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Comparative CFD Analysis of Maldistribution in a Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger With Conical and Cylindrical Headers

[+] Author Affiliations
Rohitha Paruchuri, T. S. Ravigururajan, Arun Muley

Wichita State University, Wichita, KS

Paper No. IMECE2010-40946, pp. 143-150; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


The analysis of flow maldistribution in a shell and tube heat exchanger is presented. The flow field within the headers was obtained through numerical solution of conservation equations of mass and momentum in addition to the equations of the turbulence model. The flow maldistribution inside the header was a 3-D numerical simulation with the help of commercial software To increase the performance of the heat exchanger, flow maldistribution among the tubes should be minimized.. Flow maldistribution in the header affects the heat transfer performance. The effects of the pressure drop and velocity distribution in the headers were analyzed, as it effects the heat transfer performance. The study showed that by changing the header geometry, the maldistribution can be reduced leading to improved performance. Two types of headers were considered with varying header length and inlet flow velocities from 0.8373mm/sec to 2.344mm/sec are considered. The uniformity of flow distribution improved with increasing header length, whereas it decreased with increasing flow rate. As the header length increased to 1500mm the flow maldistribution decreased and the static pressure was almost equal for all the tubes in case of a conical header. The results show that conical header minimizes flow maldistribution compared to a cylindrical header.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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