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Old 05-18-2009, 02:23 PM   #1
krc333
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Default Stainless Chiller vs Copper

I'm ordering a wort chiller today from Midwest and am probably going to go with the Super Efficient Copper Chiller with garden hose connection for $75. I was wonder what the difference between the stainless & copper is? Does the copper cool faster and also does anyone know why that one is super efficient because it looks just like the others? To be honest most of them look the same to me.

Super Efficient Immersion Wort Chiller :: Midwest Supplies Homebrewing and Winemaking Supplies

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Old 05-18-2009, 02:29 PM   #2
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Stainless is less pliable so it will flex less. And you pay more for it. Past that...copper is a better conductor, so it's more effective at chilling.

I use copper. No reason not to.

Oh, and I have no idea what this "proprietary water turbulation technology" is...the only thing i can think of is that there's some kind of insert in the tubing that causes the water to "swirl" as it goes through the tubing, exposing more of it to the tubing wall. But that's just my guess. I'd also guess that it's a gimmick that doesn't really do anything meaningful.

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Old 05-18-2009, 02:40 PM   #3
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For an immersion chiller copper is a very good conductor of heat transfer. Stainless is not a good conductor of heat transfer. Some people may differ, this just my opinion.
Check out the link: Conduction Even though they are both metals and most metals are able to transfer heat efficiently.

Some things to think about when ordering. Stainless looks nice but is it cost effective? For now copper prices have fallen enough to be cost effective even if you want to make your own. Copper does tarnish over time if not brewed with often. Stainless, well.... it's stainless; cleans up great and looks great. Any way that's my $.02 worth.

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Old 05-18-2009, 03:36 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info, I’m fine with giving the copper a little more TLC since it works better. I love Midwest’s site I just wished they would give a little more info on why one piece of equipment is better than another. I’m too lazy to build one as well, that and my tools a slightly better than Playschool quality.

I might give them a call to find out about the “proprietary water turbulation technology”. One reason I’ve never used a wort chiller (just do extract with 4 gallon boils) is the amount of water you just waste if you don’t capture it and reuse.

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Old 05-18-2009, 04:19 PM   #5
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As the previous posters have mentioned, Copper is a much better thermal conductor than stainless steel. Thats why we use copper spreaders on heat sinks. Stainless Steel is a much less efficient thermal conductor copper.

Thermal Conductivity or Heat Transfer Coefficient in (W/mK)
(1 W/(mK) = 1 W/(moC) = 0.85984 kcal/(hr moC) = 0.5779 Btu/(ft hr oF))

Material/Substance.................Temperature (oC)
.........................................25....... 125....... 225
---------------------------------------------------
Copper...............................401..... 400........398
Stainless Steel.....................16........17..........19

As you can see above Copper blows the doors off of Stainless Steel for thermal conduction.

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Old 05-18-2009, 06:48 PM   #6
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Just remember most of the resistance in the heat transfer is in the CONVECTION. The conduction through the metal is a small part of the resistance to heat transfer.

Note the similarities in transfer coefficient (this is taking into account conduction and convection) between the copper and steel.

IMO, either chiller is just fine. My stainless cools very well.

EDIT: I should add that the chart is for still fluids (not quite still because of movement due to temperature differences). With the water moving inside as well as some stirring, the convective resistance will lower. It stands to reason that the difference between the the two styles would increase (favoring copper more) because the conduction would be a little bit larger part of the total resistance.

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Old 05-18-2009, 07:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krc333 View Post
One reason I’ve never used a wort chiller (just do extract with 4 gallon boils) is the amount of water you just waste if you don’t capture it and reuse.
That is the primary reason behind using plate or CFC. Both use a lot less water.

Also, check your local Craigslist for wort chillers. I know mine has at least one a week (but they go quick) and for relatively cheap. Albeit, I realized that after buying mine, oops. Also, often Craigslist also has some good deals on brew kits or various brew pieces.
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:37 PM   #8
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Why not consider building your own IMWC?! The price of copper has leveled off quite a bit since a year ago. I recently "upgraded" and made my own IMWC from 3/8" copper tubing. I don't know if you are a DIY'er but it may reduce your cost so that hard earned money can be spent elsewhere (grain, yeast, hops, etc..).

What can I say! I'm a FRUGAL FREAK!

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Old 05-18-2009, 08:53 PM   #9
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hammacks is correct. The conductivity of the metal is not very important in our situation. The fluid flow inside and outside the coil and the temperature of the cooling fluid is WAY more important. You may need an extra minute for cooling if you use SS but I doubt it is even that big of a difference.

Also, I am quite sure the turbulence technology is just a wire or similar on the inside of the tube to ensure a turbulent interior flow. In a 3/8" the flow will already be turbulent at the radius of the coil so it won't make a significant difference.

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Old 05-19-2009, 12:52 AM   #10
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Wow 77 bucks for a 25 foot 3/8 chiller, I guess super efficiency comes at a premium?

I noticed this 50 footer for 30 bucks in case you haven't pulled the trigger yet.Super Chiller XL

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