Heat exchangers

What is the basis of choosing the shell side and tube side fluid?

Questions by abhilashchakravarty   answers by abhilashchakravarty

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in heat exchanger simply fluid which to be heat/cooled pass through tube and fluid is used to for a media for heating or cooing used in shell side .

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  • Sep 3rd, 2011

More corrosive liquid enters tube
Tubes are meant for higher operating pressure
Tubes are meant for higher pressure drops
More viscous liquids should enter the shell side
Liquid with more fouling factor should enter the tube side.


  • May 15th, 2012

Fluid having more corrosive nature and higher fouling factor is passed through tube side because we can easily replace the tube after maintenance but if the shell get corroded it will be more economical to replace or maintain it.


  • Aug 15th, 2012

Fluid having high specific volume must go through the shell side.High temperature and pressure stream must go to the tube side and more viscous fluid must go to the shell side.so,that the baffles impart turbulence to the viscous fluid.

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  • Aug 14th, 2013

fluid having more viscosity and corrosive nature should go to tube side because it corrode only tube from inside but if this fluid send from shell side it will corrode shell as well as tube from outside. so it is economical to send from tube side.

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  • Sep 11th, 2013

Generally hot fluids are taken in the tube sides because it exerts heat which can be utilized by shell side fluid to avoid heat losses.

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  • Jun 21st, 2014

its better in the shell side to be more corrosive fluid because its easy to clean but in tube side its difficult.

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pradeep kumar gupta

  • Jun 26th, 2014

Selection of fluids either in shell side of tube sides depends upon following factors ---------

1. fluid having CORROSIVE in nature prefer to pass through tube side because it easy to change tube of heat exchanger as compare to shell if they corroded.

2. Highly viscous fluid passes through the tube side .

3. cold fluid passes through the tube side and hot fluid passes through shell side.

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Which fluid through tube:

•High pressure fluids should be passed through tubes because tubes, having a smaller area, will withstand relatively high pressure, whereas, special shells for an exchanger are required if the pressure is excess.

•Dirty fluids should flow through tubes when the deposit formed from these would necessiate cleaning the heat exchange, tube cleaning is easier than shell cleaning.

•Corrosive fluids should be sent through the tubes, as it is cheaper to replace.

•Water, due to the fact that it is a scale-former, is usually through tubes.

•Large volume fluids such as vapors usually passed through the shell so that the velocity and pressure drop will not be excessive.

•For better heat recovery the hottest fluid is passed through the tubes so that heat loss to the outside surroundings is minimized.

•Vapors containing non-condensable gases should be sent through tubes so that gases will not accumulate in stagnant areas of the equipment and reduce heat transfer rate.

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rakesh bodakunta

  • Sep 19th, 2014

If the process fluid contains salts than the fluid in shell side. because salt decompose and forms scales on surface on the inner surface of tube if we use fluid in tube side.due to this cleaning of tubes are difficult.

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  • Nov 6th, 2014

There is not just one parameter to decide where to put fluid in shell side or tube side. If fluid is corrosive in nature, always put that to be in tube side as if we put in shell side it would corrode the inner side of shell and outer surface of inner tubes. But putting fluid in tube side will corrode only inner surface of tubes. Besides, tube bundles can be taken outside and replaced with new one but shell cannot be replaced as it is fixed. To replace it, operation has to be stopped which not everyone of us would like that to be happened as our needs depends on the operation of refineries.

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  • Nov 10th, 2014

common name for 2-methyl-3-pentanol and 3-phenyl-2-butanol and cis-1,4-cyclohexadiol

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  • Jan 2nd, 2015

1-if fluid is corrosive it should be placed in tube side because as tube has chances to get corrode so if we use a costlier MOC then it will be cheaper to make tube with good MOC rather than a shell.

2-if fluid have fouling nature ,then it should be placed in tube side because by using higher velocity with the help of pump we can remove fouling.

3- if pressure drop and temperature is high then it should be placed in tube side because as pressure and temperature is high so we need to use more thickness to withstand that temperature and pressure and it need small material to make tube with more thickness rather than shell with more thickness.

4- if heat transfer coefficient is low then it should be placed in shell side because in shell side their is baffles and we can increase the heat transfer coefficient by increasing turbulent nature and again turbulent nature can be increased by using more baffles and small baffle spacing , but there is no arrangement for baffles in tube side.

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Nikhil Dubey

  • Mar 29th, 2015

Hot fluid goes in tubes because in case of any damage in tubes the fluid will remain within the shell thus within heat ex-changer
While the cold fluid enters in the shell.

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  • Apr 4th, 2015

fluid is always flow in tubes while vapour is flow in shell.

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  • Apr 24th, 2015

The basis is the temperature,so the hot fluid is introduced to the tube side while the cold fluid is introduced to the shell side.If we introduce the hot fluid to the shell side,part of the heat will transfer to the surrounding and this is energy waste.

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  • Apr 26th, 2015

heat exchanger tude side hot fluid and shell side cold fluid. such condition heat loss minimize. and heat transfer to hot fluid to cold fluid

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ajendra mani

  • May 3rd, 2015

if more viscous liquid send to shell side then baffle will help to create turbulance .However hot fluid are less voscous

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  • Jun 25th, 2015

For choosing a fluid in shell or tube side, we have to consider mainly two things.
1. Corrosiveness : More corrosive fluid will be in tube side as we can replace the tube bundle.
2. Operating Pressurev: If a high pressure fluid is in tube side it will be beneficiary .Else both shell and tube should be designed for high pressure.

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  • Dec 4th, 2015

Fluid with more scaling properties should be used in tube side as cleaning is easy when compared to cleaning the shell side.

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  • Mar 17th, 2016

How it is easy.. If it is corrosive both inside of shell and outside of tube will get corroded.. Double waste.. so you should send corrosive fluid in tube side alone.

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  • Apr 9th, 2016

Thera are many things which we need to consider before thinking about putting of fluid in either shell side or fluid side:
1) If fluid is corrosive in nature then it should be placed in tube side because if tubes get corroded then they can be cleaned very easily as comaprable to shell.
2) If fluid having more fouling factor then again it should be placed in tube sides.
3) If fluid is operating at higher temperature and pressure or say have higher higher pressure drop then also it should be placed in tube sides because to withstand against higher temperature/pressure it should have minimum thickness to maintain this higher temperature and tubes can be made of higher thickness
4) Hot side fluid should be passed through tube side to minimize heat loss while cold fluid be through shell side.
5) Highly viscous liquids are preferred in shell side

Logeshwaran Jayaraman

  • Apr 14th, 2016

There are four main consisderations
1. High pressure fluid - Tube side
2. corrosive fluid - Tube side
3. Fouling fluid - Tube side
4. Low convective heat transfer co efficient fluid such as high viscous liquids and low pressure gases - shell side

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  • May 23rd, 2016

Tubes can be easily detached from the main body of a heat exchanger. Therefore, in case of corrosive fluid its more convenient to use it in the tube side.

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Kingsuk Karmakar

  • Aug 4th, 2017

If your process fluid is corrosive nature then you have choose flow in tube side. Because if fluid damage the tube it has been replace is easier and less cheaper then shell side. 2. The toxic and hazards fluid shall pass through tube side. Because in case of any leakage it wont any expose to atmosphere.

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