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Old 03-20-2008, 03:10 PM   #1
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Default Designing a Plate Chiller

These are some renderings of a plate chiller im thinking about building, I think what i've designed will work but I could use some feedback before I try to build it. I've never actually seen the inside of a plate chiller so I assume this is how they work. I designed the whole thing so it can be disassembled. The plates are copper and the gaskets in between are Buna-n (nitrile).

the first pic is a complete rendering, the second is cross-section showing a layer that would have wort flowing through it, the third pic is a cross-section showing the layer beneath the whats showing in the second pic, it would have cold water flowing through it. - I hope this makes sense.






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Old 03-20-2008, 03:36 PM   #2
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From what it looks like, it will not be thermally efficient.

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Old 03-20-2008, 03:41 PM   #3
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It seems workable to me. Your design is what I'd call a parallel pass system. The wort-in "post" delivers the flow to each hot layer at the same time, it makes the turn and hits the out post. I'm not 100% sure, but I think most plate chillers are serial in design. It enters the top plate area, flows to the other side, drops down two plates, flows across, etc until it gets to the last hot chamber when it hits the out post. I could be wrong but that's how it maintains a counterflow style delta by hitting the colded wort with the coldest coolant. I drew up a design for the gasket style that would make this work, but I have to find it.

I'd probably use very thing stainless sheet for the plates though. Copper moves heat well but it's more expensive and can corrode.

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Old 03-20-2008, 03:46 PM   #4
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I like it. How much space between the copper sheet for wort/water? How do you get Buna in a sheet like that, and is it easy to work with (machinable or too soft?)? Also, what gauge copper plate?

Only thing I see that I would do differently (if it were me )is machine the pipe where it goes through the Buna rubber to actually have metal touching everything rubber, and only have no metal or rubber where your channels actually are. Maybe, round the internal channels off so things couldn't get hung up. I wish I could draw on one of those programs. I always needed so much help way back when in CAD. Nice work though and I bet it would look stunning polished up. Ewwwwwhh, with a stamped out-wards outside plate with your name/logo. Sorry, I get carried away, lol.

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Old 03-20-2008, 03:52 PM   #5
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great, I didnt even think of a serial style chiller I just assumed that plate chillers were parallel. I think the cad program I have can estimate thermal efficiency for heat exchanger so I'll have to play around to see how number of plates / flow rate change the output temperature in parallel vs. serial designs.
Im not really sure how i would build a serial style plate chiller, if you can find and post just a simple sketch it would be awesome.

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Old 03-20-2008, 07:55 PM   #6
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Like this:


Commercial units don't use the gasket to keep the liquids from making a B-line to the output port, they use those punched chevron patterns for that. I think getting gaskets punched out would be the hardest part. If you one off it, you'll have to cut everything out by hand. Ouch.

Let's say the plates were 4" x 12". A 48" x 12" x .032" sheet of copper at mcmaster is $75. It would yield a 12 plate chiller which is about the minimum I'd expect to actually work.

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Old 03-20-2008, 08:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M
I think getting gaskets punched out would be the hardest part. If you one off it, you'll have to cut everything out by hand. Ouch.
Just throwing this out there, but what about getting gaskets laser-cut? customlasercutting.com quotes cutting 1/8" neoprene rubber at around 30 cents per inch, and they might have some kind of discounts if you're getting multiples of the same thing cut out (maybe they can stack the material and cut a couple/few at a time, who knows). May or may not be cost prohibitive for your project, but I would think it would definitely make some high-quality gaskets at least.
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Old 03-20-2008, 08:30 PM   #8
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I actually think it might be easier to make something like this with O-ring cord stock and cement it together. Just put all the bolt pass throughs outside of the gasketed area.

I mean, look at every gasket and how much wasted cutaway material you'd have. At 30cents an inch, you're looking at at least 60 inches per gasket. $18, just in cutting alone. This would be a $400 chiller.

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Old 03-20-2008, 08:51 PM   #9
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I like your design Bobby. RTV/Gasket Maker is your friend.

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Old 03-20-2008, 08:57 PM   #10
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Yeah, but the whole point of building one is to make it completely disassemblable. That's a new word for you.

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