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Old 12-06-2010, 07:44 PM   #11
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This paragraph doesn't make any sense. "Not as much as length"?

More plates = the wort flowing back and forth inside the chiller for a longer distance. Like having a CFC made with a 40 foot length of copper instead of 15 feet. That must, by definition, mean that the wort in a 40-plate chiller is going to get cooled more than the wort in a 30-plate chiller. In turn, this means that one could pump the wort through the 40-plate chiller faster than you could through a 30-plate chiller and get the same exit temp.

In any case, just ordered a 40-plate chiller from KegCowboy; go big or go home, eh?
If you look at the Dudadiesel website, you'll see that there are models that are 8" long called "Small", 12" long called "Medium", etc... and within those there are ones that are 20 plate, 30 plate, 40 plate, etc. For instance, the Small 40 Plate is about the same chilling efficiency as a Medium 20 plate. The length the water travels is greater the longer the plate chiller is. It's just saying that you get more total surface area with length rather than more plates. You do with more plates too, but not as much.

What you said is not correct, actually. Most plate chillers, the wort doesn't flow 'back and forth', is just goes in one direction and out the other the opposite flow direction of the chill water. (The Therminator may be the exception to this considering where the input and output ports are.) More plates is just that the flow is split up into more channels. That's why you can get better flow. Whereas, more length of the actual plate chiller means the longer it will flow in those channels and the greater the efficiency is enhanced.

I am getting the Small 40 like you just because I don't have the room exactly where I want to mount it for the longer one.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:56 PM   #12
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Huh, never heard anyone talk about the chillers coming in different lengths. Makes sense, and I see what you're saying - I've always just assumed that they were all the same basic size. Thanks for the insights.

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Old 12-07-2010, 01:30 AM   #13
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Most plate chillers, the wort doesn't flow 'back and forth', is just goes in one direction and out the other the opposite flow direction of the chill water. (The Therminator may be the exception to this considering where the input and output ports are.) More plates is just that the flow is split up into more channels. That's why you can get better flow. Whereas, more length of the actual plate chiller means the longer it will flow in those channels and the greater the efficiency is enhanced.

I recently got a 40 plate 7.5" model, and I was surprised by this...but you're right....ALL the fluid goes in the port and is partitioned ACROSS the plates in one pass, while on the other side, water is doing the same thing and countering the wort. I guess it's more efficient that way, plus you don't get particulates "deep" in the chiller, like you would if the wort went back and forth.
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Old 12-07-2010, 04:35 AM   #14
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Glad I'm not the only one, I don't feel like an idiot anymore! Well, less like an idiot.

Makes sense, now that I think about it. I was having a helluva time wrapping my head around how the plates could fit together to basically make two mazes back and forth within the chiller, but it's easy to visualize how it works when it's being split up this way.

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Old 12-07-2010, 05:36 AM   #15
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:52 AM   #16
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No worries, it took me forever to get it after placing multiple calls to duda. Just info gathered from being an insufferable consumer.

Also, it is of interest to me (because of how I'm gonna mount it and clean it) and maybe you too is: It doesn't matter which direction you send in wort or water in, just as long as they are flowing opposite. There isn't a "well, wort should go from F1 input to F2 output"... it doesn't matter as far as chilling efficiency. Wort can go from F2 to F1.

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Old 12-07-2010, 01:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by SankePankey View Post
If you look at the Dudadiesel website, you'll see that there are models that are 8" long called "Small", 12" long called "Medium", etc... and within those there are ones that are 20 plate, 30 plate, 40 plate, etc. For instance, the Small 40 Plate is about the same chilling efficiency as a Medium 20 plate. The length the water travels is greater the longer the plate chiller is. It's just saying that you get more total surface area with length rather than more plates. You do with more plates too, but not as much.

What you said is not correct, actually. Most plate chillers, the wort doesn't flow 'back and forth', is just goes in one direction and out the other the opposite flow direction of the chill water. (The Therminator may be the exception to this considering where the input and output ports are.) More plates is just that the flow is split up into more channels. That's why you can get better flow. Whereas, more length of the actual plate chiller means the longer it will flow in those channels and the greater the efficiency is enhanced.

I am getting the Small 40 like you just because I don't have the room exactly where I want to mount it for the longer one.
Not all manufacturers plate chillers are created equally.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:12 PM   #18
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Sure, that's why I mentioned the Therminator. It has in and out ports on the same side and may very well go 'back and forth' for all I know. This would pretty much double the surface area, I'd think. (and the price..)

But other than that, the main homebrew suppliers plates (Duda, Shirron, Braztek, etc.) are all basically the same construction it seems to me and just vary on total surface area. Not that I've owned them...

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Old 12-08-2010, 05:00 AM   #19
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I like my Therminator a lot.

My only advice is when you go to clean it back flush with your hose, but then run 160 degree oxyclean through it as well.

The first couple of times I used mine I just back flushed it with ground temp hose water and thought I had it pretty clean. Last time I used the hot oxy and it was amazing how much more junk came out of it even after back flushing.

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Old 12-24-2010, 08:03 AM   #20
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Sure, that's why I mentioned the Therminator. It has in and out ports on the same side and may very well go 'back and forth' for all I know. This would pretty much double the surface area, I'd think. (and the price..)

But other than that, the main homebrew suppliers plates (Duda, Shirron, Braztek, etc.) are all basically the same construction it seems to me and just vary on total surface area. Not that I've owned them...
I believe the therminator does have the fluid pass through the top part of the heat exchanger, make a turn and then come back out on the original side it goes in. We can actually have these made, but i don't like how there will be added pressure loss to the fluids, and in the case of beer brewing, you have clogging issues for sure. This pressure loss though will reduce your cold fluid flow within the heat exchanger, thus reducing the amount of cooling power of the unit. the point of more plates is to reduce this pressure loss, not so much give more heat transfer.

There is also more to heat transfer than just surface area. Flow of the fluid has a great play in the heat exchange. While surface area allows for more conduction to occur between the fluids, faster flow actually brings many times more heat transfer through convection. Turbulence of the fluid also increases heat transfer tremendously, which is why the channels are corrugated. The faster you send that fluid flowing, the more heat transfer you will have. This is why a longer unit does better than a unit with more plates. You are able to achieve faster velocities and the fluid stays in the heat exchanger for longer time. With more plates, flow is actually reduced as the fluid fills all of the plates and although it exits within the same time, there is less heat transfer occurring.

I would not say the therminator gets more surface area by its design either. If it is making 2 passes, it's practically the same as passing through a heat exchanger twice as long and with half as many plates. it uses half the plates of the unit for one pass, the other plates for the other pass, and covers twice the distance of the heat exchanger. Actually, the fluid doesn't even use all of the beginning and ends of the heat exchanger anyway, I would see some loss coming in on the ends for the bending and going back as well as the ins/outs. Although this is probably negligible.

In the heat, it seems that a longer heat exchanger would be better than the therminator's design simply because of the pressure loss issue. Flow is reduced with that unit and this is especially bad for the cooling fluid as you need that to move as quickly as possible to remove all of the heat from your wort. I would imagine they chose this design not for heat transfer, but for convenience of connections.

Hope this helps everyone in the thought process of heat exchangers. many believe more plates is better, but it is not really true for most applications. Freon applications require many more plates for pressure drop reasons, as well as width. In the case of trying to go for the most efficiency, length is the way to go. use plates only to be sure your cooling fluid is not too restricted when passing through the exchanger.
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