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Hairpin Heat Exchangers and their Pros and Cons.

asked Jul 26, 2014 in Process by ChemKB (8,210 points)

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answered Jul 26, 2014 by ChemKB (8,210 points) | selected Nov 1, 2014 by ChemKB
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Hairpin or double pipes heat exchangers are characterized by a construction form which imparts a U-shaped appearance to the heat exchanger. These heat exchangers consist of two shell assemblies housing a common set of tubes and interconnected by a return-bend cover referred to as the bonnet.


  • Lower surface due to counter current flow suitable for services having a temperature cross.
  • Typically expansion joint are not required due to U-tube construction.
  • Longitudinal finned tubes can be used resulting in a compact heat exchanger for shell side fluids having a low heat transfer coefficient.
  • Shorter delivery compare to the other exchanger types.
  • Additional sections can be added at a later time due to modular design.
  • Easy to clean, inspect, and tube element replacement.


  • Multiple hairpin sections are not always economically competitive with a single shell and tube heat exchanger.
  • Proprietary closure design requires special gaskets.