Numerical investigation of tubeside maldistribution in shell-and-tube heat exchangers

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Shell-and-tube heat exchangers (STHE) are widely used in the process and energy industry. Maldistribution and the often resulting fouling in these STHE cause additional energy consumption and lower production throughput. Increased average wall shear stress, compared to that of the maldistributed case inside the tubes is expected to mitigate fouling. This can be achieved by a uniform distribution into the tubes. Field and laboratory data suggest that common crude oil fouling is profoundly mitigated above 10 Pa and is significantly reduced above a wall shear stress of 15 Pa [1]. Many STHE already have lower design shear stresses than those mentioned. Therefore, if maldistribution takes place, tubes with less flow velocity will have even more fouling. To investigate tubeside flow maldistribution, a parametric STHE model is studied with computational fluid dynamics (CFD). At first, a comparison between the standard k- ϵ -model and the new standard SST-model is performed to check if SST could provide improved simulation results. Afterward, a range of geometrical parameters will be investigated to find influencing quantities of maldistribution. The resulting velocity distributions are visualized and evaluated by using different statistical approaches. At least, a sensitivity analysis will be done to show how each parameter influences the tubeside flow distribution in STHE.


Original languageEnglish
JournalHeat and Mass Transfer
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85164193166
unpaywall 10.1007/s00231-023-03385-5
Mendeley 7653b10b-33aa-3f95-aa35-bc72abb0cb67
ORCID /0000-0001-9324-5880/work/142236618