Novel predictive tools for design of radiant and convective sections of direct fired heaters

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Publication details

Bahadori, A & Vuthaluru, HB 2010, 'Novel predictive tools for design of radiant and convective sections of direct fired heaters', Applied Energy, vol. 87, no. 7, pp. 2194-2202.

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Direct fired heaters are used considerably in the energy related industries and petroleum industries for heating crude oil in the petroleum refining and petrochemical sectors. The aim of the current study is to formulate simple-to-use correlations to design the radiant and convective sections of direct fired heaters. The developed tools are easier than currently available models and involves a fewer number of parameters, requiring less complicated and shorter computations. Firstly, a simple correlation is developed to provide an accurate and rapid prediction of the absorbed heat in the radiant section of a fired heater, expressed as a fraction of the total net heat liberation, in terms of the average heat flux to the tubes, the arrangement of the tubes (circumferential), and the air to fuel mass ratio. Secondly, another simple correlation is developed to approximate external heat transfer coefficients for 75, 100, and 150 mm nominal pipe size (NPS) steel pipes arranged in staggered rows and surrounded by combustion gases. Finally, a simple correlation is presented to predict the gross thermal efficiency as a function of percent excess air and stack gas temperature. This study shows that the proposed method has a good agreement with the available reliable data in the literature. The average absolute deviations between reported data and the proposed correlations are found to be around 1.5% demonstrating the excellent performance of proposed predictive tool. The proposed simple-to-use method can be of significant practical value for the engineers and scientists to have a quick check on the design of radiant and convective sections of direct fired heater. In particular, mechanical and process engineers would find the proposed approach to be user-friendly involving no complex expressions with transparent and easy to understand calculations.