Vortex Tube intercooler
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Vortex Tube intercooler

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    Senior Member Hass828's Avatar
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    Default Vortex Tube intercooler

    We can talk about this idea as there is already a patent in place for this , and I have read that some testing has already been done on a diesel engine. Also, I've read that the OEM's are testing with this idea for intercooling as well as heating and cooling the cabin of the cars.

    Vortex Tube. You hook an air line to it and it divides the air up into a hot stream and a cold stream.
    Ever since I read about the principles involved I wanted to build a vortex tube so over the last couple days I did. Tested it and made a vid. From my experience with it I am pretty confident that a twin turbocharged vortex tube intercooler could be built that would be light and make a very dense cold intake charge.
    I am blowing off boost right now to help control my max boost pressure, my thoughts are why not cram the boost to this tube, blow off the excess & the heat and keep the cold amount that I want.
    Heres a link showing an animation of whats going on in a vortex tube.
    https://www.gyroscope.com/d.asp?product=VORTEXTUBE
    It uses centifugal force of the vortex formed to divide the hot from the cold. The hot is on the outside of the tube while the cold returns up the center of the vortex. They say that the vortex will rotate at 1,000,000 RPMs.
    You can research "Vortex Tube" on the net, there is alot of info and some good reading.
    Heres my vid of the results of my experiment with building a vortex tube.

    Notice that no matter how I adjusted it that the outlet temps remained relitively cold in the 20's, but when I open the hot up a little the cold side would drop like crazy, although it was still flowing most of the air. Coldest I've reached so far is 5* and the hottest out so far is 165*.
    Heres the idea I have in my head about using it for an intercooler and boost controller. Lets hear what you guys think. I'm open for criticism, and I fully expect to here plenty from the naysayers.
    I completely understand that the diameters of the pipes, lengths, nozzle diameters, and all of that would have to be experimented with to reach maximum efficiency. I believe that with the larger tube and the larger volume of the turbos, that the cetrifugal forces at work might actually work better and not actually require as much pressure.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Hass828; 01-27-2013 at 07:02 AM.
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    LP-25.com Infomaniac's Avatar
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    Genius.
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    Or Seth, either one Budweiser's Avatar
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    Wholly CRAP HASS!

    Super interesting, but personally my head is still trying to wrap it's self around your last thread.

    I'll chime in more about this genius-ness as space on my mental hampster wheel frees up.

    I love this shit! Keep it up.

    BTW, video still processing at this point. No can view yet

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    In the old days used to have a tool for cooling choke thermostats down on carbs., so now I know how it worked. Obviously this idea has been around for awhile. Interesting.

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    Senior Member Hass828's Avatar
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    This vid might help invision just whats actually happening in the center of that vortex tube.
    "if we keep doing it the same way we always do..we will always get the same results"
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    Or Seth, either one Budweiser's Avatar
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    Video finally processed. Cool shit.

    Got some of the other stuff outta my head for the moment.

    I'm curious what the temperature of the air going in is. Put a blow nozzle on the airline and measure the temp as it comes out please. In the morning would be best so there's not a bunch of heat from the compressor skewing anything.

    There's obviously some stuff going on in there, centripetal force causing compression and heat within the outer portion of the vortex, guessing there's some heat transfer through the tube and cooler air funnels down the vortex to the restricted cool side.

    I wonder what the effect would be if you capped the hot side off and soaked the tube in ice water? Would a vortex still form, concentrating heat and heat transfer to the walls and cooler air still be produced without the volumetric loss through the otherwise open hot end?

    Time to step it up and make a version large enough to utilize the exhaust side of a shop vac and test more to scale results.
    Last edited by Budweiser; 01-23-2013 at 12:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldelmn8tr View Post
    In the old days used to have a tool for cooling choke thermostats down on carbs., so now I know how it worked. Obviously this idea has been around for awhile. Interesting.
    Slightly newer than idea than sailing ships, and they had figured out the earth was round. But not by much.

    There is a huge difference between temperature and BTUs. A home ice cube from yur freezer is cold but it doesn't represent much in the way of BTUs.

    We have built units to cool the sensors on space telescopes used on Mt Haleakala on Maui. Long stroy why they needed to be done with air as opposed to a refridgerant. Short version, we weren't removing so much generated heat as lower the sensore to roughly the same temperature as the outside ambient. Not much heat needed to be removed and it required a 5 hp air compressor running pretty much balls out.

    What was you inlet pressure from the compressor compared to the pressure you be able to feed it from your turbos?
    What was the inlet CFM verses the tube/vortex generator dia. In other words, what was the inlet velocity. What do you figure the inlet velocity/generator velocity.

    Its ALL about VELOCITY and PRESSURE DROP.

    One of big miss conceptions is that the fuel is what creates all the temperature drop thru a blow thru. If you push 2000 CFM thru a 850 carb with no fuel, the leaving temperature wll considerably lower than the inlet.

    You cannot lower the temperature on one side of the vortex if you can't get the velocity high enough to create a considerable pressure drop somewhere.

    BTW, there are no free lunches, and the laws of "conservation of energy" are going to wreck havoc on your idea.
    The vortex generator is as old as Bernoulli himself



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    Quote Originally Posted by gn7 View Post
    Slightly newer than idea than sailing ships, and they had figured out the earth was round. But not by much.

    There is a huge difference between temperature and BTUs. A home ice cube from yur freezer is cold but it doesn't represent much in the way of BTUs.

    We have built units to cool the sensors on space telescopes used on Mt Haleakala on Maui. Long stroy why they needed to be done with air as opposed to a refridgerant. Short version, we weren't removing so much generated heat as lower the sensore to roughly the same temperature as the outside ambient. Not much heat needed to be removed and it required a 5 hp air compressor running pretty much balls out.

    What was you inlet pressure from the compressor compared to the pressure you be able to feed it from your turbos?
    What was the inlet CFM verses the tube/vortex generator dia. In other words, what was the inlet velocity. What do you figure the inlet velocity/generator velocity.

    Its ALL about VELOCITY and PRESSURE DROP.

    One of big miss conceptions is that the fuel is what creates all the temperature drop thru a blow thru. If you push 2000 CFM thru a 850 carb with no fuel, the leaving temperature wll considerably lower than the inlet.

    You cannot lower the temperature on one side of the vortex if you can't get the velocity high enough to create a considerable pressure drop somewhere.

    BTW, there are no free lunches, and the laws of "conservation of energy" are going to wreck havoc on your idea.
    The vortex generator is as old as Bernoulli himself
    The vortex tube was discovered in 1930 by French physicist Georges Ranque. So in the science world that is relatively new technology. Most of todays stuff was discovered way before that.
    I am blowing off boost to control down to the desired pressure right now. I had 80psi feeding the vortex tube. I suspect that with the size tube diameter that we would end up using, that it would increase the centrifal force to such that we might get away with 30-40 psi from the turbos and bust that down to 20psi leaving the vortex tube on the cold side. Remember , turbos move huge volume.
    And I understand about your 5hp compressor example. But our engines use 1/3rd of the btu's released from the fuel for power, 1/3rd goes out the cooling system and 1/3rd out the exhaust. Those turbos are harnessing the 1/3rd from the exhaust for power. on a 1500hp engine those turbos would equal a 500hp compressor.
    Last edited by Hass828; 01-23-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Budweiser View Post
    Video finally processed. Cool shit.

    Got some of the other stuff outta my head for the moment.

    I'm curious what the temperature of the air going in is. Put a blow nozzle on the airline and measure the temp as it comes out please. In the morning would be best so there's not a bunch of heat from the compressor skewing anything.

    There's obviously some stuff going on in there, centripetal force causing compression and heat within the outer portion of the vortex, guessing there's some heat transfer through the tube and cooler air funnels down the vortex to the restricted cool side.

    I wonder what the effect would be if you capped the hot side off and soaked the tube in ice water? Would a vortex still form, concentrating heat and heat transfer to the walls and cooler air still be produced without the volumetric loss through the otherwise open hot end?

    Time to step it up and make a version large enough to utilize the exhaust side of a shop vac and test more to scale results.
    I have a Large snap-on 80 gal 5hp compressor, it was pumped up & shut down all night so the entire tank , line , & air were ambient. And my thermometer read about 65* this morning when I did that vid.
    The onle true way to test one is going to be with an engine on a dyno at steady state of boost, and some data gathering done. You would need several different diameters, lengths and different orifice diameters to try.
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    So in all this testing, did you try blocking the cold side discharge to achieve 20psi in the standpipe. Curious when the cold side discharge is pressurized to that ratio with the inlet air pressure how well the exchange works.


    80 psi and its resulting pressure drop, and restricting the cold side disharge to achieve a 20psi, is a much much better ratio than 40 psi inlet and a 20 psi cold side discharge.



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    Last edited by gn7; 01-23-2013 at 01:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hass828 View Post
    I have a Large snap-on 80 gal 5hp compressor, it was pumped up & shut down all night so the entire tank , line , & air were ambient. And my thermometer read about 65* this morning when I did that vid.
    The air in the line is 65° at 80psi, what is it when it decompresses to atmospheric?

    Please, just try it. I think you will be surprised to know the air coming out of the blow nozzle will be considerably less than your ambient temperature, and therefore the temperature of the air going into the vortex is lower than ambient.

    Also, I know you probably don't have any means to measure, but what volume of air want out the hot side vs. the cold side? One more than the other? Close to the same?

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    Quote Originally Posted by gn7 View Post
    So in all this testing, did you try blocking the cold side discharge to achieve 20psi in the standpipe. Curious when the cold side discharge is pressurized to that ratio with the inlet air pressure how well the exchange works.


    80 psi and its resulting pressure drop, and restricting the cold side disharge to achieve a 20psi, is a much much better ratio than 40 psi inlet and a 20 psi cold side discharge.
    This brings up a good point. A good portion is going out the hot side, and how well does the process work under above ambient pressures? I'm guessing to supply the engine with 1000hp worth of air volume at 20 psi, 2000hp worth of air volume would have to go into the vortex at whatever psi, higher than 20.

    Not sure Hass's current turbos are capable of supplying twice the lbs/hr, not to say the S480's wouldn't, or that it's not possible. Still curious how much volume is comming out of the hot and cold sides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Budweiser View Post
    This brings up a good point. A good portion is going out the hot side, and how well does the process work under above ambient pressures? I'm guessing to supply the engine with 1000hp worth of air volume at 20 psi, 2000hp worth of air volume would have to go into the vortex at whatever psi, higher than 20.

    Not sure Hass's current turbos are capable of supplying twice the lbs/hr, not to say the S480's wouldn't, or that it's not possible. Still curious how much volume is comming out of the hot and cold sides.
    You can have very little coming out of the hot side and the temps from the cold side will still be in the 20's. I would say maybe 90%~ on the cold side to 10%~ on the hot, maybe even less. The cold side will have that thermometer dancing around in the pipe from the volume going past it and the hot well just be very slowly oozing out.
    As for the air in that compressor, it was at ambient. If you test that nozzle it will be cooled by expansion. So not a true test of the air temp.
    Last edited by Hass828; 01-23-2013 at 02:19 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hass828 View Post
    As for the air in that compressor, it was at ambient. If you test that nozzle it will be colded by expansion. So not a true test of the air temp.
    Its colder due to PRESSURE DROP!!!!! Expansion? You sound like a rookie

    Point being Hass, you had some temperature drop just from the pressure drop of the inlet air. Will you see that pressure drop in the turbo setup? That ratio of pressure drop?



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