Experimental Performance Evaluation of Automotive Air-Conditioning Heat Exchangers as Components and in Vehicle Systems 2005-01-2003
Automotive heat exchangers play a crucial role in the operation of vehicles and comfort of the passengers. Significant advances have taken place in the CFD, FEA and other analyses of flow phenomena, heat transfer and pressure drop, structural integrity and durability of heat exchangers. In spite of these advances, the flow phenomena and structure of various heat exchangers are very complex. Hence, the industry still relies on the actual performance evaluation in controlled environment as components and as part of the system in addition to the road tests to qualify various heat exchangers used in a vehicle today.
In this paper, we describe the testing of automotive heat exchangers as components using the standalone test stands (component calorimeters) for condensers and evaporators, and provide references for testing radiators, heaters, oil coolers and charge air coolers. Subsequently, we focus on the air-conditioning (A/C) system heat exchangers and present the following testing related to systems: A/C system calorimeter testing, refrigerant charge determination for the A/C system, wind tunnel testing of the A/C system, and finally the road testing of the A/C system. Where appropriate, the emphasis will be on the explanation of the phenomena and performance behavior. Thus a comprehensive coverage of testing of A/C heat exchangers as part of the system will be presented. The airflow and performance testing of the HVAC module and compressor calorimeter will be the subject of a future paper.