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Process Unit Operations

Heat Transfer

Heat Transfer Systems on Industrial Process SkidHeat transfer occurs in every process system, usually both naturally and mechanically. The transfer of heat has a serious impact on both the chemicals that are being processed and the equipment processing them. EPIC is experienced at designing for heat transfer, modeling heat and mass transfer, developing material balances and integrating appropriate equipment.

Types of Heat Transfer in Process Systems

Below are the ways that heat is transferred within a system. They can be occurring singularly, simultaneously or in any combination within a system. EPIC will help you select the appropriate equipment to achieve your heat transfer goals. Contact an engineer today to start designing your custom process system.

  • Conduction
  • Convection
  • Radiation

Heat Transfer Equipment

The important steps when selecting heat transfer equipment are:

  1. Fully extracting process conditions including chemical composition, flow rates, temperature and pressures
  2. Desired states and physical properties of the product over the temperature and pressure ranges specified within the system
  3. Preliminary sizing and selection of the heat exchanger based on heat-transfer coefficients and the fluids, process and other equipment in the system
  4. Rating and re-evaluation of the heat exchanger to ensure it meets the process specifications for both heat transfer and pressure drop. If the first configuration does not meet the required heat load, it is usually necessary to increase the size of the exchanger while staying within parameters for pressure drop, tube length and shell diameter. If the first design more than meets the heat-load requirements, a less expensive heat exchanger may be selected.
  5. Cost evaluation – Cost evaluation is performed last and should not be the driver for heat exchanger selection. Equipment cost is evaluated on a capitol budgeting basis that accounts for all costs and savings associated with the lifetime of the equipment, not just the up-front cost.

Single Phase Heat Transfer

  • Double-pipe heat exchangers
  • Baffled shell-and-tube exchangers


  • Single component condensers
    • In-shell condensers
      • Horizontal
      • Vertical
    • In-tube condensers
      • Horizontal
      • Vertical
  • Multicomponent condensers


  • Kettle reboiler
  • Vertical thermosiphon reboilers
  • Forced recirculation reboilers


  • Forced circulation evaporators
  • Long-tube vertical evaporators
  • Short-tube vertical evaporators
  • Other:
    • Horizontal tube evaporators
    • Agitated-film evaporators
    • Single-effect evaporators
    • Thermocompression evaporators
    • Flash evaporators
    • Multiple-effect evaporators
    • Seawater evaporators

Heat & Cooling of Vessels (Batch)

  • Tank coils
    • Helical
    • Spiral
    • Hairpin
    • Fin-tube coils
    • Plate or panel coils
    • Teflon immersion coils
  • Bayonet heaters
  • External coils and tracers
  • Jacketed vessels
  • Spiral baffles

Extended or Finned Surfaces

  • High fins
  • Low fins

Tema-Style Shell-And-Tube Heat Exchangers

  • Fixed tube sheet
  • U-tube
  • Packed Lantern Ring
  • Outside-packed floating head
  • Pull-through floating head
  • Falling-film exchangers

Hairpin/Double Pipe Heat Exchangers

  • Finned double pipe
  • Multitube hairpins

Air-Cooled Heat Exchangers

  • Tube bundle
  • Tubing
  • Finned tubes
  • Fans
  • Fan ring & plenum chambers
  • Air recirculation
  • Trim coolers
  • Humidification chambers
  • Evaporative chambers
  • Steam condensers
  • Air-cooled overhead condensers
  • Air-cooled heat exchangers

Compact & Nontubular Heat Exchangers

  • Plate-and-frame
  • Gasketed-plate
  • Welded-and brazed- plate
  • Spiral plate
  • Brazed-plate-fin
  • Spiral-tube
  • Graphite heat exchangers
  • Cascade coolers
  • Bayonet-tube
  • Atmospheric exchangers
  • Nonmetallic heat exchangers
  • PVDF heat exchangers
  • Ceramic heat exchangers
  • Teflon

Heat Exchangers for Solids

  • Solidification
    • Tables
    • Agitated-pans
    • Vibratory
    • Belts
    • Rotating drums
    • Rotating-shelf
  • Fusion
    • Vertical agitated-kettle
    • Horizontal tank
    • Mill
  • Sheeted solids
    • Cylinder heat-transfer units
  • Divided solids
    • Fluidized beds
    • Moving beds
    • Agitated pans
    • Kneading devices
    • Shelves
    • Rotating shells
    • Conveyor belts
    • Spiral conveyors
    • Double-cone blending
    • Vibratory conveyors
    • Elevators
    • Pneumatic-conveying
    • Vacuum shelves

Cryogenic Processes

  • Heat exchangers
  • Expanders
  • Separation and purification systems
    • Air-separation systems
    • Helium and natural-gas separation systems
    • Gas purification
  • Storage and transfer systems
  • Cryogenic instrumentation
    • Pressure
    • Liquid level
    • Flow
    • Temperature


  • Thermal insulation
  • Air conditioning
    • Ventilation
  • Refrigeration (vapor-compression)
    • Compressors
    • Positive-displacement compressors
    • Centrifugal compressors
    • Condensers
    • Evaporators
    • Absorption
    • Steam-Jet (ejector) systems
  • Multistage system

Fouling can occur in heat transfer systems and is a major concern to process viability.  Any change in the solid boundary separating two heat transfer fluids which decreases the rate of heat transfer is considered fouling. An EPIC project manager will select your heat transfer equipment to minimize fouling.  In cases where fouling is unavoidable, EPIC will design systems that reduce the impact of fouling to ensure project success.

EPIC Modular Process Systems
4134 Meramec Bottom Rd
St. Louis, MO 63129, US