What Is Heat Pipe Technology for Enclosure Cooling Units?

heat-pipe-technologyAn air to air heat exchanger is an enclosure cooling unit that uses heat pipe technology to remove heat from the enclosure without exposing sensitive electronics to the surrounding environment. Because the electrical enclosure remains sealed throughout the cooling process, potentially contaminated outside air is not allowed to enter. This type of closed-loop cooling system is desirable in a broad range of indoor and outdoor applications where air contamination might be a problem.

What is Heat Pipe Technology?

Heat pipes employ the concepts of conduction and phase transition (condensation and evaporation) to remove heat from an electrical enclosure.

The conductive properties of a copper heat pipe transfers heat from the air inside the enclosure to a coolant fluid in the heat pipe which evaporates and condenses at certain temperatures. At the end of the heat pipe inside the enclosure, the fluid is a liquid. As it absorbs heat the liquid changes to a vapor and moves to the end of the pipe outside the enclosure. Because the ambient air is cooler than the air inside the enclosure, the vapor then condenses back to a liquid and returns to the other end of the heat pipe.

A heat pipe uses the excess heat from the electrical enclosure to drive this process, making it an extremely efficient solution. Circulating fans in air to air heat exchangers are the only components that require electricity, so very little energy is needed to run this type of enclosure cooling unit.

When can you use heat pipe technology?

A closed-loop cooling system that uses heat pipe technology is desirable when you want to protect the components inside an electrical enclosure from contaminants in the air. When a filter fan will not work and the ambient temperatures are suitable for a heat pipe, an air to air heat exchanger may be the most cost-effective solution.

Heat pipe technology can be used for electrical enclosures that are NEMA types 4, 4X, and 12. However, heat pipes are only viable when the ambient temperature is lower than the temperature of the enclosure. If your application requires cooling for electrical enclosures in warmer ambient temperatures, an enclosure air conditioner will be more suitable.

Are you interested in learning more about heat pipe technology and other enclosure cooling systems? Talk to one of the experts at Thermal Edge. We’ll work closely with you from the beginning of the process so you can be confident that you get the right enclosure cooling unit for your application. Get started with your free quote today.

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