The demand for more powerful engines in smaller hood spaces has created a problem of insufficient rates of heat dissipation in automotive radiators. Upwards of 33% of the energy generated by the engine through combustion is lost in heat. Insufficient heat dissipation can result in the overheating of the engine, which leads to the breakdown of lubricating oil, metal weakening of engine parts, and significant wear between engine parts. To minimize the stress on the engine as a result of heat generation, automotive radiators must be redesigned to be more compact while still maintaining high levels of heat transfer performance.
There are several different approaches that one can take to reduce the size of automotive radiators while maintaining the current levels of heat transfer performance expected. These include: 1) changing the fin design, 2) increasing the core depth, 3) changing the tube type, 4) changing the flow arrangement, 5) changing the fin material, and 6) increasing the surface area to coolant ratio.
By increasing the surface area to coolant ratio, this application shows how one can minimize the design of a radiator and still have have the same heat dissipation as that of a larger system, given a set of operating conditions.
Figure 1: Components within an automotive cooling system