Differential evolution strategies for optimal design of shell-and-tube heat exchangers

B. V. Babu, S. A. Munawar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

217 Citations (Scopus)


Differential evolution (DE) and its various strategies are applied for the optimal design of shell-and-tube heat exchangers in this study. The main objective in any heat exchanger design is the estimation of the minimum heat transfer area required for a given heat duty, as it governs the overall cost of the heat exchanger. Lakhs of configurations are possible with various design variables such as outer diameter, pitch, and length of the tubes, tube passes, baffle spacing, baffle cut, etc. Hence the design engineer needs an efficient strategy in searching for the global minimum. In the present study for the first time DE, an improved version of genetic algorithms (GAs), has been successfully applied with different strategies for 1,61,280 design configurations using Bell's method to find the heat transfer area. In the application of DE, 9680 combinations of the key parameters are considered. For comparison, GAs are also applied for the same case study with 1080 combinations of its parameters. For this optimal design problem, it is found that DE, an exceptionally simple evolution strategy, is significantly faster compared to GA and yields the global optimum for a wide range of the key parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3720-3739
Number of pages20
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bell's method
  • DE strategies
  • Differential evolution
  • Evolutionary computation
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Heat exchanger design
  • Optimization
  • Shell-and-tube heat exchanger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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