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Comment PDF Heat Transfer

Engineering Practice: Get More From Vertical Thermosiphon Reboilers

By Omid Zadakbar, Ali Vatani and Kianoosh Karimpour University of Tehran |

A very common heat exchanger in the chemical process industries (CPI) is the vertical thermosiphon reboiler (VTR; Figure 1). Due to size and fluid-flow restrictions, however, its heat transfer rate is often quite low. The subcooled region formed at the thermosiphon’s tube-bundle base usually causes reduction in the tubes’ average heat-transfer coefficient. Improvements in performance can be achieved with the application of heat-transfer-enhancement devices — specifically wire matrix inserts (Figure 2), twisted-tape inserts (Figure 3) and helically coiled inserts (Figure 4) — in the subcooled zone of a vertical thermosiphon reboiler. These enhancement devices reduce the required heat-transfer surface area, subcooled zone length and maximum temperature of the reboiler tube wall, while increasing the overall heat-transfer coefficient, subcooled-zone overall heat-transfer coefficient and average heat flux rate (Table 1). All together, these benefits translate into a reduction in the size of the exchanger, the area of installation and the initial investment. TABLE 1. EFFECT OF TUBE INSERTS ON VTR DESIGN PARAMETERS Parameters Effects Heat-transfer surface area Decrease up to 25% Subcooled zone length Decrease…
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