Spiral Heat Exchangers


The spiral plate heat exchanger is made by rolling two long metal plates around a center core to form two concentric spiral passages, one for each fluid.  The plate edges are welded shut so that each fluid stays within its own passage and there is no flow bypassing or intermixing. Spacing within the passages is maintained by welded spacer studs although some designs do not require them. Due to its inherent circular design and large surface area to volume ratio, the spiral heat exchanger offers unique advantages over other types of heat exchangers like the shell and tube.

High Thermal Efficiency
Single and long curving flow passages with a uniform rectangular cross-section ensure superior flow distribution, intense turbulence, and high heat transfer coefficients (50-100% greater than shell & tubes).

Self-Cleaning Passages
The spiral's single-flow passages induce high shear rates that scrub away deposits as they form. This self-cleaning effect reduces fouling and makes spiral heat exchangers ideal for handling tough fluids such as process slurries, sludge, and media with suspended solids or fibers.

Countercurrent or Co-current
Spiral heat exchangers normally operate in true countercurrent flow for close approaches and temperature crosses. Occasionally a co-current flow design has major benefits, especially in cooling or heating fluids prone to gelation, burn-on, freezing or similar skin temperature related fouling.

Small Footprint & Easy Access
The spiral heat exchanger is compact and requires minimal space for installation and servicing. Removable covers provide easy access to interior heat transfer surfaces for field inspections, routine maintenance, or manual cleaning if required.

Type 1:  Spiral Flow Both Sides
  • Liquid to liquid cooling, heating or heat recovery
  • Steam heating or vapor condensing
  • Suitable condenser at pressures above atmospheric
  • Countercurrent or co-current flow
  • Best for crossing or close approach temperatures
  • Self-cleaning effect in both spiral passages
  • Ideal for handling suspensions, slurries & sludge
  • Removable covers for independent & easy access
Type 2:   One Side in Cross Flow
  • Ideal for condensing under deep vacuum
  • Vapor in annular cross flow
  • Cooling medium in spiral flow
  • Extremely low vapor side pressure drop
  • Large flow cross-section for large vapor volumes
  • Short height of condensing section
  • Suitable in liquid to liquid duty with large flow imbalance
Type 3:  Combined Cross - Spiral Flow
  • Vapor to liquid condensing
  • Optimal for mixed vapors with inert gases
  • Built-in internal subcooling section
  • Suitable for low to moderate operating pressures
  • Combines features of Types 1 & 2
  • Excellent steam heater of viscous fluids & slurries in horizontal orientation

Spiral Heat Exchanger Design Data

  • Spiral Plate Width:  8' to 80' (200 to 2000 mm)
  • Spiral Plate Thickness:  0.10' to 0.25' (2.5 to 6.3 mm)
  • Channel Spacing (Plate Gap):  0.1875' to 1.5' (5 to 38 mm)
  • Heat Transfer Area:  10 - 3500 ft² (1 - 350 m²) per unit
  • Shell Diameter:  up to 80' (2000 mm)
  • Design Pressure:  Full vacuum to 450 psig (30 barg)
  • Design Temperature:  200 - 500 °F (100 - 260 °C)

Materials of Construction

We manufacture spiral heat exchangers from any material that can be cold formed and welded.

Standard:  PVQ carbon steel, 304/304L, 316/316L, Duplex 2205
Higher Alloys:  904L, 254 SMO, AL6XN, Nickel Alloys, Titanium

Duplicate Replacements

We can design and build drop-in replacement spiral heat exchangers that are interchangeable with spirals built by other manufacturers.

Hinged Covers and Davits

Gooch Thermal spiral heat exchangers can be provided with hinges or davits to facilitate opening and closing of the covers during inspections and routine maintenance.

Double Channel / 4-strip Design

A double channel spiral heat exchanger performs like two units in parallel.  It is rolled from 4 strips to form four alternating but separate hot-cold-hot-cold flow passages inside a single shell. 

Double channel spirals are often installed in high flow rate services where a low pressure drop is desired and available installation space is limited.

Stacking Saddles

In liquid to liquid heat transfer services where high flow rates or large temperature crosses require multiple units operating in parallel or series, stacked pairs of spiral heat exchangers provide operational flexibility and minimize the installation footprint.

Gooch Thermal spiral heat exchangers are superior to conventional heat exchangers for difficult heat transfer services involving fouling process fluids and high solids slurries, whether present on one side or on both sides.

As column-mounted condensers, our spiral heat exchanger is an elegant solution for condensing of column overhead vapors under vacuum with practically nil pressure drop and compact footprint.

Single Phase Flow - Liquid to Liquid Heat Transfer
Ideal for handling fouling fluids, viscous media, slurries, sewage sludge, and other dirty process fluids and effluents with suspended solids or fibers

  • Product coolers & heaters
  • Heat recovery economizers
  • Feed to bottoms interchangers
  • Sludge digester heaters, coolers & pasteurizers

Two Phase Flow - Vapor to Liquid Heat Transfer
Ideal for condensing and cooling of mixed vapors with inert gases under vacuum or steam heating of slurries and other viscous media

  • Steam heaters & vapor condensers
  • Overhead reflux condensers
  • Vaporizers & column reboilers

Key Industries

  • Chemicals & Hydrocarbon Processing
  • Oil Refining & Petrochemicals
  • Oil Sands SAGD Heavy Oil Extraction
  • Pulp & Paper
  • Steel & Coke Oven Gas
  • Metals, Mining & Minerals (Al, Cu, Zn)
  • Edible Oils & Oleochemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals & Biotech
  • Sugar & Alcohol
  • Renewable Energy & Biofuels
  • Wastewater Treatment & Biogas Production
  • EPC Contractors & Engineering Consultants

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