An air cooled heat exchanger is simply a pressure vessel which cools a circulating fluid within finned tubes by forcing ambient air over the exterior of the tubes. A common example of an air cooler is a car’s radiator. Air cooled heat exchangers are used for two primary reasons:

  • To increase efficiency
  • They are a "green" solution as compared to cooling towers and shell and tube heat exchangers because they do not require an auxiliary water supply (water lost due to drift and evaporation, plus no water treatment chemicals are required).

Air coolers are categorized as either forced draft or induced draft depending on the location of the fan. The fans for the forced draft air coolers, shown on the left, are located on the bottom of the air cooler, whereas the fans for the induced draft air coolers, on the right, are located on the top.

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