Heat exchangers are present in a variety of processes and industries. Increasing system efficiency is the most effective method and one of the greatest concerns in reducing energy consumption. In this paper we applied an integrated design approach to heat exchangers design, which combines the Integrated Multi-Scale Robust Design (IMRD) with the Grey Relational Analysis (GRA). As a case study, a double-pipe heat exchanger was used.

The IMRD performs the horizontal integration in the Process-Structure-Property-Performance (P-S-P-P) relationship through forward modeling and inductive exploration processes, while the vertical integration in the P-S-P-P relationship is accomplished by adopting localization and homogenization concepts.

For the proposed application into heat exchangers, the IMRD explores solution spaces and suggests feasible solution ranges for improving the thermal-hydraulic performance, while the GRA evaluates the relative importance of design variables in the heat exchanger.

In the preliminary study, it is found that the feasible solution range is significantly reduced for maximizing the heat transfer rate, compared to the equally balanced function, while the feasible solution range is less sensitive in minimizing annular pump power. To validate the IMRD simulation results from a CFD model are used.

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