Hydro's internally enhanced aluminium tubing shows performance equal to helical enhanced copper tube, but with less cost, in the heat exchanger units traditionally used within the HVAC&R industry.
Hygroove is the name of Hydro's drop-in aluminium alternative, used in standard heat exchangers manufactured with mechanical expanded round tubes. It is available with straight grooves or with helical grooves, tailored to meet the production processes of customers.
The industry's preferred partner in aluminium solutions, Hydro developed the innovative tube to meet customer demands for an alternative that cost less than the helical enhanced copper tube used in traditional heat exchangers.
Taking the challenge one step further, the company has also introduced an alloy dedicated to the Hygroove application.
Less costly, yet standard
Hydro's global applications and development team has listened closely to customers and potential business partners in order to understand the factors associated with material – and product – replacement. The market's insight into the issues like thermal performance, corrosion resistance and, not least, production processes was instrumental toward the efforts to develop the internally enhanced aluminium tube. But cost was the main driver.
As a result, the aluminium tube is not necessarily innovative with regard to performance, but innovative in its cost-saving potential. Because it has been developed to replace copper in the production processes used by heat exchanger manufacturers, Hygroove can more than offset the costs associated with changing materials and thereby help increase customer profits.
The cost savings begin with the material itself. Aluminium is significantly less expensive than copper, and its formability makes the material less costly to use than copper. The density of aluminum – to be precise, 2700 kg/m³ – is less than one third the density of copper, which means that it is possible to produce more tube per weight unit. As much as 60 percent more tube can be produced from aluminium than from the same weight of copper.
Furthermore, aluminium has an increased lifecycle and high recycling value at end-of-life.
The internally enhanced aluminium tube is manufactured to match standard fin-hole diameters in the HVAC&R industry, with the geometry of the tube showing increased surface area and a corresponding increase in thermal performance, as opposed to the traditional solution. Helical grooves help distribute the refrigerant around the inside perimeter.
Hygroove is lighter than copper and offers high quality surface finish, and has been engineered with narrow tolerances in diameter, both internally and externally. The value of the customer's end product should gain an additional boost from the higher thermal performance that the aluminium tube provides, compared with the traditional copper solution.