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Heat Exchanger

A heat exchanger is a specialized device that assists in the transfer of heat from one fluid to the other. In some cases, a solid wall may separate the fluids and prevent them from mixing. In other designs, the fluids may be in direct contact with each other. In the most efficient heat exchangers, the surface area of the wall between the fluids is maximized while simultaneously minimizing the fluid flow resistance. Fins or corrugations are sometimes used with the wall in order to increase the surface area and to induce turbulence. Common appliances containing a heat exchanger include air conditioners, refrigerators, and space heaters. These devices are also used in chemical processing and power production. Perhaps the most commonly known heat exchanger is a car radiator, which cools the hot radiator fluid by taking advantage of airflow over the surface of the radiator. There are three primary flow arrangements with heat exchangers: counter-flow, parallel-flow, and cross-flow. In the counter-flow exchanger, the fluids enter the exchanger from opposite sides. This is the most efficient design because it transfers the greatest amount of heat. In the parallel-flow version, the fluids come in from the same end and move parallel to each other as they flow to the other side. The cross-flow heat exchanger moves the fluids in a perpendicular fashion.

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