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Condensers

The

construction of shelland-tube condensers is


very similar to shell-andtube heat exchangers for
duties that do not involve
a change of phase.

Condensers

can be
horizontally or
vertically oriented
with the condensation
on the tube-side or
the shell-side.

The

magnitude of the
condensing film coefficient for
a given quantity of vapor
condensation on a given
surface is significantly different
depending on the orientation
of the condenser.

The

condensation
normally takes place on
the shell-side of
horizontal exchangers
and the tube-side of
vertical exchangers.

Horizontal

shell-side
condensation is normally
preferred, as the
condensing film transfer
coefficients are higher.

Condensation

on the tubeside of horizontal


condensers is normally
restricted to the use of
condensing steam as a
heating medium.

Condensation can take place by one


of two mechanisms:

film-wise condensation,
in which the condensing
vapor wets the surface
of the tube forming a
continuous film

a.

b. drop-wise

condensation, in
which droplets of condensation
do not wet the surface and
after growing, fall from the
tube to expose fresh
condensing surface without
forming a continuous film.

Although

drop-wise
condensation can produce
much higher condensing film
transfer coefficients, it is
unpredictable, and the design
is carried out on the basis of
film-wise condensation.

The

basic equations describing


film-wise condensation were
developed by Nusselt.
The derivation of the
equations has been given by
Kern and others.

For

the shell-side of a
horizontal tube bundle,
dripping of condensate over
successive rows acts to
decrease the condensing
coefficient.

This

can be accounted for


by multiplying the
condensing coefficient for a
single tube by an empirical
correction involving the
number of tubes in a vertical
row.

However, in

a tube
bundle, the number of
tubes in the vertical
rows varies according to
the position in the
bundle.

A simple empirical correction is:

For

condensation inside
horizontal tubes, the Nusselt
Equation can be applied with a
correction for the reduction
in condensing coefficient
caused by the accumulation of
condensation.

The

correction usually
applied is 0.8.
No correction for the
number of tubes is
required.

Thus, for condensation inside


horizontal tubes:

The

Nusselt
Equations apply
to laminar flow of
the condensing
film.

For horizontal condensation the


equations are applicable for:

In

the above equations, the


film thickness and hence
the condensing coefficient
varies across the surface.
The correlations give an
average coefficient
applicable to the entire
surface.

The

condensing coefficients are


independent of shell-side geometry
(e.g. baffle cut, distance etc.).
The Nusselt Equations give
reasonably good agreement with
experimental data for laminar flow
of the condensate film in the
absence of vapor shear forces and
noncondensable gases in the vapor.

In

the absence of
noncondensable gases,
the Nusselt Equations
will tend to give a
conservative prediction
of the condensing
coefficient.

Vapor

shear and
turbulence in the film
can lead to considerably
higher values than those
predicted by the Nusselt
Equations.

If

the heat exchange involves


desuperheating as well as
condensation, then the
exchanger can be divided into
zones with linear
temperatureenthalpy profiles
in each zone.

Figure

15.12a illustrates
desuperheating and
condensation on the
shell-side of a horizontal
condenser.

Fig. 15.12a

The total heat transfer area is the sum of the values


for each zone:

To

calculate the condensing


heat transfer coefficient
requires the length of the
condensing zone L to be
specified.
Thus, a value of L must be
estimated before the calculation
can be made.

For the value of L to be correct, it


must comply with:

It

might also be necessary


to subcool the condensate.
As with desuperheating, if
subcooling is required, the
heat exchanger can be
divided into zones.
Figure 15.12b illustrates
subcooling on the shell-side
of a vertical condenser.

Fig. 15.12b

The

subcooling
arrangement in Figure
15.12b is achieved by using
a loop seal to create a
partially submerged tube
bundle1.

For subcooling, the heat transfer


area is given by:

To

calculate the condensing heat


transfer coefficient again requires
the length of the condensing
zone L to be specified.
Thus, a value of L must be
estimated and adjusted until it
complies with Equation
15.93.

Figure 15.12c illustrates subcooling on the shell-side


of a horizontal condenser.

The

subcooling arrangement in
Figure 15.12c is again achieved
by using a loop seal to create a
partially submerged tube
bundle.
Rather than use a loop seal, a
dam baffle can be used to
partially submerge the bundle1.

Figure

15.12c shows the


zones this time
represented in parallel,
rather than the series
arrangements in Figures
15.12a and 15.12b.

Calculation

For

multicomponent
condensation, the
condensation will not be
isothermal, leading to a
nonlinear temperature
enthalpy profile for the
condensation.

If

this is the case, then the


exchanger can be divided into
a number of zones with the
temperatureenthalpy profiles
linearized in each zone.
Each zone is then modeled
separately and zones summed
to obtain the overall area
requirement.

Pressure

drop during
condensation results
essentially from the vapor
flow.
As condensation proceeds,
the vapor flowrate
decreases.

The

equations described
previously for pressure
drop in shell-and-tube
heat exchangers are only
applicable under
constant flow conditions.

However, in

preliminary
design, a reasonable
estimate of the pressure
drop can usually be
obtained by basing the
calculation on the mean
of the inlet and outlet
vapor flowrates.