Why do we control the heat exchanger

Heat exchanger

With a heat exchanger, heat can be transferred between media of different temperatures, so that one cools down and the other warms up. This ability to transport heat is used in a variety of ways in industry and technology, but also in the home. Heat exchangers are used in many places to provide heat both via a heating network and in the heating system. UHRIG explains how they work.

The principle of operation of the heat exchanger

Heat exchangers, also known as heat exchangers, are used wherever heat is to be transferred from a medium with a higher temperature to one with a lower temperature. The best-known example are radiators, which release the heat stored in the heating water to the cooler room air. This heating water itself also absorbs heat beforehand at a heat exchanger. Particularly impressive heat exchangers are the cooling towers of power plants, with the help of which excess heat from electricity generation is released into the environment.

In order to perform its task efficiently, a heat exchanger is made of a material that has good thermal conductivity properties. Usually this is a metal such as steel, copper or aluminum, but ceramic materials or glass can also be used. In order to make the heat exchanger even more efficient, engineers and material specialists enlarge its surface with ribs or fins.

For the purpose of the actual heat transfer, the two media must come into direct or indirect contact with one another. A direct heat transfer is rare, it mainly takes place in the cooling towers mentioned, in which warm water gives off part of its heat in direct contact with the cooler ambient air. In the case of indirect heat transfer, the heat transfer takes place via the heat-conducting material of the heat exchanger, so that the two media cannot touch and mix. The media (liquids or gases) flow z. B. between the thermally conductive plates of a plate heat exchanger or through the tubes of a tubular heat exchanger. The warmer medium gives off part of its heat to the material of the heat exchanger, which in turn transfers it to the cooler medium.


The heat exchanger as part of a heat pump

Many people are familiar with the heat exchanger as part of a heat pump. Here it extracts heat from a heat source in the environment in order to make it available to humans. The heat source can be, for. B. be a groundwater or geothermal resource. In these cases, the heat exchanger is a pipe in which a heat transfer medium flows that absorbs the heat. Because the heat transfer medium is in a closed circuit and does not come into direct contact with the heat source, contamination and thus environmental damage are excluded.

The absorbed heat transports the heat transfer medium to the heat pump. There the heat is transferred to a working medium via a second heat exchanger. As a result, the working medium evaporates, which a compressor can now compress using electricity. This process further increases the temperature of the working medium. At a third heat exchanger, this heat, which is made up of the thermal energy of the heat source used and the converted electrical energy of the electricity, is transferred to a heating circuit or a heating network. In this way, environmentally friendly and (if green electricity is used to operate the heat pump) CO2-Provide neutral heat that can be used to heat buildings or water.

A particularly efficient source of heat lies right under our feet: wastewater. A year-round high temperature of approx. 10 to 20 ° C makes it the ideal heat source for heat pumps. In addition, wastewater is easily accessible and is available exactly where the heat is needed, namely close to people. Wastewater heat pumps, which extract part of the heat from the wastewater with the help of special wastewater heat exchangers, work particularly efficiently, can supply numerous consumers with heat via a heating network and are just as environmentally and climate-friendly as other heat pumps.

Are you interested in the use of wastewater heat and would you like to take action yourself? Then contact us! As a global leader in the field of waste water heat recovery, UHRIG is happy to assist you with your project!

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