Types of Air to Air Heat Exchangers

Heat exchangers are devices which are used to transfer heat from one fluid to the other i.e. from liquid to atmospheric air. They are widely used in most industrial and domestic applications such as in air conditioners and refrigerators. There are very many types of heat exchangers in the market. However, they can be distinguished based on the direction of fluid flow.

Air to Air Heat Exchangers can have a countercurrent flow where the two fluids are flowing in opposite directions; parallel flow where the fluids in the system are flowing in the same direction and cross flow where the fluids in the system flow perpendicular to one another.

In addition to this mode of classification, these devices can also be classified on the composition of the system itself. That is, there are those that made of hot plates while other are made of numerous tubes.

Different types of heat exchangers

Shell & Tube Heat Exchanger; these heat exchangers have numerous tubes through which the fluid flows. These tubes are divided into two; tubes which contain the fluid to be heated or cooled and tubes which contain the fluid which triggers the heat exchange process.

They trigger the process by either absorbing the heat hence, cooling it or warming the fluid by transmitting its own fluid to the fluid and hence warming it. The thickness of the tube walls will determine the efficiency of the heat exchange process.

Plate heat exchangers; they are mostly used in refrigeration applications. They are more efficient than the shell and tube heat exchangers since they have a larger surface area which ensures an optimal heat exchange process. They have thin plates which have been joined together though, there is a small space between the plates.

This space is maintained by rubber gasket. Within the plates, there are opening through which the fluid can flow to extract heat from the plates. With these heat exchangers, it is possible to alternate between the hot and cold fluids and thus, it can be sued to heat and cool fluids.

Adiabatic wheel heat exchangers; in these heat exchangers, it is the intermediate fluid which stores heat. This heat can then be transferred to the opposite side of the system unit. There are a number of threads within the wheel which rotate thereby making the heat transfer process.

Regenerative heat exchangers; they can either be the shell & tube or plate heat exchangers. The process in these types of Air to Air Heat Exchangers is cyclical; the same fluid is passed through both sides of the heat exchanger. The fluid which exits is used to warm the incoming fluid and hence, maintaining almost a constant temperature is easier.

Maintaining the temperature of the fluid will only require little amount of energy which will be used to either raise or lower the temperature of the fluid. This makes it to be the best heat exchanger in applications where saving energy is a priority.

These are some of the most common types of Air to Air Heat Exchangers available in the market. The choice will solely depend on the application requirements.

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