Industrial manufacturers often include an ask-the-expert type of section on their websites, which are a good source of technical help. Below is a shortened version of a question and answer from "Ask an Engineer" on the website for Lytron, Woburn, Mass., a manufacturer of cooling components and systems.

Q.What custom heat exchanger technologies do you recommend for cooling oil?
A.There are two heat exchanger technologies that Lytron uses for custom oil coolers: flat tube and plate-fin. Both are vacuum-brazed and high performance. If flat tube will meet your thermal and mechanical requirements, it's generally recommended over plate-fin because flat tube typically costs less. For applications requiring the highest performance and the lightest weight, Lytron usually recommends plate-fin heat exchangers over flat-tube units. The company's flat-tube exchanger can be bent into a 0.375" (3mm) inside radius without buckling, allowing engineers to give the flat-tube heat exchanger a curved shape, if necessary. The majority of military and aerospace oil coolers designed today use plate-fin technology, Lytron says.


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