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The use of pillow-plate heat exchangers in process industries has been continuously increasing. Usually, the heating or cooling medium flows through the inner channels of the pillow plates, while the process medium flows through the outer channels. The welding spots have an important influence on the three-dimensional structure of the plates and hence on the heat transfer characteristics of the apparatus. However, the welding spots themselves are largely passive with regard to heat transfer.
In the group of Professor Kenig, at the University of Paderborn, the design types used so far were further developed in order to increase the performance. The new construction includes different types of application-specific internals. The welding spot regions of pillow plates are now supplied with openings through which such internals can be inserted. These internals can be used to supply additional cooling/heating media, to increase the specific heat transfer area and to improve the fluid dynamics and heat transfer characteristics in the outer channels. For instance, in condensers, the concentration boundary layers are influenced in a beneficial way. An integrated condensate withdrawal along the transfer area can be realised, which results in intensified condensation.
Keywords: Heat Transfer, Pillow-Plate Heat Exchanger, condensation, industry
Among others, structured and exchangeable tubes can be used in evaporators, acting as effective evaporation-generating areas and reducing single-phase heat transfer regions at the inlet. Furthermore, such pillow-plate apparatuses can be used as reactors. Reactants can be fed into the apparatus at regulated specific times and at specific positions distributed along the reaction channel. Combinations and mergence of several functionalities are possible (e.g. as double-pipes). The internals can be adapted to the specific process conditions and requirements. In any case, an increased part of the heat transfer area will be used in a very efficient way. For cleaning purposes, the internals can be made removable.
This pillow-plate heat exchanger can be used for all relevant heat transfer applications in the chemical or process industry. This includes processes with phase change (condensation/evaporation). A typical application area is distillation, where pillow-plate heat exchangers can be used as integrated head condenser or reboiler. Further applications are processes with single-phase media on both sides of the apparatus.
A German patent application is pending, international applications are possible. On behalf of the University of Paderborn PROvendis offers licenses to interested companies.