The Vortex Tube Approach
April 1, 2009
With no moving parts, a vortex tube cooling system spins compressed air into a vortex where hot and cold airstreams are separated at rotational speeds of up to 1 million rpm. The hot air is muffled and exhausted out the back of the unit, while the cold air reaches as low as 50°F (28°C) below the compressed air inlet temperature. The cold air stream passes through an external muffler before being released into the electrical enclosure where it creates a positive pressure (1 to 2 psi) to keep external contaminants from entering the cabinet. As cold air loses its refrigeration to cool the electronics, it forces rising hot air out of vent openings. A built-in mechanical thermostat operates a valve to control airflow and cooling to maintain the cabinet within a temperature range of 80 to 90°F (27 to 32°C).