Heat Exchanger Inspection
A heat exchanger is a device built for efficient heat transfer from one medium to another. A solid wall may separate objects, so that they never mix, or they may be in direct contact. They are widely used in space heating, refrigeration, air conditioning, power plants, chemical plants, petrochemical plants, petroleum refineries, natural gas processing, and sewage treatment.
Nuclear steam generators, condensers, feed water heaters, air-conditioning chillers and other balance-of-plant heat exchangers experience degradation over long-term use. GE can assist you in diagnosing almost any heat exchanger problem with our wide inspection capabilities.
There are two primary classifications of heat exchangers according to their flow arrangement. In parallel-flow heat exchangers, the two fluids enter the exchanger at the same end, and travel in parallel to one another to the other side. In counter-flow heat exchangers the fluids enter the exchanger from opposite ends. The counter current design is most efficient, in that it can transfer the most heat from the heat (transfer) medium. See countercurrent exchange. In a cross-flow heat exchanger, the fluids travel roughly perpendicular to one another through the exchanger.
For efficiency, heat exchangers are designed to maximize the surface area of the wall between the two fluids, while minimizing resistance to fluid flow through the exchanger. The exchanger's performance can also be affected by the addition of fins or corrugations in one or both directions, which increase surface area and may channel fluid flow or induce turbulence.
Heat exchangers are widely used in industry both for cooling and heating large scale industrial processes. The type and size of heat exchanger used can be tailored to suit a process depending on the type of fluid, its phase, temperature, density, viscosity, pressures, chemical composition and various other thermodynamic properties.
In many industrial processes there is waste of energy or a heat stream that is being exhausted, heat exchangers can be used to recover this heat and put it to use by heating a different stream in the process. This practice saves a lot of money in industry, as the heat supplied to other streams from the heat exchangers would otherwise come from an external source, which is more expensive and more harmful to the environment.
Heat exchangers are used in many industries, including:
- Waste water treatment
- Refrigeration systems
- Petroleum industry
- Chemical processing
- Internal combustions engines
- Natural gas heaters
Digital multi-channel/multi-frequency eddy current system for oil & gas and power industries
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