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Car Intercooler

Car Intercooler: Water Cooling VS Air Cooling

There are two types of car intercoolers: air-cooled and water-cooled ones, and this two different forms both can achieve the effect of cooling. Air cooling is to make the high temperature air pass through the aluminum alloy air ducts and heat dissipation fins, and then cool it down by the cold air during the driving process of the vehicle, so the cooling effect will be better at high speed. The water cooling is to cool through the coolant pipeline. The pressure retention performance in the compact tube is better, but it is more complicated than air cooling. Literally, water cooling means cooling with water to lower the temperature, while air cooling relies on wind to dissipate heat.

1. Water-cooled car intercoolers with added coolant lines are more complex than air-cooled car intercoolers

Air cooling is to let the high-temperature air pass through the rows of aluminum alloy air ducts and heat dissipation fins in the air-cooled intercooler, thereby increasing the contact area between the air and the duct, and then cool it down by the cold air that hits the vehicle head-on while driving. The higher the speed, the better the cooling effect of the air-cooled car intercooler. Generally, there are three layouts of air-cooled intercoolers, front, side and top, which are respectively suitable for large-displacement supercharging, small-displacement supercharging and rally racing.

Compared with the air-cooled intercooler, the water-cooled intercooler has added coolant pipelines and is more complicated, but its advantages lies in the compact structure, flexible pipeline layout, short pipelines, and good pressure retention in the tubes, which can greatly reduces turbo lag.

Although the air-cooled intercooler has a simpler structure, lower cost and better high-speed cooling effect than the water-cooled intercooler, in terms of pressure fluctuations in the tube, the air-cooled car intercooler is larger, and its the turbo lag is more serious because the air-cooled intercooler has a much longer intake line than the water-cooled intercooler and the air volume in its tube is larger. In addition, due to the dependence on wind speed, the cooling effect is not obvious after the vehicle speed is reduced.

2. Water-cooled car intercooler solves the drawbacks of air-cooled car intercooler

Due to the shorter length of the intake pipe, the turbo delay is effectively weakened and the power response is improved. At the same time, because the engine structure is also more compact, the overall layout of the engine is facilitated.

For water cooling, its cooling effect at the beginning is obvious, but its cooling effect is not as good as air cooling at high speed (The engine water temperature is about 90 degrees Celsius under normal operating conditions, in other words, using a turbocharged engine with integrated water-cooled intercooler, the intake air temperature will not be lower than 90 degrees Celsius under stable conditions) as the temperature of the gas entering the cooling is affected by the water temperature in the engine. In addition, the water tank cooling system in the integrated water-cooled car intercooler is more complicated, and it is prone to water leakage failures over time. So the durability is also a problem.

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