Any of several devices that transfer heat from a hot to a cold fluid. In many engineering applications, one fluid needs to be heated and another cooled, a requirement economically accomplished by a heat exchanger. In double-pipe exchangers, one fluid flows inside the inner pipe, and the other in the annular space between the two pipes. In shell-and-tube exchangers, many tubes are mounted inside a shell; one fluid flows in the tubes and the other flows in the shell, outside the tubes. Special-purpose devices such as boilers, evaporators, superheaters, condensers, and coolers are all heat exchangers. Heat exchangers are used extensively in fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants, gas turbines, heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, and the chemical industry. See also cooling system.
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