Bypass louvers in partially open position
FIG. 11-47 Contained internal recirculation (with internal louvers). [Hydrocarbon Process, 59, 148-149 (October 1980).]
Steam Condensers Air-cooled steam condensers have been fabricated with a single tube-side pass and several rows of tubes. The bottom row has a higher temperature difference than the top row, since the air has been heated as it crosses the rows of tubes. The bottom row condenses all the entering steam before the steam has traversed the length of the tube. The top row, with a lower temperature driving force, does not condense all the entering steam. At the exit header, uncondensed steam flows from the top row into the bottom row. Since noncondensable gases are always present in steam, these accumulate within the bottom row because steam is entering from both ends of the tube. Performance suffers.
Various solutions have been used. These include orifices to regulate the flow into each tube, a "blow-through steam" technique with a vent condenser, complete separation of each row of tubes, and inclined tubes.
Air-Cooled Overhead Condensers Air-cooled overhead condensers (AOC) have been designed and installed above distillation columns as integral parts of distillation systems. The condensers generally have inclined tubes, with air flow over the finned surfaces induced by a fan. Prevailing wind affects both structural design and performance.
AOC provide the additional advantages of reducing ground-space requirements and piping and pumping requirements and of providing smoother column operation.
The downflow condenser is used mainly for nonisothermal condensation. Vapors enter through a header at the top and flow downward. The reflux condenser is used for isothermal and small-temperature-change conditions. Vapors enter at the bottom of the tubes.
AOC usage first developed in Europe but became more prevalent in the United States during the 1960s. A state-of-the-art article was published by Dehne [Chem. Eng. Prog., 64, 51 (July 1969)].
Air-Cooled Heat-Exchanger Costs The cost data that appear in Table 11-17 are unchanged from those published in the 1963 edition of this Handbook. In 1969 Guthrie [Chem. Eng., 75, 114 (Mar. 24, 1969)] presented cost data for field-erected air-cooled exchangers. These costs are only 25 percent greater than those of Table 11-17 and include the costs of steel stairways, indirect subcontractor charges, and field-erection charges. Since minimal field costs would be this high (i.e., 25 percent of purchase price), the basic costs appear to be unchanged. (Guthrie indicated a cost band of plus or minus 25 percent.) Preliminary design and cost estimating of air-
Surface (bare tube), sq. ft.
Was this article helpful?