Perspectives: Plant InSites

Heat Exchangers: Prevent Tube Pullout

Understand what causes this problem in shell-and-tube exchangers

By Andrew Sloley, Contributing Editor
Apr 15, 2015

A plant was recovering solvent by vacuum distillation. To avert thermal degradation of the solvent, the reboiler was a vertical falling-film evaporator. The tower bottoms was pumped to the top of the reboiler and allowed to flow down through tubes. The reboiler bottoms was a two-phase mixture that entered the tower bottoms. High-temperature heat transfer fluid was the heat source. Product purity wasn’t meeting requirements. Testing showed the product contained heat transfer fluid. The only connection point between the two systems was the reboiler. It evidently was leaking.

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