Different Methods Heat Exchangers Use to Transfer Heat

The specific methods that electrical cooling system use to prevent overheating are the most significant factors in what sets them apart. For example, traditionally, air conditioners utilize the process of chilling air and circulating it throughout an electrical enclosure. Slightly more advanced air compressors utilize similar principles, but don’t rely on Freon to chill the air first. By contrast, heat exchangers revolutionized the concept of electrical cooling by switching the focus from chilling air to removing heat. To do that, heat exchangers employ a variety of more efficient and eco-friendly heat transfer methods.

Convection (Natural and Forced)

Convection is the natural flow of dense fluid away from less-dense fluid. In the case of a heat exchanger, this occurs when the fluid absorbs waste heat, becoming less dense, and then releases it, regaining its density. To facilitate the heat transfer process, small equipment such as fans can be implemented into the heat exchanger’s design, allowing for more constant and consistent heat transfer.


Conduction describes the transmission of heat from one substance, such as metal, to another, such as cooling fluid. Cold plates provide an excellent example of this, allowing the metal plates to absorb waste heat from an application and then transfer it to the fluid inside with optimal efficiency. The fluid can then flow through the pathways machined into the cold plates to a cooler area where it can dissipate the heat.

Phase-Change Cooling

When the fluid inside of a heat exchanger absorbs heat, it evaporates, changing phases from a liquid to a gas. This phase-change doesn’t produce a noticeable rise in temperature, and therefore, it’s often a vital part of how heat exchangers work. The heated, less dense gas travels away to dissipate the heat, then circulates back as a liquid to continue the cycle.

For more information about the different methods heat exchangers use to transfer heat, call Noren Thermal Solutions in Taylor, TX, at 866-936-6736.