An analysis of vehicle engine cooling airflow by means of a one-dimensional, transient, compressible flow model was carried out and revealed that similarity theory could be applied to investigate the variation of the airflow with ambient and operating conditions. It was recognized that for a given vehicle engine cooling system, the cooling airflow behavior could be explained using several dimensionless parameters that involve the vehicle speed, fan speed, heat transfer rate through the radiator, ambient temperature and pressure, and the system characteristic dimension.
Using the flow resistance and fan characteristics measured from a prototype cooling system and the computer simulation for the one-dimensional compressible flow model, a quantitative correlation of non-dimensional mass flow rate to three dimensionless parameters for a prototype heavy-duty truck was established. The results are presented in charts, tables, and formulas.
This methodology may aid both the design and development of vehicle engine cooling systems by providing a systematic method of predicting and investigating the cooling airflow using a limited number of hardware tests.