Many of our modern vehicles rely on the combustion of a mixture of fuel and air to power their engines. As a result, they generate a lot of heat which can damage surrounding components if not properly managed. Several techniques exist to combat this issue, including engines which are designed to be air-cooled, oil-cooled, and liquid-cooled. In this blog, we will examine the various differences between these methods including the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Air-cooled engines rely on the dissipation of heat into the surrounding air to cool them down. To achieve this, fins are provided around the engine that increase the area that comes in contact with atmospheric air. When air passes through these fins, the engine is cooled. As a result of their simple design, air-cooled engines have easy maintenance, are low-cost, and weigh less than other engine cooling designs. For this reason, they are a common choice for aircraft where weight reduction is a priority. However, they are less efficient at cooling in general and may not be capable of successfully cooling particularly powerful engines.
During the combustion of fuel in the engine, the overall temperature of the machine increases, and when engine oil is used to lubricate the moving parts of an engine, the temperature of the oil also increases. In an oil-cooled engine, the engine oil is cooled along with the parts it lubricates. The engine is designed with fins such as in an air-cooled engine while an oil cooler is used outside the engine to cool the oil. This device contains capillary tubes and fins so that as the engine oil circulates through the oil cooler, it is exposed to a large amount of air and is cooled as a result. The combination of fins and an oil cooler in this engine design make it more efficient than a simple air-cooled engine but also more costly to purchase and maintain.
In a liquid-cooled engine, liquid coolant is used to transfer heat away from the engine. The coolant used has anti-freezing properties and has anti-corrosion substances added to prevent damage to the engine. In this type of engine, a radiator is used to chill the coolant which is then passed through water jackets used outside the engine cylinder. This cycle continues until the vehicle engine is working. Containing multiple cooling processes working in tandem, this technique has the highest cooling efficiency with less noise produced in the engine. However, the design and manufacturing are highly complex, making it the most expensive option available.
There are several different engine cooling techniques to consider when choosing an engine or performing maintenance on an existing one. While the cooling efficiency is increased with liquid cooling techniques, it is not always the top choice for vehicles where weight is of a concern. For access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find aviation components including engine parts, look to Industrials Unlimited. We are a premium purchasing platform for aviation and military grade components provided with cost savings alongside rapid lead times. Get started today by browsing the inventory of available parts on our website. For quotes on any of the parts we offer, simply send us a completed Request For Quote (RFQ) form and a dedicated team member will get back to you with a quote fit to your specific needs in 15 minutes or less!
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