Axial and radial fans

Almost all cooling systems rely on the use of fans for the removal of waste heat, which release the heat into the surrounding air through a continuous flow of air. This method offers a number of advantages and is also extremely flexible in terms of power and volume.

This flexibility in setting up a cooling system is made possible by the various fan types, which also differ in terms of their performance (volume flow), speed and size. Which fan is used in the respective cooling system should be checked thoroughly in advance, because only a harmoniously structured system promises optimal cooling with low power consumption and - if necessary - low running speed. In cooling systems there are usually axial and radial fans, which have various advantages and disadvantages:

Axial fan

This type of fan is used in a large number of applications when a relatively low resistance (e.g. the fins of a radiator) is to be flowed through with a high volume flow. The air is sucked in axially via the axis of the fan motor and is conveyed out again on the opposite side of the fan through the straight air duct.

Another advantage of the axial fan is its very flexible dimensions. In cooling systems there are mostly fans with an edge length of 60 to 240 millimeters and a depth of 10 to 60 millimeters, although this of course always depends on the respective cooling project. In the area of water cooling in computer systems and compact cooling systems, for example, 120 mm fans are very often found.

Radiallüfter / RadialventilatorAxial fan on a radiator

Properties of axial fans:

  • different sizes, very compact designs possible
  • very high performance (volume flow) possible
  • easily adjustable, e.g. via voltage or PWM signal
  • simple and durable construction, depending on the fan bearing selected
  • cheap to produce

Radial fans

A radial fan is always used when high resistances (e.g. filters) have to be overcome. Compared to the axial fan, the radial fan often offers better efficiency and also a lower volume.

The radial fan sucks in the air via its motor axis and then transports it out again, offset by 90 °. Because of this air deflection, radial fans often require significantly more space, which leads to an increased space requirement. This type of fan is used, among other things, for cooling plug-in cards (e.g. graphics cards) or in cooling systems to guide the air directly along the heat sources.

Radial fan / centrifugal fanRadial fan

Properties of radial fans:

  • high pressure, ideal for use in front of high resistances (filters, ...)
  • higher space requirement than axial radiators due to 90 ° air deflection
  • easily adjustable, e.g. via voltage or PWM signal


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