Water chillers are everywhere – they are used to air condition large industrial, commercial, and institutional facilities, and are used to lower the temperatures of all kinds of equipment, from robotic machinery to computer parts. They can also be used to cool down drinking water to pleasant levels, or to provide cooler water for ingredients in food. However, not many people actually know how they work, and knowing this can help you decide what kind you need, as well as the size. In this article, we’ll take a look at some basic information regarding how chillers operate, as well as their use in daily life.
They function using four main parts – a compressor, an evaporator, a condenser, and a metering system. Since the purpose of a it is to remove heat from somewhere it is not wanted, like mechanical parts or liquids such as water, it sucks up heat using a refrigerant, a chemical that is very heat absorbent. The refrigerant then carries this heat to a condenser, where it is sent into the atmosphere by means of an air, evaporation, or water cooled heat exchanger. Sometimes cooling towers are attached to the heat exchanger if extra cooling power is needed. Once the refrigerant leaves the condenser, it is compressed (thus lowering its temperature) and sent back to absorb more heat.
One of the parts that best defines how well chillers will work is the compressor, which will generally come in one of four forms, being either reciprocating compressors, which work like a crankshaft in a car, scrolling compressors, which look like spirals, centrifugal compressors, which work like fans, or rotary screw compressors, which look like long screws suspended in tubes.
Basically, the principal is that a refrigerant coolant gathers heat, and then uses an evaporator heat exchange to remove that heat. The evaporator sends the heat out into the atmosphere, while the refrigerant is subsequently sent to a condenser where it is turned back into a liquid and then compressed, moving back to the heat source. This allows large pieces of machinery and components that need to be kept at a low temperature to have their heat easily regulated. It can also be used in such purposes as creating cool, pleasant drinking water. The heat coming off the chillers can be used to create hot water as well, in cooler environments where natural water actually needs to be warmed up.