Plate Heat Exchangers
Plate Heat Exchangers have a high heat transfer rate compared to other types of heat exchangers due to their large surface area. They are composed of a number of thin metal plates compressed together into a ‘plate pack’ by two pressure plates. Within a plate heat exchanger, the fluid paths alternate between plates allowing the two fluids to interact, but not mix, several times in a small area. Each plate is corrugated to increase the surface area and maximize heat transfer. Plate Heat Exchangers have a number of applications in the pharmaceutical, petrochemical, chemical, power, industrial, dairy, and food & beverage industries.
Advantages of Plate Heat Exchangers
Effective Heat Transfer
Large surface areas and corrugated plates allow Plate heat exchangers to transfer heat very efficiently. Each plate is pressed with a chevron-shaped design to create; high turbulent flow, excellent fluid distribution, and to increase surface area.The fluid passages between plates can be very wide, reducing fouling rates significantly. Plate heat exchangers are ideal when transferring heat between two fluids with similar temperatures and flow rates.
Gasketed heat exchangers are easily disassembled and reassembled to allow for cleaning. Single plates can be removed quickly for cleaning or maintenance, minimizing the inactivity of the heat exchanger. Plate heat exchangers have a high corrosion resistance and a low fouling rate so, in many applications, they do not require the same amount or frequency of maintenance as other heat exchangers. They are also very simple to expand in order to increase flow rate or to use for another application.
Plate heat exchangers are small, yet efficient. It is possible to have a Plate Exchanger with the same thermal capacity of a Shell and Tube heat exchanger five times its size. The compact design conserves space in the heat exchanger environment, as well as material cost. Plate heat exchangers are available in a variety of sizes and materials to suit many different applications and industries.
Plate heat exchangers are smaller and use less material to produce, so they are often the most effective economic choice for a heat transfer task. Plate and gasket materials are tailored according to the desired application, so that the heat exchanger will fit design and fluid accommodations. Thanks to advanced gasket design and welded plates, plate heat exchangers also lose very little fluid; making them ideal for transferring expensive and caustic fluids. Plate exchangers can easily be expanded to suit new applications or increase flow rate, often negating the need to purchase a new heat exchanger.
Plate heat exchangers are available in a wide variety of materials, designed to fit specific applications. Plates are available in: Stainless Steel, Titanium, Titanium-Palladium, Nickel, Hastelloy, Inconel, Tantalum, SMO-254, and Incoloy 825, selected for their durability and efficient heat transfer qualities. Gaskets are available in Nitrile, EPDM, Viton, Teflon and Compressed Fiber, with Glued or Clip-on designs.
Plate heat exchangers are not the best choice for all applications. In situations where there is an extreme temperature difference between two fluids, it is generally more cost efficient to use a Shell and Tube heat exchanger . In a Plate heat exchanger, there can be a high pressure loss due to the large amount of turbulence created by the narrow flow channels. Applications which require a low pressure loss may want to consider a Shell and Tube heat exchanger as well. Gasketed Plate Heat Exchangers are limited in high fluid temperatures, by the temperature limitations of the gasket. Despite these limitations, Plate heat exchangers are the most thermally and cost efficient choice for a wide variety of applications and are therefore the first consideration for most heat exchanger applications.