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Chemical and Process Engineering Resources

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Category: Heat Transfer Technology
Question: Why is a vacuum breaker used on shell and tube heat exchangers that are utilizing steam as the heating utility?
Keywords: v1i14,heat,transfer,vacuum,breaker,steam,heating,heater
Answer: Vacuum breakers are often installed on the shell side (steam side) of shell and tube exchangers to allow air to enter the shell in case of vacuum conditions developing inside the shell. For an exchanger such as this, the shell side should already be rated for full vacuum so the vacuum breaker is not a pressure (vacuum) relief device. Development of vacuum in the shell could allow condensate to build in the unit and water hammer may result.