Back in 1978 a Formula 1 car (Brabham BT46) had surface radiators which uses the air flowing on the body panels to cool the engine instead of opening up the body for grilles and openings thus less drag but at a cost to weight, so would it be good for fuel milage, and if so how would it look like in a car?
I would think that the surface area of the radiator would have to be about the size of the hood to equal the surface area of all the fins in a radiator. I would think that to fabricate something like that would be somewhat of an ordeal.
it is an interesting idea though
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What about, instead of mounting plates to the body, just using the entire body for the job? Half-pipes mounted to the inside of every accessible body panel...
Nevermind. That's nuts and wouldn't work. It would be awfully expensive too.
If every body panel was made with two pieces of metal to form a cavity, I think this would do the trick. It would add a lot of weight, and you would get sued when some kid leans on your fender after a long drive, but you could seal your engine compartment except for a 2" air ram.
It's an interesting idea, that I'll think about if I ever find myself designing a car from scratch.
Seems like it would be good for single engine airplanes....
Surface cooling has been used in aircraft and was very popular for the record breakers in the Schneider Cup series during the 1930's.
For cars though the varying demands of changing speeds and stop - start traffic may make it unworkable.
The costs of making the panels to the necessary tolerances may also have a negative impact on the demand.
Speaking of impacts one reason the conventional "core and end tank" arrangement has become standard is the ease of repair and installation by the factory.
How about making an aluminum belly pan/surface radiator?
Because it's hidden under the car aesthetics wouldn't be that critical. Several possibilities come to mind:
- An aluminum skin with aluminum tubing bonded (mechanically and thermally) to the upper surface with coolant running through the tubing.
- Aluminum flat panel heat exchanger material, if it could be found.
- Exposed rectangular aluminum tubing (maybe 1/2" x 2") which serves both as a frame to support an ordinary coroplast belly pan and a surface radiator.
Certainly the entire belly pan wouldn't need to be a radiator so you could position the radiator portion where it wouldn't have to be bent or notched and where there would be less chance of damage from stones, etc. kicking up from the tires. Maybe a strip down the middle of the car, or crossways in front of the front wheels?