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The aim of the paper is a steady-state inverse heat transfer problem for plate-fin and tube heat exchangers. The objective of the process control is to adjust the number of fan revolutions per minute so that the water temperature at the heat exchanger outlet is equal to a preset value. Two control techniques were developed. The first is based on the presented mathematical model of the heat exchanger while the second is a digital proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control. The first procedure is very stable. The digital PID controller becomes unstable if the water volumetric flow rate changes significantly. The developed techniques were implemented in digital control system of the water exit temperature in a plate fin and tube heat exchanger. The measured exit temperature of the water was very close to the set value of the temperature if the first method was used. The experiments showed that the PID controller works also well but becomes frequently unstable.
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