Tubeside Construction

Tube-Side Header The tube-side header (or stationary head) contains one or more flow nozzles.

The bonnet (Fig. 11-35B) bolts to the shell. It is necessary to remove the bonnet in order to examine the tube ends. The fixed-tube-sheet exchanger of Fig. 11-36£> has bonnets at both ends of the shell.

The channel (Fig. 11-35A) has a removable channel cover. The tube ends can be examined by removing this cover without disturbing the piping connections to the channel nozzles. The channel can bolt to the shell as shown in Fig. 11-36a and c. The Type C and Type N channels of Fig. 11-35 are welded to the tube sheet. This design is comparable in cost with the bonnet but has the advantages of permitting access to the tubes without disturbing the piping connections and of eliminating a gasketed joint.

Special High-Pressure Closures (Fig. 11-35D) The channel barrel and the tube sheet are generally forged. The removable channel cover is seated in place by hydrostatic pressure, while a shear ring subjected to shearing stress absorbs the end force. For pressures above 6205 kPa (900 lbf/in2) these designs are generally more economical than bolted constructions, which require larger flanges and bolting as pressure increases in order to contain the end force with bolts in tension. Relatively light-gauge internal pass partitions are provided to direct the flow of tube-side fluids but are designed only for the differential pressure across the tube bundle.

Tube-Side Passes Most exchangers have an even number of tube-side passes. The fixed-tube-sheet exchanger (which has no shell cover) usually has a return cover without any flow nozzles as shown in Fig. 11-35M; Types L and N are also used. All removable-bundle designs (except for the U tube) have a floating-head cover directing the flow of tube-side fluid at the floating tube sheet.

Tubes Standard heat-exchanger tubing is d, %, a, V, e, 1, 1d, and 1a in in outside diameter (in X 25.4 = mm). Wall thickness is measured in Birmingham wire gauge (BWG) units. (A comprehensive list of tubing characteristics and sizes is given in section 9, table D-7 of TEMA.) The most commonly used tubes in chemical plants and petroleum refineries are 19- and 25-mm (%- and 1-in) outside diameter. Standard tube lengths are 8, 10, 12, 16, and 20 ft, with 20 ft now the most common (ft X 0.3048 = m).

Manufacturing tolerances for steel, stainless-steel, and nickel-alloy tubes are such that the tubing is produced to either average or minimum wall thickness. Seamless carbon steel tube of minimum wall thickness may vary from 0 to 20 percent above the nominal wall thickness. Average-wall seamless tubing has an allowable variation of plus or minus 10 percent. Welded carbon steel tube is produced to closer tolerances (0 to plus 18 percent on minimum wall; plus or minus 9 percent on average wall). Tubing of aluminum, copper, and their alloys can be drawn easily and usually is made to minimum wall specifications.

Common practice is to specify exchanger surface in terms of total external square feet of tubing. The effective outside heat-transfer surface is based on the length of tubes measured between the inner faces of tube sheets. In most heat exchangers there is little difference between the total and the effective surface. Significant differences are usually found in high-pressure and double-tube-sheet designs.

Integrally finned tube, which is available in a variety of alloys and sizes, is being used in shell-and-tube heat exchangers. The fins are radially extruded from thick-walled tube to a height of 1.6 mm (g in) spaced at 1.33 mm (19 fins per inch) or to a height of 3.2 mm (f in) spaced at 2.3 mm (11 fins per inch). External surface is approximately 2a times the outside surface of a bare tube with the same outside diameter. Also available are 0.93-mm- (0.037-in-) high fins spaced 0.91 mm (28 fins per inch) with an external surface about 3.5 times the surface of the bare tube. Bare ends of nominal tube diameter are provided, while the fin height is slightly less than this diameter. The tube can be inserted into a conventional tube bundle and rolled or welded to the tube sheet by the same means, used for bare tubes. An integrally finned tube rolled into a tube sheet with double serrations and flared at the inlet is shown in Fig. 11-39. Internally finned tubes have been manufactured but have limited application.

FIG. 11-39 Integrally finned tube rolled into tube sheet with double serrations and flared inlet. (Woverine Division, UOP, Inc.)

Longitudinal fins are commonly used in double-pipe exchangers upon the outside of the inner tube. U-tube and conventional removable tube bundles are also made from such tubing. The ratio of external to internal surface generally is about 10 or 15:1.

Transverse fins upon tubes are used in low-pressure gas services. The primary application is in air-cooled heat exchangers (as discussed under that heading), but shell-and-tube exchangers with these tubes are in service.

Rolled Tube Joints Expanded tube-to-tube-sheet joints are standard. Properly rolled joints have uniform tightness to minimize tube fractures, stress corrosion, tube-sheet ligament pushover and enlargement, and dishing of the tube sheet. Tubes are expanded into the tube sheet for a length of two tube diameters, or 50 mm (2 in), or tube-sheet thickness minus 3 mm (f in). Generally tubes are rolled for the last of these alternatives. The expanded portion should never extend beyond the shell-side face of the tube sheet, since removing such a tube is extremely difficult. Methods and tools for tube removal and tube rolling were discussed by John [Chem. Eng., 66, 77-80 (Dec. 28, 1959)], and rolling techniques by Bach [Pet. Refiner, 39, 8, 104 (1960)].

Tube ends may be projecting, flush, flared, or beaded (listed in order of usage). The flare or bell-mouth tube end is usually restricted to water service in condensers and serves to reduce erosion near the tube inlet.

For moderate general process requirements at gauge pressures less than 2058 kPa (300 lbf/in2) and less than 177°C (350°F), tube-sheet holes without grooves are standard. For all other services with expanded tubes at least two grooves in each tube hole are common. The number of grooves is sometimes changed to one or three in proportion to tube-sheet thickness.

Expanding the tube into the grooved tube holes provides a stronger joint but results in greater difficulties during tube removal.

Welded Tube Joints When suitable materials of construction are used, the tube ends may be welded to the tube sheets. Welded joints may be seal-welded "for additional tightness beyond that of tube rolling" or may be strength-welded. Strength-welded joints have been found satisfactory in very severe services. Welded joints may or may not be rolled before or after welding.

The variables in tube-end welding were discussed in two unpublished papers (Emhardt, "Heat Exchanger Tube-to-Tubesheet Joints," ASME Pap. 69-WA/HT-47; and Reynolds, "Tube Welding for Conventional and Nuclear Power Plant Heat Exchangers," ASME Pap. 69-WA/HT-24), which were presented at the November 1969 meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Tube-end rolling before welding may leave lubricant from the tube expander in the tube hole. Fouling during normal operation followed by maintenance operations will leave various impurities in and near the tube ends. Satisfactory welds are rarely possible under such conditions, since tube-end welding requires extreme cleanliness in the area to be welded.

Tube expansion after welding has been found useful for low and moderate pressures. In high-pressure service tube rolling has not been able to prevent leakage after weld failure.

Double-Tube-Sheet Joints This design prevents the passage of either fluid into the other because of leakage at the tube-to-tubesheet joints, which are generally the weakest points in heat exchangers. Any leakage at these joints admits the fluid to the gap between the tube sheets. Mechanical design, fabrication, and maintenance of double-tube-sheet designs require special consideration.

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