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Vortex Tube 


What Is A Vortex Tube?

vortextube Vortex Tube Vortex Tubes are an effective, low cost solution to a wide variety of industrial spot cooling and process cooling needs. A Vortex Tube turns factory compressed air into two airstreams, one very cold and one hot, using no moving parts. Simple and low-cost, a Vortex Tube can produce:

vt3 Vortex Tube Temperatures from -50°F (-46°C) to +260°F (+127°C).

• Refrigeration up to 10,200 Btu/hr. (2571 Kcal/hr)

• Air flow rates from 1 to 150 SCFM(28 to 4,248 SLPM).

A control valve located in the hot exhaust end can be used to adjust the temperature drop and rise over a wide range for all Vortex Tubes.

vt4 Vortex Tube  

vt6 Vortex Tube

 

vt8 Vortex Tube

 Why EXAIR Vortex Tubes

 

The hardened Stainless Steel construction of EXAIR Vortex Tubes helps to resist wear, as well as its resistance to corrosion & oxidation, assures years of reliable & maintenance free operation. The vortex tube is also known as the Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube.EXAIR Vortex Tubes use only compressed air for spot cooling- no electricity or refrigerants are required.
vt1 Vortex Tube vt2 Vortex Tube



Applications

  • Cooling electronic controls
  • Cooling machining operations
  • Cooling CCTV cameras
  • Setting hot melts
  • Cooling soldered parts
  • Cooling gas samples
  • Electronic component cooling
  • Cooling heat seals
  • Cooling environmental chambers

Advantages

  • No moving parts
  • No electricity or chemicals
  • Small, lightweight
  • Low cost
  • Maintenance free
  • Instant cold air
  • Durable - stainless steel
  • Adjustable temperature
  • Interchangeable generators
 

How the Vortex Tube Works

vt7 Vortex Tube

 Compressed air, normally 80-100 PSIG (5.5 - 6.9 BAR), is ejected tangentially through a generator into the vortex spin chamber. At up to 1,000,000 RPM, this air stream revolves toward the hot end where some escapes through the control valve. The remaining air, still spinning, is forced back through the center of this outer vortex. The inner stream gives off kinetic energy in the form of heat to the outer stream and exits the vortex tube as cold air. The outer stream exits the opposite end as hot air. Read the History of the Vortex Tube for more information.

 


Controlling Temperature and Flow in a Vortex Tube

vt9 Vortex Tube

Cold airflow and temperature are easily controlled by adjusting the slotted valve in the hot air outlet. Opening the valve reduces the cold airflow and the cold air temperature. Closing the valve increases the cold airflow and the cold air temperature. The percentage of air directed to the cold outlet of the vortex tube is called the "cold fraction". In most applications, a cold fraction of 80% produces a combination of cold flow rate and temperature drop that maximizes refrigeration, or Btu/hr. (Kcal/hr.) output of a vortex tube. While low cold fractions (less than 50%) produce lowest temperatures, cold airflow rate is sacrificed to achieve them.

Most industrial applications, i.e., process cooling, part cooling, chamber cooling, require maximum refrigeration and utilize the 3200 series Vortex Tube. Certain "cryogenic" applications, i.e., cooling lab samples, circuit testing, are best served by the 3400 series Vortex Tube.

Setting a vortex tube is easy. Simply insert a thermometer in the cold air exhaust and set the temperature by adjusting the valve at the hot end. Maximum refrigeration (80% cold fraction) is achieved when cold air temperature is 50°F (28°C) below compressed air temperature.


Dimensions

vtdim Vortex Tube
 

Vortex Tube Specifications

EXAIR Vortex Tubes are available in three sizes. Each size can produce a number of flow rates, as determined by a small internal part called a generator. If Btu/hr. (Kcal/hr.) requirements, or flow and temperature requirements are known, simply select the appropriate vortex tube according to the specification information shown below or the performance charts. Keep in mind that the vortex generators are interchangeable. If, for example, a Model 3215 Vortex Tube does not provide sufficient cooling, you need only change generators within the vortex tube to upgrade the flow rate from 15 to 25, 30 or 40 SCFM (425 to 708, 850 or 1133 SLPM).

 

vt10 Vortex Tube

Vortex Tube Performance


Temperature Change Produced by Vortex Tubes
Pressure Supply Change in Temp Cold Fraction %
PSIG   20 30 40 50 60 70 80
20 Drop °F 62 60 56 51 44 36 28
Rise °F 15 25 36 50 64 83 107
40 Drop °F 88 85 80 73 63 52 38
Rise °F 21 35 52 71 92 117 147
60 Drop °F 104 100 93 84 73 60 46
Rise °F 24 40 59 80 104 132 166
80 Drop °F 115 110 102 92 80 66 50
Rise °F 25 43 63 86 113 143 180
100 Drop °F 123 118 110 100 86 71 54
Rise °F 26 45 67 90 119 151 191
120 Drop °F 129 124 116 104 91 74 55
Rise °F 26 46 69 94 123 156 195

Temperature Change Produced by Vortex Tubes (Metric)
Pressure Supply Change in Temp Cold Fraction %
BAR   20 30 40 50 60 70 80
1.4 Drop °C 34.4 33.3 31.1 28.3 24.4 20 15.6
Rise °C 8.3 13.9 20 28.3 35.6 46.1 59.4
2 Drop °C 40.9 39.6 37.1 33.8 29.2 24 18.1
Rise °C 9.8 16.4 24 33.3 42.6 54.6 69.5
3 Drop °C 50.4 48.7 45.7 41.6 36 29.7 21.9
Rise °C 12 19.9 29.6 40.3 52.3 66.5 83.5
4 Drop °C 56.9 54.7 50.9 46.1 40 32.9 25.1
Rise °C 13.2 21.9 32.4 43.9 57.1 72.5 91.2
5 Drop °C 61.6 59 54.8 49.4 43 35.4 26.9
Rise °C 13.7 23.3 34.2 46.5 60.9 77.2 97.1
6 Drop °C 65.4 62.7 58.2 52.7 45.6 37.6 28.6
Rise °C 14.1 24.3 35.8 48.6 63.9 81 102.1
7 Drop °C 68.6 65.8 61.4 55.7 48 39.6 30
Rise °C 14.4 25.1 37.3 50.2 66.3 84.2 106.3
8 Drop °C 71.1 68.2 63.8 57.3 50 40.8 30.4
Rise °C 14.4 25.4 38.1 51.8 67.9 86.1 107.9
EXAIR Cooling Kits
EXAIR Cooling Kits include a vortex tube, all generators, cold muffler, fitting, tubing and clips to duct cold, and filter separator
Model #
Description
3908J
Cooling Kit up to 550 Btu/hr. (139 Kcal/hr.), Small Size
3930J
Cooling Kit up to 2800 Btu/hr. (706 Kcal/hr.), Medium Size
3998J
Cooling Kit up to 10,200 Btu/hr. (2570 Kcal/hr.), Large Size

Other Factors

Back Pressure:
The performance of a vortex tube deteriorates with back pressure on the cold air exhaust. Low back pressure, up to 2 PSIG (.1 BAR), will not change performance. 5 PSIG (.3 BAR) will change performance by approximately 5°F (2.8°C).

Filtration:
The use of clean air is essential, and filtration of 25 microns or less is recommended. EXAIR filters contain a five micron element and are properly sized for flow.

Inlet Air Temperature:
A vortex tube provides a temperature drop from supply air temperature (see Performance Charts above). Elevated inlet temperatures will produce a corresponding rise in cold air temperatures.

Noise Muffling:
EXAIR offers mufflers for both the hot and cold air discharge. Normally, muffling is not required if the cold air is ducted

Regulation:
For best performance, use line pressures of 80 to 110 PSIG (5.5 to 7.6 BAR). Maximum pressure rating is 250 PSIG (17.2 BAR), minimum 20 PSIG (1.4 BAR).

If you are unsure of your flow and temperature requirements, we recommend the purchase of an EXAIR Cooling Kit. It contains a vortex tube, cold air muffler, air line filter and all generators required to experiment with the full range of airflows and temperatures.


Models

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EXAIR Vortex Tubes
Model #
Description
3202
Vortex Tube, 2 SCFM (57 SLPM), for max. refrig., Small Size, 135 Btu/hr. (34 Kcal/hr.)
3204
Vortex Tube, 4 SCFM (113 SLPM), for max. refrig., Small Size, 275 Btu/hr. (69 Kcal/hr.)
3208
Vortex Tube, 8 SCFM (227 SLPM), for max. refrig., Small Size, 550 Btu/hr. (139 Kcal/hr.)
3210
Vortex Tube, 10 SCFM (283 SLPM), for max. refrig., Medium Size, 650 Btu/hr. (164 Kcal/hr.)
3215
Vortex Tube, 15 SCFM (425 SLPM), for max. refrig., Medium Size, 1000 Btu/hr. (252 Kcal/hr.)
3225
Vortex Tube, 25 SCFM (708 SLPM), for max. refrig., Medium Size, 1700 Btu/hr. (428 Kcal/hr.)
3230
Vortex Tube, 30 SCFM (850 SLPM), for max. refrig., Medium Size, 2000 Btu/hr. (504 Kcal/hr.)
3240
Vortex Tube, 40 SCFM (1133 SLPM), for max. refrig., Medium Size, 2800 Btu/hr. (706 Kcal/hr.)
3250
Vortex Tube, 50 SCFM (1416 SLPM), for max. refrig., Lg. Size, 3400 Btu/hr. (857 Kcal/hr.)
3275
Vortex Tube, 75 SCFM (2124 SLPM), for max. refrig., Lg. Size, 5100 Btu/hr. (1285 Kcal/hr.)
3298
Vortex Tube, 100 SCFM (2832 SLPM), for max. refrig., Lg. Size, 6800 Btu/hr. (1714 Kcal/hr.)
3299
Vortex Tube, 150 SCFM (4248 SLPM), for max. refrig., Lg. Size, 10,200 Btu/hr. (2570 Kcal/hr.)
3402
Vortex Tube, 2 SCFM (57 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Small Size
3404
Vortex Tube, 4 SCFM (113 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Small Size
3408
Vortex Tube, 8 SCFM (227 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Small Size
3410
Vortex Tube, 10 SCFM (283 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Medium Size
3415
Vortex Tube, 15 SCFM (425 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Medium Size
3425
Vortex Tube, 25 SCFM (708 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Medium Size
3430
Vortex Tube, 30 SCFM (850 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Medium Size
3440
Vortex Tube, 40 SCFM (1133 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Medium Size
3450
Vortex Tube, 50 SCFM (1416 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Large Size
3475
Vortex Tube, 75 SCFM (2124 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Large Size
3498
Vortex Tube, 100 SCFM (2832 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Large Size
3499
Vortex Tube, 150 SCFM (4248 SLPM), for maximum cold temperature, Large Size

Accessories and Components

Accessories and Components
Model #
Description
3905
Cold Muffler for 2 through 8 SCFM (57-227 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Small Size
3901
Cold Muffler for 10 through 40 SCFM (283-1133 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Medium Size
3906
Cold Muffler for 50 through 150 SCFM (1416-4248 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Large Size
3903
Hot Muffler for 2 through 40 SCFM (57-1133 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Small/Medium Size
3907
Hot Muffler for 50 through 150 SCFM (1416-4248 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Large Size
3909
Generator Kit for 2 through 8 SCFM (57-227 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Small Size
3902
Generator Kit for 10 through 40 SCFM (283-1133 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Medium Size
3910
Generator Kit for 50 through 150 SCFM (1416-4248 SLPM) Vortex Tube, Large Size
Generator Kits ordered with a vortex tube include all generators for the specified tube. Permits setting the vortex tube for all capacities and styles.
Generator Only -- Specify capacity (SCFM) and style ("R" for max. refrigeration or "C" for max. cold temperature). Example: 15-R = 15 SCFM Generator for max. refrigeration
50-C = 50 SCFM Generator for max. cold temperature
9001
Automatic Drain Filter Separator, 3/8 NPT, 65 SCFM (1841 SLPM)
9032
Automatic Drain Filter Separator, 1/2 NPT, 90 SCFM (2547 SLPM)
9002
Automatic Drain Filter Separator, 3/4 NPT, 220 SCFM (6230 SLPM)
9005
Oil Removal Filter, 3/8 NPT, 15-37 SCFM (425-1048 SLPM)
9006
Oil Removal Filter, 3/4 NPT, 50-150 SCFM (1415-4248 SLPM)
9015
Valve and Thermostat Kit
Note:
Flow ratings shown (SCFM) assume 100 PSIG (6.9 BAR) inlet pressure. At other pressures, flow is proportional to absolute inlet pressure.

Click to watch the video (Vortex Tube)

Vortex Tubes and Spot Cooling