13. Why use water for cooling an engine in place of a radiator?
Many water cooled internal combustion engines (ICE), can be adequately cooled, simply by pumping the engines coolant through an air cooled radiator.
Cooler ambient air is drawn into and through the radiator by a cooling fan, transferring heat from the engine coolant as it is pumped through the radiator.
But there are applications where air cooling is either less efficient or not an option for an ICE. This could be due to insufficient air flow, or ambient air temperatures being too high, and in these situations, water cooling is a proven solution. Moreover, replacing the radiator with water cooled heat exchangers can save valuable space and considerably reduce noise.
Installing water cooling is quite straightforward as instead of a radiator, a heat exchanger, usually of ‘shell and tube’ design, is installed into the engines cooling system.
The heat exchanger has two circuits; one will be connected to the engines cooling circuit and the other connected to a source of cool water, which could be seawater for a marine engine or fresh water for applications such as irrigation systems, power generation, fire protection or automotive engine testing.
The cooling water is pumped through a central tube core in the heat exchanger, whilst the engines coolant flows over and around the outside of the tubes, transferring heat from the engines coolant circuit to the cooling water as it flows through the unit.
Whilst there are many heat exchangers suitable for cooling engines, Bowman’s Header Tank units are particularly successful due to the design, which incorporates and integral expansion chamber above the tube core. This eliminates the problem of air pockets or air locks getting into the cooling stream. There is also has a special de-aeration feature, plus pressurised filler cap, making integration very much easier. For more information on Bowman Header Tank Heat Exchangers