## Fundamental Modes of Heat Transfer

Generally I like to write about cool stuff. Whether it is a new product like our TurboBlast Safety Air Gun, an application that really helped cool down a process for a customer, or even something cool I have done like a GORUCK event or training. Well, today is not one of those days, today we are going to talk about the opposite of cool … HEAT and more importantly the methods it is transferred.

The process of how heat is generated all starts with a conversion of energy. Whether it is friction, or converting energy to light, or even converting energy to a different voltage through something like a transformer. No matter how it is generated, heat will begin to transfer. On the molecular level, atoms are storing the energy which will cause electrons to enter into an excited state and rapidly switch between shells. When the electron returns back to a lower shell (closer to the nucleus) energy is released; the energy released is then absorbed by atoms at a lower energy state and will continue until the thermal energy is equal between the two objects. Heat has four fundamental modes of transferring energy from surface to surface and they are as follows:

Conduction
Conduction can also be referred to as diffusion and is the transfer of energy between two objects that have made physical contact. When the two objects come into contact with each other thermal energy will flow from the object with the higher temp to the object with the lower temp. A good example of this is placing ice in a glass of water. The temperature is much lower than the room temperature therefore the thermal energy will flow from the water to the ice.

Radiation is the transfer of thermal energy through empty space and does require a material between the two objects. Going back to the how thermal energy is released from atoms; when the electron returns to a lower energy shell the energy is released in the form of light ranging from infrared light to UV light. Energy in the form of light can then be absorbed by an object in the form of heat. Everyone experiences radiation transfer every day when you walk outside; the light from the sun’s radiation is what keeps this planet habitable.

Convection
Convection is the transfer of thermal energy between an object and a fluid in motion. The faster the fluid moves the faster heat is transferred. This relies on the specific heat property of a molecule in order to determine the rate at which heat will be transferred. The low the specific heat of a molecule the faster and more volume of the fluid will need to move in order to get full affect of convection. Convection is used in modern ovens in order to get a more even heat through out the food while cooking.

Advection is the physical transport of a fluid from point A to point B, which includes all internal thermal energy stored inside. Advection can be seen as one of the simpler ways of heat transfer.

No matter how the heat is transferred to an object, if it needs to be cooled there is a good chance that one of our Application Engineers has approached a similar issue and can help. To discuss, contact us and we will walk through the best method to eliminate the heat you need to.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – “Energy Transfer – Heat” by Siyavula Education is licensed under CC BY 2.0

## Radiant Heat- Where Does It Come From

The three types of heat transfer have been discussed here and there on this blog before. One of the most common heat transfer methods that I deal with on a day to day basis is radiant heat transfer. Also known as thermal radiation, the process is actually the exchange of energy by photons. The main difference separating radiant heat from convection and conduction is that radiation does not require there to be a medium to permit propagation of the heat. Any item which contains thermal energy, meaning it is above absolute zero and less than 1,000 Kelvin, will have this thermal energy. This thermal energy is radiated to other items causing a transfer of heat energy to those objects that results in an equilibrium between the items. The equilibrium does not stop the transfer of photons however.

The most common occurrence that most of us get to experience for radiant heat is heat from the Sun. As the sun shines it is emitting heat. On a hot day, generally the sun is a little closer to your geographic location and you feel hot because the sun is emitting more heat onto your surface than what is being emitted by your internal temperature, so your core temp will increase. On a cold day, when the sun is further away, while it is still shining you feel cold because the sun is not in fact transferring as much energy to the surface of your body than what you are internally generating. The same kind of radiant heat transfer can be from a campfire, open kiln, maybe even a hot steel slab coming out of a blast furnace.

Understanding where a radiant heat source is being generated can help tremendously when looking at cooling an electrical enclosure or even trying to keep a part or sensor cool. Radiant heat is one of the few times a heat shield or shade structure can help to eliminate a portion of the heat load being introduced. Other methods to combat the heat load would be determined with the application at hand. For cooling enclosures that are absorbing a solar heat load, we would look at an EXAIR Cabinet Cooler System and the factors that help to appropriately size the cooler. If this is a single component or part, we would evaluate one of the many other EXAIR Engineered Solutions to determine the best fit for the application. To do either of these, all it takes is a simple chat, email, or call to an Application Engineer.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

## Heat Transfer – How Energy Can Move

Heat. One word can bring to mind so many different things from cooking to sun tanning. But what is heat and how does it move. Heat is essentially a form of energy that flows in the form of changing temperatures; this form of energy will flow from high to low. When you describe something as being hot, you are actually describing that the item in question has a higher temperature than your hand thus the thermal (heat) energy is flowing from that object to your hand. This phenomenon is what is referred to as heat transfer. Heat transfer can be observed all the way down to the atomic scale with the property known as specific heat. Every molecule and atom can carry a set amount of energy which is denoted by specific heat; this value is the ration of energy (usually in Joules) divided by the mass multiplied by the temperature (J/g°C).

But how does this heat move from object to object? On the atomic scale, the atoms are storing the energy which will cause electrons to enter into an excited state and rapidly switch between shells. When the electron returns back to a lower shell (closer to the nucleus) energy is released; the energy released is then absorbed by atoms at a lower energy state and will continue until the thermal energy is equal between the two objects. Heat has four fundamental modes of transferring energy from surface to surface and they are as follows:

Advection is the physical transport of a fluid from point A to point B, which includes all internal thermal energy stored inside. Advection can be seen as one of the simpler ways of heat transfer.

Conduction
Conduction can also be referred to as diffusion and is the transfer of energy between two objects that have made physical contact. When the two objects come into contact with each other thermal energy will flow from the object with the higher temp to the object with the lower temp. A good example of this is placing ice in a glass of water. The temperature is much lower than the room temperature therefore the thermal energy will flow from the water to the ice.

Convection
Convection is the transfer of thermal energy between an object and a fluid in motion. The faster the fluid moves the faster heat is transferred. This relies on the specific heat property of a molecule in order to determine the rate at which heat will be transferred. The low the specific heat of a molecule the faster and more volume of the fluid will need to move in order to get full affect of convection. Convection is used in modern ovens in order to get a more even heat through out the food while cooking.

Radiation is the transfer of thermal energy through empty space and does require a material between the two objects. Going back to the how thermal energy is released from atoms; when the electron returns to a lower energy shell the energy is released in the form of light ranging from infrared light to UV light. Energy in the form of light can then be absorbed by an object in the form of heat. Everyone experiences radiation transfer every day when you walk outside; the light from the sun’s radiation is what keeps this planet habitable.

EXAIR’s engineered compressed air products are used every day to force air over hot surfaces to cool, as well as dry and/or blow off hot materials. Let us help you to understand and solve your heat transfer situations.

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, 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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The picture “Energy Transfer – Heat” by Siyavula Education is licensed under CC BY 2.0

## Bifurcation Of Air – The Wonders of Science That Is The Vortex Tube

EXAIR has provided the benefits of vortex tube technology to the industrial world since 1983. Prior to that, French scientist George Ranque wrote about his discovery in 1928 calling it the tube tourbillion. But it wasn’t until German physicist Rudolf Hilsch’s research paper in 1945 on the wirbelrorhr or whirling tube, that the vortex tube entered the minds of commercial engineers. Nearly 60 years later, EXAIR is a leading provider for cooling products utilizing vortex tube technology.

EXAIR Vortex Tubes produce a cold air stream down to -50° F and are a low cost, reliable, maintenance-free (there are no moving parts!) solution to a variety of spot cooling applications. These applications span a wide variety of industries and include cooling of electronic controls, soldered parts, machining operations, heat seals, environmental chambers, and gas samples. We’re always finding compelling new cooling opportunities for the vortex tubes.

So how does it produce the cooling stream? Compressed air is plumbed into the side port of the Vortex Tube where it is ejected tangentially into the internal chamber where the generator is located. The air begins flowing around the generator and spinning up to 1 million RPM toward the hot end (right side in the animation above) of the tube, where some hot air escapes through a control valve. Still spinning, the remaining air is forced back through the middle of the outer vortex. Through a process of conservation of angular momentum, the inner stream loses some kinetic energy in the form of HEAT to the outer stream and exits the vortex tube as COLD air on the other side.

The adjustable control valve adjusts what’s known as the cold fraction. Opening the valve reduces the cold air temperature and also the cold airflow volume. One can achieve the maximum refrigeration (an optimum combination of temperature and volume of flow) around an 80% cold fraction. EXAIR publishes performance charts in our catalog and online to help you dial into the right setting for your application, and you can always contact a real, live, Application Engineer to walk you through it.

EXAIR manufactures its vortex tubes of stainless steel for resistance to corrosion and oxidation. They come in small, medium and large sizes that consume from 2 to 150 SCFM and offer from 135 to 10,200 BTU/hr cooling capacity. Each size can generate several different flow rates, dictated by a small but key part called the generator. That generator can be changed out to increase or decrease the flow rate.

While operation and setup of an EXAIR Vortex Tube are easy, its performance will begin to  decrease with back pressure on the cold or hot air exhaust of over 3 PSIG. This is a key  when delivering the cold or hot airflow through tubes or pipes. They must be sized to minimize or eliminate back pressure.

The Vortex Tube is integrated into a variety of EXAIR products for specific applications, like the Adjustable Spot Cooler, the Mini Cooler, the Cold Gun Aircoolant System and our family of Cabinet Cooler Systems.

If you would like to discuss your next cooling application, please contact an Application Engineer directly and let our team lead you to the most efficient solution on the market.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF