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A tube bank is a type of heat exchanger, a device that is designed to allow fluids or gases to heat or cool, depending on the need. Tube banks are used in a wide variety of locations and this heat exchanger design is very popular around the world. Numerous manufacturers produce tube banks for various applications, and it is also possible for people to design and install a custom device for a specific setting or application with special requirements.
The tube bank consists of an array of tubes that are bathed in a fluid. Materials that move through the tubes can be cooled by the fluid as it absorbs heat, or heated by the fluid as it radiates heat, depending on the desired effect. Depending on how many tubes are present and the size of the tube bank, the efficiency of the device varies.
Air conditioning, refrigeration systems, and radiators all use heat exchangers, and these can take the form of tube banks. Tube banks are also used in industrial applications like chemical plants where people want to heat or cool materials for processing. Some home heating systems rely on tube bank designs and they can also be seen in use in solar water heating arrays and many other settings. In many settings where a heat exchanger is needed, a tube bank can be used.
The size of the tubes determines the efficiency of the heat exchange. Small tubes are more efficient, as there is less material to cool or heat. The materials used to make the tubes can vary, depending on the materials being carried and the setting. It may be necessary to use noncorrosive materials, heat resistant materials, or other specialized materials to operate the tube bank safely and successfully. The size of the tubes and the construction material are considered during the design phase to make sure that the tube bank will meet the need.
Over time, the lining of the tubes can become clogged or fouled with materials left behind by the materials that pass through. These devices need to be serviceable to allow people to clean them on a regular basis so they will continue to operate properly. It may also be periodically necessary to replace tubes, depending on the types of materials being transported. Leaks in a tube bank can become catastrophic and it is especially important to make sure the device is regularly checked for the early signs of leaks.