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-   -   Size, Type of Copper for Homemade IC (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/size-type-copper-homemade-ic-326260/)

Lennie 05-04-2012 06:04 PM

Size, Type of Copper for Homemade IC
 
I'm building another homemade IC. My first one is fine for small batches but I have a 20gal kettle now and want something that will chill this down in 20min. I know my choices and have chosen an IC with whirlpool.

My choices for tubing thickness are K,L, and refrigeration. I believe those are in order of wall thickness, K being thickest. Then there's whether to use 3/8" OD or 1/2" OD. And finally, I can get lengths of 20' or 60' in the K or L, and 50' for the refrigeration tubing.

So what would you recommend? The refrigeration tubing is lightest and therefore cheapest. But if theres a good reason to use something else I'm all ears.

JJL 05-04-2012 06:18 PM

The thinner and smaller the tubing, the easier it's going to be to bend without kinking. However, the bigger the OD, the more surface area, and the faster the chill. Most IC's are 3/8" at either 25' or 50'. Also, the longer the tube, the more surface area, but you don't want to make the coils too tall or too wide to fit in your kettle. Any surface that isn't touching your wort is just wasted tubing.

josiahcox 05-04-2012 07:14 PM

50 ft of 1/2 refer bought in a coil......Here this will be way easier.


Go to that link. It's Bobby M's IC build video and it is perfect and gives you all the specs. Double check all of your fitting before leaving the hardware store!
I just built one to his specs and it ran around $130 BUT..... I just had mine cool a batch using ground water in under 10 minutes. It's a beast and was very easy to build using this vid.

tre9er 05-04-2012 08:30 PM

I used refrig. coil. Very soft, cheap, and 50' chills 5.5g. of wort in about 10minutes. Cost me about $50 for everything.

mpcluever 05-04-2012 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JJL (Post 4057226)
However, the bigger the OD, the more surface area, and the faster the chill

The bigger the diameter of the tubing, the less surface area per volume of water going through it meaning less efficient. 3/8" or 1/2" should be fine, but bigger is not better. If bigger diameter was better 3' of 6" diameter pipe would be the best chiller out there.

Lennie 05-04-2012 09:22 PM

Thanks for the input. Glad to see the cheaper frig tubing is stiff enough to last in this application. Thanks for the link to the tutorial, quite informative. The elbow at the bottom really makes it nice and tight. I was thinking the 3/8" ID/1/2" OD option would be best, I was tempted to buy the 1/4" ID/3/8" OD but the elbows are really expensive and my thought was that the larger diameter tubing gives more surface area and I can adjust flow to make it efficient as far as water usage. Theres quite a bit more copper surface in 50' of the 1/2" OD.

To tell you the truth I bought 50' of 1/2" OD fridge tubing this morning, plus a couple of elbows. I need one more elbow and I'm good to go. I'm supposed to be getting the 20gal pot today so I'll decide what diameter to use once I see it. I think its about 20" diameter so I'll make the coil to something like 18", leaving an inch on the outside all the way around. With a whirlpool I'm hoping this will let the cone form inside the coil so I can pull out the IC and not have to whirlpool too much longer.

Thanks again for the input, this place rocks.

VladOfTrub 05-05-2012 02:33 AM

"The bigger the diameter of the tubing, the less surface area per volume of water going through it meaning less efficient. 3/8" or 1/2" should be fine, but bigger is not better"......GPM (volume) X Temp. Diff. X 500 = BTU/Hr. A BTU is one pound of water raised or lowered one degree until the occurrence of change of state. A 1/2" tube carries more volume and has less pressure drop than a 3/8" tube. From the mathematics, your reasoning is unfounded.

Lennie 05-05-2012 02:38 AM

How does pressure drop come into play? I did think about the possibility of using my March pump to recirc ice water, and wondered if it'd push through 50' of 1/4"ID. I think it would have.

Lennie 05-05-2012 11:52 PM

Put together a 50' IC this morning, tested it out on 17gal of boiling water this afternoon. Got it down to 100F in 20min using tap water, good enough for my needs.


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