A heat exchanger designed to remove unwanted heat from a gas or liquid by using a fan to blow air across a bundle of finned tubes. The addition of fins to heat transfer tubes dramatically increases its total surface area available for removing heat.
A typical air cooler assembly consists of:
- An inlet header, where the high temperature fluid enters the cooler,
- A bundle of finned tubes, where the heat is removed,
- An outlet header where the cooled fluid exits the cooler,
- A hood or plenum, which is used to direct high velocity air across the finned tubes,
- A drive assembly, which consists of an electric motor, gearbox (or belt drive), and fan.
For an air cooler to function properly, the temperature of the gas or fluid flowing inside the finned tubes must be higher than the ambient air temperature and there must be a high velocity air flow impinging on the finned tubes. High ambient temperature conditions can dramatically affect the heat transfer capabilities of an air cooler. For this reason, winter and summer heat load conditions should be considered when designing or selecting air coolers. Multiple air cooler assemblies can be used to handle changing cooling requirements.
See also Fin Fan Cooler.