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Plate Chiller Gravity Feed Test Results

Now that I have the PC and fittings, I’ve conducted a dry run. See this thread
for background.

Ambient air temp: 82-88* F (was 106 yesterday!)
Ground water temp: ~78* F
Water Inlet flow rate (from garden hose): ~6.73 gal. per minute (GPM)

Here is a photo showing the configuration I used for the dry run.

On all tests, the kettle ball valve and the garden hose valve were wide open.

Summary of results:

Test 1: Cooled 5 gallons to 82* F in 4 minutes (1.25 GPM). Used ~27 gal. of cooling water.
Test 2: Cooled 5.5 gallons to 82* F in ? minutes. Forgot to start the timer.
Test 3: Cooled 6 gallons to 82* F in 5.03 minutes (1.19 GPM). Used ~34 gal. of water.

On tests 1 and 2 the siphon from the kettle stopped early, leaving 1.75 gal. and 1 gal. respectively in the kettle. On test 3 I improved my siphon by not messing with the wort outlet hose while it was running.

On tests 2 and 3 I put the PC in a styrofoam cooler as shown in the image below. I placed ice on all exposed surfaces of the PC (back, top and front). It didn’t make a damn bit of difference.

This is interesting…

Yesterday I conducted some pre-dry-run testing in order to establish the maximum flow rate I could expect through the chiller given my current configuration. The tests were conducted using room temperature water. I tested the water and wort flow rates separately (i.e., I did not run water through the water and wort inlets simultaneously).

The results of the wort flow rate tests were remarkably different from the results today using boiled water: 1.85, 1.67 and 1.75 GPM. It would appear that just boiled water runs through the chiller ~30% slower than room temperature water, or for some reason flow rate decreases when the water and wort channels are being used simultaneously.

I established a water inlet flow rate in my system of 6.7 GPM. I did not measure the flow rate today during my actual cooling tests.

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