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Study on the eect of dierent combinations of engine coolant additives on the heat dissipation rate of radiators
P L Sathyanarayanan1* and R Ramprabhu2 1Automotive Systems Division, Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Ministry of Defence, Chennai, India 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Anna University, Chennai, India The manuscript was received on 29 November 2004 and was accepted after revision for publication on 31 May 2005. DOI: 10.1243/095440705X34838

Abstract: The performance, reliability, and life of a diesel engine largely depend on its eciency to dispose waste heat under all weather conditions, especially at high ambient temperatures. The coolant of the engine plays a signicant role in removing a major portion of this heat from the engine. Although pure water is the most ecient of all, it is essential to add certain additives to modify some of its deleterious actions on the engine and its components. For a given radiator conguration, the eectiveness of a coolant in dissipating heat is primarily governed by its composition and thereby its physical and chemical properties. Thus, a study on the eects of dierent combinations of engine coolant additives on the extent of heat dissipation was carried out. The study mainly concentrated on the use of cutting oil, ethylene glycol, and three-component additives (sodium nitrate, potassium dichromate, and trisodium phosphate), which were carefully analysed in a laboratory and compared on the basis of their respective performances. Keywords: coolant, additives, heat dissipation, radiator, diesel engine

1 INTRODUCTION Diesel engines are generally designed to last for substantially long periods, to make them economical in procurement and operation, reducing the overall expenditure. In a diesel engine, only a portion of the heat generated in burning the fuel is converted into useful work. Unless the remaining heat is disposed of immediately, it leads to build-up of waste heat which overheats the engine, thereby resulting in catastrophic failures and ultimately resulting in the loss of the engine. Part of this waste heat is disposed of through the exhaust gas. The disposal of the remaining heat is generally achieved by using a liquid to transport the heat from the engine to the radiator, from where it is transferred to the atmosphere. In
* Corresponding author: Automotive Systems Division, Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Ministry of Defence, Avadi, Chennai 600054, India. email: plsnarayanan@yahoo.co.uk

air-cooled engines, this heat is directly transferred to the atmosphere. Engines in two-wheeler segments are generally of the air-cooled type. A majority of the high-powered diesel engines used in automobiles, rail-cars, ships, Gen-set applications, etc., are of the water-cooled type because of the variety of advantages oered. The coolant plays a very vital role in disposing of waste heat eciently and enables the engine to operate well within its designed limits. This is very essential to ensure reliability and useful long life of the engine. The coolant is usually a blend of potable water and certain specied chemicals added as per recommendations of the manufacturer. This blending combination varies for dierent manufacturers. The eect of dierent additives on heat transfer from the engine cylinder has been studied and recorded, the details of which have been published in various papers [1, 2]. These studies were conned to the eciency of heat absorption at the engine owing to inclusion of additives, especially ethylene
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glycol. However, for practical reasons, the eect of these additives on the nal dissipation of waste heat (heat rejection capability) at the radiator also needs to be exhaustively studied. Unless the entire heat absorbed from the engine is rejected to the atmosphere, the engine will become overheated and has to be derated for satisfactory performance. This paper discusses the investigations of some of the coolantadditive combinations that are conventionally used, for their performance with regard to heat dissipation, and their relative compatibility with the cooling system components of the engine. The suitability of a particular combination for specic operating conditions has also been recommended.

2 THEORY Theoretically, pure water is the best coolant available to convey the waste heat away from the engine. This is because water has the highest heat-carrying capacity of all known liquids and is most readily available. However, its application has limitations. Diesel engines need to be operated in subzero temperatures in many parts of the world. This certainly requires depression of the freezing point of the coolant substantially to keep it in the liquid state at the time of starting the engine. Adding to the above critical factor is the disadvantage caused by the chemical reaction of the water with various parts of the engine, which leads to corrosion and damage of the water passages, pumps, liners, etc. Such harmful reactions curtail the heat transfer capability of the coolant with time and lead to overheating of the engine. When hard water is used owing to the non-availability of potable water, the heat leads to the formation of hard scales, which obstruct heat

transfer, thus resulting in overheating. To overcome these problems, the coolant property needs to be modied. Therefore, the addition of certain chemicals or additives to the coolant becomes inevitable. With all these additions, the heat-carrying capacity of the water is aected. This leads to modication of other parameters, such as the quantity circulated (owing to the change in density and viscosity), and the power consumption by the pump. Yet another factor causing deep concern is the safety involved in the handling of chemicals added to the coolant and their environmental friendliness at the time of their disposal. At present the most widely used additive is ethylene glycol. This not only lowers the freezing point of the coolant very signicantly but also elevates the boiling point to a much higher level. This enables a larger temperature dierence with the atmosphere, thereby resulting in much better heat transfer. However, because of its toxicity problems, its nearest equivalent, propylene glycol, is recommended for use, by environmentalists, although there is a marginal reduction in the heat-carrying capacity [3, 4]. The next alternative is three-component additives, and this is recommended by some manufacturers. Another combination is the blending of about 1.5 per cent soluble oil with the coolant water. Each combination has certain advantages and certain disadvantages, but all of them do aect the heat-carrying capacity of the water. Several factors need to be considered in deciding the best combination for use in a particular application. The mode of heat ow from hot gases to the coolant is by means of forced convection or by nucleate boiling (when the heat ux is high). The heat ow can best be explained with the help of Fig. 1, which shows the metal wall (4) surrounded

Fig. 1 Schematic diagram for heat transfer


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by gas and coolant lms on both sides and also the variation in temperature from the gas side to the coolant side (T , T , T , T , and T ). On the gas side, a b c d e the stagnant gas layer (2) and the lubricating oil layer (3) are shown, while the coolant side shows the coolant water lm (5) and the coolant (6). Using the overall heat transfer coecient, the general equation for the heat ux q can be written as q=UA(T T ) a e where U=overall heat transfer coecient (W/m2 K) A=surface area (m2) T =gas-side temperature (K) a T =coolant-side temperature (K) e The overall heat transfer coecient U is given by U= where h =gas-side heat transfer coecient (W/m2 K) 1 h =coolant-side heat transfer coecient (W/m2 K) 2 L=thickness of the cylinder wall (m) k=thermal conductivity (W/m K) A=area of the cylinder surface (m2) corresponding to the mean diameter It is clear that to promote heat transfer to its highest value the following should hold. 1. The thickness of the gas lm as well as the oil lm should be a maximum. 2. The surface coecient of the lm should be a maximum. 3. The material used for the cylinder walls should be highly conductive and the wall thickness should be a minimum but consistent with strength, wear, and other similar requirements 4. The water-side heat transfer and eciency should be as high as possible. To meet requirement 4, it is essential that the coolant used should be as ecient as possible in 1 1/h +L/k+1/h 1 2

ensuring heat transfer. This requires the coolant not to form scales or to corrode the water passages, and also the boiling point to be elevated to delay steam formation but to ensure more heat transfer. These properties can be achieved by adding certain chemicals to the coolant. As the nal heat dissipation takes place in the radiator, the eect of these additives in ensuring heat dissipation plays a very important role. These factors do aect the engine life in the long run. Three dierent additives have been studied and compared with the conventional water-cooling method with regard to heat dissipation. This study is reported in the following paragraphs.

3 EVALUATION OF PROPERTIES The process of heat transfer is unique to each of these substances, depending on its physical properties. Heat transfer is especially aected by the thermal conductivity k, the specic heat c , the density r, the p surface tension s, and the kinematic viscosity n. These properties have denite magnitudes for each substance and as a rule are functions of the temperature, and some are also functions of the pressure. The physical properties may change essentially in the near-critical region of thermodynamic states and in low-temperature regions [5]. Therefore, it is desirable that the key properties are established for this study. Each combination was evaluated in the laboratory for its physical and chemical properties. A summary of the test results [carried out at the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), India] has been tabulated and is given in Table 1 (values were measured at 303 K). Ethylene glycol when mixed with water (in the ratio 30 : 70) was observed to be milky white in colour, and its boiling point had been elevated to 106 C. When the cooling system operates at 1 bar (101 kPa) above atmospheric pressure, the boiling point of water increases to 120 C and hence with

Table 1 Summary of test results


Coolant combination Pure water Water+chemical additives 70% water+30% ethylene glycol Water+1.5% cutting oil Density r (kg/m3) 997.5 1001.4 1020.6 995.76 Kinematic viscosity n (106 m2/s) 0.83 0.88 7.8 6.03 Surface tension s (103 N/m) 72.5 37 12.7 14.7

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ethylene glycol it is expected to increase to 126 C [6]. In the experiments, it was also observed that the freezing point of the coolant is depressed to 10 C. The three-component additive helps in using even hard water for cooling purposes; the hard water is converted by these chemicals to soft water, thereby preventing scale formation and maintaining a satisfactory pH level. This scale, if formed, insulates the passage and seriously reduces heat transfer. Maintaining the correct pH value prevents corrosion and protects the water passages. The boiling point for the three-component additive was found to be 102 C. During the process of heating, it was observed that the bubble formation (which initiates nucleate heat transfer) is very much delayed in the ethylene glycolwater mixture (not below 95 C) unlike water, where it starts at around 80 C and in very large numbers. (One of the reasons for the higher heat transfer by water is nucleation and the increase in the heat transfer coecient.) In the case of this mixture, very few bubbles were formed but they were found to be larger in size. The time taken for the ethylene glycol mixture to heat to a particular temperature was also longer than that of water. The other physical properties such as the viscosity and surface tension at room temperature and at 80 C were also evaluated. Fluids having a higher viscosity require a higher energy for pumping. It was observed that the surface tension was the lowest for the waterethylene glycol mixture and maximum for pure water, with the other combinations lying in between. The surface tension of a uid determines its wetting ability, which is very crucial for eective heat transfer. The coolant mixture consisting of soluble oil in water provides cavitation erosion inhibition and also improves heat transfer [1].

4 EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES FOR HEAT DISSIPATION For comparing dierent types of coolant, a standard water-to-air radiator was chosen. This radiator is a plate-and-n-type radiator made of aluminium alloy and is being used in one of the military vehicles. This radiator is rated for 25 kW heat dissipation and has been designed with reserve capacity to take care of deterioration in performance over time owing to obstruction of passages with dirt, dust, scaling, etc. This radiator is mounted in a test rig as shown in Fig. 2. The test rig consists of a blower to supply the necessary cooling air, a ow duct designed as per BS 1040, to measure the airow quantity, a coolant heating system to supply hot coolant to the radiator, and a coolant circulating system with the necessary pumps, pipes, valves, etc., with suitable measurement equipment such as pressure gauges, manometers, owmeters, and temperature gauges. All measuring equipment has been calibrated and checked for accuracy of the measurements. The following coolants were studied in this experiment: (a) pure water; (b) water mixed with a three-component additive (potassium dichromate, sodium nitrate, and trisodium phosphate, 0.5 per cent each); (c) water mixed with ethylene glycol (30 per cent); (d) water mixed with 1.5 per cent Servocut oil (trade name of the Indian Oil Corporation). The coolant supply tank was cleaned and lled with the experimental coolant. The coolant temperature was stabilized at 60 C for the rst set of observations and 80 C for the next set. The airow was adjusted to the required value of 16 m/s. This air velocity was maintained as it is the maximum value experienced

Fig. 2 Test set-up for heat exchanger evaluation


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by this radiator in actual practice. The coolant ow was also adjusted by using various combinations of the bypass valves shown in the gure. The temperature drops achieved in the radiator for dierent ow levels of coolant were recorded. The experiment was repeated for dierent coolant ow levels. The pressure drop for the coolant for each ow value was also recorded. The tank and the system were cleaned thoroughly, and entire testing was repeated for each of the coolants being studied. The plotted performance curves (ow versus temperature drop, ow versus pressure drop, and heat dissipated versus ow) are shown in Figs 3, 4, and 5 respectively.

5 DISCUSSION OF RESULTS Before considering the heat dissipation value, it is essential to determine the ow performance for each combination of coolant. The quantity of uid ow aects the total heat transferred. The performances of uid pressure drop against uid owrate for each of the coolants in the ow through the radiator are shown in Fig. 4, for a given inlet temperature of the uid (80 C) and velocity of air (16 m/s). It may be observed that pure water oers least resistance and hence enables a greater water ow for a given pressure drop. The combination with 30 per cent

Fig. 3 Flow versus temperature drop for dierent coolants at a coolant inlet temperature of 80 C

Fig. 4 Flow versus pressure drop for dierent coolants at a coolant inlet temperature of 80 C
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Fig. 5 Flow versus heat dissipation for dierent coolants at a coolant inlet temperature of 80 C

ethylene glycol oers maximum resistance (owing to higher viscosity) and hence results in a smaller ow for the same pressure drop. When the cooling system is integrated on to the engine, the pump will have xed energy owing to drive arrangements for pumping the uids at each speed. The resistance oered by the cooling system components also increases depending upon the viscosity of the uid. Hence, for comparison purposes, assuming that the pump is able to develop only 100 kPa (1.0 bar) pressure, it can pump a maximum of 54.5 L/min of pure water whereas it can pump only 44 L/min of water and ethylene glycol mixture, i.e. a drop of 20 per cent in coolant ow. Corresponding to this variation, it can be seen that the overall heat dissipation value changes from 32.5 kW for pure water to 30.5 kW for the coolant mixture (a drop of 7 per cent). The values for the other two coolant combinations lie still lower at 29.5 kW (i.e. almost 10 per cent drop). On the other hand it may be noted from Fig. 4 that, to provide the same ow value of 54.5 L/min for the waterethylene glycol mixture, the pressure to be developed will be 150 kPa (1.5 bar), which will call for an additional input power of approximately 50 per cent more than that required for pumping pure water. In spite of this, the heat transfer will increase only from 30.5 kW to 31.45 kW and still will not be equal to the value obtained for pure water. This will be at the expense of additional power being diverted to the cooling pump and reducing the overall output brake power by the same amount.
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From Fig. 5 it can be observed that the radiator meets the designed value of 25 kW comfortably with all kinds of coolant, with least reserve capacity for the oilwater mixture and maximum reserve for pure water. However, each coolant mixture is capable of avoiding the deterioration in performance in its own way by preventing scale formation and corrosion. Also it can be observed that the heat dissipation value tends to increase with increase in the ow quantity (owing to increase in the turbulence) and become almost constant after a coolant ow value of 50 L/min for all types of coolant, which means that the ow has reached its optimum for the given radiator conguration in eecting heat transfer. Any further signicant increase in heat transfer will be possible only with an increased size of the radiator or with a higher speed of the cooling fan. These options will be possible only if adequate space, power, and investments are available. These experiments show that the heat dissipation depends upon the coolant constitution, but each combination has a specic application. The use of the ethylene glycol mixture will be the best for the commercial sector and civilian use and in lowtemperature applications. However, in the case of use by the army, the availability of good-quality water cannot be assured at all times during military operations. Under these conditions, use of a threecomponent additive will be preferable, as it can convert hard water to soft water and maintain the pH value satisfactorily. However, for low-temperature
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operations, ethylene glycol is imperative. By choosing the appropriate combination, adequate dissipation of heat, corrosion prevention, and hence longer life of the engine can be ensured.

6 CONCLUSIONS This study has helped to evaluate the eect of dierent types of coolant mixture for diesel engines. It also identies the type to be chosen for dierent applications, which will benet the engine more, and also with regard to eective heat dissipation. The waterethylene glycol combination is best used where availability of potable water will not be a problem, such as in the commercial and civil sector. For military operations and where potable water is in severe shortage, such as in remote and inhospitable battle zones (when low temperatures are not involved), the other combinations will prove highly helpful in realizing longer engine life. Incidentally, this study also shows that the additives generally reduce the heat rejection capabilities (at lower temperatures) of the coolant as against the quality of enhancing heat absorption (at higher temperatures) by additives such as borax and oil, noticed in the study conducted by Selim and Helali [1]. This phenomenon may be attributed to the changing boundary layer thickness due to change in the viscosity at lower temperatures in the radiator than experienced in an engine that is at a much higher temperature [7].

Engine Technology Group, Mr T. Balakrishnan, Technical Ocer of the Materials Laboratory, and Mr P. Palaniappan, Senior Technical Assistant, for their help in conducting all these experiments meticulously. Thanks are also due to M/S Appollo Heat Exchangers, Mumbai, for extending their facilities to enable part of the experiments to be carried out.

REFERENCES
1 Selim, M. Y. E. and Helali, A. H. B. Eect of coolant additives on thermal loading of a diesel engine. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs, Part D: J. Automobile Engineering, 2001, 215. 2 Shaylor, P. J., Chick, J. P., and Ma, T. Eect of coolant mixture composition on engine heat rejection rate. SAE paper 960275, 1996. 3 Ninoyu, M., Doi, H., Kameyama, J., and Oka, H. Prediction method of cooling system performance. SAE paper 930146, 1993. 4 Greaney, J. P. and Cozzone, G. E. Comparative performance of aqueous propylene glycol and aqueous ethylene glycol coolants. SAE paper 1999-01-0134, 1999. 5 Isachenco, V. P., Osipova, V. A., and Sukomel, A. S. Heat transfer (Transl. S. Semyonov), 1977, p. 138 (Mir, Moscow). 6 Kanefsky, P., Nelson, V., and Ranger, M. A systems engineering approach to engine cooling design. SAE paper 1999-01-3780, 1999. 7 Fraas, A. P. and Ozisik, M. N. Heat exchanger design, 1965, p. 46 (John Wiley, New York).

7 RECOMMENDATIONS Further study in identifying additives that will help to modify the coolant characteristics to enable higher heat rejection in the radiator will be helpful in reducing its size (the costliest part of the cooling system) and fan power required for cooling.

APPENDIX Notation h 1 h 2 k q T a T e U n r s gas-side heat transfer coecient (W/m2 K) coolant-side heat transfer coecient (W/m2 K) thermal conductivity (W/m K) heat ux (W/m2) gas-side temperature (K) coolant-side temperature (K) overall heat transfer coecient (W/m2 K) kinematic viscosity (m2/s) density (kg/m3) surface tension (N/m)

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author wishes to thank the Director, CVRDE, for extending laboratory facilities to allow these experiments to be performed. Also, the author thanks Mr A. Kumaraswamy, Scientist E of the

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