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Vortex Tube Technology 

An overview of how Vortec's vortex tubes create super-cooled air from a compressed air source.  Vortec's vortex tubes are able to create cold air that is up to 100F° below the inlet air temperature. 

What is a Vortex?

Air that rotates around an axis (like a tornado) is called a vortex.


What is a Vortex Tube?

A vortex tube creates cold air and hot air by forcing compressed air through a generation chamber, which spins the air at a high rate of speed (1,000,000 rpm) into a vortex. The high-speed air heats up as it spins along the inner walls of the tube toward the control valve.

A percentage of the hot, high-speed air is permitted to exit at the valve. The remainder of the (now slower) air stream is forced to counterflow up through the center of the high-speed air stream in a second vortex. The slower-moving air gives up energy in the form of heat and becomes cooled as it spins up the tube.

The inside counterflow vortex exits the opposite end as extremely cold air. Vortex tubes generate temperatures as much as 100℉ (56℃) below the inlet air temperature. The fraction of hot air exhausted can be varied to change the outlet cold air temperature, with more exhaust resulting in a colder cold air stream (with lower flow rate), and less exhaust resulting in a warmer cold air stream (and higher flow rate).

The Benefits & Uses

Vortex tubes are the main technology behind several of Vortec’s products including cold air guns, enclosure coolers, cooling vests, and our vortex tubes. Using vortex tubes to cool can have several benefits including the following:

  • Lower costs

  • Reliable and low maintenance

  • Lightweight 

  • No moving parts

  • Instantaneous heating and cooling

  • No explosion risk

  • Wide range of adjustable temperatures


To learn more about ​Vortex Tube Technology, try our Vortex Tube Short Course:

Vortex Tube Short Course

Videos > Educational Videos > Vortex Tube Technology

Vortex Tube Technology 

An overview of how Vortec's vortex tubes create super-cooled air from a compressed air source.  Vortec's vortex tubes are able to create cold air that is up to 100F° below the inlet air temperature. 

What is a Vortex?

Air that rotates around an axis (like a tornado) is called a vortex.


How does a Vortex Tube work?

A vortex tube creates cold air and hot air by forcing compressed air through a generation chamber, which spins the air at a high rate of speed (1,000,000 rpm) into a vortex. The high-speed air heats up as it spins along the inner walls of the tube toward the control valve.

A percentage of the hot, high-speed air is permitted to exit at the valve. The remainder of the (now slower) air stream is forced to counterflow up through the center of the high-speed air stream in a second vortex. The slower-moving air gives up energy in the form of heat and becomes cooled as it spins up the tube.

The inside counterflow vortex exits the opposite end as extremely cold air. Vortex tubes generate temperatures as much as 100℉ (56℃) below the inlet air temperature. The fraction of hot air exhausted can be varied to change the outlet cold air temperature, with more exhaust resulting in a colder cold air stream (with lower flow rate), and less exhaust resulting in a warmer cold air stream (and higher flow rate).

The Benefits & Uses

Vortex tubes are the main technology behind several of Vortec’s products including cold air guns, enclosure coolers, cooling vests, and our vortex tubes. Using vortex tubes to cool can have several benefits including the following:

  • Lower costs

  • Reliable and low maintenance

  • Lightweight 

  • No moving parts

  • Instantaneous heating and cooling

  • No explosion risk

  • Wide range of adjustable temperatures


To learn more about ​Vortex Tube Technology, try our Vortex Tube Short Course:

Vortex Tube Short Course



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