Heat exchangers are absolutely vital equipment in many industries, from oil refining to food processing. They are used in both cooling and heating, and there are several types available. In fact, there are so many choices that it may be a bit overwhelming to determine what kind of heat exchange you need. Today, we are taking a closer look at the function, benefits, and drawbacks of a plate and fin heat exchanger.
The Basic Function of a Plate and Fin Heat Exchanger
As the name implies, a plate and fin heat exchanger uses plates and finned chambers to transfer heat. The fins look like ribbing, and they can be formed in various patterns, from wavy to offset.
These heat exchangers create a higher heat transfer surface in a smaller amount of space compared to several other types of heat exchangers. They can be used with gas, liquid, and two-phase liquids, making them a flexible option. They are often used to pair with boilers to make an entire heating system more efficient.
The Advantages of Plate and Fin Heat Exchangers
Plate and fin heat exchangers are usually used in areas where size is an important factor. They can be very compact and lightweight, while also being extremely efficient. In fact, they are often roughly five times lighter weight than a comparable shell and tube heat exchanger. They are particularly effective in use with gas and hold up well to high pressure.
While plate-fin heat exchangers tend to cost more up front, they often end up saving money over time because they are so much more efficient than similar options.
Drawbacks of Plate and Fin Heat Exchangers
Like every heat exchanger, this variety also has its downsides. Although the fins create more surface area, the smaller pathways may end up clogging more often. They are sometimes difficult to clean and may even require professional cleaning, depending on the variety.
Most plate and fin heat exchangers are made from aluminum alloy, and those are susceptible to mercury liquid embrittlement failure.
If you want more information about plate and fin heat exchangers or you want some insight on the best type of heat exchanger for your unique situation, contact MMI Tank. We can help you find the best equipment to fit your needs.