Having different types of tube-to-tube sheet joints in shell-and-tube heat exchangers to work with doesn’t make things easier. The pressure vessel, heat exchanger, and pressure fluids play a vital role in making a choice. Additionally, you have to consider the tube sheet thickness, tube material, and tube sheet geometry, which will also help guide you toward making the right choice. But before you get to that point, you can work with these types of tube-to-tube sheet joints in shell-and-tube heat exchangers.
What is Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger?
Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger is a type of heat exchanging equipment made using a large cylindrical shell with perfectly placed tubes inside. Their simple design and ease of use make them the most popular type of heat exchanger preferred in chemical processing industries.
Roll or Expand and Seal Welded (With Grooves)
These tube-to-tube sheet joints require one or more grooves to be put into each tube sheet hole. Next, the tube has to be expanded into the hole grooves using explosive mechanical or hydraulic methods, adding another step to the manufacturing process. Once the tube expands, it is welded around the external diameter of the tube at the tube sheet; this combination achieves the necessary mechanical strength at the joint.
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This joint is mostly applicable in the oil industry because it has good leak resistance. You can still improve the leak resistance using explosive expansion. The only downside to this joint is frequent fabrication problems, and the tube replacement is pretty difficult.
Strength Weld (No Grooves)
A strength weld joint is one whose design strength is equivalent to or bigger than the utmost allowable axial tube strength. These types solely rely on the consistency and quality of the welding process. They have the maximum leak resistance possible by a two-pass weld process. They can handle high thermal and mechanical stress where the leakage is unacceptable. Additionally, this joint may have fewer fabrication problems, especially if you use grooves.
Roll Or Expand Only (Without Grooves)
These tube-to-tube sheet joints may not be the best option because they have poor strength and leak resistance capability. However, their tube replacement is pretty easy, although they have limited applications, especially if they qualify for use with low-pressure air or water.
Roll Or Expand Only (With Grooves)
These joints have limited strength, but you can easily enhance them using explosive expansion. In addition, they have a limited leak resistance which you can also improve a notch higher using explosive expansion. With this type, tube replacement is pretty easy, and it works best with low-stress applications as it has low leak consequences.
Manufacturing companies can fabricate shell-and-tube heat exchangers with as many tubes as they feel necessary. The main aim of heat exchangers is to maximize efficiency and increase production while cutting costs. The welding process is vital regardless of the joint you decide to use. While you must be on the clock to wild hundreds of tube-to-tube sheet joints, the weld quality and process efficiency are the major factors you should consider.
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