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Engine Heat Transfer

Shahnaz Sultana Visiting Faculty Mechanical Engineering Department PESIT, Bangalore

Loss of Heat is encouraged only to keep engine safe. Its a penalty on performance

Energy Distribution

Around 35% of the total chemical energy that enters an engine is converted to useful crankshaft work. About 30% of the fuel energy is carried away from the engine in the exhaust flow in the form of enthalpy and chemical energy. About one-third of the total energy is dissipated to the surroundings by some mode of heat transfer.

Energy Flows in Engines

There are three overall paths for energy energy flow: shaftwork, coolant, and exhaust. They are approximately equal, each about 1/3 of the energy of the incoming fuel/air mixture

Importance of Engine Heat Transfer

Satisfactory Heat Transfer is required for a number of important reasons:
Material temperature limits Lubricant performance limits Emissions and Knock Combustion in IC Engines is not continious as in External Engines Temperatures of certain critical areas need to be kept below material design limits Aluminium alloys begin to melt at temps greater than 775K Melting point of cast iron is about 1800K

Differing temperatures around cylinder bore will cause bore distortion leading to:
Increased blow-by Oil consumption Piston wear

Engine Heat Transfer

Gas Temperature Variation during a Cycle

Heat Transfer in Engines

Why is heat transfer in engines important ?

There is a need to keep the temperatures of two critical areas below material design limits. These areas are the piston crown and the exhaust valve.

Emission levels and octane requirements are a function of engine temperature.

Heat Transfer in Engines

How do we determine engine heat transfer ? The calculation of engine heat transfer is difficult, due to the periodic air and fuel flow and the complex geometry of the engine. We rely primarily on experimental results. With recent advances in computational fluid dynamics, computation of engine heat transfer is becoming more possible.

Heat Transfer in Engines

What are typical heat transfer rates in engines ?
The majority of engines produced are automotive six cylinder engines, with about a 4" (100 mm) piston diameter (bore) and 4" (100mm) piston stroke , producing about 100 hp (75 kW). Since the heat transfer to the coolant and the heat convected from the exhaust are about equal to the power produced, the heat transfer to the coolant and to the exhaust will also be about 75 kW.

For this typical automotive engine, the total cylinder volume or displacement is typically about 300 cubic inches (0.005 m3), and the total cylinder area is about 0.2 m3. Therefore the power density is about 75 kW/ 0.005 m3 or 15 MW/m3 of displacement. The heat transfer per unit cylinder area will be 75kW/0.2 m3 or 375 kW/m3.

Heat Transfer Mechanism

The three heat transfer mechanisms are: Conduction Convection Radiation

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Conduction heat transfer is energy transport due to molecular motion and interaction. Conduction heat transfer through solids is due to molecular vibration. Fourier determined that Q/A, the heat transfer per unit area (W/m2) is proportional to the temperature gradient dT/dx. The constant of proportionality is called the material thermal conductivity k Fouriers equation :

Conduction through PistonCylinder Wall


The thermal conductivity k depends on the material, for example, the various materials used in engines have the following thermal conductivities (W/m K):

Thermal Conductives of Common Materials

Copper Aluminum Cast Iron water air

400 240 80 0.61 0.026

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The thermal conductivity also depends on the temperature of the material.

For a cast iron 0.012m (") cylinder block at steady state

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Convection heat transfer is energy transport due to bulk fluid motion. Convection heat transfer through gases and liquids from a solid boundary results from the fluid motion along the surface.

Boundary Layer

Newton determined that the heat transfer/area, Q/A, is proportional to the fluid solid temperature difference Ts-Tf. The temperature difference usually occurs across a thin layer of fluid adjacent to the solid surface. This thin fluid layer is called a boundary layer. The constant of proportionality is called the heat transfer coefficient, h. Newton's Equation:

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The heat transfer coefficient depends on the type of fluid and the fluid velocity. The heat flux, depending on the area of interest, is the local or area averaged. The various types of convective heat transfer are usually categorized into the following areas : Table II. Convective Heat Transfer Coefficients

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For a cylinder block with a forced convection h of 1000, surface temperature of 100C , and a coolant temperature of 80 C, the local heat transfer rate is :

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For Flow through pipes or over plates

Nusselt No.

Reynolds No.

Prandtl No.


Radiation heat transfer is energy transport due to emission of electromagnetic waves or photons from a surface or volume. The radiation does not require a heat transfer medium, and can occur in a vacuum. The heat transfer by radiation is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute material temperature. The proportionality constant s is the Stefan-Boltzman constant equal to 5.67 x 10-8 W/m2K4. The radiation heat transfer also depends on the material properties represented by e, the emissivity of the material.

Radiation through Piston Cylinder Wall

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For a surface with an emissivity of e = 0.8 and T = 373 K (100C), the radiation heat transfer is

For moderate (less than 100 C) temperature differences, it should be noted that the radiation and natural convection heat transfer are about the same.

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Overall Heat Transfer


Piston Temperature Distribution


Cylinder Wall Temp Distribution


Heat Transfer


Heat Transfer & Engine Energy Balance


Heat Transfer & Engine Energy Balance

Control Volume surrounding Engine


Heat Transfer & Engine Energy Balance


Energy Flow Diagram


Boundary Layer Behavior


Component Temperatures