Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchanger Selections

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There are three basic types of shell-and-tube heat exchangers: fixed tube sheet, floating head, and U-tube. The list below summarizes the comparison between these three exchangers.

Fixed Tube Heat Exchanger

Advantages
1. Low cost
2. Fewer gaskets.
3. Individual tubes are replaceable.
Disadvantages
1. The shell can not be clean or inspect.
2. Limited temperature difference operation.

Floating Head Heat Exchanger

Advantages
1. Can be used on dirty fluids and works on high differential temperature.
2. The head and tubes can be cleaned.
3. Individual tubes are replaceable.
Disadvantages
1. High cost.

U-Tube Heat Exchanger

Advantages
1. Low cost – lower than fixed tube.
2. Works on thermal expansion.
3. No internal gasket joint.
4. Bundle is replaceable.
Disadvantages
1. Tube can not be cleaned.
2. Need larger area to install.
3. Individual tubes are not replaceable.

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