The design of optimal heat exchangers is formulated as the solution of five simultaneous equations. The analysis of these equations yields general properties of optimal crossflow heat exchangers; in particular, an upper bound of 1/3 is given for the fractional cost of maintaining the flow through the heat exchanger. Some of these general properties also apply in the presence of a simple constraint. It is shown that some technically feasible designs cannot be optimal under realistic costs and others under any costs.

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