Testing with HTRI in Navasota, Texas

As Plate & Shell Heat Exchangers gain acceptance in the process industry, many potential users are seeking validated performance data of the latest commercial plate technology so that they can be assured of adequate operation. HTRI, a leading source of process heat-transfer technology, is working with Vahterus to assess the PSHE performance for liquid-liquid and boiling service.

Vahterus shipped two test exchangers to HTRI’s multimillion-dollar Research & Technology Center (RTC) in Navasota, Texas, USA. HTRI installed one in the Liquid-Liquid Heat Exchanger Test Unit for water-water tests and the other in the Prototype Test Unit for boiling tests with pure hydrocarbons and hydrocarbon mixtures.

From the water-water test results, HTRI developed and validated a heat transfer and pressure drop model for single-phase service. The boiling tests allowed to study the impact of nucleate and convective boiling mechanisms, and to investigate corrections needed for mixtures.

The HTRI testing demonstrates that the PSHE is a compelling alternative, not only to Shell & Tube exchangers but also to other plate technologies such as gasketed Plate & Frame exchangers and welded rectangular plate exchangers. The test results are documented in two reports soon released to HTRI members. Working closely with Vahterus, HTRI is continuing its analysis of the test units with the development of a CFD model of the corrugated plate surfaces. The high-fidelity model provides insight into factors that affect flow distribution and pressure drop, leading to improvements in overall performance.