Air to Air Heat Exchangers
Heat exchangers are devices designed to transfer heat from one liquid or gaseous substance to another, so that a secondary process may receive heating or cooling. They are made of either thermally conductive plates or thermally conductive tubes. Heat exchangers are incredibly common.
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Air to Air Heat Exchanger Applications
They are used everyday, from inside refrigerators, space heaters, air conditioners, and car radiators. Air to air heat exchangers are a type of heat exchanger that, as their name suggests, heat, cool or refresh air within a space through the addition of different air. Air to air heat exchangers are popular in commercial, food processing, manufacturing and residential industries for assistance with controlling the state of interior air. Depending on the desired or required interior atmosphere, the season and/or the environment, users may choose to have incoming air heated or cooled to achieve a variety of conditions.
Types of Air to Air Heat Exchangers
Air to air heat exchangers are used to perform the function called heat recovery ventilation (HRV), which is also known as mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR). HRVs perform air to air heat exchange by employing either a cross-flow, parallel-flow or counter-flow (countercurrent heat exchange) between the incoming and outgoing airflows. Note that counter-flow exchanges generate the largest heat transfers. Air to air heat exchangers may also be designed to perform the functions of energy recovery ventilators (ERVs), which, in addition to heat transfer, perform humidity transfer. Types of air to air heat exchangers that may be used in HRV devices include: cross-flow heat exchangers, recuperators or cross plate heat exchangers, thermal wheels or rotary heat exchangers, heat pipes and fine wire heat exchangers. While they are available in many sizes and constructions, most air to air heat exchangers are plate heat exchangers. A plate heat exchanger works by shifting the already heated air, or the outgoing air, on one side of the exchanger plate, or barrier, while moving the air to be heated, aka the incoming air, on the other side of the plate. In this way, heat from the outgoing air is transferred through to the other side of the plate, where the incoming air is able to absorb it. Heat exchangers may also work separately or in combination as: shell and tube heat exchangers, plate fin heat exchangers, ground-coupled heat exchangers, dynamic scraped surface heat exchangers, moving bed heat exchangers, micro heat exchangers or waste heat recovery units. Addition to plate exchangers, like fins, increase surface area and induce turbulence.
Benefits of Air to Air Heat Exchangers
Ways that air to air heat exchangers can improve air quality, aside from simple heating and cooling, include ventilation and humidity reduction. As mechanical ventilation systems, exchangers can remove stuffy and stale air and prevent human exposure to the unhealthy or toxic gasses and fumes that are frequent byproducts of chemical and industrial processes. In recent years, homes and buildings have become more tightly built, which, while saving residents and commercial users on energy loss and expenditure, tends to create unhealthy, uncirculated air. Keeping fresh air in any enclosed space is important, which is why heat exchangers are not only popular in factories and other industrial settings, but in bathrooms, hotels, living rooms, offices, shopping malls and the like. As humidity reducers, exchangers significantly reduce the likelihood of building system dangers like mildew and mold development and corrosive damage. Also, through the addition of grills or sleeves and filters, heat exchangers can prevent interior air from being exposed to and contaminated by outdoor elements and particles.
Energy Savings of Air to Air Heat Exchangers
An inherent benefit of air to air heat exchangers is the energy savings that they produce. Because so much outgoing air can be used to heat incoming air, the heating and cooling process is able to reduce its energy usage up to 80%. In fact, air to air heat exchangers are used in many industrial settings specifically for waste heat or exhaust heat recovery. (Waste heat is heat produced and emitted as a result of chemical or manufacturing processes.) Manufacturers can recycle energy by redirecting waste heat into a heat exchanger, which can use it to heat incoming air. Though waste air may contain fumes or volatile substances, because the two sources of air are usually segregated, rather than coming into contact with one another, the waste air will not contaminate incoming air. This fact makes air to air heat exchangers all the more attractive to chemical and industrial manufacturers. Air to air heat exchangers may operate independently or as part of an HVAC system. To find out what configurations and heat exchangers styles match your application or applications best, speak with a heat exchanger expert today.