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Dynsim LNG Main Cryogenic Heat Exchanger Validation

16 December 2005


Dynsim 3.2 released in Summer 2004 included a multi-stream heat exchanger designed
to simulate spiral wound main cryogenic heat exchangers (MCHE) found in LNG
liquefaction plants. This report highlights the validation of the model for use in LNG
liquefaction plant dynamic simulation studies and operator training simulators.

LNG Heat Exchanger Model

The Dynsim Multi Exchanger model simulates a multi-stream heat exchanger with
discretized metal nodes between the streams. It can be used for the following

• A simple pipe exchanging heat with ambient conditions

• A shell and tube heat exchanger with multiple zones
• A plate fin exchanger with two or more streams contacting a metal surface
• A spiral wound LNG heat exchanger with a shell side and multiple tube side
• A plug flow reactor with jacketed or internal cooling streams.

The Multi exchanger is configured with any number of flow passes, metal walls, and
number of discretized elements per wall. Each flow pass in the Multi Exchanger
determines its flow from its input stream to its output stream. Each flow pass has a flow
rate dependent heat transfer calculation to any of the surrounding walls. The walls
include thermal inertia of the metal and can lose heat to the surroundings. Multi
Exchanger has a custom geometry configuration so that any flow pass flow pattern can
be simulated.

Validation Data

To validate the heat exchanger model, SimSci-Esscor obtained the following PhD thesis
from the University of Trondheim.

Melaaen, Erik, “Dynamic Simulation of the Liquefaction Section in Baseload LNG

Plants”, University of Trondheim, Oct 199

Dr. Melaaen’s thesis provided internal temperature profiles for the following spiral
wound MCHE configuration.

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The PhD thesis furthermore provides a temperature profile using an accepted LNG
exchanger design program to provide the following internal temperature profile.

Validation Results

The following Dynsim model was created to match the University of Trondheim results.
The analysis was performed independently by specifying the proper fluid compositions,
surface areas, heat transfer coefficients, and pressure drop data. Two multi exchangers
were required, one for the top section and one for the bottom section.

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The following figure provides the internal temperature profile calculated by Dynsim.

Temperature profile




Relative length



Shell pass

NG pass

0.2 MR vapour pass

MR liquid pass


110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 220 230 240
Temperature (K)

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The model was tested for transients. Heat transfer coefficients are adjusted with
process flows and conditions to predict performance at other operating conditions.
Since the model includes actual fluid volumes and metal masses, the dynamics are
accurate. There is no need to exaggerate volumes or masses for stability. Also, the
model simulates zero and reverse flow in a stable and accurate manner. The simulation
is also able to run many times real time.

Feedback and Other Applications

Dynsim was evaluated by engineering contractors for licensed gas plant designs.
Although this was a plate fin exchanger design, Dynsim was found to be a useful tool in
the analysis of this process where the LNG exchanger model from competing
commercially available dynamic simulation programs were unable to produce a workable
dynamic simulation.

Since the dynamic model accepts accurate metal masses and calculates metal
temperature dynamics, the model can be used for transient design validation by
exchanger design companies or engineering contractors to determine the thermal stress
on the exchanger. This analysis can be used to determine if mechanical failure can
result during startup or other severe transient conditions

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