Vortex tubes are a type of heat pump. They were
invented by accident in 1928 by George Ranque,
a French physics student. He made a number of
efforts to commercialise the technology. The
technology only became widely know after a
German physicist, Rudolph Hilsch published a paper in 1945 entitled Wirbelröhre (literally, vortex tube).
Vortex tubes have one inlet and two outlets. Compressed air (or gas) is put into inlet, where it is spun at high speed due to the design of the chamber. The high rate of spin which is often over a million rpm, causes the air to split into two streams, with one stream giving kinetic energy to the other. The result is two outlets, one with hot air and the other with cold.
Vortex tubes have no moving parts, are almost maintenance free and tend to be very reliable. However they have lower efficiency than compared to most other heat pumps.
Vortex tubes also known as Ranque-Hilsch vortex tubes or Wirbelröhre
In Summary they are:
This particular vortex tube is ideal for use with smaller compressors as it does not require a large volume of air. Its preferable if an oil free air supply is used (keeps vortex tube clean). Typically a 1.5hp or 2hp compressor will be able to run this vortex tube.