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Fixed Tube

  • Advantages
    • Typically are least expensive
    • Less Gaskets than other types
    • Tubes are individually replaceable
  • Disadvantages
    • Shell is not able to be easily cleaned or inspected
    • Maximum temperature difference between fluids is approximately 200oF with out the inclusion of an expansion joint.
  • Notes
    • Is used for clean shell fluids and low delta temperature.
    • Large Diameter and High Pressure heads are designated usually BxM (Bonnet (Integral Cover) with a Fixed Tubesheet - for a Bonnet)
    • Most commonly are designated as AxL. (Channel and Removable Cover with a Fixed Tubesheet Stationary Head)

Floating Head

  • Advantages
    • Ability to handle dirty fluids and high differential temperatures
    • Both head and tubes can be cleaned.
    • Individual tubes can be removed and replaced
  • Disadvantages
    • Cost more than fixed tube heat exchangers
    • More gaskets than fixed tube heat exchangers which can cause leakage.
  • Notes
    • xTW (Cross Flow with a Pull Through Floating Head) are the least expensive but also have the highest possibility of leakage


  • Advantages
    • Lower cost than a fixed tub or floating head type echanger
    • Desisn inherently allows for thermal expansion
    • Internal gasketed joint is eliminated.
    • Tube bundle is removable and replaceable
  • Disadvantages
    • Design does not allow for tubes to be mechanically cleaned
    • The U Shaped tubes reduce the number of tubes that can be installed
    • Individual tubes are not replaceable
  • Notes
    • U-Tube heat exchangers are used for high differential temperatures
    • Usually these exchangers are used for "clean" service

Fluid Location


Fluids should be put in the tubes (rather than the shell) if the fluid is:

  • Under High Pressures
  • Two Phase fluids or single phase gas
  • Fluid has a tendency to scale. This is because it is easier to mechanically clean tubes on the inside rather than the outside.


Fluids should be put in the shell if the process requires:

  • Low Pressure Drop
  • Viscous heat transfer fluids
  • Fluid is not sandy or fouling
  • Low pressures

TEMA Designation

TEMA (Tubular Exchanger Manufacturers Association) has devised a standard nomenclature to briefly describe heat exchangers. The following is a description of the designation.

First Letter

TEMA #DescriptionExample
A Channel and Removable Cover HEX-Removable Channel-Type A.jpg
B Bonnet (Integral Cover) HEX-Bonnet-Type B.jpg
D High Pressure Closure HEX-HighPressure-Type D.jpg
N Channel Integral with Tubesheet & Removable Cover HEX-Integral Tubesheet Removable Cover-Type C.jpg

Second Letter

TEMA #DescriptionExample
E One Pass Shell HEX-Single Pass-Type E.jpg
F Two Pass Shell with Longtidudinal Baffle HEX-Two Pass-Type F.jpg
G Split Flow HEX-Split Flow-Type G.jpg
H Double Split Flow HEX-Double Split Flow-Type H.jpg
J Divided Flow HEX-Divided Flow-Type J.jpg
K Kettle Type Reboiler HEX-Kettle Reboiler-Type K.jpg
X Cross Flow HEX-Cross Flow-Type X.jpg

Third Letter

TEMA #DescriptionExample
L Fixed Tubesheet Stationary Hea HEX-Fixed Tube Like A-Type L.jpg
M Fixed Tubesheet - Bonnet HEX-Fixed Tube Like B-Type M.jpg
N Fixed Tube Sheet Channel Integral with Tube Sheet & Removable Cover HEX-Fixed Tube Like C-Type N.jpg
P Outside Packed Floating Head HEX-Outside Packed Floating Head-Type P.jpg
S Floating Head with Backign Device HEX-Floating Head Backing Device-Type S.jpg
T Pull Through Floating Head HEX-Pull Through Floating Head-Type T.jpg
U U-Tube Bundle HEX-U-Tube-Type U.jpg
W Externally Sealed Floating Tubesheet HEX-Externally Sealed Floating-Type W.jpg

Design Considerations

Shell and tube heat exchangers should be located to facilitate the ease of tube removal for cleaning and maintenance.

When the tube bundles are withdrawn, they should not project into an emergency escape route or any road with unrestricted vehicle access.

The spacing between heat exchanger shells must allow for sufficient, unobstructed clearance for access for the bundle withdrawal equipment and to permit access for shell flange gasket replacement (when applicable).