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Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger Start-up and Shutdown Procedures

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About Us Shell and tube heat exchangers are designed to eliminate problems from differential thermal expansion of the shell
and the tubes. When the temperature difference between the hot fluid and the cold fluid is large, a removable bundle
Expertise or a floating head is used to avoid damage from the different thermal expansion rates of the tubes and the shell.

Services For extreme temperature differentials, the metal temperatures should be analyzed carefully. Mechanical stress
calculations should be performed to determine the consequences of any thermal shock on the heat exchanger.
Design Tips
In some cases, differential thermal expansion can be a problem at start-up or shutdown. Many shell and tube heat
Design Tools exchangers have suffered damage during start-up and shutdown because the fluids were not introduced or removed in
the proper sequence.
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The table below offers suggestions on the order in which the hot and cold fluids should be introduced at start-up or
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removed at shutdown for different applications.
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Exchanger Fluid Location


Start-up Procedure Shut-down Procedure
Type Shell Side Tube Side
Start both fluids gradually at Shut down both fluids
Liquid - HOT Liquid - COLD
the same time gradually at the same time
Start hot fluid first, then
Shut down cold fluid first,
Condensing gas - HOT Liquid or Gas - COLD slowly start the cold fluid.
then hot fluid
Avoid temperature shock
Fixed
Start hot fluid first, then cold Shut down cold fluid
Tubesheets Gas - HOT Liquid - COLD
fluid gradually, then hot fluid
Start both fluids gradually at Shut down both fluids
Liquid - COLD Liquid - HOT
the same time gradually at the same time
Start cold fluid first, then hot Shut down hot fluid first,
Liquid - COLD Gas - HOT
fluid then cold fluid
Start hot fluid first, then cold Shut down hot fluid first,
Liquid - HOT Liquid - COLD
fluid gradually then cold fluid
Start hot fluid first, then cold Shut down hot fluid first,
Condensing gas - HOT Liquid or Gas - COLD
fluid gradually then cold fluid gradually
Removable
Start hot fluid first, then cold Shut down hot fluid first,
Bundle Gas - HOT Liquid - COLD
fluid gradually then cold fluid
u-tubes
Start cold fluid first, then hot Shut down hot fluid first,
floating head Liquid - COLD Liquid - HOT
fluid gradually then cold fluid

Start cold fluid first, then hot Shut down hot fluid first,
Liquid - COLD Gas - HOT
fluid gradually then cold fluid

The information is provided for educational use only – use at your own risks.
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