How to Best Apply Vortex Tube Cooling

So, you have found yourself with a little bit of a conundrum. You need to cool a part but don’t know where to start and there are so many different options to choose from. In most cases when it comes to cooling with compressed air there are two different paths you can take. First is using a large volume of air at room temperature to blow across the surface area of the product. The other option is to use cold air from a vortex tube to drop the part’s temperature. In most case a large volume of air can be used to cool things down to relatively cooler temperatures; think cooling a cup of coffee using your breath. The issue you run into is when the temperature of the room air gets closer to the temperature you want to achieve in the end. In other words, when the temperature difference between your cooling air and your desired end temperature is small there is less cooling taking place with that same volume of air.

Mini Spot Cooler cooling down a bit used in milling plastic

This can be explained by looking at the cooling power formula:

Btu/hr = 1.0746*(CFM)*(Delta T)

In this case the Delta T is the difference between the temperature that you want to cool the product down to and the temperature of the air. This means the smaller the delta T is the higher the CFM flow will need to be to counteract the effect of the temperatures are so close to one another. Here are some examples of cooling a product and you are providing 1000 CFM of air to cool it.

Btu/hr = 1.0746*(1000 CFM)*(150F – 130F)

                Btu/hr = 21,492 Btu/hr

Btu/hr = 1.0746*(1000 CFM)*(150F – 100F)

                Btu/hr = 53,730 Btu/hr

As you can see the closer the Delta T is to 0 the less Btu/hr you get. Getting this kind of CFM flow is easy if you use something like EXAIR’s Super Air Knife or Super Air Amplifier. These systems take a small amount of compressed air and entrain the surrounding ambient air to increase the volume to a large blast. Take a look at model number 120022 which is the 2” Super Air Amplifier, this unit can produce 1,023 CFM while only using 15.5 CFM at 80 psig. But when you get close to cooling the temperature down to that room temperature or below it gets much harder; which only means that the temperature of the air being used to cool needs to be dropped. Dropping the air temperature can only be accomplished by using outside means like air coolers or in this case EXAIR’s Vortex Tubes and Spot Coolers.

EXAIR Air Amplifiers use a small amount of compressed air to create a tremendous amount of air flow.

Vortex Tubes and Spot coolers have some limitations. Generally they are not thought of products that produce large volumes of air (even though we make them up to 150 SCFM). And they are best suited for smaller areas of cooling, spot cooling, if you will. However, EXAIR Vortex Tubes do have one key feature that can help compensate for the lack of volume. LOW TEMPERATURE! The vortex tube can produce temperatures lower than 0F while stile retaining a good portion of air volume from the inlet.

Sub-zero air flow with no moving parts. 3400 Series Vortex Tubes from EXAIR.

For example, let’s look at model number 3240 running at 100 psig with 70% of the air from the inlet exiting the cold side (aka 70% cold fraction). At 100 psig the 3240 will use 40 SCFM at the air inlet and will have a temperature drop of 71F. If the compressed air has a temperature of 70F that means you will be seeing a temperature of -1F. Also, when using the 70% cold fraction you will see 28 SCFM of cold air flow. Now let’s plug those numbers into the cooling power formula.

 Btu/hr = 1.0746*(28 CFM)*(150F + 1F)

                Btu/hr = 4543 Btu/hr

As you can see, using a small amount of compressed air you can still net you a good amount of cooling if the temperature is lower. All in all, the best option for cooling products down to temperatures that are above ambient temperatures is something that can produce a large volume of air. For small areas that require cooling the product down to temperatures to ambient temperature and below, use EXAIR’s Vortex Tube.

If you have questions about our Air Amplifiers and Vortex Tubes, or would like to talk about any of the quiet EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR or any Application Engineer.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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The Battle of Cooling: Fans Vs. Air Amplifiers

So, you have a cooling application and don’t know what to choose; do you go with the age-old fan or something different. Fans are probably one of the most common items used for cooling in everyday life and chances are you have a few that are always cooling. These fans can be found in cars, at your home, in your computer, and many other places.

But there may be other items that might just blow away the competition (pun intended). This is where EXAIR’s Air Amplifiers step onto the scene. Air Amplifiers use a little bit of compressed air to entrain the surrounding ambient air to turn it into a large volume of air.

Axial Fan being used to cool down an electrical cabinet

When it comes to cooling with air, volume is key. Air cannot hold a lot of thermal energy (heat) so in order to cool something down you need a lot of it. This means that the unit that can produce the largest volume of air is going to produce more cooling. So, what is the difference between a fan and the air amplifiers and which is better?

Fans have been in use since late B.C.E. and are still in use today. Many of the fans used for cooling are centrifugal style fans which are also known as blowers. These systems use an impeller that consists of a central shaft with blades that form a circle around a central opening. Blowers produce a high volume of air at a high velocity and low pressure. Not only do blowers require significant space to install, they also require noticeable maintenance and will eventually need to be replaced. Another, and perhaps more important downside, is that a blower will increase the temperature of the outlet air which further reduces the air’s ability to absorb additional heat and effectively cool.

Super Air Amplifier Family

On the other hand, Air Amplifiers use a source of compressed air to form a thin stream of high velocity laminar flow of air to entrain the surrounding ambient air. By doing so you can create a focused blast of air for cooling. So the downside in this case is that if you do not have a source of compressed air, the Air Amplifier will not function for you. With a small amount of compressed air, Air Amplifiers will multiply the volume of air up to 25 times to produce the large volume of air needed to cool parts, films, castings and more.

Air Amplifiers are extremely inexpensive when compared to blower systems and can out perform a blower in many applications.

If you have questions about our Air Amplifiers, or would like to talk about any of the quiet EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR or any Application Engineer.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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What is Sound: The Correlation Between Sound Power and Sound Pressure

Sound, it is all around at every given point of the day. Whether it is from the music we listen to, the person talking to you, your cars engine, or the wind blowing through the leaves there is no escaping it. Hearing is one of the five senses that the majority of humans rely on and should be protected at all costs and with a good understanding of what sound is, one can help mitigate damage done to their hearing. Sound can be broken down into two parts, sound power and sound pressure. But the real question is, how do these corollate to each other to become the sound that we rely on.

Sound Wave

Sound Power (Watts) is defined as the rate at which sound energy (decibels) is emitted, reflected, transmitted or received, per unit of time. Whereas, Sound Pressure is defined as the local pressure deviation from the ambient atmospheric pressure, caused by a sound wave. Based on these two definitions it can be determined that sound power is the cause that generates the sound wave and sound pressure is the effect or what we hear after the sound wave has traveled to the ear.

This can be summed up in a simple analogy using a light bulb. Light bulbs use electricity to generate a source of light, this means that the power required (also stated in Watts) to cause the bulb to light up is comparable to Sound Power. The intensity of the light being generated (stated in Lumens) would be the Sound Pressure. Sound Pressure is what we would typically hear or call sound. This is what is measured because that is the harmful aspect to our hearing and ears. If the Sound Pressure is high enough and the ear is exposed to it long enough, permanent damage can be done resulting in hearing loss to the point of complete hearing lose.

I have known many people who have lost there hearing either completely or a large portion of it from exposure to loud noises. EXAIR designs and manufactures quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products. These products either meet or exceed the OSHA noise Standards in OSHA Standard 29 CFR – 1910.95 (a).

The OSHA Standard for how long someone can be exposed to a certain noise level

If you are not sure what the noise level is in your facility check out EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter. It’s an easy to use instrument for measuring Sound Pressure levels in an area.

EXAIR’s Digital Sound Level Meter

If you have questions about the Digital Sound Level Meter, or would like to talk about any of the quiet EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR or any Application Engineer.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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316SS Sanitary Flange Air Operated Conveyors Pull Corn Meal Quality Samples

Agriculture, it’s a word that invokes a lot of imagery. From the vast rolling fields, to animals roaming, to a simple life of tending to the land. For some it is the perfect life of hard work and simple living. Agriculture can make one think of tractors, heavy equipment, silos, fencing, and much more. But there is one thing that does not typically come to mind, and that is compressed air. Even though compressed air is not commonly thought of being used in agriculture does not mean that it cannot be used. In fact, it can be very useful.

In one application a manufacturer of corn meal needed to take a sample of the product to test the moisture content and quality before it was loaded into a rail car. The lab tech use to have to go out to the silo to scoop up about a pint and transport it back to the lab to be tested. To eliminate the manual retrieval and delivery of the corn meal EXAIR recommended a model #163300-316 3″ St. St. Sanitary Flange Line Vac Kit and was sold to the customer. A system of 100ft of pipe was installed from the silo to the lab so that the test sample could be conveyed by the Line Vac directly to the lab to be tested. This simple fix improved the reliability of the sample and decreased the time it takes to grab a sample. Along with the added benefit that now the lab tech does not need to walk over and scoop the sample out of the container or off the ground.

EXAIR’s Family of Sanitary Flange Line Vacs

Line Vacs are a great product for conveying bulk material from point A to point B and excel with “bucket and ladder” type scenarios where personnel is manually loading or unloading batches of material or scrap. EXAIR’s Air Operated Conveyors have always been well suited for applications involving food as the internal components are smooth and can be cleaned out easily and sanitized. With a 316 Stainless Steel body the unit provides superior corrosion resistance and can withstand most caustic cleaners and oxidants. The flange style connection also makes it easy to hook up and remove for cleaning purposes.

Model 161200-316 – 316 Stainless Steel Sanitary Flange Line Vac

Sanitary Flange Line Vacs are all made from 316 Stainless Steel and come in four sizes: 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, and 3”.

If you are interested in more applications, check out our application database on our Website. Or if you have any questions on our Line Vacs give us a call, we have a team of application engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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