Utilizing the Power of CFD

CFD analysis is one of the most successful and comprehensive methods of solving heat exchanger problems. HTRI effectively uses CFD simulation in its research and contract projects to improve heat exchanger performance for customers worldwide. HTRI’s ongoing experimental research provides physical insights to developing appropriate CFD approaches and wider opportunities for validation.

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Velocity magnitude and direction through air-cooled
                                heat exchanger
Velocity magnitude and direction through air-cooled heat exchanger

How We Can Help

CFD studies can assist in the design stage to identify potential problems as well as resolve operational issues after the exchanger is in service. We have used CFD to solve many clients’ heat exchanger problems in plants:


Detailed flow velocities and temperature distribution across the exchanger bundle

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Detailed flow velocities and temperature distribution across the exchanger bundle

Bundle dryout resulting in decreased heat transfer?

Kettle circulation and vapor fraction profiles

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Comparison of  visual observations of Gebbie and Jensen

Potential fouling?

Extent of flow stagnation regions, local shear stress

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CFD helps to locate recirculation and low velocity zones that are prone to fouling

Poor utilization of allowable pressure drop?

Pressure gradient

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Static Pressure

Shortened equipment life cycle?

Shear and pressure forces on components

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Nozzle at Rear Head Velocity Contours

Flow maldistribution and excessive pressure drop?

Flow profile in header or channel

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Contours of water volume fraction through four rows of single-pass ACHE inlet header

Low benefit-to-cost ratio for heat transfer enhancement techniques?

Heat flux and pressure drop of enhanced geometries

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Vorticity in twisted-tape flow

Excessive tube vibration?

Flow distribution in tube bundles, actual 3D velocity profile for annular distributor or impingement device

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Profile contours of velocity magnitude through the slot of the baseline annular distributor

Lower performance due to bypassing?

Distribution of shellside flow

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Velocity profiles in tube-to-baffle clearances

Why is CFD from HTRI Valuable to Members and Clients?

  • Quick turnaround
  • Cost effective
  • Guidance from industry know-how
  • Synergy with Xchanger Suite®, our design software
  • Experience with analysis of heat exchangers
  • Validation with testing

HTRI’s Personal Approach

Our researchers meticulously review your problem from every angle and utilize state-of-the-art analysis tools to

  • outline an efficient computational modeling approach
  • define simulation boundary and initial conditions and outputs
  • generate a mesh consistent with the computational approach
  • simulate the case with appropriate software packages, including those with multiphysics capabilities
  • post-process the results and prepare a comprehensive report containing your engineering solution
HTRI's personal approach

Case Studies

Learn more about how HTRI has helped customers with their CFD simulations.

The flow distribution improved due to an additional distribution plate along the entire bundle length

Reducing Shellside Maldistribution in a Condenser

Find out how HTRI helped a company investigate methods to mitigate shellside flow maldistribution for an X-shell condenser.

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Temperature streamlines of ACHE air flow in cross wind show potential for hot air recirculation

Reducing Hot Air Recirculation around Air-cooled Heat Exchangers

Discover how HTRI helped enhance the performance of a bank of API 661 air-cooled heat exchangers at a refinery.

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Temperature-colored streamlines on shell side

Thermal Rating and Vibration Assessment of Disk-And-Doughnut Exchangers

Learn how HTRI helped a company improve their understanding and modeling of disk-and-doughnut heat exchangers.

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Access a broad range of technical and professional resources on CFD through your HTRI account.

By logging in, you can

  • view on-demand webinars
  • download research reports
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Additional Information

Detailed Interpretations of CFD Results

Detailed Interpretations of CFD Results

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Applications of Computational Fluid Dynamics

Applications of Computational Fluid Dynamics

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Cooking up some CFD

Cooking up some CFD

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