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    Home : Application Briefs : Smaller Radiator Design with Optimized Heat Transfer Performance

Smaller Radiator Design with Optimized Heat Transfer Performance

Application Briefs
The demand for more powerful engines in smaller hood spaces has created a problem of insufficient rates of heat dissipation in automotive radiators.  To minimize the stress on the engine as a result of heat generation, automotive radiators must be redesigned to be more compact while maintaining the specified performance.  Many factors influence heat dissipation including coolant specific heat capacity, mass flow rate, fin design and construction material, and surface area of the radiator.

The challenge:  Given a set of operating conditions, design a more compact radiator assembly while maintaining the same performance as the original design.

To solve the problem, a design engineer uses Maple to:

  • Modify the factors that influence cooling power to achieve the desired specifications.  Through Maple’s CAD connectivity package, the engineer is able to extract the dimensional parameters of the radiator directly from the CAD drawing. Using the parameterized model, she can optimize the radiator design to ensure it achieves the desired heat dissipation required by adjusting various parameters to determine their effect on the system performance.
  • Derive the equations for the rate of heat dissipation, using the fully parameterized values such as the length of the radiator, number of tubes, number of fins, and the specific heat capacity of the coolant liquid.  Since units are attached to each parameter and maintained throughout the document, results are easily validated.
  • Increase the surface area of the radiator by increasing the number of fins.  By plotting the heat transfer performance versus the number of fins, the engineer chooses an appropriate value that provides the desired performance with the optimal design parameters.

With the new design criteria for the radiator, the engineer uses Maple to update her CAD design automatically, eliminating the need for a technician to calculate and update all dimensions in the CAD drawing manually.  Using Maple’s unit management, the engineer is confident there are no conversion or consistency errors.  After the necessary changes have been identified through the use of the model, she orders a prototype to be built, with a high degree of confidence that the new radiator will deliver the desired results.

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