For the optimal design of plate heat exchangers (PHEs), an accurate thermal�hydraulic model that takes into account the effect of the flow arrangement on the heat load and pressure drop is necessary. In the present study, the effect of the flow arrangement on the pressure drop of a PHE is investigated. Thirty two different arrangements were experimentally tested using a laboratory scale PHE with flat plates. The experimental data was used for (a) determination of an empirical correlation for the effect of the number of passes and number of flow channels per pass on the pressure drop; (b) validation of a friction factor model through parameter estimation; and (c) comparison with the simulation results obtained with a CFD (computational fluid dynamics) model of the PHE. All three approaches resulted in a good agreement between experimental and predicted values of pressure drop. Moreover, the CFD model is used for evaluating the flow maldistribution in a PHE with two channels per pass.
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