An optimization method for determining the best configuration(s) of gasketed plate heat exchangers is presented. The objective is to select the configuration(s) with the minimum heat transfer area that still satisfies constraints on the number of channels, the pressure drop of both fluids, the channel flow velocities and the exchanger thermal effectiveness. The configuration of the exchanger is defined by six parameters, which are as follows: the number of channels, the numbers of passes on each side, the fluid locations, the feed positions and the type of flow in the channels. The resulting configuration optimization problem is formulated as the minimization of the exchanger heat transfer area and a screening procedure is proposed for its solution. In this procedure, subsets of constraints are successively applied to eliminate infeasible and nonoptimal solutions. Examples show that the optimization method is able to successfully determine a set of optimal configurations with a minimum number of exchanger evaluations. Approximately 5 % of the pressure drop and channel velocity calculations and 1 % of the thermal simulations are required for the solution
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