Experimental Analysis of a Multiple Radiator Cooling System with Computer Controlled Flow Rates 2020-01-0944
The automotive cooling system configuration has remained fixed for many decades with a large radiator plus fan, coolant pump, and bypass valve. To reduce cooling system power consumption, the introduction of multiple computer-controlled heat exchangers may offer some benefits. A paradigm shift from a single large radiator, sized for maximum load, to n-small radiators with individual flow control valves should allow fine tuning of the heat rejection needs to minimize power. In this project, a series of experimental scenarios featuring two identical parallel radiators have been studied for low thermal load engine cooling (e.g., idling) in ground transportation applications. For high thermal load scenarios using two radiators, the fans required between 1120 - 3600 W to maintain the system about the coolant reference temperature of 85oC. In contrast at reduced thermal loads, a single radiator configuration with half the heat transfer surface area required between 550 - 1000 W for the same operating conditions. A 51% reduction in fan and pump power consumption at a lower thermal load, while maintaining coolant temperature about the setpoint value, offers possibilities on redesigning the thermal management system. Given that vehicles often operate at reduced thermal loads, these findings can help improve the overall powertrain performance.