Where are Industrial Coolants Used?
Coolant is that type of substance that is used for reducing or regulating the system’s temperature that comes in gas or liquid form. The best coolants you can get is something that have low viscosity, low-cost, chemically inert, non toxic, has high thermal capacity and not promoting or causing corrosion of the cooling system. Some of its applications require the coolant to be electrical insulator as well.
While coolant is typically referred to HVAC and automotive applications, the industrial coolant is much more of a technical as it’s found in heat transfer fluid frequently used for low as well as high temperature for the manufacturing applications. At the same time, the term is used to cover cutting fluids. As for the coolants, it can actually stay on its phase, gaseous or liquid and at times, it undergoes a transition with latent heat which then adds the cooling efficiency. When the latter is used to attain below ambient temperature, it is called automatically as refrigerant.
One typical type of coolant that is used today is air. Air cooling is making use of either forced circulation by using fans or convective airflow or otherwise known as passive cooling. For the high performance gaseous coolant, hydrogen is what being used most of the time. The thermal conductivity is a lot higher compared to all other gases, it has low density and high specific heat density and as a result, low viscosity which is actually a benefit for rotary machines that are vulnerable to windage losses. The hydrogen cooled turbo generators are at the moment most widely used electrical generator in big power plants.
As for nuclear reactors that are gas cooled, what is used in this purpose is inert gases. Helium has this low tendency to absorb neutrons and become radioactive. Actually, carbon dioxide is also used for mixing it with AGR reactors and Magnox. Sulfur hexafluoride on the other hand is being used for cooling and insulating high voltage power systems similar to switches, transformers, circuit breakers and so on. Steam can also be used where there is high specific heat capacity required in gaseous form.
A very common type of coolant is water. It becomes ideal for heat transfer medium given the fact that it has high heat capacity plus, it is cost effective. Most of the time, technicians are combining it with additives like antifreeze as well as corrosion inhibitors. In most cases, diethylene glycol, propylene glycol or ethylene glycol mixed in water is the components of antifreeze. A similar coolant is betain but with an exception that it’s manufactured using pure plant juice. Pure de-ionized water is used for cooling electrical equipment due to its low electrical conductivity.