S-SS-3-18 CFD Simulations of Single-Phase Turbulent Shellside Flow

K. J. Farrell

High fidelity, tube-by-tube computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations of the turbulent, multistream shellside flow within a 9-crosspass, 591-mm diameter, 2276-mm long E shell were completed at four flow rates. The shellside water flow was heated by a full bundle at a uniform tube wall temperature. Computational results for duty and pressure drop show very good agreement with experimental data and predictions from Xist® 5.0 Service Pack 1, although the B-stream flow fraction is overpredicted by the simulations. The average ratio of the CFD result to the Xist result is 1.05 for duty and 1.10 for pressure drop. Because tube-to-baffle clearances were modeled as concentric annuli for uniform mesh quality, the A-stream blockage is higher than that for the eccentric annuli present in real shell-and-tube exchangers. Temperature profiles of the streams through the exchanger show a larger degree of mixing than predicted by Xist. Detailed CFD simulation of shellside flow through an industrial-sized heat exchanger marks a seminal result and confirmation of a technical approach for shellside flow analyses that can improve methods for other baffle arrangements in shell-and-tube exchangers where experimental data are lacking.