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Thread: Liquid to Air IC

  1. #1

    Default Liquid to Air IC

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    Last edited by m0nitor; 04-01-2007 at 10:27 AM.

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    I don't know....seems like a lot of fanagling for something that has heretofore been resolved with the simple addition of a fan on the A2A intercooler. What do you gain by going to a W2A intercooler, if anything? Any weight savings? Any cooler charge air? Any cooler engine compartment temps? Just curious as to why it should be considered as an option.

    Craig

    Here is some very basic info on the subject of intercoolers (aftercoolers) from www.superchargersonline.com:

    FEATURES :: PERFORMANCE ACCESSORIES & EXTRAS
    Let's Talk Intercoolers!
    8/3/2001 9:37:00 PM


    An intercooler (sometimes referred to as an aftercooler) is designed to remove heat from the compressed air coming from the supecharger (or turbo) before it enters the engine's induction system. An intercooler works just lie a radiator - air is cooled by fins, bars, louvres, and plates inside the intercooler that are cooler than the compressed air coming from the supercharger. The reduction in air temperature increases the density of the air (more air molecules per cupic foot), which consequently increases your engine's ability to make more horsepower and torque. The decreased air temperature allows you to run more boost on a given octane of fuel before detonation occurs..
    What's up with the terms?
    The term 'intercooler' comes from days when they were first used on twin turbo aircraft engines. With two turbos, the air charge would get VERY hot - it was heated by the first turbo, then heated again by the second turbo. To combat this double temperature rise they placed a heat exchanger in between the two turbos and called it an "intercooler" because of its location in between two turbos. When this same kind of heat exchanger is used on a single turbo or supercharger, it is located after the supercharger, and should technically be called an "aftercooler" because of its location after the single turbo or supercharger. These terms didn't seem to stick, though. The term 'intercooler' caught on and became almost universal for all heat exchangers regardless of their position. The term 'aftercooler' became synonymous with air-to-water coolers because this is the term Vortech uses to describe their coolers, which are water cooled. So while technically incorrect, we will still use the popular terms 'intercooler' to mean any air-cooled charge cooler and 'aftercooler' to mean any water-cooled charge cooler.
    Why Intercool?
    There are several important benefits to intercooling that have resulted in their increased popularity in recent years. The most significant advantage is that intercooling increases the detonation threshhold because of the cooler air charge, meaning you can run more ignition advance for higher performance, or run lower octane fuel before experiencing detonation. This makes intercoolers very desirable for those looking to get the most out of their street vehicles on pump gasoline. The cooler air also allows your engine to run slightly cooler, reducing the chances of overheating. Intercoolers also enable your engine to produce more horsepower because of the denser air charge being delivered to the engine's combustion chamber.
    Don't assume, however, that you can simply bolt an intercooler on to your supercharged engine and expect power gains with no other changes to the system. Intercoolers do create some internal drag causing a slight reduction in boost, and can also cause the engine to run lean (knock) due to the denser air charge. These problems are easily corrected and should not cause concern, however they cannot be ignored. Boost pressure can be brought back up (actually you'll probably want to run substantially more boost than you did with a non-intercooled application) using a smaller supercharger pulley. The smaller supercharger pulley will spin the supercharger faster and increase its output. Make sure your supercharger is designed to handle these higher boost levels. Correcting the air/fuel ratio to compensate for the denser air charge can be done with larger fuel injectors, recalibrated FMU, larger fuel pump, adjusting the mass air meter, etc.
    Intercoolers... Aftercoolers... What's the difference?
    In order for an intercooler to effectively cool the air that passes through it, the intercooler itself must be cooled by some external means. Most intercoolers are cooled just like your engine's radiator - air flows over the outside of the intercooler's fins, which in turn cool the air inside the intercooler - hence the name Air to Air Intercooler. Some intercoolers, however, are cooled by water instead of air, in which case they are generally called aftercoolers, or Air to Water Intercoolers. The benefit to an aftercooler is that air passing through it can be cooled more than in a traditional air/air intercooler if very cold water and ice are used to cool the intercooler - in fact, some aftercoolers chill the air to below ambient air temperatures even after it has been compressed by the supercharger. The reason aftercoolers are more effective in cooling the air charge is because water is a much better conductor of heat than air - in fact water conducts 4 times as much heat as air! The obvious drawback is that with time, the water will heat up to the temperature of the air passing through it, and its ability to cool incoming air goes away. Some aftercoolers, however, use a small radiator to cool the water that runs through the system, making them ideal for street use as well as racing. For drag racing applications aftercoolers packed with ice work very well because they only need to work for around ten seconds or so (hopefully) before you shut down and head to the victory podium. For milder racing and street applications air/air intercoolers or aftercoolers with radiators are more practical as their ability to cool incoming air is not reduced with time.
    When is it right to intercool?
    Obviously, intercoolers only work with supercharged or turbocharged vehicles where there is a substantial difference in temperature between the air entering the engine and the cooling medium (the intercooler). Because superchargers heat up the air significantly as they compress it, it is possible for there to be a very large temperature difference between the intercooler (ambient air temperature - 80F degrees or so) and the compressed air (200F - 350F degrees). Superchargers with higher boost will create a hotter discharge, so as you increase your boost, the effects of the intercooler become more and more noticable. In general we would not recommend intercoolers on supercharged engines with less than 8-9psi of boost, as the benefits will not be substantial. Essentially, run an intercooler when only when you running peak boost (i.e. any more boost would cause detonation) for the octane of fuel you use. Intercoolers work well in both warm and cool climates and work exceptionally well on marine applications because of the easy access to cold water.
    Don't intercoolers restrict the flow of air into the engine?
    Yes. Any time there is an obstacle in the way of the air flowing into the engine (like an intercooler fin or louvre), a pressure loss will result. Today's intercoolers are very effective in minmimzing this pressure loss so that the benefits obtained by cooling the discharge temperature normally outweigh the 1-2psi (approximate) loss in air pressure, which can be regained by running a smaller pulley and increasing the output of the supercharger.
    The final word!
    So while intercoolers work well on higher output superchargers, they are not recommended for lower boost level kits, like an average 6psi street kit. If you're looking for exceptional performance from your engine, consider adding an intercooler to your engine, or consider purchasing a supercharger kit that comes with an intercooler. Most ATI ProCharger systems include intercoolers and still remain very reasonably priced. Paxton has also recently introduced several intercoolers to fit their more popular supercharger systems, while Vortech already includes intercoolers with several kits. Good luck with your intercooling endeavors, wherever they may take you!
    For specific information about Intercooler system upgrades, start with our Feature Intercooler page and select an application.

    Last edited by caccobra; 02-23-2006 at 11:16 AM.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by K Burtoft
    Does anyone out there have experience with barrel water to air intercooler? I think Jan posted his calculation for the air requirements.

    The PWR Liquid to Air Barrel Intercooler is a world first exclusive in its design for the industry. The Radical cylindrical shape was designed for drag and street applications, providing maximum cooling, airflow and performance efficiencies. The system requires no ambient (external) airflow, which enables the unit to bemounted as close to the manifold as possible,
    reducing turbo lag and providing maximum performance.
    There is nothing world first or exclusive about that IC design. Extremely similar designs have been used in missile propulsion systems for years and in the UK for aftermarket automotive applications for several years.

    We will be using a water/air IC on our forthcoming VHO project in order simplify packaging and ensure stable charge air temps during long periods of WOT. The water/air IC circuit will add around 18 kilo's of weight in total (5.5 kilo's of which will be the coolant) but the advantages are numerous.

    Water/Air IC's have one distinct advantage over air/air, the heat transfer between water and ally is massively more efficent than between air and ally.

    Best Regards
    Matt
    Last edited by FP Technology; 02-26-2006 at 01:33 PM.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by FP Technology
    There is nothing world first or exclusive about that IC design. Extremely similar designs have been used in missile propulsion systems for years and in the UK for aftermarket automotive applications for several years.

    We will be using a water/air IC on our forthcoming VHO project in order simplify packaging and ensure stable charge air temps during long periods of WOT. The water/air IC circuit will add around 18 kilo's of weight in total (5.5 kilo's of which will be the coolant) but the advantages are numerous.

    Water/Air IC's have one distinct advantage over air/air, the heat transfer between water and ally is massively more efficent than between air and ally.

    Best Regards


    Most helpful. When will you have a package those of us in the colonies could purchase for local installation?
    Matt

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    Thanks, Matt. Just to clarify....Are you saying that the water to air IC is probably unnecessary unless you are running WOT on a track most of the time? For most other driving styles (i.e. street driving, etc.) is the IC upgrade with fan sufficient for maintaining cool charge air?

    Craig

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by FP Technology
    There is nothing world first or exclusive about that IC design. Extremely similar designs have been used in missile propulsion systems for years and in the UK for aftermarket automotive applications for several years.

    We will be using a water/air IC on our forthcoming VHO project in order simplify packaging and ensure stable charge air temps during long periods of WOT. The water/air IC circuit will add around 18 kilo's of weight in total (5.5 kilo's of which will be the coolant) but the advantages are numerous.

    Water/Air IC's have one distinct advantage over air/air, the heat transfer between water and ally is massively more efficent than between air and ally.

    Best Regards
    Matt
    There you have it.

    The test that I was following used a barrel type cooler. However, the radiator used with this system was not optimized for the application. It worked far below its potential.

    Spearco can produce custom air/liquid coolers to order. No need to go with a generic if you feel that you have a much better package design. You might consider a custom radiator builder for your heat exchangers. Use real radiators, not converted plate or tube coolers. This is serious business here, not generic aftermarket. Look at this as an important power producing system on a $100,000 production car, not a $10,000 kit car.

    Drag racers use air/liquid because they can put near freezing coolant in the systems for a lower than ambient charge air temp for about 30 seconds.

    Road racers use them for packaging and efficinency. Coolers and radiators can be placed in their most efficient positions.

    Nearly all manufacturers use air to liquid coolers. They ensure stable temperatures, and a fast recovery from heat induced by traffic and prolonged idling. They are easy to package with superchargers and turbochargers, as they can be an integral part of the intake manifold.

    Now, there is another idea for you to go work on. Fabricated intake for the V6 with an integral air/liquid cooler.

    I believe that the ENTIRE system may have to be Noble specific to get the sort of performance that I am looking for. I don't like generic systems. They almost never package well.

    Two coolers would be great if the packaging is worked out. It might be the best layout, especially when throttle response at low boost and low revs are figured. I am planning on dual coolers, and dual radiators.

    The big area for experimentation is the heat exchangers, not the charge air coolers. How efficient the radiators are will determine how well cooler works in the first place.

    And of course, they are far more efficient. Alloy drops heat quicker to a liquid medium than to air.

    It is how your ENGINE is cooled.

    Sometimes, a little complexity can solve a huge problem.

    Of course, if you don't understand it, hang out and learn. After a while, you will have one too.

    A little thought with the installation of the radiator(s) can solve the air flow and heat control problems in the engine compartment.

    This is actually the way to cool the intake charge on the Noble. Fiddling with air to air is cheap, and easy. Adding fans, also cheap, and a band aid solution to the problem of heat soak. Trying to make it work involves expensive coatings, animal skins, gold plate and glass shards. What is really needed is a more efficient after cooling system that is not bothered by exhaust generated heat.

    Nice to see everybody on the same page.

  7. #7

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    Just a couple of things here:

    There are a few companies that make air to water charge air coolers. Lots of different sizes and shapes, along with custom builds. You might want to Google "air to liquid intercoolers. Air to water charge air coolers are smaller than their air to air counterparts. More efficient, and less pressure drop.

    Amyway, you need measurements from your Noble, and drawings of your planned dual (or single) charge air package. Then you need to figure out how to run water to it and from it. You will need to keep all of the hoses and tubes away from the hot exhaust. Figuring out the package yourself will make it easier and less expensive to acuire off the shelf charge air coolers, or having any custom made. Fabricators don't like working in the dark, and are far more useful if they have a good idea as to what you are trying to build. They generally don't do well at engineering, so you really need to know exactly what you want, both in concept, and in practice.

    Circulation will also be a problem, and several different cooling pumps will have to be checked out. You will need power for that pump, and for the cooling fans, should you decide to run them for engine compartment and liquid cooling. This will require a bigger alternator than you may already have.

    Modifying the intake is of no use, unless you intend to include the cooler WITHIN THE MANIFOLD (or you have some crazy ass idea about a "tuned, fabricated intake"). This involves quite a bit of engineering. I know guys that can do this sort of work, but it will cost as much as the Noble M400 for the first one, and you may have to make more if they don't work out as you planned. Development, they call it. Oh, and they will need your engine for a few months for dyno testing. I'd stick with the stock manifold. It does a good job if distributing the air. No reason to screw with it.

    The real problem that one would face with an air to liquid system is the heat exchanger part of the installation. You need to get rid of the heat, you know, pass it to the air from the liquid cooling medium. I could really get deeply into just this, but I will leave it to you to figure out. I will offer one clue. Automotive radiator cores. Really efficient automotive radiator cores.

    As for the "500 HP installation", well, the after cooler installation does not make that much HP itself. You will need more boost (which raises charge air temp, and you know what that means), beneficial cam timing, engine management tuning, and a gearbox that can stand up to nearly 500 lb.ft. torque. Good Luck with that little bit.

    I proposed the cooler for instant power and high temperature recovery at the 435-450 HP level.

    You will find that coolers sized to HP levels may not really work well for your application. You need to think about the amount of boost, and the amount of BTUs that you need to shed to maintain an intake temperature of 20*F above ambient, or less.

    Oh, and just a clue if you get serious. No water reservoir, the system should be entirely self contained. A good one will be all custom, and the first one will be frightfully expensive, unless you know exactly how to start designing it.

    Oh, and if properly designed, it will weigh no more than 6 Kilos more than your stock system. The secret is in the heat exchangers...

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