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THE DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE OF DIFFUSION BONDED PLATE-FIN HEAT EXCHANGERS

C.I. Adderley
Rolls-Royce and Associates Limited, Derby, England

L.H. Hallgren
Alfa Laval Thermal AB, Lund, Sweden

Abstract

Plate-fin heat exchangers (PFHE) offer a compact, lightweight, low inventory solution to heat exchange problems. Although these attributes have long been recognised, their realisation has been constrained to relatively low pressure and temperature duties in specialised applications. In recent years, economic incentives, particularly in the offshore industry, have prompted an interest in the wider application of the plate-fin concept for more arduous duties; this, in turn, has stimulated an interest in novel manufacturing techniques for plate-fin exchangers.
Rolls-Royce has adapted a diffusion bonding/superplastic forming technique, originally developed for the manufacture of aerospace components, to the development of a new type of plate-fin exchanger which can operate at elevated pressures and temperatures. This paper describes some of the factors which affect the design and performance of this exchanger; comparisons are made with shell and tube exchangers for high pressure duties to illustrate the weight and space savings which can be achieved.

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