Air cooling

Air cooling

Air cooling is a method of dissipating heat. It works by making the object to be cooled have a larger surface area or have an increased flow of air over its surface, or both. An example of the former is to add fins to the surface of the object, either by making them integral or by attaching them tightly to the object's surface (to ensure efficient heat transfer). In the case of the latter it is done by using a fan blowing air into or onto the object one wants to cool. In many cases the addition of fins adds to the total surface area making a heatsink that makes for greater efficiency in cooling.

In all cases, the air has to be cooler than the object or surface from which it is expected to remove heat. This is due to the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat will only move spontaneously from a hot reservoir (the heat sink) to a cold reservoir (the air).



Air is mainly used for cooling internal combustion engines (ICE), particularly those powering aircraft, because it is a readily available fluid and is often at a suitable temperature to be used efficiently. While many such ICE are called "liquid cooled" the cooling liquid is usually cooled by air passing through a radiator or heat exchanger. Examples of direct air cooling in automobiles are rarer. The most common example is the flat or "Boxer" engine, once used extensively by Porsche. Notable past models include the Volkswagen Beetle and related models, Citroën 2CV, the Chevrolet Corvair, and the Porsche 911 until 1998.


Gas turbine engines (e.g. turbojets, turbofans, etc) incorporate turbines, which are exposed to the hot gases exiting the combustion chamber. Where necessary, relatively cold air is bled from the compression system and used to cool the turbine blades and vanes, to prevent them from melting.


Its use is widespread in computers and CPU cooling, where the computer processors produce large quantities of heat that, if not dissipated, could damage the CPU and other electronic components. In this case air has the advantage of being a good insulator too. However, in the future, new processors might generate too much heat to be dissipated through direct air cooling and it would follow that such direct cooling for computers and their components will become obsolete.


A very large number of industrial processes use air as a cooling medium, either directly or indirectly. Air conditioning is a very common process in which the air in a room, or a whole building, is cooled in order to maintain a comfortable environment for its occupants. Often the air has been cooled by chilled water or brine and the heat transferred to that medium is transported outside the building where, often, fan-driven water-to-air heat exchanging is again effected to reject the heat into the atmosphere. A common sight around, for example, power stations are the large waisted concrete towers that emit steam more or less constantly. These are, in part, using air cooling on a grand scale.

ee also

*Computer cooling
*Computer fan
*Evaporative cooling
*Water cooling
*Oil cooling
*Heat pipe cooling
*Peltier cooling
*Heater Core

External links

* [ A good overview on cooling techniques for modern boards]
* [ A basic Air Cooling FAQ]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Air cooling — In devices generating heat, such as gasoline engine motor vehicles, the cooling of the device by increasing its radiating surface by means of ribs or radiators, and placing it so that it is exposed to a current of air. Cf. {Water cooling}. {Air… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • air-cooling — airˈ cooling noun Cooling by means of air • • • Main Entry: ↑air …   Useful english dictionary

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  • air cooling — See charge air cooling …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • Air cooling — Refroidissement à air En informatique, le refroidissement à air désigne le refroidissement par air des différents éléments d un ordinateur, ceux ci dégageant parfois beaucoup de chaleur, comme le microprocesseur par exemple. C est le principe de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • air cooling — lowering the temperature of air …   English contemporary dictionary

  • air cooling — noun see air cool …   Useful english dictionary

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