Online Therapeutics for Heat Transfer

By Alan Hodel, Internet columnist


Optimizing heat transfer is a key challenge in chemical processing applications. The following online sources can help you better understand heat transfer, in its many forms, and troubleshoot specific equipment and process problems. A number of Web sites offer information on process heat exchangers. These devices are critical to chemical processing, but many factors can affect their performance. Controllable parameters include the design and type of exchanger involved, the velocity of the media, the temperature gradient and the condition of the heat transfer surfaces.

The Web site Heat Exchanger in Bio-Chemical Process [] provides a quick rundown of how a heat exchanger works and discusses the key parameters that determine performance.

The Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers Association (TEMA) site has a Frequently Asked Questions link [] that includes a downloadable heat exchanger specifications sheet [] and a nomenclature chart [ ExchangerNomenclature.pdf].

"Selecting TEMA Type Heat Exchangers" [,3156,79222,00.html] defines the major TEMA-type heat exchangers and identifies advantages, limitations and suitable process applications for each type.

Providing a basic review on the underpinnings of heat transfer is The Thermodynamics of Heat Transfer, Chapter 2 [], which outlines the basic principles of heat transfer and, in its Appendix A, solves two equations for two unknowns used in example temperature calculations.

More process heat transfer examples can be examined in a Bryan Research & Engineering Inc. (B&RE) technical paper by Kevin M. Lunsford, "Increasing Heat Exchanger Performance."  [].

Sources of thermodynamic information [] include dictionaries, handbooks, Web-based and printed resources.

The University of Texas (Austin) library's help site provides guidance in locating data and highlights particularly useful sources. The ThermodexSearchPage [] is an index of thermodynamic handbooks that can help users find the properties of various compounds.

In its electronic edition, the Wolverine Tube Heat Transfer Data Book [] contains active links to more than 300 pages of detailed, authoritative information. Sections cover all aspects of heat exchanger design and operation. For example, two sections on fouling: []and[] examine the effects of fouling on heat transfer surface and heat exchanger performance.

Cooling towers pose different heat transfer problems.

Optimizing Cooling Tower Performance [] discusses operation and maintenance issues, addressing both direct or evaporative towers, without metal surface interfaces, and indirect or closed-loop towers, in which cooling water is circulated through a coil.

Discussing cooling tower operations and maintenance from the energy efficiency angle is an article that can be downloaded free of charge from the Cooling Technology Institute [].

For a down-to-earth evaluation of air conditioner performance you might take a look at Air Conditioner BTUH Capacity and SEER Level [].

Online books

No engineer, chemist or manager in the chemical processing field should overlook the National Academies Press Web site. The Press publishes approximately 200 books a year and its Web site contains more than 2,500 free online books. Of particular interest is "Beyond the Molecular Frontier: Challenges for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering(2003)"  []

Moving beyond heat transfer, some practical tools for the serious computer geek include the following downloadable programs: Cryptomathic File2File and CPU Peeker v2.7. Cryptomathic File2-File [] provides encryption for files in Windows systems. The program can be downloaded for private use or for a 30-day evaluation for business purposes. CPU Peeke v2.7 [pages.] monitors and displays the computer's central processing unit (CPU) usage memory usage and page file usage, notifying users whenever their computer system is running low on such essentials as random access memory (RAM).

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