Since the vortex tube was invented, a variety of theoretical explanations were proposed to reveal the process and mechanism of energy separation in it. With simple structure but complex flows, it was hard to solve the two problems. Comparisons of the numerical simulations and experiments under different cold mass fractions (μc) in the vortex tube were made in this paper. The trend of numerical simulations was convinced by analyzing the experimental data. The radial and axial distributions of three types of gas flows and the contours of temperature and pressure were obtained from the calculation results under different μc. The key factor affecting the energy separation in the vortex tube was found and the explanation of energy separation process in the vortex tube was proposed by analyzing the results. The analysis showed that the energy separation was deeply related to the exchange of velocity. At last, the explanation was validated by the simulations with the change of throat area in the nozzles.

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