The objective of any heat exchanger is, in simple terms, to make a hot fluid colder and/or make a cold fluid hotter, specifically without mixing them. It may sound boring, but anyone who remembers their thermodynamics knows that with heat comes energy, and energy is an engineering commodity. By exploiting certain concepts such as conduction, entropy, and fluid mechanics, these devices can transfer the heat from one flow to another and can be used as condensers, evaporators, and much more. The plate heat exchanger is just one method of transferring heat between two fluids, and are especially useful for heat transfer between two liquids.
Figure 1: Typical plate heat exchanger
Examine the plate heat exchanger shown in Figure 1. The blue plates shown are the front and end covers that sandwich many corrugated metal plates together, which are sealed with rubber gaskets. The red tightening bolts hold everything together and create a watertight seal, and the covers/plates are kept in alignment with two supporting bars on the device's top and bottom. The four holes on the left side are the inlets and outlets for both fluids, which keep the two flows from ever mingling when circulating through the exchanger. Plates from the plate heat exchanger can be easily added/removed on command, and they are more compact than other common heat exchangers such as the imposing shell and tube designs.
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