Q4-4 Annular Distributors

C. G. Niederer, Eastman Chemical Company

Annular distributors are commonly specified for introducing vapors or gases into the shell side of a shell-and-tube heat exchanger. They allow distribution of the incoming vapor or gas over a larger portion of the tube field, resulting in more evenly distributed flow at lower velocities. This capability makes them superior to internal impingement plates for low-pressure operation, for maximizing thermal efficiency, and for avoiding localized flow-induced tube vibration. Currently, no published methods exist in the open literature for design of annular distributors. In this article, such a methodology is presented along with a completed example. However, the slot area sizing criteria in this article are based upon avoiding flow-induced tube vibration; in some cases, pressure drop requirements might dictate the need for a larger slot area.