The Guide to Choosing the Right Heat Exchangers & Materials

By adminJun 9,2021

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Heat exchangers are used for a variety of applications in different technological processes. These devices are used to transfer heat between two or more fluids i.e., liquids, vapours, or gases of different temperatures. In order to achieve the optimum potential in operation, it is essential to choose and use the right type of heat exchanger tube and equipment in any given process.

The very first step for optimum output is choosing the right type of heat exchanger. Before you select a heat exchanger tube, you must understand the different types of heat exchangers.

Selecting the right type of exchanger is critical because the wrong cold drawn seamless tubes or material can lead to poor performance, operability issues, and equipment failure.

The following criteria can help you choose the right type of heat exchanger that is best suited for your technical process.

  • The type of any application or technical process to be followed (i.e., liquid or vapor, boiling or condensing)
  • The temperatures while operating pressures i.e., normal & process upset conditions, temperature at startups, shutdown
  • Driving force of temperature. This include the temperature of approach as well as cross and available LMTD
  • Characteristics of fluids when foul
  • Available utilities
  • Plot plan & layout constraints
  • Having convenient accessibility for cleaning & maintenance
  • Future expansions considerations
  • Mechanical considerations such as the material of construction, thermal stress, impingement protection.

The heat exchanger shell-and-tube is the most common exchange which accounts for more than 50% of installed heat exchangers. However, there are many other attractive alternatives in exchangers in terms of cost and energy recovery.

1) Heat Exchanger Types


Shell-and-tube heat exchangers

– Baffle types
– Segmental baffles
– Double segmental baffles
– No-tube-in-window (NTIW) baffles
– Helical baffles
– Rod baffles

Tube Enhancements

– Twisted tubes
– Tubes inserts (twisted tapes, Cal Gavin)
– Low finned tubes

2) Compact Type Heat Exchanger


– Plate & frame heat exchanger (gasketed, sem-welded, welded)
– Printed circuits
– Blazed plate & frame
– Plate-in heat exchanger

3) Air-cooled Heat Exchanger


Tips for choosing the right heat exchanger for any given application:

  1. Comprehensively analyze the application’s design
  2. Measure the advantages of ambient cooling
  3. Consider consolidating thermal management needs

Criteria for Choosing the Best Material for Heat Exchangers

There are so many factors to consider while choosing materials for heat exchangers. One of such crucial materials is the heat exchanger tube. Finding the best tube for your requirement is imperative. You need to make a wise decision as the material helps the operation to be done effectively and efficiently.

Below are some criteria to take a look at before you choose materials for seamless pipes, heat exchanger tubes, finned tubes, hydraulic tubes, or alloy steel Seamless tubes in general.

  1. Temperature Range
  2. Corrosion Resistance
  3. Heat Transfer Characteristics
  4. Thermal efficiency
  5. Cleanability
  6. Durability
  7. Cost & availability


Heat exchangers are critical equipment for most industries today. However, many fail to use the correct equipment, the heat exchanger tube being the one. Tubes are the most underrated material but have a dominant impact on efficiency and results. It is evident to choose the notch tubes to notice the drastic impact on efficiency. You can increase the lifespan of tubes by cleaning and maintaining them regularly.


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