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Recommended Shell and Tube side velocities

Recommended shell and tube side velocities values are listed below, the values can be used for preliminary design purpose when designing shell and tube heat exchangers, these are guidelines that are in place as lower velocities can cause fouling issues and very high velocities can cause erosion issues. If there is silt or similar material present, it’s recommended to keep the velocity high to prevent settling.


Tube side:  Water and similar liquids ranges from 3 – 8 ft/s (0.9 – 2.4 m/s)
Shell side:  Water and similar liquids ranges from 2 – 5 ft/s (0.6 – 1.5 m/s) 


Atmospheric pressure: 33 – 98.5  ft/s (10 – 30 m/s)
High Pressure: 16.4 – 33 ft/s  (5 – 10 m/s)
Vacuum: 164 – 230 ft/s (50 – 70 m/s)


Keywords: recommended velocities, shell and tube side velocities, tube side velocities, shell side velocities


R.K. Sinnott, Coulson & Richardson’s Chemical Engineering Design, Volume 6, 3rd Edition, Butterworth-Heinemann

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