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From the Mahans Thermal Products team.

Questions to Consider Before Designing a Custom Heat Exchanger

Engineers discussing heat exchanger plans

Heat exchangers serve so many purposes, from transferring energy from one source to another to speeding up a cooling process by removing heat, that a custom design is sometimes necessary. Shell and tube heat exchangers and plate heat exchangers may fit most applications, but there are situations in which a custom heat exchanger may be necessary.

For example, some processes require dangerous and even toxic chemicals; others require separating fluids with heat transfer surfaces, and still others allow the fluids to come into contact. Other factors such as space limitations, fluctuations in the flows or temperatures, the presence of solids within fluids, and whether cooling with air is a possibility should also be taken into account.

Are there any space limitations that need to be accounted for?

The first thing to consider when designing a custom heat exchanger is the area that it needs to fit into. Every other part of its design will be based on this factor. Shell and tube heat exchangers are great for many things, but, if space is limited, something more compact like a plate heat exchanger will be necessary. Let’s face it. If it doesn’t fit, even the best heat exchanger in the world won’t fulfill your needs.

What types of fluids are you working with?

The fluid you intend to use with a heat exchanger will also have an impact on how it should be designed. Not every fluid is intended to be used in processes that require high pressures and heat. For example, fluids intended to be used for a solar water heating system are not the same as those needed for applications in the chemical processing industry.

Also consider that, while smaller diameter tubes are most often used when dealing with higher pressures, not every fluid is ideal for this design. Fluids that are prone to fouling should be run through thicker tubes that don’t clog as easily and which require less cleaning.

Do any of the fluids contain solids?

In addition to taking into account which fluids you’ll be working with, also consider whether any of the fluids that you’ll be using contain solids. Major problems with fluids typically revolve around their corrosiveness and viscosity, either of which can be detrimental to a heat exchanger if it is not designed to handle them. If these types of fluids are going to be used, the area where they’ll be contained should be made of anti-corrosive materials.

Are there any fluctuations in the flows or temperatures?

Temperature gauge








Vast flow and temperature fluctuations also require special consideration during the design process. First of all, dealing with higher flows and temperatures necessitates thicker walls that can withstand a more intense impact. While a faster flowrate leads to more efficient heat transfer, viscous fluids with low to moderate flowrates need more passes to achieve the same results as less viscous fluids.

In some cases, flowing back and forth rapidly may actually be more cost-efficient than keeping the fluid shell-side. However, increasing the diameter on the shell-side may affect flow pattern, offsetting the benefits of a greater flowrate. This should be accounted for on the tube-side as well, as more passes, although beneficial, may decrease the unit’s pressure.

Is cooling with air a viable option?

In some cases, it is possible to forgo traditional shell and tube and plate heat exchangers altogether in favor of an air cooled heat exchanger. While cooling with air is sometimes a necessity, it also has its share of benefits, including the fact that it is far less expensive than water and other fluids. Cooling with air is a method used everywhere from biomass plants to drilling rigs, and, with an ever-increasing number of uses, it’s a more feasible option than many people realize.


Custom heat transfer equipment






When designing a custom heat exchanger, there are a number of factors to consider. The amount of space available, type of fluid being used, whether the aforementioned fluid contains solids, fluctuations in flows and temperatures, and whether cooling may be an option are all crucial questions that must be answered before the design process gets underway.

Designing and installing a custom heat exchanger is meant to be handled by experts in the industry. By answering all of the important questions and working side-by-side with an expert in the design process, you’re guaranteed to end up with a custom heat exchanger that fits your needs perfectly.

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The 6 Most Unlikely Places on the Globe Where You’ll Find Heat Exchangers

The 6 most unlikely places on the globe where youll find heat exchangers

Heat exchangers have been around for a long time, and, in recent years, they’ve gone from being seen in mostly industrial settings to becoming a must-have feature in items all over the planet. Everywhere from the deep sea, to both the North Pole and South Pole, to inside of cookware, there is almost nowhere you can look and not find a heat exchanger. We’ll explore a half-dozen of the most unusual and unlikely seeming of these places here.

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Most Effective Industrial Noise Control Methods


Noise in the workplace is a constant reality in the industrial world. Unfortunately, it is also very damaging to the health and wellbeing of those who are exposed to it the most. Like any occupational hazard, steps need to be taken to reduce noise levels to the safest level possible. These actions involve either reducing the amount of noise being generated or limiting the noise transmission through the air or structures within a building.

Some of the most effective and easy-to-implement ways to reduce noise are to install silencers and other sound attenuation products. Other industrial noise control methods include engineering controls such as modifying equipment, workplace operations, or the layout of the rooms most affected by excess noise. Whichever route you ultimately take to achieve better industrial noise control, there are a few things to consider when deciding what you should do first.

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The Benefits of Using Scraped Surface Heat Exchangers in Food Processing


Scraped surface heat exchangers have been around the food industry for a long time and are used for so many purposes, it’s almost impossible to name them all. Modern designs have made them more popular than ever in the food processing industry, in large part because of their ability to transfer heat between foods of various consistencies.

They also help companies save valuable floor space, produce more uniform end-products, solve uneven cooling problems, simplify the cleaning and maintenance process, and reduce contamination. In fact, by using scraped surface heat exchangers, companies in the food, chemical, petroleum, pharmaceutic, and related industries have been able to lower production and labor costs while delivering superior products to those they serve.

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Spiral Heat Exchangers: Design Features and Benefits


Spiral heat exchangers have a single-channel design that makes them ideal for many industrial tasks that are difficult for most heat exchangers. One of its concentric spiral channels is for hot fluid and the other is for cold fluid. A spiral heat exchanger is a heat exchanger made by rolling two long metal plates around a center core. Each of the spiral channels formed contains one of the fluids involved in the heat exchange process.

The plate edges are welded shut to keep both fluids in their own passage to prevent flow bypassing and intermixing. The gap between the plates of a spiral heat exchanger are typically maintained by welded spacer studs that can be modified to fit a particular application.

In applications that require an even further minimized risk of clogging or fouling, this gap can be maintained without studs on the sludge side of the heat exchanger. Like other plate heat exchangers, the spiral heat exchanger’s compact design and significant surface area to volume ratio give it many advantages over shell and tube heat exchangers, air-cooled heat exchangers, and other more traditional designs.

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How Cooling Towers Are Used in Water Treatment


Cooling towers are used in a wide range of applications, including providing cooled water for HVAC systems, manufacturing, and electric power generation. Their sizes vary as much as their applications. Some towers are only built to cool a few gallons of water per minute, while others are designed to take on bigger loads—sometimes up to hundreds of thousands of gallons per minute.

Smaller cooling towers are most often seen in residential settings featuring heating and air conditioning systems. Larger towers featuring hulking pipes that measure 15 feet in diameter are generally found on large power plants.

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Improving Heat Exchanger Efficiency


With heat exchangers, as with every piece of equipment, the ultimate goal is to get as much out of it as possible while limiting operating costs. One way to achieve this goal is to improve your heat exchanger’s efficiency.

There are a number of ways to make this happen, from choosing one that fits your needs to using the proper operating variables to having it cleaned and maintained at regular intervals. While any of these steps are easy to put off or overlook altogether, it’s crucial to be diligent about all of them if you want your heat exchanger to perform at the level it’s capable of.

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The Ten Hottest (or Coolest) Jobs in the Power Generation Industry

Top 10 Hottest jobs in power generation industry

The power generation industry is a necessary and constantly evolving industry that utilizes a variety of technologies to better the lives of people around the world. However, as with any industry, the power generation industry is only as good as the people who work in it. Everyone, from engineers, to refinery plant operators, to wind farm operators make power generation one of the most rapidly-growing and interesting industries in the world.

Here we’re going to explore the hottest (or coolest) jobs in the industry, discuss what each position involves, and maybe even find a career path that suits you.

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Water-Cooled Heat Exchangers vs. Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers

Water-cooled heat exchangers and air-cooled heat exchangers make our day-to-day life easier. Also known as oil coolers, these devices keep our homes cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and keep our cars running smoothly, but we hardly even notice them. As with anything, both types of heat exchangers have their share of strengths and weaknesses and are better-suited to do what they’re made to do. With that in mind, we’re going to discuss some of the basic applications of each, what they can do, and what they can’t.

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Is a Custom Heat Exchange the Right Solution for You?

Custom Heat Exchanger

Buying a new heat exchanger is a big commitment, and there are many factors that go into deciding which one is right for your purposes. You know that the heat transfer you choose needs to be efficient and able to function in harmony with the available utilities in your facility. Most importantly, it needs to fit your space, as anything besides the right fit is … well, the wrong fit.

Even if you can squeeze a heat exchanger into a space, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, as an ill-fitting device can cost a significant amount of money, energy, and productivity over time.

A custom heat exchanger eliminates this problem, as it is sometimes the only way to get a machine that fits your needs perfectly. The benefits of custom heat exchangers are numerous, and here we will discuss a few of those benefits and some of the most common ways in which custom heat exchangers are used.

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