1

Abstract— I nternal combustion engine for passenger
vehicles are of great concern for transferring heat generated
from the combustion inside the engine block. Cooling system of
modern day vehicles are compact in design but is responsible to
maintain the overall heat transfer at any states of ambient
conditions. Heat dissipated through the engine combustion
walls is carried out to the radiators by coolant which is liquid
cooling. But air cooling at radiator plays a vital role to enhance
the efficiency of the coolant heat transfer that is carried out
from engine block to the ambient. The study of coolant to
ambient (liquid to air heat transfer) in radiator of an internal
combustion engine is focused on quest of an optimized
configuration of vehicle opening holes and under-hood
components as well as the radiator itself to increase the coolant
inlet and outlet temperature difference to engine cooling jacket
thus improving the cooling system heat transfer at the end.
Extensive study of numerical modeling of various types of
radiator models and experimental comparisons were reviewed
to get a concise idea of economic heat exchanging device for
liquid to air heat transfer so far. A wide range of set of design,
operating conditions and simulating features of vehicle frontal
components for air cooling system were reviewed and
evaluated for the efficient cooling purposes. Precision cooling
system performance based on frontal air velocity of a vehicle,
mathematical models development as well as computational
fluid dynamics analysis was studied to identify the research
objectives.
Keywords: Cooling System, Radiator Heat Transfer, CFD,
Passenger Vehicle, Ambient Conditions,
I. INTRODUCTION
S
peed, comfort, control, durability, efficiency, etc. these
performances of automotive vehicles are a great concern for
this modern era passengers who intend to get the best from
it. Various auxiliary components (i.e. turbo-charger, super-
charger, etc) are added to improve the efficiency of the
engine. Technology for vehicle performance enhancement
by providing greater engine power coupled with vogue-
driven desires has reduced the size of the engine
compartment and the intake areas for internal (underhood)

Md. Hazrat Ali is with Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of
Engineering; University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
(corresponding author to provide phone:+6-0102196210; fax: +603-
79674448;email: alihazrat20@yahoo.com).
Masjuki Hj Hassan (email: masjuki@um.edu.my),
Md. Abul Kalam (email: kalam@um.edu.my),
T.M. Indra Mahlia (email: indra@um.edu.my),
Nik Nazri Nik Gazali (email: nik_nazri@um.edu.my),
Are with Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of
Engineering, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
(Phone: +603-79676863, Fax: +603-79675317)
airflow. These changes tend to add extra heat to the engine
cooling system and reduce the volume of air passing through
the radiator.
The amount of air mass flow depends on the underhood
geometry details: positioning and size of the grilles, fan
operation, and the positioning of the other underhood
components. There is a continuing effort to develop fluid
flow simulation capability coupled with heat transfer
calculations for the analysis of cooling airflows. It is of
course important to get an accurate cooling flow simulation,
that the aerodynamics are well modeled.[1]

Figure 1. Liquid-cooled indirect cooling system[2]

1 – Radiator, 2 – Thermostat, 3 – Water pump,
4 – Water passages in cylinder block,
5 – Water passages in cylinder head,

The primary function of a typical automotive radiator is to
dissipate the unwanted heat carried by the coolant from the
engine’s combustion chamber to the surrounding air (ram air
and/or fan air), in order to maintain the engine at an
optimum operating temperature. The liquid-to-gas cross-
flow is the best description of this type of heat exchanger –
where air flows in the direction perpendicular to the coolant
flow. Because of the difficulty in using any of the known
techniques for accurately measuring radiator airflow (and in
fact no existing technique can provide fully satisfactory
measurement of cooling airflow), the automotive
manufacturers have sought alternative methods of inferring
aerodynamic performance of cooling systems.[3]
This paper is presented as a review of literatures to develop
a platform of heat transfer study of available resources about
radiator cooling system for passenger vehicles. Numerical

Numerical Model of Heat Transfer Study of Radiators to Enhance
Cooling Performance of Internal Combustion Engine for Passenger
Vehicles - A Review.
Md. Hazrat Ali, H. H. Masjuki, M. A. Kalam, T.M.I Mahlia, Nik Nazri


Proceedings of EnCon2010
3
rd
Engineering Conference on Advancement in Mechanical
and Manufacturing for Sustainable Environment
April 14-16, 2010, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia




2
models as well as some experimental results have been
redirected from few available sources.
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
a. EXISTING SYSTEM OF HEAT TRANSFER CALCULATION FOR
ENGINE COOLING SYSTEM
It is well known that air side heat transfer of the radiator is
predominantly influenced by the overall heat transfer
coefficient of a radiator heat transfer system. The knowledge
of cooling air flow and its proper distribution designing may
help to determine the effective engine cooling.
The compact designing of the modern automotive vehicles
and placement optimization of the underhood components
beget some constraints for the cooling air flow very
difficult. The pressure and temperature fields, less flow
velocity of air to radiators, the unknown flow directions of
air incoming are also constraints for the radiator air flow
quantification.
The temperatures of the air and the coolant can be
Calculated once the overall heat transfer coefficient, U, is
obtained. In order to calculate the overall heat transfer
coefficient, the thermal resistance concept is employed in
this study.

Figure 2. Equivalent thermal circuit for the heat
exchanger core.
As illustrated in Fig.2 , the heat is rejected from the coolant
to the air through three major thermal resistances:
- Convection from the coolant to the inner surface of
the tube
- Conduction through the tube wall
- Convection from the outer surface of the tube to the
air via the fins
Those thermal resistances are in series as shown in
Fig.2.The overall heat transfer coefficient can be defined
with these three resistances and the heat transfer rate can be
calculated with sub-models for each of the resistances.[4]
D. Ganga Charyulu [5] has shown a calculation of how to
determine the heat transferred by the radiator to air.
There are two parameters commonly found in the literature
that are used as efficient ways for evaluating engine cooling
performance and optimizing vehicle front-end
configurations. These are Air-to-Boil (ATB) and Specific
Dissipation (SD).
Lin (1999) conducted a detailed investigation into a
comparison between ATB and SD, and concluded that SD
has significant advantages compared with ATB, particularly
when testing in wind tunnels where a chassis dynamometer
or climatic control is not available. He concluded that it
offers increased productivity for experimental testing
compared to ATB.[6]
Both parameters can be expressed in terms of the maximum
temperature difference across the radiator
(Tci – Tai), hence;
I

-I

=
ç


And, I

-I

= I
bp
- AIB
these equations imply the following relationship;
µ

= I
bp
– AIB

Where,
Q = heat dissipation rate of the radiator (W)
T
ci
= coolant radiator inlet temperature (°C)
T
ai
= ambient temperature (°C)
T
bp
= coolant boiling point (°C)

This simple relationship is only valid when a value of SD is
obtained after the cooling system has established (i.e. when (
T
ci
– T
ai
) stays unchanged in time). To establish correlations
between these two parameters, further research is needed.

Figure 3. Typical characteristics of Specific Dissipation
measured at constant water flows and varying air
approach velocities [7]
For a given radiator core, a change in SD indicates a change
in airflow. It is noted that the relationship is not linear.

b. COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS

The simple way of measuring the radiator cooling air flow is
CFD rather than the experimental techniques as its very
expensive as well as time consuming to trial and error
procedures, the latest Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
techniques seem to offer advantages in resolving cooling
problems particularly when used in conjunction with
experimental and analytical methods.
CFD is a numerical method of solving the partial differential
equations that governing the fluid flow, including the
continuity equation, the Navier-Stokes equations, the energy
equation and/or the k-ε turbulence equations, by converting
them into a set of algebraic equations (the process is called
discretisation ) to obtain a numerical description of the
complete flow field of interest. The elements of CFD
generally include numerical algorithm development,
transition and turbulence modeling, surface modeling and
grid generation, scientific visualization and validation
methodologies [8]. Typical discretisation methods used in
CFD are finite difference methods, finite volume methods,
finite element methods, and boundary element methods.[3]



Th
air
com
rev
CF
eno
res
sev
cur
com
Th
wa
com
rad
geo
sam
Na
mo
ave
90
Th
wo
exp
Nu
sim
hea
rad
sum
pro
the
inf
pre
pro
mo

Fi
tub
vo
A
Th
inl
and
ind
(co
cas
dir
the
he current revie
rflow and t
mpartment. It
views (prior to
FD in solving
ough to perfo
sources have
veral studies h
rrent accuracy
mpartments.
he most thorou
as coducted by
mpany-[9]. Th
diator using n
ometry config
me scenarios w
avier Stokes (R
odel.The nume
erage of of 1.
% confidence o
he CFD outpu
ould have been
periments.[10]
III. MATHEM
umerous litera
mplified and ea
at transfer. O
diators by A.
mmery. The m
oviding the cor
e fins, the tub
formation (he
essure drop thr
operties that h
odeling are also
igure 4. Discr
be/corrugated
lume concept
A. AIR FLOW
he flow is
et/outlet veloc
d node (i,j,k)
dexes O and D
o-ordinate dire
se the coordi
rection). _ QaT
e solid walls (t
ew relates mai
thermal man
is also a matt
o 1998) so far
for cooling ai
orm quantitativ
been rapidly
ave been takin
of CFD in sim
ugh experimen
y Williams an
hey measured
nine vane ane
gurations on th
were modelled
RANS) solver w
erical predicti
8% below the
of 11.8% on th
ut indicated re
n quite difficu

MATICAL FORM
MODEL REV
ature reviews
asy to adopt n
f them param
Oliva * [11]
mathematical fo
rresponding di
bes, and the c
at transfer c
rough singulari
have been used
o presented in
retisation stra
d fin automotiv
t.
W
considered
city profiles).
are dropped
D indicate ori
ction) of the c
inate direction
TF refers to the
tubes and fins)
inly to simulat
nagement in
ter to be noted
r, it appears th
irflow has not
ve simulation.
improving in
ng place in ord
mulation of air
ntal study of
nd Vemaganti
the airflow ra
emometers for
he front-end o
d using a Reyn
with a standard
ion of airflow
e experimental
he individual m
egions of rev
ult to identify
MULATION AND N
VIEWING
had been s
numerical mod
metric studies
is presented h
ormulation is br
scretised equat
coolant. The l
oefficients, fr
ities) and the th
d on the air an
details.
ategy for flat
ve radiators: m
one-dimensio
Subscripts ind
out for conv
igin and destin
considered nod
n coincides w
e heat transfer
). Eqs. (1)–(3)
tion of radiato
the engin
d that from th
hat that use o
t been accurat
. As compute
n recent years
der to assess th
rflow in engin
CFD accuracy
of Ford moto
ate through th
r twenty thre
of the car. Th
nolds-Averaged
d k-ε turbulenc
w rate was an
l values with
measuremets.
verse flow tha
in wind tunne
NUMERICAL
earched for
el of a radiato
on automotiv
here as a brie
riefly described
tions of the air
local empirica
riction factors
hermo-physica
nd coolant sid
macro-control
onal (uniform
dicating air (a
venience. Sub
nation section
de (i,j,k) (in thi
with the flow
from the air to
show the fully
or
ne
he
of
te
er
s,
he
ne
y
or
he
e
he
d
e
n
a
at
el
a
or
ve
ef
d
r,
al
s,
al
de


m
a)
b-
ns
is
w
o
y
implicit d
control vo

B. FINS

Heat trans
means of
conservat
fin bases
the tube
these effic
j indicates

C. TUBE

The energ
element f
Eq. (6)),
Heat con
determine
transfer c
iteration.
dropped o

D. LIQUI

The mass
in-manifo
Eqs. (7)–
considere
section ve


E. EMPIR

The empi
heat trans
discretised gov
olume.
sfer from the a
f the air–fin
tion equation,
is determined
energy conser
ciencies is brie
s the control vo
S
gy conservatio
for each macro
nvection from
ed by the use
oefficients and
Subscripts ind
out for conveni
ID/ COOLANT
, momentum a
old coolant flow
(9), considerin
d one- dimens
elocity values).
RICAL INPUT
irical informati
sfer and press
verning equatio
air to the fin su
efficiency (ga
while the hea
d by the fin–ba
rvation equatio
efly shown in E
olume height in
on equation is
o control volum
m the air an
e of the corr
d temperatures
dicating tube (T
ience.
T
and energy bala
w are presented
ng incompressi
sional in each
.
TS
ion used for th
sure drop thro
ons for each ai
urface is introd
aF) in the air
at transfer thro
ase efficiency
on. The calcul
Eqs. (4) and (5
ndexing.
applied over
me (discretised
nd coolant f
responding loc
s at each time
T) and node (i
ances for the in
d in discretised
ible fluid. The
h section (mea
he modeling o
ugh enhanced

ir macro

duced by
r energy
ough the
(gFb) in
lation of
5), where


the tube
d form in

flows is
cal heat
step and
i,j,k) are
n-tube or
d form in
e flow is
an cross-
of airside
d finned-




4
tube surfaces have been obtained from the various
specialized technical literatures.
The thermo-physical properties are also obtained from
various literature reviews.




































IV. TEST CASE STUDY ACCORDING TO THE MODELING

The corresponding baseline geometry which is indicated in
Table-1 has been applied for a wide range of experimental
conditions, while the baseline working conditions are
presented in Table 2. The 5 x 5 air/coolant flow matrix is
maintained in each parametric study in order to generate the
corresponding performance map (see Fig. 2), from which
comparison data between different options can be easily
extracted.
The numerical tests which have been conducted using an
axial grid of 20 CV and a convergence criteria of 1x10
-5
to
close a pseudo-transient resolution process. The values are
obtained from[12] Thermal and fluid dynamic simulation of
automotive fin-and-tube heat exchangers. Part 1:
Mathematical model.



(a).
(b)

Figure 5. Performance maps obtained for a parametric study
(fin pitch, Fp, in this case). On the (a), heat transfer
dependence on air and coolant flow rates. On the (b), overall
enhancement vs. air and coolant flow regimes.


Nomenclature














IV
IN
(a-
(b-
(a-
.A. AIR AND
COOLING SY
-1)
-1)
-2)
D COOLANT
YSTEM[11]
MASS FLOWW INFLUENCE



E
(b-2)
Figure 6
thermal
automoti

These cu
cooling sy
IV.B. AI
Figure 7.
of the stu

As air inl
the air co
coolant fl
heat trans

IV.C. CO
INFLUENC

The prop
different
propylene
(referred
prop50, re
. Air and co
and fluid-
ve radiator.
urves show the
ystem as it has
R INLET TEMPE
Air inlet tem
udied radiator
let being the m
ooling system
ow rate (2500k
sfer theory.
OOLANT FLOW
CE[11]
posed radiator
thermal flui
e glycol aqueo
to as eti30,
espectively).
olant mass fl
-dynamic pe
e air mass flo
thermal resista
ERATURE INFLU
mperature effec
r (mass flow ra
most important
was analyzed
kg/hr). The res
W AND COOL
r is analyzed
ids: water, e
ous solutions a
eti40, eti50
low influence
erformance
ow dependency
ance of higher
UENCE[11]
ct on cooling c
ate=2500kg/h
in air cooling
d here in a m
sult was as exp
LANT FLOW L
working with
ethylene glyc
at 30%, 40% a
and prop30,


on the
of the
y on the
value.

capacity
hr)
g system,
maximum
ected on
LAY-OUT
h seven
col and
and 50%
prop40,



6

Figure 8. Coolant fluid influence on radiator
performance.

The attention is centered on the highest air flow situation
(0.40 kg/s). Fig. 5 depicts the influence of the coolant fluid
on both the thermal and fluid-dynamic radiator response.
Again , here the notable thing is that the computational tool
which was coupled to do the three dimensional studies of
the radiator imposes some important restrictions to the
available coolant mass flow and acceptable pressure drops
of the radiators. The radiator models were studied on
various available pass of coolant flow arrangements and of
them U configuration (if the coolant flow rate is limited)
shows lower coolant pressure drops for highest air flow rate.

Figure 9. coolant lay-out influence on the thermal and
fluid dynamic performance of the radiator
V. CONCLUDING REMARKS
As per the research point of view I had to go through a lot of
literature reviews and of them the very relevant notes are
plucked to build up a fresh idea as a whole about the steps to
follow for the computational as well as the experimental
workings to investigate the radiator heat transfer. The most
graphs and the numerical model which been shown here is
very updated and depth in workings.
Wind tunnel system for the experimental set up of radiator
heat transfer may be improved to optimize the conditions
being settled with the computational tools.
Radiator compact sizing, pressure drop minimization, the
front wings simile bumper, opening holes, etc. can be
considered in next approach of experimental works
maintaining this information from the review as base point.
If CFD simulations can be done successfully within the
analytical models then the engine cooling performance of
any given vehicle can be predicted without any need of
actual hardware or prior to any building of prototype with a
distinct feature of acceptance.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
I would like to express my gratitude to University of Malaya
for the accessing of foreign other university dissertations as
well as the journal papers.
VI. REFERENCES

1.  Joe  Amodeo,  Ales  Alajbegovic,  and  w.  jansen, 
thermal management simulation for passenger cars
- towards total vehicle analysis. 2006. 
2.  Bauer,  H.e.,  Automotive  Handbook.  5th  ed.  ed. 
2000: Robert Bosch GmbH. 
3.  Ng,  E.Y.‐T.,  Vehicle  Engine  Cooling  Systems: 
Assessment  and  Improvement  of  Wind‐Tunnel 
Based  Evaluation  Methods,  in  Vehicle 
Aerodynamics  Group,  School  of  Aerospace, 
Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. 2002, 
RMIT University: Melbourne, Australia. 
4.  Assanis,  D.J.a.D.N.,  Numerical  Modeling  of  Cross 
Flow  Compact  Heat  Exchanger  with  Louvered  Fins 
using  Thermal  Resistance  Concept.  SAE  Technical 
Paper, 2006. 2006‐01‐0726. 
5.  D.  Ganga  Charyulu  a,  Gajendra  Singh  b,  and  J.K. 
Sharmac, Performance evaluation of a radiator in a 
diesel  engine  ‐  a    Case  study.  Applied  Thermal 
Engineering, 1999. 19: p. 625‐639. 
6.  Lin,  C.,  Specific  Dissipation  as  a  Technique  for 
Evaluating  Motor  Car  Radiator  Cooling 
Performance. 1999, RMIT university. 
7.  Paish,  M.G.  and  W.R.  Stapleford,  A  Rational 
Approach  to  the  Aerodynamics  of  Engine  Cooling 
System Design. Proc Instn Mech Engrs, 1968‐1969. 
vol 183: p. 69‐82. 
8.  Hessenius,  K.A.  and  P.F.  Richardson, 
Computational  Aerodynamics:  The  Next 
Generation. SAE Technical Paper, 1991( 911988). 
9.  j.  Williams  and  G.Vemaganti,  CFD  quality‐  a 
calibration study for front‐end cooling airflow. SAE 
Technical Paper, 1998. 980039. 
10.  K.  Johannessen
1
,  et  al.,  comparison  between 
experimental  and  numerical  methods  for 
evaluating car cooling system design in Melbourne 
Graduate  Fluids  Conference.  2001:  Monash 
Uiversity, Melbourne, Australia. 
11.  C.  Oliet,  A.O.,  J.  Castro,  and  C.D.  Pe´rez‐Segarra, 
Parametric  studies  on  automotive  radiators. 
Applied  Thermal  Engineering  2007.  vol  27:  p. 
2033‐2043. 
12.  C.D. Pe´rez‐Segarra, C. Oliet, and A. Oliva, Thermal 
and  fluid  dynamic  simulation  of  automotive  fin‐
and‐tube  heat  exchangers.  Part  1:  Mathematical 
model.  Heat  Transfer  Engineering,  May,  2008.  vol 
29(5): p. 484‐494. 

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