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Machine Design

Vortex tube keeps cabinets cool

Though no one knows exactly how vortex tubes work, Exair Corp uses them in its 1,000 Btu/hr Cabinet Cooler.

One of the most widely accepted explanation of the Vortex Tube Phenomenon is that compressed air enters the tube's vortex spin chamber where it is transformed into a mini-tornado spinning at up to 1,000,000 rpm and moving toward the hot end of the tube. Some of this hot air escapes through the control valve. The remaining air, still spinning, is forced back through the center of the outer “hot” vortex. The inner stream gives off kinetic energy as heat to the outer stream and exits the opposite end as cold air.


Though no one knows exactly how vortex tubes work, Exair Corp. in Cincinnati (, uses them in its 1,000 Btu/hr Cabinet Cooler. In general, when compressed air enters a vortex tube, cold air shoots out one end and hot air out the other - with no moving parts. Air temperatures as low as -50°F and as high as 260°F are possible. The Cabinet Cooler, however, is optimized for medium-sized electronic enclosures and puts out air at 20°F. It comes with a kit for distributing cold air throughout the enclosure, a thermostat, and a filter. The device installs through standard electrical knock-outs and is UL Listed to ensure an enclosure maintains its NEMA-12, 4, or 4X ratings. Coolers with 2,800 Btu are also available. They can be used on computers, CNC panels, camera and laser housings, and relay panels and motor control centers.

TAGS: Technologies
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