Principles Of Construction

Hairpin heat exchangers (often also referred to as "double pipes") are characterized by a construction form which imparts a U-shaped appearance to the heat exchanger. In its classical sense, the term double pipe refers to a heat exchanger consisting of a pipe within a pipe, usually of a straight-leg construction with no bends. However, due to the need for removable bundle construction and the ability to handle differential thermal expansion while avoiding the use of expansion joints (often the weak point of the exchanger), the current U-shaped configuration has become the standard in the industry (Fig. 11-42). A further departure from the classical definition comes when more than one pipe or tube is used to make a tube bundle, complete with tubesheets and tube supports similar to the TEMA style exchanger.

Hairpin heat exchangers consist of two shell assemblies housing a common set of tubes and interconnected by a return-bend cover referred to as the bonnet. The shell is supported by means of bracket assemblies designed to cradle both shells simultaneously. These brackets are configured to permit the modular assembly of many hairpin sections into an exchanger bank for inexpensive future-expansion capability and for providing the very long thermal lengths demanded by special process applications.

The bracket construction permits support of the exchanger without fixing the supports to the shell. This provides for thermal movement of the shells within the brackets and prevents the transfer of thermal stresses into the process piping. In special cases the brackets may be welded to the shell. However, this is usually avoided due to the resulting loss of flexibility in field installation and equipment reuse at other sites and an increase in piping stresses.

The hairpin heat exchanger, unlike the removable bundle TEMA styles, is designed for bundle insertion and removal from the return end rather than the tubesheet end. This is accomplished by means of removable split rings which slide into grooves machined around the outside of each tubesheet and lock the tubesheets to the external closure flanges. This provides a distinct advantage in maintenance since bundle removal o

FIG. 11-42 Double-pipe-exchanger section with longitudinal fins. (Brown Fin-tube Co.)

takes place at the exchanger end furthest from the plant process piping without disturbing any gasketed joints of this piping.

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