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Old 02-26-2014, 06:02 PM   #1
dsaavedra
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Default Can I use vinyl tubing to cool my wort?

Is there any particular reason why I couldn't use a length of vinyl tubing with cold water running through it to chill my wort?

If vinyl tubing can't stand up to the initial boiling temperature, what about silicone tubing?

Does the plastic act as a better insulator than copper and not allow enough heat to be transferred out of the wort and into the running water?



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Old 02-26-2014, 06:10 PM   #2
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Plastics don't have the dynamic heat transfer capability we need. Ideally our chillers would be made in aluminium as that would be better than copper, but then aluminium can have a few other health problems.



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Old 02-26-2014, 06:13 PM   #3
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The tubing won't get nearly as cold as the copper.

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Old 02-26-2014, 07:09 PM   #4
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Yeah this is what I figured. Thought I'd ask anyway!

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Old 02-26-2014, 07:12 PM   #5
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Plus hot vinyl tastes like plastic. And if it tastes like plastic, it means you're drinking plastic, which is bad.

Copper or stainless are your best bets. Not terribly expensive if you make your own.

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Old 02-26-2014, 07:33 PM   #6
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Thermal Conductivity:

Copper - 400
Aluminium - 205
Stainless Steel - 16
PVC - 0.19

So, um, copper is 2000 times better at conducting heat than PVC.

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Old 02-26-2014, 07:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big_len View Post
Thermal Conductivity:

Copper - 400
Aluminium - 205
PVC - 0.19

So, um, copper is 2000 times better at conducting heat than PVC.
This and the fact that vinyl tubing isn't rated above about 168*F before it goes soft on you.
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Old 02-27-2014, 12:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFloyd View Post
This and the fact that vinyl tubing isn't rated above about 168*F before it goes soft on you.
And in my experience, once it goes soft and you run cold water through it and it cools, it becomes very stiff.
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:01 AM   #9
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And in my experience, once it goes soft and you run cold water through it and it cools, it becomes very stiff.
Yep. But I've also seen it collapse due to high temps and it never wants to fully return to its original shape. For higher temp apps (like the lines on my E-BIAB rig), I use silicone tubing.
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Old 02-27-2014, 04:05 AM   #10
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As everyone already stated, you wont get any heat exchange. You can make a copper wort chiller for under $30 if you have the guts to do it. I am in process of making a counter flow chiller which I think I can make for under $40 easily. Chillzilla costs 4-5 times that.



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