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Heat Exchanger – Heat Transfer

Coefficient – U-Factor
Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient

A heat exchanger typically involves two flowing


fluids separated by a solid wall. Many of the heat transfer processes encountered in
industry involve composite systems and even involve a combination of
both conduction and convection. Heat is first transferred from the hot fluid to the
wall by convection, through the wall by conduction, and from the wall to the cold
fluid again by convection.
With these composite systems, it is often convenient to work with anoverall heat
transfer coefficient, known as a U-factor. The U-factor is defined by an expression
analogous to Newton’s law of cooling:
The overall heat
transfer coefficient, U, is related to the total thermal resistance and depends on the
geometry of the problem. For example, heat transfer in a steam generatorinvolves
convection from the bulk of the reactor coolant to the steam generator inner tube
surface, conduction through the tube wall, and convection (boiling) from the outer
tube surface to the secondary side fluid.
In cases of combined heat transfer for a heat exchanger, there are two values for h.
There is the convective heat transfer coefficient (h) for the fluid film inside the tubes
and a convective heat transfer coefficient for the fluid film outside the tubes.
The thermal conductivity (k) and thickness (Δx) of the tube wall must also be
accounted for.

Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient – Plane Wall


Overall Heat Transfer Coefficient – Cylindrical Tubes

Online monitoring of commercial heat exchangers is done by tracking the overall


heat transfer coefficient, because the overall heat transfer coefficient tends to
decline over time due to fouling. By periodically calculating the overall heat transfer
coefficient from exchanger flow rates and temperatures, the operator of the heat
exchanger can estimate the lifetime of heat exchangers.

Fouling - Fouling Factor

Example: Calculation of Heat Exchanger


Consider a parallel-flow heat
exchanger, which is used to cool oil from 70°C to 40°C using water available at 30°C.
The outlet temperature of the water is 36°C. The rate of flow of oil is 1 kg/s. The
specific heat of the oil is 2.2 kJ/kg K. The overall heat transfer coefficient U = 200
W/m2 K.
Calculate the logarithmic mean temperature difference. Determine the area of
this heat exchanger required for this performance.
1. LMTD
The logarithmic mean temperature difference can be calculated simply using its
definition:

2. Area of Heat Exchanger


To calculated the area of this heat exchanger, we have to calculate the heat flow rate
using mass flow rate of oil and LMTD.
The required area of this heat exchanger can be then directly calculated using
general heat transfer equation: