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Old 09-21-2006, 05:56 PM   #1
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Default Flow Rate for Wort Chiller

What is the optimal flow rate through the wort chiller to be most effective?

very slow, slow, gallon per minute, fast?



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Old 09-21-2006, 06:28 PM   #2
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counter flow or immersion??
JJ



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Old 09-21-2006, 06:57 PM   #3
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Default re: flow rate

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybird
counter flow or immersion??
JJ

it's a 3/8th inch copper immersion chiller
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Old 09-21-2006, 07:02 PM   #4
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i go as fast as it will take without blowing the lines off

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Old 09-21-2006, 07:04 PM   #5
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I am now thermodynamics expert, but I use mine for every batch. I start out with a lot of flow, since it is moving a lot of heat at the beginning. After a minute or so, I slow the flow to about 50% of the available pressure, then half it again in a bit. No exact times, but more of a "feel" thing...also since I don't like wasting too much water.

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Old 09-21-2006, 07:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rod
i go as fast as it will take without blowing the lines off

will putting the water through fast inhibit the water's ability to carry the heat away?
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Old 09-21-2006, 07:07 PM   #7
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The way I understand it, it is a matter of the water being exposed to the heat. When the wort is almost boiling, water need only be in the chiller for a second to become scalding. As the temp lowers, I think that it becomes less efficient. Not sure if this is a function of the temperature of the copper or what. I slow the water so that it is exposed to the coils for a longer time, so that I don't waste water. Also, I periodically, and VERY GENTLY, move the chiller, or stire the wort a little in order to break any thermal barriers that develop in the wort around the coils.

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Old 09-21-2006, 07:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truble
The way I understand it, it is a matter of the water being exposed to the heat. When the wort is almost boiling, water need only be in the chiller for a second to become scalding. As the temp lowers, I think that it becomes less efficient. Not sure if this is a function of the temperature of the copper or what. I slow the water so that it is exposed to the coils for a longer time, so that I don't waste water. Also, I periodically, and VERY GENTLY, move the chiller, or stire the wort a little in order to break any thermal barriers that develop in the wort around the coils.

makes perfect sense, thanks!
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Old 09-21-2006, 07:17 PM   #9
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Glad to help.

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Old 09-21-2006, 07:47 PM   #10
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It depends on what you mean by most effective. You'll achieve the highest cooling rate in an immersion chiller by using the highest flow rate possible. It won't necessarily be the most efficient in terms of water usage, but it will obtain the highest cooling rate. Remember, heat flow from the wort to the water is proportional to the difference in temperature, so every little bit you warm up the water in the coil, you're slowing the rate of heat transfer. The faster your flow rate, the less you let the water warm up, therefore maintaining the highest possible temperature gradient.

Now if you want to truly have a fast and efficient chiller, build yourself a counterflow chiller. An off the cuff idea for building one is this:

Get a plastic bucket of some sort, that has a tight fitting lid with a gasket. drill a hole at both ends of the bucket, either on the side or on the lid and bottom, whatever, doesn't really matter, but if you choose to put it on the lid and bottom, offset the holes to the side. put a fitting on each of these holes that can accept a hose. This is the shell side of your heat exchanger, where water will flow through. Next, measure the inner dimensions of your bucket. This will guide the design of your coil. I recommend a simple coil, so you can maintain counterflow (no direction changes). Thin wall tubing will have better heat exchange properties than thick, and thinner tubing overall will work better, although you'll need a longer length of it and it'll have a lower flow rate and be more prone to clogging (remember, you're gonna gravity feed the wort through it). Make the coils as large of a diameter as you can without actually having them against the wall, so that the wort has to travel as long a distance as possible inside the chiller. at either end of the coil form a straight section that justs axially out from the coil. Now drill a hole in the bottom and lid of your bucket in the center, and attach a watertight grommet of some sort the right size to fit your tubing through. Insert one of the straight ends of the coil through the bottom grommet, then lower the lid over the other straight end and snap the lid on the bucket. you now have a counterflow chiller for not a horrible amount of money! you can fit a siphon tube on both ends of the coil, and siphon the wort through the coil while at the same time running water in the opposite direction through the bucket. I might build one of these, now that I think of it. If anyone beats me to it, let me know how it works out!



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