Charge Air Coolers: All Your Questions Answered
Automotive engines rely on a combustion process to turn chemical energy into mechanical energy for your vehicle. Ordinarily, the fuel used by vehicles is potent and laden with chemical energy. The vehicles use their engines and other accessories to burn the fuel and convert it into a mechanical form that can be used to move the wheels. The combustion only takes place when air mixes with fuel in a special chamber. A high volume of air is necessary for fast-rate and efficient combustion to take place. For this to happen, manufacturers rely on accessories such as charge air coolers to optimise the process. Read the following piece to learn more about charge air coolers:
What is a charge air cooler?
A charge air cooler is an accessory used to get optimise the volume of the incoming air used for combustion. It sits between the engine's air inlet manifolds and the turbochargers. Essentially, the charge air cooler lowers the temperature of the incoming air, increasing the air's density in the process. It is highly efficient, reducing the temperature by nearly four times. The result is denser air travelling onwards to the engine for prolonged and efficient combustion.
What are the design elements of a charge air cooler?
When you think about the harsh operating conditions of an internal combustion engine, your focus should be on getting accessories that can stand up to the harsh environment. Charge air coolers are no exception. They operate in an environment dominated by heat, dirt and lots of pressure. Therefore, they must be built from high-strength materials such as cast iron and stainless steel. The gaskets and seals should be made from the same material or reinforced rubber designed to operate in such conditions. They should prevent any leaks and keep the engine from damage and excessive emissions.
What is block fin construction for charge air coolers?
Lots of work goes into the construction of charge air coolers to ensure that they can meet your engine's performance needs. One way manufacturers achieve this is by using block fin construction. The technique features one fin comprising several tubes assembled into a single operating block. The tubes provide the required large surface area for the incoming air to run over a coolant, lowering the temperature. These tubes are arranged to allow maximum contact with the incoming air moving at a high velocity. Often, manufacturers prefer the block fin method because it is simple and cost-effective to build.