Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers: Prominent Types and Uses

Posted by Discount Coil on December 2nd, 2022

In engineering, shell and tube heat exchangers are quite common. It has been widely used in several industries in recent times. The simple design and robust features of the shell and tube heat exchanger are the main reasons for their growing demand. Moreover, their maintenance cost is also low, saving you more. In this article, you will discover the various types of shell and tube heat exchangers and their common applications.

Types of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

When it comes to shell tube heat exchangers, there are a variety of types available. Knowing about the different types will make it easy for you to select the right one. Here are the most common shell and tube heat exchangers available.

  • Co-Current Flow Heat Exchangers

In the co-current flow heat exchangers, the cold and hot fluids flow parallelly in the same direction. As a result, the temperature difference between the fluids consistently decreases. The temperature change takes place from one end to the other.

  • Direct Contact Heat Exchangers

In this type of shell and tube heat exchanger, the hot fluids directly interact with the cold fluids. No physical barrier is present between them. That means fluids present at different temperatures get mixed. It ultimately results in the transfer of mass and heat. 

  • Regenerative Heat Exchangers

In this heat exchanger, heat from a specific source gets stored and removed. Then, the cold and hot currents switch in and out of the heating surface.

  • Recuperators

Recuperator is a common type of shell and tube heat exchanger. Prominent examples of these types of heat exchangers are the evaporators used in ice plants and automotive radiators.

Benefits of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

Before knowing the uses of shell and tube heat exchangers, let's take a quick look at their benefits.

  • The heat exchangers are less expensive compared to the plate-type exchangers.
  • The shell and tube heat exchangers are easy to maintain and repair.
  • The maintenance cost is low.
  • The heat exchangers are ideal for higher temperatures and pressures.
  • The heat exchanger has easy-to-install sacrificial nodes.
  • The leaking tubes can be easily identified and isolated.
  • The instances of pressure drop are less compared to plate heat exchangers.
  • It is possible to double-wall the tube to lower the chances of shell-side fluid mixing with the tube-side fluid.

Applications of Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

The application of shell tube heat exchangers is vast. Some of the major industries in which the heat exchanger is used are listed below.

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Marine
  • Paper and pulp
  • Gas processing plants
  • Biotechnology plants
  • Power generation
  • Mining and metals
  • Petrochemical
  • Compressor cooling and air processing


The shell and tube heat exchangers are in demand owing to their diverse applications. Depending on the specific requirements of your industry, you can get the right heat exchanger. For the best outcomes, it is vital to get heat exchangers from reputed and reliable manufacturers and suppliers. Verify the suppliers' experience and get the best shell tube heat exchanger for your industry. 

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Discount Coil
Joined: August 1st, 2019
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