Different Uses of Industrial Coolants
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 ideal coolant is something that has low viscosity, low-cost, chemically inert, non toxic, has high thermal capacity and neither promotes nor cause corrosion of cooling system. As a matter of fact, few applications for such need it to be good electrical insulator too.
When the term coolant is used, we often associate it to automotive as well as HVAC applications but industrial coolant is a lot different since it’s more of a technical aspect and used generally in low and high temperature manufacturing applications. The term is covering cutting fluids at the same time. Coolants might be able to stay on its phase, gaseous or liquid or it can even undergo a transition with latent heat that adds to the efficiency of cooling. 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. Hydrogen is used too for high performance gaseous coolant. Because thermal conductivity is higher in comparison to other gases, it is expected to have low density and high specific heat density allowing it to have low viscosity which many rotary machines are taking advantage of due to its vulnerability to windage loss. The hydrogen cooled turbo generators are at the moment most widely used electrical generator in big power plants.
The inert gases are being used as coolants for gas cooled nuclear reactors. The helium has low tendency of absorbing neutrons and becoming radioactive. Carbon dioxide is actually used to be mixed 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. Whenever there is a need for high specific heat capacity in gaseous form, then expect that steam is what used.
A very common type of coolant is water. Its low cost as well as high heat capacity has made it ideal for heat transfer medium. It is usually used with additives such as antifreeze as well as corrosion inhibitors. Antifreeze solution is made out of suitable organic chemicals oftentimes diethylene glycol, propylene glycol or ethylene glycol in water. Betaine is of similar coolant with an exception that it’s made from pure plant juice and therefore hard to ecologically dispose or non toxic. Because of the low electrical conductivity of pure de-ionized water, it’s widely used for regulating the temperature on electrical equipment.