What is Air-Cooled Chiller & How does It Work?

What is an Air-Cooled Chiller?

An air-cooled chiller is considered as one of the most common refrigeration systems used in a great variety of industries or for commercial purposes. Used as a single machine, it mainly refrigerates normal temperature water to a certain temperature through the chiller’s compressor in order to cool mould or machine better, and its cooling device is an internally installed fan. It can be used for cooling laser equipment, such as laser cutting, laser marking, laser welding machine and other industrial devices. It is suitable for laboratory equipment as well. In short, any equipment requiring cooling can use air-cooled chillers basically.

What are Main Components of an Air-Cooled Chiller?

An air-cooled chiller is mainly composed of five components, specifically as follows.

  1. Compressor: It serves as the driving force of the refrigerant, which is typically screw, scroll or reciprocating.
  2. Condenser: It is a bundle of horizontal pipes, which are generally surrounded by a number of thin sheets of metal in the vertical axis. The refrigerant will go along theses pipes and can be condensed into a liquid after transferring its thermal energy.
  3. Condenser Fans: It can force the refrigerant to transfer its thermal energy into the ambient air, which is usually designed on top.
  4. Expansion Valve: It can hold back the refrigerant and maintain the high pressure of the condenser by expanding the refrigerant before it enters the evaporator.
  5. Evaporator: It can produce chilled water and send it to the condenser.

How does an Air-Cooled Chiller Work?

The air-cooled chiller utilizes the shell and tube evaporator to exchange heat between water and refrigerant. After the refrigerant system absorbs the heat of water and the water is cooled to cold water, the heat is brought to the finned condenser by the compressor, and then dissipated to the air outside by the cooling fan. Roughly speaking, an air-cooled chiller are capable of absorbing heat from process water and then transfer this heat into ambient atmosphere. It takes air source as cold and heat source and electric drives refrigeration and heating.

What is Difference between Air Cooled and Water Cooled Chiller?

The air-cooled chiller takes gas as the source of heat exchange, which is equipped with a special fan. But the water-cooled chiller takes water as the source of heat exchange, which requires a special cooling tower. They works in different manners as well. A water-cooled chiller uses the cooling tower and water pump to extract hot water for heat dissipation, allowing the cooling process to circulate. But the working principle of an air-cooled chiller varies from that of a water-cooled chiller. The air-cooled one mainly uses the fan for heat dissipation. Their installations and using methods are also different. A water-cooled chiller only can be used when its external is equipped with the water tower and pool, while an air-cooled chiller is movable requiring no water tower and pool.

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