An air cooling system transfers heat away from equipment by blowing cool air over a hot surface, such as the cylinder barrels of an engine. The amount of heat dissipated depends on how much surface area is exposed and the temperature difference between the heated metal and the air. This cooling method is used on automobile engines, aircraft engines and other machinery that must be run continuously in enclosed spaces.
It is also a popular choice for home computer cooling because it provides almost silent operation and is easy to install. However, it is not an ideal solution for data center workload demands because of its inability to meet high processing loads and computing densities. In addition, rising energy costs and water restrictions can be a challenge for air-cooled systems.
Liquid cooling is a more complex, costlier option but is a great choice for many workloads and is especially effective in reducing the temperature of critical components such as CPUs. In liquid-cooling systems, heat passes through a plate that is attached to the processor with thermal paste in between. The plate then transfers heat to a piece of metal called a heat sink, which has a specialized design that draws warm air upwards. The fan attached to the heat sink then pushes the warmer air out of the case, thereby cooling the CPU and other components.
Another cooling technology that is gaining popularity is immersion cooling. In an immersion cooling system, the internal server components and a nonconductive dielectric fluid are encased in a sealed container that allows only the cooling fluid to come into contact with the hardware. This is the most efficient method of cooling because it requires less power and does not produce excessive noise.
Air- and liquid-cooled compressors are both used in industrial applications, but each type has specific installation requirements that must be met to ensure proper operation. If these conditions are not met, overheating and other issues may occur.
When deciding whether to use an air- or water-cooled compressor, consider the following factors:
Water-cooled systems require a continuous supply of fresh, clean water to cool the coils of the compressor. This is an important consideration in facilities where water access is limited or in high-dust environments.
Air-cooled systems are more common and offer a lower initial cost and easier maintenance than water-cooled options. However, water-cooled systems can provide superior performance and are a great choice in facilities that require consistent temperatures and high CFM demand.