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 paper, a series of experimental scenarios featuring two identical parallel radiators have been studied for engine cooling in ground transportation applications. For a 20kW thermal load cooled using one radiator, the pump and fans required 1250 W to maintain the system around a coolant reference temperature of 80oC. In contrast, a two-radiator configuration required 1100 W for the same operating conditions. A 12 % reduction in fan and pump power consumption at a lower thermal load, while maintaining coolant temperature about setpoint value offers possibilities on redesigning the thermal management system. Given that vehicles often operate at reduced loads, these findings can help improve the overall powertrain performance.