Data Physics offers a full range of electrodynamic shakers for vibration testing

Air-Cooled vs. Water-Cooled Shakers

Shakers generate a considerable amount of internal heat by moving test articles. Controlling the temperature of these working compartments is critical for preventing excessive heat buildup, which can damage your shaker. 

There are two primary means of keeping your shaker cool — forced air and cooled water. Each technique has advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s so important to choose the right configuration for your application. 

Air-Cooled Shakers

In an air-cooled shaker system, a large blower draws air through the shaker, which allows the cooler air to remove heat.

Air-cooled shakers lack a cooling unit or chiller, making them simpler and more affordable than their water-cooled counterparts. They also provide excellent stability and support due to their high torsional and lateral stiffness. These qualities enable high performance with low distortion levels.

Applications for Air-Cooled Shakers

There are many applications for air-cooled shakers. Common examples include:

  • Medical research
  • Automotive assemblies
  • Materials analysis
  • Consumer electronics equipment
  • Tire balancing
  • Package testing

Similarly, there are many situations where forced air is undesirable. For example, clean rooms can be compromised when systems pull air from the room and replace it with potentially contaminated air. Explosives test sites are another example — they cannot risk exhausting these materials out of their facilities, so the system is unable to function as intended. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Forced Air Systems

Affordability is the primary advantage of using an air-cooled shaker. Because they don’t have internal chilling systems, they cost significantly less than water-cooled shakers. Their design also offers high performance for vibration testing in many environments.

While air cooling is a straightforward system, it isn’t without its drawbacks. The disadvantages of forced air systems include:

  • Blowers typically generate significant noise, often in excess of 90 dB (A) at 1 meter
  • Air-cooled shakers increase HVAC demand
  • Forced air can introduce unwanted vibration into test articles
  • Air-cooled shakers require space to vent hot exhaust air

Understanding the specifications of your application is key for deciding whether an air-cooled shaker makes sense.

Water-Cooled Shakers

Although water cooling sounds more complicated, it’s just as straightforward as air cooling. Chilled water is sometimes more efficient at drawing heat out of shakers than forced air systems. 

water-cooled shaker system works by pumping chilled, distilled water through the shaker’s critical components, drawing the heat out. The water then passes through the cooling unit, which cools and recirculates that water throughout the shaker. The whole system functions without needing to circulate any air.

Applications for Water-Cooled Shakers

Typically, water-cooled shakers are best suited for applications involving larger payloads and more demanding structural tests. Some examples include:

  • Testing automotive sub-assemblies
  • Large electronic component testing
  • Defense and military component testing
  • Testing fully assembled satellites

Because water-cooled shakers are closed systems, they’re suitable for use in both hazardous and clean room environments. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Water Cooling

The advantages of a water-cooled shaker are considerable. By using a water-cooled shaker, you can:

  • Eliminate environmental noise
  • Reduce the burden on your HVAC system
  • Operate easily in a clean room environment
  • Eliminate issues in exhausting explosive or potentially toxic particles into another environment

Like forced air systems, water-cooled vibration shaker systems come with disadvantages. For example, because water cooling systems are more complex, they cost more upfront and require more maintenance over time. They are also less efficient in humid environments than air-cooled shakers because humidity affects the water’s heat-absorbing ability.

Learn More About Shakers From Data Physics

Data Physics provides laboratories with comprehensive testing equipment to meet their unique needs. We produce small, medium, and large versions of air- and water-cooled shakers for various vibration testing applications.

If you’d like to learn more about our shakers and accessories, fill out our product inquiry form. A representative will reach out to you with more information.