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Research Papers

# Energy Efficient Polymers for Gas-Liquid Heat Exchangers

[+] Author and Article Information
Patrick Luckow

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742pluckow@umd.edu

Avram Bar-Cohen, Juan Cevallos

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742

Peter Rodgers

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  The Petroleum Institute, P.O. Box 2533, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

J. Energy Resour. Technol 132(2), 021001 (May 17, 2010) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001568 History: Received February 28, 2009; Revised April 06, 2010; Published May 17, 2010; Online May 17, 2010

## Abstract

The compression process necessary for the liquefaction of natural gas on offshore platforms generates large amounts of heat, usually dissipated via sea water cooled plate heat exchangers. To date, the corrosive nature of sea water has mandated the use of metals, such as titanium, as heat exchanger materials, which are costly in terms of life cycle energy expenditure. This study investigates the potential of a commercially available, thermally conductive polymer material, filled with carbon fibers to enhance thermal conductivity by an order of magnitude or more. The thermofluid characteristics of a prototype polymer seawater-methane heat exchanger that could be used in the liquefaction of natural gas on offshore platforms are evaluated based on the total coefficient of performance $(COPT)$, which incorporates the energy required to manufacture a heat exchanger along with the pumping power expended over the lifetime of the heat exchanger, and compared with those of conventional heat exchangers made of metallic materials. The heat exchanger fabricated from a low energy, low thermal conductivity polymer is found to perform as well as, or better than, exchangers fabricated from conventional materials, over its full lifecycle. The analysis suggests that a $COPT$ nearly double that of aluminum, and more than ten times that of titanium, could be achieved. Of the total lifetime energy use, 70% occurs in manufacturing for a thermally enhanced polymer heat exchanger compared with 97% and 85% for titanium and aluminum heat exchangers, respectively. The study demonstrates the potential of thermally enhanced polymer heat exchangers over conventional ones in terms of thermal performance and life cycle energy expenditure.

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## Figures

Figure 10

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=1 m/s)

Figure 1

Doubly finned parallel counterflow heat exchanger

Figure 2

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger heat transfer performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 3

Pumping power for doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger as a function of fin spacing and fin thickness (tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 4

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 5

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=5 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 6

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=1 m/s)

Figure 7

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=5 m/s, and u2=1 m/s)

Figure 11

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=5 m/s, and u2=1 m/s)

Figure 14

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, u2=0.5 m/s, H=optimal height shown in Fig. 1)

Figure 15

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of liquid-side fin thickness and heat exchanger material (tb=1 mm, optimum height, optimum fin spacing, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 16

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of gas-side fin thickness and heat exchanger material (tb=1 mm, optimum height, optimum fin spacing, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 8

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 9

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of fin spacing and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, u1=5 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 12

Energy invested in doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger as a function heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, H=10 mm, W=L=1 m, S=5 mm, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 13

Doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger total coefficient of performance as a function of fin height and heat exchanger material (tf=1 mm, tb=1 mm, W=L=1 m, S=10 mm, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

Figure 17

Material-optimized COPT for doubly finned counterflow heat exchanger (tb=1 mm, optimum height, optimum fin spacing, optimum fin thickness, W=L=1 m, u1=10 m/s, and u2=0.5 m/s)

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