The design of plate-fin and tube-fin crossflow heat exchangers is discussed. The transfer surface area of crossflow heat exchangers is used ineffectively because of the nonuniform distribution of the heat transfer across the volume of the exchanger. The optimal distribution of the transfer surface area for maximum heat exchanger effectiveness and constant total surface area is determined. It is found that a Dirac delta distribution of the transfer surface aligned along the diagonal of the crossflow exchanger gives the best performance; equal to that of a counterflow device. Design guidelines for optimal area allocation within crossflow heat exchangers are established. Compared to conventional designs, designs following these guidelines may lead to either a higher exchanger effectiveness for equal pressure drops and surface area, reduced pressure drops for equal exchanger effectiveness, or reduced weight and a near cubic form of the exchanger core for equal pressure drops and effectiveness.

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