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Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger Start-up and Shutdown Procedures

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Shell and tube heat exchangers are designed to eliminate problems from differential thermal expansion of the shell and the tubes.  When the temperature difference between the hot fluid and the cold fluid is large, a removable bundle or a floating head is used to avoid damage from the different thermal expansion rates of the tubes and the shell. For extreme temperature differentials, the metal temperatures should be analyzed carefully.  Mechanical stress calculations should be performed to determine the consequences of any thermal shock on the heat exchanger. In some cases, differential thermal expansion can be a problem at start-up or shutdown.  Many shell and tube heat exchangers have suffered damage during start-up and shutdown because the fluids were not introduced or removed in the proper sequence. The table below offers suggestions on the order in which the hot and cold fluids should be introduced at start-up or removed at shutdown for differen…

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