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Device for reducing a gas or vapour to a liquid. Condensers are used in power plants to condense exhaust steam from turbines and in refrigeration plants to condense refrigerant vapours, such as ammonia and Freons. The petroleum and chemical industries use condensers for hydrocarbons and other chemical vapours. In distillation, a condenser transforms vapour to liquid. All condensers work by removing heat from the gas or vapour. In some, the gas passes through a long tube of heat-conductive metal, such as copper (usually arranged in a coil or other compact shape), and heat escapes into the surrounding air. Large industrial condensers use water or some other liquid to remove the heat. The term condenser also refers to a device attached to carding machines in textile factories to collect fibres into roving for spinning machines.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on condenser, visit Britannica.com.