A heat exchanger is a device that is used to transfer thermal energy

A heat exchanger is a device that is used to transfer thermal energy (enthalpy) between two or more fluids, between a solid surface and a fluid, or between solid particulates and a fluid, at different temperatures and in thermal contact. In heat exchangers, there are usually no external heat and work interactions. Typical applications involve heating or cooling of a fluid stream of concern and evaporation or condensation of single- or multicomponent fluid streams. In other applications, the objective may be to recover or reject heat, or sterilize, pasteurize, fractionate, distill, concentrate, crystallize, or control
a process fluid. In a few heat exchangers, the fluids exchanging heat are in direct contact. In most heat exchangers, heat transfer between fluids takes place through a separating wall or into and out of a wall in a transient manner. In many heat exchangers, the fluids are separated by a heat transfer surface, and ideally they do not mix or leak. Such exchangers are referred to as direct transfer type, or simply recuperators. In contrast, exchangers in which there is intermittent heat exchange between the hot and cold fluids—via thermal energy storage and release through the exchanger surface or matrix— are referred to as indirect transfer type, or simply regenerators. Such exchangers usually have fluid leakage from one fluid stream to the other, due to pressure differences and matrix rotation/valve switching.

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