Thermal-hydraulic characteristics of gasketed plate heat exchangers as a preheater for thermal desalination systems

Muhammad Ahmad Jamil, Zia Ud Din, Talha S. Goraya, Haseeb Yaqoob, Syed M. Zubair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Gasketed plate heat exchangers (PHXs) are frequently used as preheaters in thermal water desalination systems to preheat the intake seawater by recovering heat from the brine and distillate streams. The detailed design and analysis of PHXs as a preheater is not available in the desalination related studies. Rather, the heat transfer coefficients are calculated by simple empirical equations. The current study provides a comprehensive design procedure and analysis of these preheaters. In this regard, a numerical model is developed to investigate the thermal–hydraulic performance of PHXs under various operating conditions. First, the code is validated against the experimental data and then the effect of input parameters is studied. The results show that the feed flow rate and plate chevron angle are very important parameters for the heat transfer coefficient and pressure drop in PHXs. It is shown that the salinity does not affect the HX performance; however, the study also showed that the selection of fouling resistance is critical and it considerably disturbs the design parameters that govern the heat exchanger cost. Finally, the sensitivity analysis is presented to identify the most sensitive input parameters for the thermal–hydraulic performance of the heat exchanger.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112425
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Desalination
  • Experimental and numerical analysis
  • Plate heat exchanger
  • Preheaters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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