ApplyEd Project - 2

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Category : ApplyEd Projects
Project Code : APP-PRJ-002
Project Subscribers : 10

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Category Industrial Projects complexity 6.5/10 industry Chemical & Process
Level 5 Months industry M.E/M.Tech./M.S. complexity ANSYS ICEM CFD & FLUENT

Key Features

Level Dedicated Tutor for every student with customized support
Level 20 hrs of high quality technical support
Level 20 hrs of hihg quality e-learning content
Level Combo course with basics, ANSYS ICEM CFD and ANSYS FLUENT
Level Well design video tutorials
Level Excellent learning assesment including tests, assignments and projects

Heat exchangers are devices that facilitate the exchange of heat between two fluids that are at different temperatures while keeping them from mixing with each other. Heat exchangers differ from mixing chambers in that they do not allow the two fluids involved to mix. Heat exchangers are manufactured in a variety of types, such as double pipe heat exchanger, compact heat exchanger, shell-and-tube heat exchanger, plate and frame (or just plate) heat exchanger, regenerative heat exchanger, etc.. Heat exchangers are also given specific names such as condenser and boiler, to reflect the specific application for which they are used.

Shell and Tube Heat Exchangers

The most common type of heat exchanger in industrial applications is the shell-and-tube heat exchanger. As its name implies, this type of heat exchanger consists of a shell (a large pressure vessel) and a large number of tubes (sometimes several hundred) packed in a shell with their axes parallel to that of the shell. Heat transfer takes place as one fluid flows inside the tubes while the other fluid flows outside the tubes through the shell. Shell-and-tube heat exchangers are further classified according to the number of shell and tube passes involved.

Shell and tube heat exchangers are applicable for wide range of operating temperature and pressure. They have larger ratio of heat transfer surface to volume than double pipe heat exchanger and they are easy to manufacture in large variety of sizes and flow configuration. Shell and tube heat exchangers find widespread use in refrigeration, power generation, heating and air conditioning, chemical processes, petroleum, medical applications.


Efforts are being made to enhance the performance of shell and tube heat exchangers. At a given iteration, if the performance of the considered design is calculated to be unsatisfactory, a better performing design can be obtained by changing the design parameters in the right direction. For example, baffles are placed in the shell to enhance heat transfer.

Baffles are used for directing the flow inside the shell from the inlet to the outlet while maintaining effective circulation of the shell side fluid hence providing effective use of the heat transfer area. But even after installing baffles, the shell side flow still has a complicated structure due to the existence of baffles. Although it is relatively simple to adjust the tube side parameters, it is very hard to get the right combination for the shell side.

Single segmental baffle that is used in the present study is the most common baffle type. Baffle is provided with a cut (%) which is expressed as the percentage of the segment height to shell inside diameter. In general, baffle cut can vary between 15% and 45% of the shell inside diameter. This cut allows the fluid to pass through in parallel or counter flow direction. A number of baffles are placed along the shell in alternating orientations (cut facing up, cut facing down, cut facing up again, etc.) in order to create flow paths across the tube bundle (forming cross flow windows). The spacing between baffles determines the structure of the stream.

Factors affecting the Performance

For a given shell geometry, the ideal configuration depends on the baffle cut, the baffle spacing and the baffle inclination angle. Even after fixing the right baffle cut and baffle space, the performance can be still improved by varying the baffle inclination angle. Having lower inclination angle, increases the heat transfer at the cost of increased shell side pressure drop. On the other hand, increasing the angle beyond a value might result in reduced pressure drop, but with lesser heat transfer. So it is very important to have an optimum baffle inclination angle to give minimal pressure drop with maximum heat transfer.

Role of CFD in Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger Analysis

CFD techniques can be used both in the rating, and iteratively in achieving the optimum combination of baffle arrangement for the shell side. CFD is particularly useful during initial design steps, reducing number of testing of prototype and providing a good insight in the transport phenomenon occurring in the heat exchanger.


Learning and Skill Sets Required

The execution of this project demands the following theoretical knowledge: 

  • Fluid Dynamics: CFD is based on Fluid Dynamics equations. Heat exchangers involves movement of both shell side fluid and tube side fluid. It is very important for student to be comfortable with governing equations of fluid dynamics to do CFD simulation and interpretation of CFD results.
  • Fundamentals of Heat Transfer: In most engineering problems especially heat exchangers, we are often interested in the rate of heat transfer, which is the topic of the science of Heat Transfer. Heat transfer in a heat exchanger usually involves convection in each fluid and conduction through the wall separating the two fluids. So the knowledge of different modes of heat transfer is very important while analyzing Heat Exchangers. In the analysis of heat exchangers, it is convenient to work with an overall heat transfer coefficient U that accounts for the contribution of all these effects on heat transfer. So in addition to the fundamental concepts, the student should be comfortable with determining overall heat transfer coefficient in heat exchangers, and logarithmic mean temperature difference (LMTD) for some configurations.
  • CFD Fundamentals: CFD Fundamentals is studying about the governing physical equations, and how the fluid flow problems are solved on computers using numerical methods, the backbone of any CFD code. Students who use commercial CFD software to complete their project works, often refer to user’s manual or tutorial guide, to make a choice of numerical technique, or turbulence model, or the type of boundary condition to apply. But most of the tutorial guides let them down, by not providing sufficient explanation of the theoretical background and justification for using a particular numerical scheme for the given problem. So, knowing the fundamentals of CFD becomes very important in the process of using CFD as a tool for design analysis. 

The execution of this project demands the following CFD software skills:

  • ANSYS ICEM CFD: This is pre-processing software that can be used for Mesh generation, which is nothing but a discrete representation of the geometry. Also, ANSYS ICEM CFD has advanced CAD/geometry readers and repair tools to allow the user to do the CAD cleanup work. In this project, ANSYS ICEM CFD will be used to do CAD cleanup of the Heat Exchanger CAD model and generate a hybrid mesh i.e., unstructured tetrahedral mesh in the volume and prism mesh near the walls to resolve boundary layer. So, the knowledge of the software GUI, CAD tools, and meshing tools in ANSYS ICEM CFD is important to take up this project.
  • ANSYS FLUENT: This is a simulation tool that contains the broad physical modeling capabilities needed to model flow, turbulence, heat transfer etc. This simulation software allows one to predict, the impact of design on the fluid flow and heat transfer or vice versa. Also, it has post-processing tools to extract simulation results and understand them. In this project, a steady incompressible flow with heat transfer will be simulated to predict the overall performance of the heat exchanger using ANSYS FLUENT. So, a knowledge on the software GUI, solver set-up, turbulence models, fundamentals of heat transfer modeling (conduction and convection), visualization techniques, are compulsory to work on this project. 


Necessary LearnCAx Courses

Students opting for this project will have to go through online courses suggested by the LearnCAx mentor. This is to learn the required skillsets before starting the project work. Following are the two LearnCAx courses required to execute this project.

The access to these courses will be provided to the student as a part of the mentoring program and the validity of access exists till the project completion. 

Project and domain specific knowledge is not included in these courses. The courses are designed to teach CFD methods in-general. The application of knowledge acquired through these courses to this specific project has to be done by student. During project execution stage, mentor will guide student to apply the course(s) knowledge for executing the project. Some of the project or domain specific training might not be directly covered in above courses. Mentor will provide necessary guidance to students about from where they can acquire the project specific knowledge.


Who can take the project ?

  • Complexity Level -  7.5/10 (0-Low; 10-High)CFD simulation of the shell and tube heat exchanger involves both flow and thermal analysis using ANSYS FLUENT. It also involves CAD repairing of the CAD model to extract the CFD domain and generating an unstructured tetrahedral mesh with prism mesh near the wall to resolve boundary layer. Considering the geometry complexity, expected mesh count and the physics involved, the project falls under moderate complexity level.
  • Project Level - M.E./M.Tech./M.S.Generally, any Flow problem that involves additional physical models like Heat transfer models, Multiphase models, Rotating machinery related models, Dynamic mesh models, etc…, we consider it as M.E. level project. In this project we are simulating a 3D steady incompressible turbulent flow with energy transfer inside a heat exchanger of hybrid mesh. So, the level of the project is best suited for the post graduate students.
  • Duration - 5 MonthsAssuming the student can spend 2-3 hours of time per day and considering the amount of work involved in both learning (2.5 months) and working (2.5 months) on the project, we feel this project can be completed in 5 months. This duration might vary based on the amount of dedicated time, the student spends on the project work.


Benefits for students

Your academic project is one of the most important aspects of your degree. It is so important that it always decides what’s going to be next for you. Let it be higher studies or industrial job, the whole career path is based on the project work. With fierce competition powered by a rapid change in the world economy, every graduate/post-graduate is fighting a tough career battle today in the job market. All students look for an initial breakthrough in their careers and each one of them requires a good educational qualification complemented with a good project work.

Knowing CFD software is one important aspect for being CFD engineer, but using the CFD software for solving complex industrial problem is must when it comes to paving your path for career as CFD engineer. 

Working on this project will not only give you knowledge of CFD simulation of Shell and Tube heat exchangers, but it will also give you enough confidence to solve general heat transfer problems using CFD. This project experience will boost your academic profile and make it suitable for companies looking for CFD engineer with Thermal analysis expertise. Work experience on this project will open an opportunity for students in industries like process, power generation, HVAC industries.

Following are few in-built benefits you will get when working on this project:

  • Opportunity to work on challenging project of Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger analysis
  • Opportunity to present project work and get reviews from industry experts
  • Project certification done by industry
  • Opportunity to learn non-technical aspects of project execution followed in industry
  • Opportunity to sharpen the domain expertise and shape future career path 

This project is to be executed using ANSYS ICEM CFD and ANSYS FLUENT software. When it comes to solving heat transfer problems, ANSYS FLUENT is one of the best choices for industries. Working on this project will give you exposure to ANSYS FLUENT heat transfer modeling and will open large number of opportunities in industry.

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