Experimental and CFD Study of the Tube Configuration Effect on the Shell-Side Thermal Performance in a Shell and Helically Coiled Tube Heat Exchanger

Document Type: Full article

Authors

CFD Research Centre, Department of Chemical Engineering, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran

Abstract

"> Despite numerous studies of shell and helically coiled tube heat exchangers, a few investigations on the heat transfer and flow characteristic consider the geometrical effects like coil pitch. Moreover, this scarcity is highlighted for the shell side of this type of heat exchangers. This study reports experimental and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) investigations on heat transfer and flow characteristics of a shell and helically coiled tube heat exchanger. The experiments were carried out using a helically coiled tube, which was placed in a cylindrical shell. Hot and cold water were used as the process fluids on the tube and shell side, respectively. The CFD modeling technique was employed to describe the experimental results, fluid flow pattern, and temperature profiles as well as dead zones in the heat exchanger. Quantitative predicted results of CFD modeling show a good agreement with the experimental data for temperature. The effect of the coil pitch on heat transfer rate was numerically studied and it was found that the heat transfer coefficient intensifies with an increase in coil pitch. The average turbulent kinetic energy (k) for the old coil tube and twice coil pitch heat exchanger was computed as 2.9×10-3 and 3.3×10-3 m 2 /s2, respectively. This indicates an increase of about 14% in flow turbulent kinetic energy. Nusselt numbers were compared with those estimated using published correlation and a mean relative error (MRE) of 14.5% was found between the experimental and predicted data. However, a good agreement was obtained in lower shell Reynolds numbers (lower than Re=200).


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