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Old 10-02-2007, 04:00 PM   #11
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I like Bird's approach. Cheap and quick -- always a winner.

That said, my experience has been that the most important factor to quick chilling w/ an immersion chiller is to keep the wort moving. If you don't do that, you'll probably be dissappointed (I was) and if you do, unless you do something really stupid w/ you chiller design, you'll probably be content.

I know this was mentioned before, just want to re-iterate the point.

I've seen where some folks recirculate the wort with a pump. I just give it a good stir w/ a spoon every couple of minutes.

But yeah, a double chiller w/ smaller diameter tubing will likely be more efficient.

-Tom

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Old 10-02-2007, 07:01 PM   #12
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I am pretty sure smaller diameter piping would be less efficient. It's not just about surface area, it's about flow. By using a smaller diameter copper pipe, you are restricting the flow of water through your immersion chiller thus reducing efficiency.

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Old 10-02-2007, 07:36 PM   #13
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It's an ugly thermodynamics problem that will vary by wort temp, pipe diameter, pipe length, pipe wall thickness, flow rate, and tap water temp. Since of these 5 variables, two are unknown, and one varies during the process, it is impossible to accurately speculate about what would be more or less efficient.

Since we can't model results with any reasonable accuracy, we must derive our conclusion from experimental data. And since no one has done a controlled test (afaik), that means your best bet is to use real world experience from HBT members. And IMHO, there is a definite bias that 1/2" is a waste of money.

That said, my unresearched bet would be on more coolant mass per unit time (1/2") pipe. However, since I made a 3/8" first and it works fine (5g) I doubt that I will make another.

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Old 10-02-2007, 07:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddie
Not really. Smaller tubing is better because you have more surface area in contact with the wort than you would if you had larger tubing. The more surface area you have in contact with the wort, the more efficient the heat transfer will be and the faster yoou will cool the wort.
Sorry, but that doesn't make sense. A larger tube (1/2" vs. 3/8") has MORE surface area that would come into contact with the hot wort, not less. Thusly, given equal volumes of water, a larger diameter pipe, would have greater cooling properties. See Yuri's post above.
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srm775
Sorry, but that doesn't make sense. A larger tube (1/2" vs. 3/8") has MORE surface area that would come into contact with the hot wort, not less. Thusly, given equal volumes of water, a larger diameter pipe, would have greater cooling properties. See Yuri's post above.
Generally, though, you're be using a different length of tubing (more) if you went with smaller diameter. 25' of 1/2" of course has more surface area than 25' of 3/8" - but most people would be making a decision to either go for 25' of 1/2" or something like 40' of 3/8". Same total amount of copper, we all usually have a budget in mind when doing a project like this.
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:17 PM   #16
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FWIW, 45ft of 3/8 is almost the same surface area as 25ft of 1/2"

Code:
Diameter	25	30	35	40	45	50
3/8		33.13	39.76	46.39	53.01	59.64	66.27
1/2		58.90	70.69	82.47	94.25	106.03	117.81
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Old 10-02-2007, 08:20 PM   #17
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Hey, I was just guessing!

Has the thickness of the material been discussed? Lower thickness ought to result in greater heat transfer. Gotta believe the tubing with the smaller diameter will also be thinner. If my assumptions are right, you'd be better-off with the 45' of thinner material.

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Old 10-02-2007, 08:26 PM   #18
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Total surface area is only one variable. You can use 300 feet of 1/2 but the truth is, the water inside will likely hit 5-10F below the ambient wort temp within the first 20 feet (just a wild guess). As I mentioned before, you're down to the law of diminishing returns. The lower your tap water temp (high differential between the water and wort), the more use you'll get out of a longer run.

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Old 10-02-2007, 08:36 PM   #19
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I've got a ball value hooked up to the start of my chiller so I can control the water flow, so as to not be wasteful. Run it fast at the beginning to get as much heat away as quickly as possible, slow it down as the wort chills and the output is coming out cold. The fastest cooling would be to run it full-bore all the time, but I hate to see that much water running off (more than I need for cleaning, etc).

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Old 10-03-2007, 07:45 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pldoolittle
FWIW, 45ft of 3/8 is almost the same surface area as 25ft of 1/2"

Code:
Diameter	25	30	35	40	45	50
3/8		33.13	39.76	46.39	53.01	59.64	66.27
1/2		58.90	70.69	82.47	94.25	106.03	117.81

I hope you don't mind me stealing this for a bit.

What this means is that the smaller diameter you use, the more tubing you can get into the pot and the more efficient your chiller should be. With this in mind, you must be careful not to go too small or too large with tubing you choose to use. If your tubing is too small, the coolant flowing through it will become saturated early and will fail to transfer heat effectively which will increase your time spent cooling unless you greatly increase your flow rate. If you go too large with your tubing, the coolant will be underutilized and won't transfer as much heat energy as it's potential allows. To compensate for this, you would have to slow your flow rate down so that it can become saturated before being expelled from the chiller which will also increase the length of time it takes to chill your wort. Using 3/8 tubing is a compromise between the two. It allows you to maintain an easily manageable flow rate while allowing the coolant to be fully utilized in the chiller.
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