A Research Study on a Curved Radiator Concept for Automotive Engine Cooling 2017-01-0631
The need to increase the fuel-efficiency of modern vehicles while lowering the emission footprint is a continuous driver in automotive design. This has given rise to the use of engines with smaller displacements and higher power outputs. Compared to past engine designs, this combination generates greater amounts of excess heat which must be removed to ensure the durability of the engine. This has resulted in an increase in the number and size of the heat exchangers required to adequately cool the engine. Further, the use of smaller, more aerodynamic front-end designs has reduced the area available in the engine compartment to mount the heat exchangers. This is an issue, since the reduced engine compartment space is increasingly incapable of supporting an enlarged rectangular radiator system. Thus, this situation demands an innovative solution to aid the design of radiator systems such that the weight is reduced while maintaining the engine within acceptable operating temperatures.
One potential solution is a conformal radiator concept that can solve the engine cooling challenge through a packaging-based approach. This paper presents the results of a study that focused on factors such as radiator tube bend radius and bend angle, tool-tube clearance, and coolant temperature. A test matrix was created to study these factors using a Design of Experiments (DOE) methodology. Samples were created and tested using a purpose-designed bench test rig that measured pressure differences. Analysis of the DOE study confirmed that radiator tube bend angle, tool-tube clearance, and coolant temperature are key factors affecting the output pressure in the curved tubes that could be used in a future radiator concept. In conclusion, the evaluation of this first concept gives some promise to the possibility of a curved-tube automotive radiator and indicates the need for more complex research studies to be performed.