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Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. A shell and tube heat exchanger is a class of heat exchanger designs. It is the most common type of heat exchanger in oil refineries and other large chemical processes, and is suited for higher-pressure applications.
The set of tubes is called a tube bundle, and may be composed of several types of tubes: plain, longitudinally finned, etc. Two fluids, of different starting temperatures, flow through the heat exchanger. Heat is transferred from one fluid to the other through the tube walls, either from tube side to shell side or vice versa.
The fluids can be either liquids or gases on either the shell or the tube side. In order to transfer heat efficiently, a large heat transfer area should be used, leading to the use of many tubes. In this way, waste heat can be put to use.
This is an efficient way to conserve energy. Boilers in steam engine locomotives are typically large, usually cylindrically-shaped shell-and-tube heat exchangers. In large power plants with steam-driven turbines, shell-and-tube surface condensers are used to condense the exhaust steam exiting the turbine into condensate water which is recycled back to be turned into steam in the steam generator.