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The role of heat pipes in intensified unit operations

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Dr David Reay, Professor Adam Harvey


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Heat pipes are heat transfer devices that rely, most commonly, on the evaporation and condensation of a working fluid contained within them, with passive pumping of the condensate back to the evaporator. They are sometimes referred to as 'thermal superconductors' because of their exceptionally high effective thermal conductivity (substantially higher than any metal). This, together with several other characteristics make them attractive to a range of intensified unit operations, particularly reactors. The majority of modern computers deploy heat pipes for cooling of the CPU.The application areas of heat pipes come within a number of broad groups, each of which describes a property of the heat pipe. The ones particularly relevant to chemical reactors are:i. Separation of heat source and sink.ii. Temperature flattening, or isothermalisation.iii. Temperature control.Chemical reactors, as a heat pipe application area, highlight the benefits of the heat pipe based on isotherrnalisation/temperature flattening device and on being a highly effective heat transfer unit. Temperature control, done passively, is also of relevance. Heat pipe technology offers a number of potential benefits to reactor performance and operation. The aim of increased yield of high purity, high added value chemicals means less waste and higher profitability. Other intensified unit operations, such as those employing sorption processes, can also profit from heat pipe technology.This paper describes several variants of heat pipe and the opportunities for their use in intensified plant, and will give some current examples. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Reay D, Harvey A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Thermal Engineering

Year: 2013

Volume: 57

Issue: 1-2

Pages: 147-153

Print publication date: 01/08/2013

Online publication date: 24/04/2012

ISSN (print): 1359-4311

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2012.04.002


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