The HVAC&R sector (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration) in undergoing a slow-down in its constant development due to recent issues involving copper, a material widely used in this sector of civil engineering. This is why in nearly all "environmental comfort" systems, aluminum has been chosen as an alternative to copper for heat exchangers.
A heat exchanger is a piece of thermodynamic equipment that exchanges thermal energy between two fluids with different temperatures. There are many different types of exchangers that are used to regulate the temperature in environments and systems, in both the industrial and domestic sectors.
The practicality of copper and other construction materials
Copper is a widely used element in this type of equipment for its heat conductivity, flexibility of use and high mechanical resistance. It is important to remember that one of the most influential variables in heat exchangers is the type of fluid that requires heat regulation.
In almost all cases copper is useful for its high resistance to corrosion, and it is important to perform attentive analysis on each system to select the best construction materials, sometimes sacrificing the comprehensive duration of the equipment for improved efficiency (scheduling constant maintenance and regeneration).
The advent of aluminum in heat exchangers
In the HVAC&R sector, copper was becoming obsolete because of its cost, availability and flexibility of use. The market is progressively turning towards ecological options and innovative air conditioning systems. Profall, a leader in the sector, produces high quality aluminum profiles that can be used in many HVAC&R fields. Why use aluminum for heat exchangers?
- Performance and efficiency: aluminum has high thermal conductibility, perfect for creating high quality efficient heat exchangers, regardless of their specific field of use. Furthermore, since there are many alloys available, conductibility is variable according to the chemical composition and metallurgic combination, creating a series of new opportunities for different types of systems.
- Cost reduction: aluminum costs far less than copper
- Weight and dimensions