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Old 06-25-2009, 11:23 PM   #1
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Default Wort Chilling with compressed air!

I was talking with a plumber today who brews small batches. He mentioned that his IC was taking way too long to cool so he hooked it up to his compressor and uses that to chill his wort quickly. He has 50' of copper 1/2". He told me that they use that method to find leaks in copper running through slabs. I have no idea if this will work or not but sounds interesting. He said the copper ices up very fast from the compressed air

Anyone ever try this? I don't think he was BS'ing me.

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Old 06-25-2009, 11:46 PM   #2
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I'm not sure why that would work..

The rapid expansion of air will absorb some energy, but it seems like you would have to have an incredible amount of expansion to do that. It's not like there is a phase change like a refrigeration circuit. Couple that with the fact that water running through an IC is going to absorb a lot more energy than air could, it just doesn't sound like it would work better.

Maybe somebody with a stronger understanding of physics could explain why it might work, but I don't think it would.

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Old 06-25-2009, 11:53 PM   #3
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I searched for some information. This isn't the same idea, but it's interesting.
http://www.newmantools.com/vortex.htm

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Old 06-25-2009, 11:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derrin View Post
Maybe somebody with a stronger understanding of physics could explain why it might work, but I don't think it would.
It may work, but there is no way it makes ice. Perhaps frost forms on the pipe in the air when it is humid out, but the ice in the wort is impossible. Even if it did work, compressed air is a whole heck of a lot more expensive than water and ice.
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:55 PM   #5
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I agree with Derrin, It would require an incredible amount of air and absolutely no restriction in the IC for it to cool. On top of that, liquid transfers heat much better than a gas can. The exception(maybe) is when a liquid vaporizes below room temp as in the evaporator of an ac system.

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Old 06-26-2009, 01:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChshreCat View Post
I searched for some information. This isn't the same idea, but it's interesting.
Vortex Tube, Vortex Tubes use compressed air for spot cooling
One of my neighbors has one of those Vortex coolers on his Bridgeport Milling machine and swears by it. It does put out some mighty cold air and really keeps things cool during a milling operation without the use of cooling fluids. You do need a hefty compressor for it to work though. There is one on Ebay for $50 that will generate 1000 BTU at 15 SCM.

Exair vortex tube chiller - eBay (item 160343051880 end time Jun-28-09 16:19:10 PDT)
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Old 06-26-2009, 07:50 AM   #7
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I have a Vortex Cooler Model 721, 1500 BTU/HR, lists at $758.40, it requires app 22 CFM to operate it. For the price as well the low BTU/HR there are better and cheaper ways to cool down. I used mine in the compressor room at the GM / NUMMI plant with a line to a cardboard box holding two six packs inside. 1 3/4" diameter by 9 5/8" long.

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Old 06-26-2009, 12:58 PM   #8
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that sounds more expesive than water, not to mention it uses electricity... which is worse that "wasting" water...

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Old 06-26-2009, 01:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I have a Vortex Cooler Model 721, 1500 BTU/HR, lists at $758.40, it requires app 22 CFM to operate it. For the price as well the low BTU/HR there are better and cheaper ways to cool down. I used mine in the compressor room at the GM / NUMMI plant with a line to a cardboard box holding two six packs inside. 1 3/4" diameter by 9 5/8" long.
Beemer,

I agree if purchased new, they are expensive but one can find them at a very good price on ebay. The caveat is that you can not run one using a small pancake compressor. I think that is where the large expense will come into play unless one has a decent size compressor available.
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Old 06-26-2009, 01:52 PM   #10
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Unless you have a massive air compressor sitting around doing nothing I can't see how this would ever pay for itself. I pay $2.29 for a cubic meter of water which is 264G or $0.009/G I use 20-25G to chill a 10G batch or a bank busting $0.22. The compressor will cost you at least $500 if you can even find one used so after 2200 batches you've recovered your $500.....O wait I think air compressors use electricity too.

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