How a Vortex Tube Works
Fluid (air) that rotates around an axis (like a tornado) is called a vortex. A Vortex Tube creates cold air and hot air by forcing compressed air through a generation chamber which spins the air centrifugally along the inner walls of the Tube at a high rate of speed (1,000,000 RPM) toward the control valve. A percentage of the hot, high-speed air is permitted to exit at the control valve. The remainder of the (now slower) air stream is forced to counter flow up through the centre of the high-speed air stream, giving up heat, through the centre of the generation chamber finally exiting through the opposite end as extremely cold air. Vortex tubes generate temperatures down to 100°F below inlet air temperature. A control valve located in the hot exhaust end can be used to adjust the temperature drop and rise for all Vortex Tubes.
Vortex Tubes have a very wide range of application for industrial spot cooling on machines, assembly lines and processes.
- Cool Machining Operations
- Set solders and adhesives
- Cool plastic injection moulds
- Dry ink on labels and bottles
- Dehumidify gas operations
- Cool heat seal operations
- Thermal test sensors and choke units
- Cool cutter blades
- Temperature cycle parts
Features and Benefits
• Uses only compressed air – no electricity or refrigerants
• Maintenance free – no moving parts
• Exceptionally reliable
• Highly reliable – no moving parts
• Compact and lightweight
• Cycle repeatability with ± 1 °
• Drops inlet temperature by up to 100°F
Vortex tubes produce up to 6000 BTU/hr (1757 watts) of refrigeration and temperatures as low as -40 deg to solve a variety of industrial spot cooling and process cooling needs. With no moving parts, a vortex tube is highly reliable and inexpensive; and requires no electrical connection at the cooling site. Vortex tubes cool instantly, relying on compressed air spinning in the tube to separate the air into cold and hot air streams.
Vortex tubes are a compact source of refrigeration and cooling, with models ranging from 6 – 13 inches (150 – 330 mm) long and cooling capacities ranging from 100 – 6000 BTU/hour (29 – 1757 watts). Vortex tube performance is easily adjustable by changing the inlet air pressure, ratio of cool air to exhaust or by changing the generator in the tube itself. And while normally used for cooling, vortex tubes can also be used for heating applications, merely by channeling the exhaust hot air to the application.
Vortex tube technology was invented by French physicist Georges Ranque in 1930, and first developed for industrial use by Vortec in the 1960s. See how it works. Since then, vortex tubes have been applied for a wide range of cooling applications on machines, assembly lines, in processes and for testing and measurements.