Plate Type Heat Exchanger [Video Lesson]

Plate type exchanger consists of thin corrugated plates joined parallel together, creating a cavity for fluid flow inside it. Alternate sides of the plate carry two different fluids, between which, heat transfer is carried out.


Installation of this type of heat exchanger is more expensive than the shell and tube type, but the maintenance cost is much lower. The efficiency of the plate type is higher than shell and tube type for the same size of the unit and can withstand high pressure.


They are made up of similar metal plates which have a patterned corrugation and are sealed from each other by nitrile rubber joints.


Plate type heat exchanger


The first and last plates also called as innermost and the outermost plates are held together by the frames on either side and further set in place by the tie bolts.

Four branch pipes on the pressure plate, align with ports in the plates through which two fluids pass. Seals around the ports are so arranged that one fluid flows in alternate passages between plates and usually in opposite directions.


The plate corrugations promote turbulence in the flow of both fluids and so encourage efficient heat transfer. Turbulence, as opposed to smooth flow, causes more liquid to pass between the plates and come into contact with them. It also breaks up the boundary layer of liquid which tends to adhere to the metal and act as a heat barrier when the flow is slow.


The rubber seals are not suitable for extremely high temperatures as they lose their elasticity and harden become brittle and eventually break when the cooler is opened up for cleaning and inspection.
The length of the tie bolts should be measured correctly before opening the plate-type cooler for maintenance and inspection as over-tightening the plates can bend them completely and render them useless and could be expensive.
Video Lesson:

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