A coolant is a fluid which flows through a device to prevent its overheating, transferring the heat produced by the device to other devices that use or dissipate it. An ideal coolant has high thermal capacity, low viscosity, is low-cost, non-toxic, and chemically inert, neither causing nor promoting corrosion of the cooling system. Some applications also require the coolant to be an electrical insulator.
While the term coolant is commonly used in automotive, residential and commercial temperature-control applications, in industrial processing, heat transfer fluid is one technical term more often used, in high temperature as well as low temperature manufacturing applications.
The coolant can either keep its phase and stay liquid or gaseous, or can undergo a phase change, with the latent heat adding to the cooling efficiency. The latter, when used to achieve low temperatures, is more commonly known as refrigerant.