S-SS-3-16 CFD Study of Flow Distribution in TEMA X Shells

K. J. Farrell

Flow distribution in a TEMA X-shell exchanger was studied parametrically through computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Using design rules for manifolds and a lumped, linear circuit analysis of the exchanger, we identified the number of nozzles and the cross-sectional distribution area as key parameters. Our CFD results quantify the improvement in the flow distribution and the cost in shellside pressure drop for twenty parametric cases. While local distribution plates can limit erosion and vibration, they can be used effectively for distribution if the number of inlet nozzles is less than desired. Perforated distribution plates covering the entire bundle inlet face resulted in minimal improvement in flow distribution but substantial increases in pressure drop. Additionally, alignment of inlet and outlet nozzles may lead to local peaks in the driving pressure, inviting further maldistribution.