Plate Heat Exchanger

What is a Plate Heat Exchanger?

A plate heat exchanger has advantages over a conventional heat exchanger. Since plates are used to transfer heat between two fluids, the speed is increased because of faster temperature change due to a larger surface area created by the plates.

Invented in 1923, the plate heat exchanger helped change methods for heating and cooling fluids indirectly.

Plate Heat Exchanger Design

A heat exchanger works by using heated or cooled pipes. Usually one coiled pipe, made of metal, will facilitate the change in the outer liquid which is encased in plastic or another thermal insulator.

Plate heat exchangers have a slightly different design. Instead of the pipes, they are alternating chambers separated by metal plates, often made of stainless steel. Rubber gaskets are often used to create seals around the edges of the plates in plate heat exchangers.

There are two types of corrugation used with a plate heat exchanger – intermating and chevron. Chevron is used more frequently because of greater heat transfer ability.

A plate heat exchanger has the advantage of being relatively compact since a large surface area is formed by the plates but occupies a small area. It is also adaptable to a wide range of fluids and specifications. Plate heat exchangers can be cleaned and repaired with ease because of removable plates that can be replaced individually. Another advantage offered by plate heat exchangers is temperature control to operate with small temperature differences.