating conditions, in which this unit

will operate, should be known and they are the input parameters:

Heat carriers and their thermo-physical properties for the hot

and cold side;

t11, t12 are the inlet and outlet temperatures of the hot stream,

C;

t21, t22 are the inlet and outlet temperatures of the cold stream,

C;

qm1, qm2 are the mass flow rates of the hot and cold streams,

respectively, kg/s;

DP1, DP2 are the allowable pressure drops for the hot and cold

streams, respectively, Pa.

The problem is to find the heat exchanger with minimal heat

transfer surface area, which will suit the given operating

conditions.

2.1. The calculation of heat transfer and pressure drop in PHE channels

The overall heat transfer coefficient can be expressed as:

1

1

1 dw

Rfoul

U h1 h2 kw

where h1 and h2 are the film heat transfer coefficients for hot (distillation products) and cold (crude oil) sides, W/(m2 K), which can

be found from the values of the Nusselt numbers for the sides calculated by corresponding equations; dw is the thickness of the plate

wall, m; kw is the heat conductivity of plate material, W/(m K); Rfoul

is the total thermal resistance of the fouling deposits.

The design of heat exchanger consists of the modelling of

steady-state behaviour at first for the clean heat transfer surface

without the fouling deposit. The effectiveness-NTU method is

applied for heat transfer modelling. The basis of this method is

767

the estimation of three parameters for all the channels in HE: the

heat transfer effectiveness e in the channel, the number of heat

transfer units (NTU) for the channel and the ratio between heat

capacity flow rates for the hot (1) and cold (2) sides. For application

considered in this paper crude oil is flowing at the cold (2) side of

HE. The type of channels for both sides of considered PHEs (see

Fig. 3) is the same and indexes specifying side in following Equations of this paragraph could be omitted for brevity.

For the calculation of pressure drop on the main corrugated

field of PHE channel the geometric parameters of plates corrugations (see Fig. 3) must be accounted, that is made when calculating

the friction factor in the channels for hot (index i = 1) and cold

(index i = 2) sides by following Eq. [33]:

"

#121

12

12 p2i

1

fi 8

;

3

Rei

Ai Bi 2

2

1316

6:4

exp Pr30

1

c

3 1 0:012 Re0:27

"

1:75

A1i 380=tgbi

where p1i, p2i, p3i, p4i, p5i are the parameters defined by channel corrugation form.

pbc2i

2:63

bi

; p3i exp p 180

c12 ;

i

1 1 ci 0:9 b0:01

;

i

bi

10

where ci = 2b/S is the corrugation doubled plate spacing b to corrugation pitch S ratio; bi is the corrugations inclination angle, degrees;

Rei = wideqi/li is the Reynolds number; de is the equivalent diameter of the channel, de = 2b, m; wi is the stream velocity in the channel, m/s; l is the dynamic viscosity of fluid, Pa s; qi is the density of

the fluid, kg/m3.

To account for the pressure losses in distribution zones at the

inlet and outlet of the inter-plate channel between commercial

plates, Arsenyeva et al. [20] introduced the coefficient of local

hydraulic resistance in those zones fDZ, assuming that it accounting

the pressure losses in both these inlet and outlet zones. To obtain

the pressure loss of the stream in PHE the pressure losses in channel should be multiplied by the number of passes and added by

pressure loss in ports and collectors:

qi w2porti

q w2i

LF q w2i

X i 1:3

Dpi fi i

fDZ i

de

2

2

2

where li and lwi are the dynamic viscosities for the stream and wall

temperatures, Pa s; Nu = hide/ki is the Nusselt number; ki is the thermal conductivity of the fluid, W/(m K); hi is the film heat transfer

coefficient, W/(m2 K); Pri is the Prandtl number; fi is the friction factor accounting for total pressure losses in the channel, calculated by

Eq. (2); wi is the share of pressure loss due to friction on the wall in

total loss of pressure; FX is the coefficient of surface area enlargement due to corrugation. For the range of Pr numbers 0.7 < Pr < 15

the exponent c in Eq. (4) is taken c = 0.4. For higher Pr values

15 < Pr < 1000, which can be observed for colder crude oil at HEs

near its entrance to preheat train, the equation presented in paper

[34] is used:

p5i

p5i 1

16

37530 p1i

C7

A5 ; Bi

0:9

Rei

7p3i

0:27 105

Re

6

B

Ai 4p4i ln @

6=7

m/s; wport is velocity in PHE ports, m/s; X is the number of passes for

the considered stream; de is equivalent diameter of PHE channel, m;

q is the density of fluid, kg/m3.

The film heat transfer coefficients are estimated using for hot

(1) and cold (2) sides the following relation [33]:

wi 1 at Rei 6 A1i

In multi-pass PHE the collectors are blocked in certain places to

organise flow of hot and cold streams through consecutive groups

of channels. The examples of distribution of streams inside single

pass and multi-pass PHE are shown in Fig. 4. The temperature distribution in the provided passes can be different and both countercurrent and co-current flows may occur in different groups of

channels with parallel flow of streams like in PSHE. In Compablock

type PHE in separate groups of channels exists the cross flow of

streams, with overall counter flow in PHE. The example of such

arrangement is shown in Fig. 5. The approach of multi-pass PHE

design considers the unit with different blocks as a system of

single-pass packs of plates. The individual packs are calculated as

separate units with proper temperature.

The operation conditions for all channels in such pack are the

same. The flow arrangement on Fig. 4b demonstrates four passes

for the hot stream (X1 = 4) and two for the cold stream (X2 = 2).

The heat transfer area of the block is determined by Fb = F/(X1X2),

where F is the total heat transfer area of the unit, m2. The change

of hot stream temperature in each block is Dti, i = 1, 2, . . ., 8. The

total number of blocks is nb = X1X2. According to the e-NTU

method the number of heat transfer units (NTU) in single block,

assuming that flow heat capacity of hot stream smaller than that

of cold stream, can be expressed as:

(m2 K); G1 is the mass flow rate of hot stream, kg/s; cp1 is specific

heat of hot stream, J/(kg K).

768

The effectiveness eb for the block inside heat exchanger according to [16] is as follows.

For counter current flow:

1 expNTUb Rb NTUb

;

1 Rb expNTUb Rb NTUb

NTUb

1 NTUb

eb

eb

for Rb 1

8

capacities of streams going through block; G2 and cp2 are mass flow

rate [kg/s] and specific heat [J/(kg K)] of cold stream.

For co-current flow:

1 expNTUb Rb NTUb

;

1 Rb

0:51 expNTUb

eb

eb

for Rb 1

9

[35] experimentally confirmed that the Equation for one fluid

unmixed and another mixed can be applied approximately in following form:

eb 1 exp

1 expNTUb Rb

;

Rb

10

can be calculated through the temperature difference between

streams entering the block Dtb inlet :

Dt1i ebi Dt b

inlet

and Dt 2i Dt 1i Rb

11

Arsenyeva et al. [17] have shown that for any number of passes

in the unit the following system of equations in matrix form can be

obtained:

ZDt i ebi D

12

[eiD] is the vector-column of the right parts of the equations in

the system; D is the temperature difference of streams entering

HE, C; [Z] is the matrix of system coefficients (i is the row number;

j is the column number), which elements are:

ebi Rb

n

h i

o

3

1 sign j int i1

1 X 1 0:5 1 ; if j > i

Xi

7

7

if i j 7;

5

i

o

X 2 j 0:5 1 ;

1 sign inti1

if j < i

X2

6 2X1

6

zij 6 1;

4 n

ebi

2X 2

13

The friction factors and heat transfer in blocks are found

depending on the used corrugation geometry of the plates according to Eqs. (2)(6). The numerical solution of this type of linear

algebraic Equations system (12) easily performed on a PC numerically, after which the outlet temperature of hot (1) stream in the

PHE can be calculated as:

t calc

12 t 11

X1

X

i1

!

X2

1 X

dti1X 2 j ;

X 1 j1

14

heat balance of PHE. Eqs. (1)(14) with relations determining necessary thermal and physical properties of streams represent the

mathematical model of PHE with known geometrical parameters

of plates and their corrugations. Its solution represents rating

of PHE. The algorithm of PHE design is presented in paper [17].

For welded PHEs the application in one PHE of plates with different

corrugation angle is not considered here.

The influence of multi pass principle on the efficiency of heat

transfer between streams in PHE can be estimated by analysis of

e-NTU relations in separate blocks of plates with different flow

current flow arrangement which e-NTU relation expressed by Eq.

(8). It can be achieved in PSHE, as also in conventional plate-andframe and brazed PHEs. For the equal numbers of passes for both

streams this advantage is also preserved, especially for a big numbers of plates in one pass, when the influence of the channels with

co-current flow at the border between passes can be neglected.

When the numbers of passes are not equal, some blocks of plates

inevitably have co-current flow arrangement which e-NTU relation

is expressed by Eq. (9) by which the heat transfer effectiveness significantly drops up to 45% even at small values of NTU like

NTU = 0.2. It leads to significant decrease of overall efficiency for

the whole PHE with parallel streams flow and unequal number

of passes. could be

For blocks of plates with cross flow arrangement (like in Compabloc type PHE) the decrease of effectiveness compare to counter

flow is much lower, especially at NTUb smaller than 1. At

NTUb = 0.5 it is only 2.4% and at NTUb = 1 it is 6.3%, decreasing

with NTU value down to 22% at NTUb = 4. The combination of

the blocks with low NTUb in PHE with overall counter flow

arrangement of cross flow blocks can give the solution for total

NTU required by the application conditions with very small loss

of efficiency compare to pure counter current flow. It renders the

significant advantage for PHE with cross flow inside passes in case

of not equal passes numbers, compare to PHE with parallel flow of

streams in which some number of channels is working in cocurrent flow with very low effectiveness. The presented in this

paper case study enables to discuss this difference in more detail.

2.3. Time related behaviour of welded PHEs due to fouling

The models of heat transfer in plate heat exchangers includes

the parameter of thermal resistance of fouling deposit on heat

transfer area, what requires the modelling of dynamic conditions

inside heat exchanger. The reliable dynamic model of heat exchanger performance including an appropriate fouling model may

result in better accuracy in predicting fouling behaviour, as can

be concluded by analysis of recent developments in fouling

research covered in the book edited by Coletti and Hewitt [36].

In crude oil preheat trains the fouling on heat transfer surface

has a very complex mechanism, caused by both organic and inorganic causes, which depend on composition of the used crude oil

and also on operating conditions of heat exchanger. According to

threshold fouling models [23] the fouling accumulation rate is

the result of the difference between the fouling deposition rate

ud and fouling removal rate ur. When ud is equal to ur, it causes

the condition, when the fouling deposit thickness is stable and

dont grow. Before it happen the removal mechanism is stronger

than deposition. The adhesion of fouling to the heat transfer surface can only start after certain threshold conditions, such as

those of surface temperature and surface shear stress, have been

met.

The modification of threshold model for channels of PHE and

the dependence of the fouling deposition on wall shear stress was

discussed by Arsenyeva et al. [29]. It considers the fouling removal

rate for threshold condition ur is proportional to shear stress at the

wall:

ur C sw ;

15

The wall shear stress in the channels of PHE is determined as:

sw fs w q w2 =8;

16

share of friction losses w has been estimated using Eq. (6).

dRf t

u d C sw :

dt

17

stress [29]:

ud

Am Pcu T 2=3

q2=3 l4=3

s

1 Bm P cu 2 sw q4=3 l1=3 T s2=3 expE=R T s

18

where

Pcu

1

11:75

2 sw

9:38

q0:75

0:25

1

1:75

769

19

density, kg/m3; l is the fluid dynamic viscosity, Pa s; R is the universal gas constant equal to 8.314 J/(mol K). In the crude oil study

reported by Yang and Crittenden [27], the parameter values were

found to be E = 52,100 J/mol, Am = 7.93 1010 kg2/3 K1/3 m5/3

(kW)1 s1/3 h1

and

Bm = 1.8 105 m13/3 kg2/3 s8/3 K2/3.

5

2

1

1 1

C = 1.60 10 m K (kW) Pa h . The threshold fouling conditions can be determined at condition when fouling rate calculated

by Eq. (17) is equal to zero. With this assumption, accounting for

Eqs. (18) and (19), the nonlinear algebraic Equation is obtained

determining the link between the temperature of the heat transfer

surface and shear stress corresponding to threshold conditions. The

results of its solution are presented in Fig. 6 by curve, above which

the fouling will start to develop. At conditions with shear stress

and temperature below this curve the fouling is not starting and

heat transfer surface remains clean during all operation period.

At conditions above threshold, as it is reported by Tamakloe

et al. [19] for the processes of fouling deposit in Compabloc heat

exchangers and by Klemes et al. [5] for PHEs, the higher shear

stress values, the less fouling deposit layer formed for the same

period of time. Thus, under the modelling of the PHE and its design,

it is needed to estimate the shear stress value. After using it to

determine the time limits for the allowable operating conditions

of the unit, before the fouling deposit thermal resistance will rise

to critical value. The critical value can be evaluated by the estimation of some percent of losses of heat transfer efficiency comparing

to the clean condition. As the shear stress depends of the geometry

of the channels, it is possible to find the geometric parameters of

the plates corrugations in PHE with the optimal value of shear

stress.

Fig. 6. The curve of threshold fouling conditions for temperature of fouling surface

Ts and shear stress sw. The points are corresponding to the conditions in heat

exchangers considered in a case study: squares 16 are for Compablock; dots 16

are for PSHE.

(Eq. (2)) and heat transfer coefficients (Eqs. (4)(6)) was confirmed

by comparison with experimental data for the main corrugated

field of the channels formed by plates with different geometrical

parameters of corrugations published by a number of researchers.

These equations account for the main parameters that characterise

the geometrical form of the channel, but they are not sensitive to

the scale of the channel in the range of channel spacing from

1.12 to 10 mm [33]. The range of geometrical parameters for plates

corrugations [33] is: the corrugations angle b from 14 to 65; corrugations aspect ratio c from 0.5 to 1.5; the surface area enlargement factor Fx from 1.14 to 1.5. This applies for Reynolds

numbers from 100 to 25,000 and Prandtl numbers from 0.7 up to

1000 [34]. It was concluded that the mean-squire error of correlation for experimental data on friction factor is 9% [37] and on heat

transfer is 6.5% [33]. These ranges of corrugations geometrical

parameters, as well as Reynolds and Prandtl numbers are including

their possible variations when calculating PHEs for process conditions in the research considered in this paper.

The validation of the thermal and hydraulic design for clean

Compabloc PHE and it with fixed fouling thermal resistance Rfoul

in Eq. (1) is performed by comparison of calculated heat transfer

surface area with the data for the same process conditions of 24

different quotations by Alfa-Laval. The discrepancies were not

exceeding 10%. This design method was also used in developed

software and calculation of welded PHEs with square plates of

similar to Compabloc type produced by Pavlogradchemmash factory in Ukraine [5], confirmed by testing in industry, as described

in [35].

The design of PSHE is made by the same principle as for design

of frame-and-plate HEs which validity was checked with a number

of industrial applications [17]. The method of calculating total

pressure loss and heat transfer in PHE channels by dividing it on

the main corrugated field and distribution zones at the inlet and

outlet of the channel is discussed and its accuracy shown in [20].

It proved useful for modelling of PHEs in HENs to estimate

enhanced heat transfer area targets [38].

To validate the model of fouling behaviour with a time the

results of calculations were compared with predictions of fouling

in Compablock HE presented by Tamakloe et al. [19]. The calculations are made for the same flow rates and temperatures 320 C of

hot residue inlet and 235 C cold crude oil inlet and 280 C crude

oil outlet temperature in clean HE. The physical properties of crude

oil and residue are calculated by equations presented in paper [19].

The wall shear stress by data in compared paper is equal to 86 Pa.

But in that case there is no distinction between pressure loss due to

friction forces at the wall and due to drag forces due to change of

flow direction and separation. In our calculations this shear stress

is multiplied on the share of pressure loss due to friction on the

wall in total loss of pressure w calculated by Eq. (6), the accuracy

of which was confirmed also by CFD modelling [39]. Resulting

shear stress is equal to 64 Pa. The calculated time dependence of

crude oil outlet temperature is presented in Fig. 7 by dashed curve.

The discrepancy with solid line, representing the data of Tamakloe

et al. [19] is not more than 2 C at time about 2 years. Counting that

in paper [19] another fouling model is used, and that the error in

fouling experiments reaches up to 50% (see [19,27]), it is fairly reasonable accuracy. The fouling model can be used to estimate the

differences in welded PHEs time behaviour at the same process

conditions.

The proposed approach is applied, when designing PHEs for

crude oil preheat train. In a case study the two types of welded

PHEs are observed for the application in these duties accounting

for the fouling formation.

770

Table 2

Physical properties of heat exchanging streams.

Fig. 7. The development in time of outlet crude oil temperature for example in

paper [19]: 1 according to [19]; 2 calculated in this study.

3. Case study

Heat carrier

t, C

Cp, kJ/(kg K)

k, W/(m K)

l 103, Pa s

Crude Oil

Crude Oil

Product 1

Product 2

Residue 2

Product 3

Product 4

250

140

170

160

320

270

200

3.081

2.480

2.9

2.644

3.28

3.15

2.81

0.0605

0.1118

0.0714

0.09727

0.064

0.0565

0.0854

0.2898

0.7728

0.04443

0.1107

0.226

0.0457

0.068

even four times. If to compare the flow rates for the cold and hot

sides from Table 1, the position 5 has the bigger one for the hot

side, and others for the cold side. The temperature of heat carriers

vary from 81.4 C to 346 C. It enables to make comparison of HEs

in a wide range of process conditions, that makes it interesting also

for other applications in industry.

example of oil preheat train at a refinery currently operating with

shell-and-tube HEs. There complex flowsheet with streams splitting including totally 23 positions for HEs of which six mostly representative and suspected for fouling are taken for this case study.

The required flow rates and temperature programs for these HEs

are presented in Table 1. The design is performed for pressure drop

1 bar at each side of HE. The refinery can operate with four different sorts of crude oils and for comprehensive HEs design the operation with all of them should be analysed. In a case study only

calculations for one sort of light crude oil are presented. The

required for design properties of this crude oil are approximated

by following relations for its density q2, kg/m3; dynamic viscosity

l2, Pa s; heat conductivity k2, W/(m K); specific heat capacity cp2, J/

(kg K).

described by Tamakloe et al. [19]. It was pointed out, that design

value for the shear stress in shell-and-tube heat exchangers is

maximally equal to 20 Pa, but in practice due to the pressure drop,

they operate typically with 1015 Pa. In Compablock PHEs the

shear stress can reach 100 Pa and more. That work is concentrated

on analysis of shear stress and its influence on fouling in heat

exchanger of different predetermined passes arrangement, which

can be considered as rating of HE with known construction parameters. The design of PHE for the required process conditions was

not considered.

The approach for Compablock design takes into account the

multi-pass arrangement of the separate blocks inside the heat

exchanger, with mathematical model described above in Section 2

and presented by Eqs. (1)(19). The flow between the corrugated

plates of plate heat exchanger has the complex structure, which

is determined by the geometry of the plates. The wall shear stress

is determined according to Eq. (16). The parameters of plates and

inter plate channels used in our calculations for some Compablock

PHEs are presented in Table 3. The design was made for parameters

of streams and their properties presented in Tables 1 and 2. The

allowable pressure drop for both streams at all heat exchangers

was taken equal to 100 kPa, the material of plates is stainless steel

AISI 316. The results of calculations are presented in Table 4.

The obtained results for shear stress in channels showed that

three heat exchangers on positions 1, 2 and 3 are situated at the

safe area, fairly below the threshold fouling conditions. They can

work clean, without fouling deposit in all time of operation. For

heat exchangers at positions 4, 5 and 6 the results are situated

above the curve for threshold fouling. For this HEs the estimation

of the performance deterioration due to fouling can be made using

l2 q2 106 fexpexp19:46 3:3 ln T 0:8g

20

21

22

23

according to refinery data at temperatures corresponding to HE

positions. Some representative data of oil and distillation products

properties are presented in Table 2.

The process conditions show the significant difference in flow

rates for cold and hot streams, which in some positions reaches

Table 1

Process conditions.

HE #

Side

Heat carrier

Flowrate, t/h

tin, C

tout, C

Heat load

of HE, kW

Cold

Hot

Crude oil

Product 1

107.339

37

150

177.4

157

155.6

637.3

Cold

Hot

Crude oil

Product 2

107.339

39.2

81.4

228.3

117.5

145.4

2457

Cold

Hot

Crude oil

Residue 1

107.339

26.327

161.2

275

178.5

211

1312

Cold

Hot

Crude Oil

Product 3

82.422

102.426

224.6

289.9

250.5

270.2

1753

Cold

Hot

Crude Oil

Product 4

120.755

102.426

224.6

289.9

247.5

264.4

2259

Cold

Hot

Crude Oil

Residue 2

82.422

24.372

269.3

346

284

300

840.5

Table 3

The parameters of plates used in the design of PHEs (approximated according authors

data).

Parameter

Plate length, mm

Plate width, mm

Angle b,

Pitch S, mm

Spacing h, mm

Thickness d, mm

Plate area, m2

ZDZ

CP15

CPL30

CPK40

141

141

45

13

4

1

0.023

9

300

300

45

15

4.95

1

0.112

9

368

368

45

15

5

1

0.168

9

771

Table 4

The results of Compabloc HE design.

HE no.

Heat transfer

area, m2

Velocity, m/s

Shear stress,

Pa

Hot

Cold

Hot

Cold

1

2

3

4

5

6

26.57

14.78

9.18

26.57

33.13

20.01

0.966

0.764

1.256

0.742

0.890

0.578

1.19

1.294

1.502

1.323

1.236

1.492

30.6

21.5

70.5

19.4

23.7

11.5

60.7

79.9

93.4

59.8

53.0

69.9

Passes,

Cold/Hot

4/8

3/4

2/6

5/2

4/3

4/5

design for clean HE.

The calculated development in time of the crude oil temperature at the outlet of HE6 is presented in Fig. 8 by dashed curve

(2). The 40% drop in thermal performance (to outlet temperature

278 C) will occur in 190 days. For HE4 (dashed curve in Fig. 9)

the 40% drop in thermal performance (to outlet temperature

240 C) will happen in about 730 or 2 years, that is the good performance in such conditions. Similar situation is for HE5. The predicted performance of all other HEs (1, 2 and 3), operating at

lower temperatures but with higher enough shear stress, is not

deteriorating with time.

3.3. The design of Plate-and-Shell HEs

The possibility to use PSHE heat exchanger in crude oil preheat

train is analysed. These heat exchangers have welded plates pack

placed in shell, what provides high pressure ratings (Fig. 2). It

has alternating channels for hot and cold media, and can operate

with counter-current or co-current flows with single or multipass arrangement of heat carriers. The plate pack has a welded

construction and consists of the rounded corrugated plates assembled together in one unit. The general form of the circle plate is

presented in Fig. 3a. Generally the plates with the same corrugation are welded together to form the channels for heat carriers

movement, presented in Fig. 3b. The different flowrates for oil

and product affects the flow velocities on hot and cold sides. As

it was discussed in Section 3.2, in PHE with parallel flow the

single-pass arrangement with counter flow is preferable compare

to multi-pass arrangement. Besides, the multi pass arrangement

on hot side of HE with single pass for crude oil is leading to different temperature programs at the passes. The part of the crude oil

stream flowing through channels close to hot stream inlet will be

overheated compare to required average temperature at crude oil

Fig. 9. The calculated outlet temperature change with time for HE at position #4:

(1) PSHE; (2) Compabloc HE.

pass arrangement for both streams is considered.

Initially the optimal geometrical parameters of plate corrugations were selected with objective function as the total heat transfer area of all HEs in preheat train in clean conditions with the use

of the methodology described in [20]. The constraints were the

maximal heat transfer area of one plate (1 m2) and the number

of plates in one HE (300). As the result the corrugation inclination

angle is taken equal to 65, the corrugation height equal to 2 mm

and corrugation pitch 6.5 mm. The results of design of single pass

counter flow PSHE with these parameters of plate corrugation are

presented in Table 5. The calculations were made for material of

plate AISI 316 with its thickness equal to 1 mm. The coefficient

of local hydraulic resistance in distribution zones of the plate

was taken fDZ = 38, as for plate-and-frame heat exchanger analysed

in paper [20]. The allowable pressure drop was taken the same as

for design of Compabloc PHE equal to 1 bar.

For the considered PSHEs the threshold fouling conditions are

checked by comparison the positions of corresponding temperatureshear stress points on a graph in Fig. 6 with threshold fouling

curve. The calculated time development of outlet crude oil temperature for PSHEs on positions suspected to fouling (HE6 and HE4) is

presented on graphs in Figs. 8 and 9.

3.4. The comparison of Compabloc and PSHE types of welded PHEs

As it can be judged from results in Tables 4 and 5, the required

heat transfer areas of PSHE in most cases are somewhat bigger

than that for Compabloc PHE. Only at positions 4 and 5, where

hot and cold streams flow rates are close each other on magnitude,

PSHE has about 7% smaller heat transfer area. It can be explained

by two major points.

(1) Drawback of not using unsymmetrical passes arrangement

in PSHE with significantly different flow rates of streams at

the same allowable pressure drops. To overcome this, the

Table 5

The results of PSHE design.

HE no.

Fig. 8. The calculated outlet temperature change with time for HE at position #6:

(1) PSHE; (2) Compabloc HE.

1

2

3

4

5

6

41.37

20.07

27.60

24.82

31.62

24.92

Velocity, m/s

Shear stress, Pa

Hot

Cold

Hot

Cold

0.270

0.420

0.229

1.210

0.930

0.289

0.808

0.922

0.866

0.871

1.005

0.916

7.01

14.13

8.47

87.01

55.67

12.52

120.98

150.96

135.91

89.83

115.37

97.88

772

channels on both sides can be used, as is proposed in paper

[40] for condensation process. Such option is not considered

in present study. When flow rates of streams are similar on

magnitude, the required heat transfer area of clean PSHE can

be smaller than that of Compabloc. It is mainly due to smaller hydraulic diameter.

(2) The additional hydraulic resistance at Compabloc in flow

distribution zones at inlet and outlet of the channels is smaller than in PSHE. As it is shown in Fig. 1, the stream is entering Compabloc channel through the full its width, no

additional change of cross section area required. In PSHE

with parallel flow of streams (see Fig. 2) part of the channel

width is blocked to arrange at the same side of HE the outlet

(or inlet) of opposed stream. It creates additional hydraulic

resistance at channel inlet and exit.

The advantages of PSHE construction is the possibility to use

pure counter current flow of streams, the channels with smaller

hydraulic diameter and with optimal corrugations angle. In Compabloc HE the change of corrugation angle at one side leads to

the opposite change of corrugation angle at another side, so the

angle of 45 seem as the best solution. However the good flow distribution and possibility to arrange multipass arrangement with

overall counter flow of streams makes this type of heat exchanger

relatively easy adopted to required process conditions.

The analysis of data in Tables 4 and 5 reveals that at the same

process conditions the wall shear stress in PSHE is considerably

higher than in Compabloc PHE. Considered PSHE has about two

times smaller plates spacing and hydraulic diameter of channels

than Compabloc. The friction factors in channels with corrugation

angle 65 is also much higher than at 45 corrugation angle. To satisfy the same allowable pressure drop such PSHE channel should

have much smaller length that allow to do it in one pass with

increase of the wall shear stress, as is explained with more details

in paper [20]. The higher level of shear stress can significantly mitigate the fouling formation. As it is seen at graph in Fig. 6, the most

points corresponding to temperatureshear stress conditions in

PSHE are situated below the fouling threshold curve. This indicates

that the fouling in PSHE at positions 15 even will not start or will

be very low. The point for the position 6 is also much closer to

threshold curve than that for Compabloc at the same position.

The calculated fouling time behaviour of PSHE shown in Fig. 8 indicates that the fouling tendency is about two times lower than for

Compabloc HE on this position. The outlet temperature of the

crude oil is dropping to 278 C in about 1 year compare to half a

year in Compabloc HE. There is even greater difference for HE4

position, as shown in Fig. 9. The drop in crude oil outlet temperature in PSHE is about 1 C in a 5 years, when Compabloc require

cleaning in a two years with 40% drop of heat load. As it is discussed in Section 1, the properties of different crude oils can vary

considerably, as well as their fouling propensities [41]. So the calculations of HEs must be made with accounting for possibility to

use different crude oils. The presented comparison can be regarded

as qualitative one that allows to conclude about the benefits of

using PSHE in crude oil preheat trains, where they can be competitive with Compabloc type PHEs.

4. Conclusions

The applications of compact heat exchangers for crude oil

preheat train duties increases heat transfer efficiency and energy

saving potential of industrial sites. The construction of welded

PHEs allows significant increase of their application range on

temperature (up to 400 C) and pressure (to 40 bar and more).

For the crude oil preheat train the welded PHEs of Compabloc type

and Plate-and-Shell type can be designed and introduced instead of

Shell-and-Tube HEs, that allows to decrease the heat transfer surface areas and mitigate fouling in heat transfer equipment.

The proposed mathematical models of welded PHEs enable to

design these HEs at different process conditions with accounting

for the influence of plates corrugations geometry on HE thermal

and hydraulic performance. The obtained results of the design

show that the application of PSHE units can decrease the fouling

formation on the heat transfer surface, as it has single-pass

arrangement of flow movement and higher wall shear stress level.

The approach of designing PSHE with variable cross section area for

cold and hot sides can significantly improve their heat and hydraulic performance for the processes with significant differences in

flow rates of cold and hot media. The correct calculation of PSHE

and optimisation of plates geometry requires the use of mathematical model and correlations to predict the heat transfer and friction

factors, which are presented.

The correct design of welded PHEs in crude oil preheat train

requires to be made with accounting for physical properties and

fouling propensity of different crude oils expected for the use in

specific refinery and their temperature dependence. It is also

requires the reliable data of fouling monitoring in PHEs for adequate estimation of empirical constants in fouling models.

Acknowledgements

The support of EC Project EFENIS (contract No ENER-FP7296003) is sincerely acknowledged.

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