Heat exchangers are devices that transfer heat from one medium to another. The purpose of the heat transfer typically is to lower or raise temperatures in a device or within a specified area. The two media can be the same — for example, air-to-air — or different — air-to-water.
With their simple scheme, heat exchangers are a mature technology. They have been used for many years and are available in an array of designs. Modern heat exchanger designs leverage the laws of thermodynamics to provide cooling or heating in systems that range from simple to quite complex. This article will provide a brief look at how heat exchangers are used in three different process cooling applications.