I have a cooling application; I need a Vortex Tube, right?

We speak to people every day about cooling applications. And the common theme that I can see come through in those conversations is that the average Joe may not understand that you do not always need a Vortex Tube to be effective in a cooling application.

For example, a customer recently asked whether a Vortex Tube could be used to cool a metal sleeve that was induction heated to a relatively low temperature (about 250F) in order to cure a coating that had been applied. Another customer asked about using a Vortex Tube to cool a sheet coming out of a lamination machine. Again, starting temp. was around 300F. The point of cooling in both applications was to get the temperature down to handle-able (about 125F) in as short a time as possible.

You do not need to use a Vortex Tube to cool the targets in these kinds of applications. In fact, due to the shape of the air flow, larger volume flow, and the air temperature (let’s say 80F), there is something better.

 In the case of the induction heated tube, an Air Amplifier worked quite well and did not use as much air as a Vortex Tube to do the job. In the case of the lamination, a 12″ Super Air Knife was able to provide a cool enough and wide enough airflow to bring the temperature down very quickly.

The purpose of a Vortex Tube is to create temperature differential (change). If you already have that temperature differential established between the hot target and the cooling airflow (say from an Air Amplifier blowing 80F air and a target at 300F, a 220F delta T) you only need a large volume of the cooling medium,air, in this case. Which is exactly what Air Amplifiers and Air Knives do, amplify air volume and project it at a target.

The next logical question might be then, “When DO I use a Vortex Tube?” The answer to that question is something I will cover in my blog for next week.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer

4 thoughts on “I have a cooling application; I need a Vortex Tube, right?

  1. Good afternoon Sir, In my proccess I have some metallics parts (solid cylinder diameter 4 inch, hight 5 inch, material carbon steel , temperature 350ºF), the production line deliver one rotor each 18 seconds. Actually the pieces are cooling using water, but WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM WITH OXIDATION. In our process we want to eliminate cooling water and replace it by cooling using air to try to eliminate the oxidation.
    Does cold air any moisture on metal parts? if your answer is affirmative, As is minimized the moisture?

    We want to make a tunnel with several Exair products, to create an buffer of parts that I can meet with the times of the production line, applying
    a jet of cold air directly on each piece of metal, to try to remove the heat.

    Is it possible to eliminate the oxidation in our application using the Exair Product ?

    What product is recommended for this application? We think it is necessary to use several Exair products over the tunnel, to apply the stream of air directly on each piece.

    Have you developed any similar application? How soon can consider lowering the temperature of the metal parts of 350 º F to 100 º F with any product Exair? I need made this process change as soon as possible.

    The time for the piece cooling is a very important (18 sec by piece).
    In your experience is it possible to get?
    is it possible to get,using several Exair products on the cooling tunnel?

    Atte. Carlos Hernandez

  2. The ability of air to be able to cool your product is dependant on the volume versus surface area for cooling. The cylinders have a low surface area to volume so to speak. You May have to use fairly cool air. You shouldn’t have any problems with condensation because the cylinder at final temperature is still reasonably warm. I wonder about misting with air flow and stopping the water mist early enough that the remaining water could evaporate just as the cylinder reaches final temperature. If this is unclear or you have further questions, contact me at jamesedwardstork@gmail.com

    1. Thank you for the comment James. Generally speaking, if the temperature you desire is below ambient, a product which produces colder than ambient air like a Vortex Tube, is the solution. Keep in mind, though, that a Vortex Tube is also limited to a small area of coverage. Vortex Tubes and associated products are Spot Cooling products.

      If cooling to temperatures above ambient, our products like Air Amplifiers and Air Knives can getthe job done well and cover much larger surface areas. These products utilize large volumes of air to produce cooling, utilizing their ability to entrain a great deal of ambient air to deliver on to the hot part surface.

  3. An addendum to my previous comment. An air amplifier would probably be more efficient than a vortex tube and easier to maximize air volume at the surface.

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