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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Chillers and Stir Plates > How Fast is Fast? My DIY Immersion Chiller -2 parallel 20'x3/8" coils
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:15 PM   #21
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Nice, but I'd personally rather not have all that solder sitting in my wort.
If it's lead free what's it matter... You have solder on your houshold hot plumbing lines probably...
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:01 PM   #22
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If it's lead free what's it matter... You have solder on your houshold hot plumbing lines probably...
But your household plumbing carries water at no more than about 130F, not boiling wort at a pH in the 5's. I'm not arguing whether or not it's a problem (I doubt it is) but household water vs. wort isn't really a fair comparison. They are vastly different conditions to expose metals to.
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Old 01-25-2013, 09:06 PM   #23
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But your household plumbing carries water at no more than about 130F, not boiling wort at a pH in the 5's. I'm not arguing whether or not it's a problem (I doubt it is) but household water vs. wort isn't really a fair comparison. They are vastly different conditions to expose metals to.
I can see that point...
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:03 AM   #24
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Nice, but I'd personally rather not have all that solder sitting in my wort.
The Worthington/Lenox Lead Free Solder MSDS says it contains Tin, Copper, and Selenium. Copper and Selenium are both metabolized and used by the body, however, tin is not. Like everything else in the world, they all show toxicity at certain levels. Still, I drive on public roadways, spend time in the sun, and consume alcoholic beverages while trying not to think about my inevitable demise.

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What are the lengths of the coils in each level?
The coils are 20 ft in length

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...you could have built a counterflow chiller that uses 1/2 that amount of copper and just as (if not more) efficient.
I considered in-line chillers, but I like the idea of chilling the whole batch in the kettle before transferring. And I don't want to have to use a pump to do it.

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So, HTC, I was wondering if you might happen to own an IR temp gun or some form of thermometer that might quickly and accurately measure the temperature of the outside of those coils. And if you do, would you be a sport and hook that chiller up to a hot water source then monitor the rise in temperature of the two coils as it heats up? I'm sure that eventually the two will hit equilibrium. But I wonder if the upper coil might warm up a little quicker than the lower.
I had this same concern, and after obsessing over various designs for balancing flow I realized that I have limited funds, tools, and metalworking experience (as displayed by my beautiful solder drips and runs ), and the fittings I included in my plans didn't actually exist. In the end I decided to keep it simple and ditch the Frankenstein designs.

To answer your question, I do not have a temp gun. But you have inspired me to test the variance between the coils. I'm worried that even with an isntant readout, the low specific heat of the tubing would cause a temperature change too rapid to measure for any idea of flow rate. But, I have an idea. I could lay the chiller horizontally and submerge the coils in separate water baths (of similar volume) and monitor their respective temperature change. This would prolong the reading and measure the total transfer of heat over time, directly correlating to flow... in a horizontal orientation. How much effect would you suppose gravity would have on flow?
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:13 AM   #25
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To quote Bill Nye, SCIENCE RULES.
DID YOU KNOW THAT...Bill Nye is my hero. NOW, YOU KNOW.
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:28 PM   #26
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I have an idea. I could lay the chiller horizontally and submerge the coils in separate water baths (of similar volume) and monitor their respective temperature change. This would prolong the reading and measure the total transfer of heat over time, directly correlating to flow... in a horizontal orientation. How much effect would you suppose gravity would have on flow?
I like where your head is at. Watching the change in temperature of a volume of water would indeed give your data better resolution. Being a natural blonde, I had not considered orienting the device sideways!

Household water pressure ranges from something like 30-80psi (depending on city or well water), so I think with all the flow and turbulence that the affect of gravity can be considered negligible for the purposes of our testing. If they start brewing beer in space, perhaps then we can justify being so precise. <---Wait, that doesn't make sense, does it?

To repeat, I think that my (our?) initial concerns are unwarranted. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that we will find the two coils to heat (or cool) at nearly the same rate, if not identically. But if there is one thing that I like as much as science, it is fun. So let's make this fun, FOR SCIENCE!



I bet ONE THOUSAND INTERNETS that you (we, vicariously?) find that the two coils change temperature at roughly the same rate.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:48 AM   #27
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I bet ONE THOUSAND INTERNETS that you (we, vicariously?) find that the two coils change temperature and roughly the same rate.
You're right! Umm...too bad we didn't shake on it... the bet is off!

Here's what I did... and my girlfriend thinks I'm nuts btw, but she is supportive and did help during the experiment.

I lined a milk crate with a towel and filled half of its available space with two empty milk jugs (they fit perfectly!) The other half I divided into two narrow sections with a tight fitting, folded piece of cardboard to act as an insulator and provide some structure. I lined those sections with doubled up trash bags and filled them with equal amounts of cold water from the tap, roughly 10 pints each. I submerged the coils in their water baths and connected the chiller to the hot water supply feeding the washing machine (measured at 131.2 degrees if you're as curious as I was). I then measured the temperature of the water baths. I had my lovely assistant start the timer while I turned on the hot water and began measuring. Because I only have one decent thermometer, I had her alert me in 10 second intervals to record the temperature and move the probe to the other reservoir. We did this until the measurements showed only a small change and finally a repeated result. At that time I confirmed the repeated result was was also the temperature of the water leaving the chiller. We were done. Confused? I made a graph. And a data table.


The graph starts at 50 degrees, and the horizontal lines represent increments of 2 degrees. The vertical lines represent increments of 10 seconds. The green line represents the top coil and the red line represents the bottom coil of the chiller.

Also, note that I did not agitate the water baths during the test, and I did try to maintain the location from which my measurements were taken (roughly 1/2 inch from coils).

The results are pretty clear. There is negligible difference in the transfer of heat for each coil, which I correlate with a negligible difference in flow rate. The apparent higher performance of the top coil early on in the experiment is most likely due to human error.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:39 AM   #28
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That is awesome! Here I just went out drinking with a friend to a series of craft beer events... I missed out on all this steamy hot science! Lolcatz.

Thank you for doing the foot-work. My next chiller will look very similar to your own, only perfectly spaced to fit around the 5500 watt element in my kettle.

BILL BILL BILL BILL!

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Old 01-28-2013, 11:55 PM   #29
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So, htc, great minds, right?!?!

I built this a couple of weeks ago. It has 4 x 25' 3/8 copper. I did not want any connections to be inside the kettle, so all of the lines arch over the edge of the pot into a manifold. I very unscientifically used my highly calibrated finger to gauge the effluent temperature and it seemed to be similar across all of the coils. I have been very impressed with it's efficiency. I thought I would post a picture for those who are concerned about having solder joints immersed in wort. That said, I did solder a few places where the tubing crossed to give it a little more stability.

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Old 01-29-2013, 12:20 AM   #30
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that looks like optimus primes intestines.

that rules!

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