Plate Heat Exchangers – Design, Advantages and Disadvantages

Plate heat exchangers are obviously types of heat exchangers. It functions by transferring the heat from one fluid to another through the use of metal plates. Comparing it with conventional heat exchangers, these ones are favored specifically because the fluids work on larger surface areas and are capable of dispersing to the metal plates. Simply put, the procedure enables proper facilitation of heat transfer as it speeds up the changes in temperature occurring during the process.

Knowing more about the concept of plate heat exchangers involves looking at the design of the tool as well as setting apart the advantages from its disadvantages. Basically, a heat exchanger uses pipes in order to cool or heat a fluid through the process of transferring it to another fluid. The pipes’ walls are often made either out of metal or other substances known to be of high thermal conduction capabilities. This is to ensure that the transfer of heat from one fluid to another will be properly facilitated. Another coating is found outside the pipe walls, now made of plastic with thermal insulation to suppress the heat from coming out of the exchanger.

Design of plate heat exchangers

From the conventional design of heat exchangers, a plate heat exchanger is said to be more of a specialized one. The design was made to construe with its purposes of heat transfer for two types of fluids. For the heat exchanging process, semi-welded, brazed or welded exchangers are used. Instead of making use of a regular pipe, two chambers are used and are separated by the so-called corrugated metal plate.

The plate is designed out of stainless steel. This material has the ability to withstand corrosion and high temperature while it is also noted for its durability and strength. In between the plates, rubber sealing gaskets are placed.

A look at its advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of this type of heat exchangers are seen through its compactness, flexibility and ease of cleaning. Its compactness can be attributed to the fact that the entire output does not require a large floor space. Its flexibility is seen with its ability to cope with requirements of different types of fluids. The plates are removable thus making it easy to clean. If replacement is needed, the plates may be removed conveniently as well.

The main disadvantages of plate heat exchangers are classified into three. First, long gaskets are needed. Second, leakage is probable. And lastly, operation costs as well as investment should also form part of the consideration.