VIDEO Blog: Vortex Tubes and Cooling Kits

EXAIR manufactures three sizes of Vortex Tubes, small, medium & large.  Each size can produce a range of cooling power that can be changed by installing a different generator that will change the volume output capability of that Vortex Tube.

If a different cooling capacity is desired, other generators are available by either purchasing them individually or by purchasing one of the (3) highly versatile Vortex Tube Cooling Kits designated as the 3908 (small)3930 (medium) or 3998 (large).  The Kits include the Vortex Tube, Filter Separator, Vinyl Tubing, Tubing Adapter, Tube Clamps, Cold End Muffler (Optional Hot End Muffler Available) and Both “R” & “C” Generators.

If you would like to discuss Vortex Tubes, their Generators, or any of EXAIR’s safe, quiet & efficient compressed air products, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call or shoot me an email!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Adjustable Spot Coolers

What is a Spot Cooler? Well to fully understand that let’s take a dive into what a Vortex Tube is, since at its core an Adjustable spot cooler is a Vortex tube with some bells and whistles that make them easier to use!

The operation of an Vortex Tube is one of the more curious phenomena in fluidics, and a particularly unique method of producing cold air. Since they don’t perform “heat transfer” in the classical sense (see below), there’s no RATE of heat transfer…they’re generating cold air, at rated flow and temperature, instantly.

Compressed air enters the Vortex Tube (blue arrow) where the Generator imparts a spinning motion to the flow, which continues towards the “hot end” (red ribbon). The flow is forced to change directions and continue spinning, flowing in the opposite direction (blue ribbon). It’s at this point that the flow gives up energy in the form of heat, which is exhausted through the Hot Valve (red arrows) while the cold flow makes its way to the opposite end, where it exits at temperatures up to 129F colder than the compressed air supply.

EXAIR Corporation’s Vortex Tubes come in a range of sizes & cooling capacities, and are integrated into a number of Spot Cooler Products which add convenience and flexibility to their operation.

EXAIR’s Adjustable Spot Cooler incorporates this Vortex Tube technology to produce temperatures ranging from -30°F – +70°F. At a sound level of just 73 dBA when operated at 100 psig and stock generator installed, this compact cooler will keep your operation cool, clean and dry without causing unnecessarily high noise levels.

Tolerances are maintained on plastic parts using the Adjustable Spot Cooler

Through a simple turn of the control knob, you can easily adjust the temperature of the unit. Additionally, the kits come with (2) extra generators (15-H and 30-H) that can be swapped out for the stock generator for more/less cooling power and air consumption. The 15-H generator will deliver up to 1,000 Btu/hr of cooling capacity and the 30-H will provide up to 2,000 Btu/hr of cooling capacity. We have (2) different kits available, Model 3825 Single Point and the Model 3925 Dual Point Kit. The 3825 is recommended for use in applications where you’re cooling a small surface such as solder joints, hot melts, or drilled plastics.

The 3925 system is better served when heat is generated over a larger surface area such as saw blade cooling. The kits use flexible Loc-Line hose to allow you to precisely position the cold airflow onto your target. The Adjustable Spot Cooler provides easy mounting with a swivel magnetic base, allowing you to mount the cooler directly at the most critical point that heat is being generated.

3825_3925 adj spot cooler

If you’re tired of cleaning up your coolant or have an application that requires dry machining, or you just need to cool something hot! Get one of the Adjustable Spot Cooler systems on order today. They’re in stock ready to ship!

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

Send me an Email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Georges-Joseph Ranque and the Vortex Tube

Georges-Joseph Ranque was born on February 7th, 1898 in Ambérieu-en-Bugey, France. The son of a railroad engineer, Léon-Joseph Ranque, it was not much of a surprise that he developed a strong interest in physics. An attendee of the prestigious and highly selective post-secondary school, Lycée Saint-Louis, Georges continued to develop his knowledge in the world of physics. From there he was admitted to École Polytechnique where he continued his studies. For years, Georges was interested in the Pantone carburetor. While developing an industrial pump, he noticed the phenomenon now known as the Ranque effect. The Ranque effect is the known working principle for industrial Vortex Tubes. When a compressed gas is injected into the tube tangentially at high velocity, two streams are created: one hot and one cold.

This cold airflow is then utilized throughout a variety of industrial spot cooling and enclosure cooling processes due to its simplicity and reliability. All that’s needed is a supply of compressed air. In 1931, Georges filed for a patent on his vortex tube. His idea didn’t go too far from there, until the topic was later picked back up by another physicist by the name of Rudolf Hilsch. Rudolf made some improvements to the design he called the “Wirbelrohr”, or “whirl pipe” for those not fluent in German. You’ll commonly hear the term “Ranque-Hilsch tube” used synonymously with the term Vortex Tube for this reason.

So how exactly does this thing work? The truth is no one knows for certain, but there is one commonly accepted theory that explains the phenomenon:

Compressed air is supplied into the tube where it passes through a set of nozzles that are tangent to the internal counter bore. The design of the nozzles forces the air to spin in a vortex motion at speeds up to 1,000,000 RPM. The spinning air turns 90° where a valve at one end allows some of the warmed air to escape. What does not escape, heads back down the tube in the inner stream where it loses heat and exhausts through the other end as cold air.

Both streams rotate in the same direction and at the same angular velocity. Due to the principle of conservation of angular momentum, the rotational speed of the inner vortex should increase. The best way to illustrate this is in Olympic Figure Skating. As the skater is wider, the spinning motion is much slower. As she decreases her overall radius, the velocity picks up dramatically and she spins much quicker. In a Vortex Tube, the speed of the inner vortex remains the same as it has lost angular momentum. The energy that is lost in this process is given off in the form of heat that has exhausted from the hot side of the tube. This loss of heat allows the inner vortex to be cooled, where it can be ducted and applied for a variety of industrial applications.

This Vortex Tube theory is utilized in basic Vortex Tubes, along with a variety of other products that have additional features specific for your application. EXAIR’s line of Cabinet Coolers, Cold Guns, Adjustable Spot Coolers, Mini Coolers, and Vortex Tubes all operate off of this same principle.

If you’re fascinated by this product and want to give it a try, EXAIR offers an unconditional 30-day guarantee. We have them all in stock and ready to ship as well, same day with an order received by 2:00 ET. Feel free to get in contact with us if you’d like to discuss how a vortex-based product could help you in your processes.

Tyler Daniel

Application Engineer


Twitter: @EXAIR_TD


Okay, in case you haven’t been around the past year or two, and you have no clue where that simple word/statement comes from, then let me be the first to tell you that Ted Lasso is a great show, and you should check it out. So what does that have to do with EXAIR? Well, I like to think that sometimes the Application Engineers here are a lot like the coaching staff on the show. Sometimes we are strategic, we want to assert our experience and knowledge, and others, we are like Ted where we just ensure the thoughts and ideas you have already had.

That’s the fun part of being an Application Engineer here at EXAIR. I get to speak, chat, or email with both existing customers and potential new customers, resellers, and even catalog houses who all are trying to do one thing, improve a process or help someone out. Recently I was working with a manufacturing company trying to determine how fast they can cool a slab of steel with a Super Air Knife. Now, I by no means have a background in thermo like Russ Bowman, but he was busy preparing for our Spring Webinar to share some knowledge on Compressed Air System Storage. (If you haven’t checked a webinar out, most are available on our website in our knowledge base. ) So, I took the time to try and remember some of the tools I learned while at the University of Cincinnati. Thermodynamics was by far one of the hardest classes for me, The Algebra was always easy, I just always looked at the problems sideways I guess, and worried about too many variables. The truth of it is, if you keep it simple you can generally get somewhere close. so I took that approach. First I looked at what heat load would be generated by the steel slab.

\K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid – Not always my forte!

I looked at the basic Heat Transfer equation – Q=c x m x ΔT where:

Q = Heat
c = specific heat capacity
m = mass
ΔT = Change in temperature

I was able to locate the mass of the carbon steel plate with 1/2″ thickness. So I calculated the mass of the sheet. Then looked up the specific heat of the same plate, and took the change in temperature from what the customer stated the plate started at and finished at.

This resulted in a heat load. Then to calculate how much cooling a Super Air Knife could provide I utilized another calculation that gives the BTU constant of a cubic foot of air moving and I did decrease the efficiency of the knife due to some assumptions on space and temperature constraints. The resulting factor was the customer would need 6 Super Air Knives to blow the sheet down as it travels 5 feet per minute on a 60′ long conveyor.

This again had several assumptions and I made that very clear to the customer. To convert the amount of air a Super Air Knife puts out and how much cooling it can use, I did make some clear assumptions on the temperature of their atmosphere and the amount of entrainment then I used a calculation that we adapt for Vortex Tubes and Cabinet coolers to determine what cooling load will be achieved if the air pressure or temperature is less than optimal on one of those products.

In the end, the customer received an educated estimation or calculated answer with listed assumptions, to solve their issue with cooling a steel slab before it is stacked together. I really only used two calculations and manipulated some variables to try and make sense of what I knew and what the customer needed. The best part is, this whole process is backed by our 30-day guarantee on stock products which our 48″ Super Air Knife is. So this customer can take my basic math, use my suggestions, place an order, and test it out in their facility for a factual performance test to then proceed with a permanent solution.

If you would like to discuss any point of use or potential application for compressed air in your facility, please contact an Application Engineer today!

Brian Farno
Application Engineer