Design & SimulationJuly 23, 2021

Keeping Your Vehicle Engine Cool for Any Driving Experience

The following post was originally published in September 2020.  In SIMULIA PowerFLOW,…
Avatar Clare Scott

The following post was originally published in September 2020. 

In SIMULIA PowerFLOW, we now offer the entire digital library of engine cooling module components from DENSO. They can be used to build a fully functional engine cooling module that can evaluate digitally vehicle true performance at any time during the development process – from concept to vehicle release.

There are numerous things that can cause a vehicle to break down, but one of the most common is the overheating of the engine. This can be caused by a radiator that cannot meet the cooling demands of the engine or a faulty cooling system, and can lead to serious engine damage if not addressed quickly. It isn’t pleasant to be stranded by an overheating engine on a hot day, but it’s even less pleasant to be faced with expensive repairs for that engine. Luckily, there is often a simple fix for the problem if it is caught early enough, such as repairing a leak in a hose or a loose belt.

Designing a cooling system that functions properly from the beginning is a challenging task for engineers, however. A vehicle’s Engine Cooling Module (ECM) is a complex subsystem made up of multiple components that must work together to keep the engine running at an optimal temperature. Each of those components must be tested separately as well as together with the rest of the system to make sure that they can work as a cohesive unit to cool the engine.

These components include a series of channels in the engine block and cylinder head that circulate liquid around the combustion chambers to carry away heat; a radiator made up of numerous small tubes that receive and cool hot liquid from the engine; a water pump that circulates liquid through the entire system; a thermostat; and a fan to draw cooling air through the radiator.

In a vehicle development programs, vehicle manufacturers typically start off with the carry over cooling module from a similar vehicle under development with a brand new vehicle shape. When it comes to CAE evaluation from early phase, these carry over parts need to be scaled up or down to suit the cooling demand of the vehicle. Vehicles shapes evolve with the development of the program, but the cooling package remains the same until late in the stage. This leads to inaccurate flow around and into the engine bay of the vehicle and can lead to incorrect prediction of cooling performance. Engine cooling is not just a performance issue, but it is a critical safety issue. Due to this vehicle manufacturers often over design the cooling package, leading to increased cost and weight for the vehicle.

One way to avoid this design challenge is to have an evolving cooling package with critical performance information at all the stages of development. This will lead to selecting the right cooling package to meet the cooling demand of the vehicle at any given design phase. The cooling package can evolve to ensure sufficient cooling of the engine without having a margin of safety to account for the unforeseen operating scenario. The vehicle manufacturers can digitally evaluate any cooling package to meet cooling demands of the vehicle. Digital evaluation can significantly reduce the cost to build prototypes and delays in procuring the cooling modules and possible delays associated with suppliers.

DENSO, a leading supplier of automotive components, systems and technology, possesses a great deal of expertise in designing, developing and manufacturing these components, as well as how to simulate their performance. The user can get access now to the entire DENSO cooling module digital library with literarily billions of choices. Vehicle manufacturers can now simulate cooling modules with accurate functional performance data. The cooling package can evolve with the maturity of the vehicle shape and cooling demand.

This DENSO library includes 10 different ECM layouts and 60 different fans; the user can design single or double fan configurations based on different performance metrics. The cooling packages will be simulated with accurate functional performance data eliminating the need to wait for the data from the supplier. These multiple ECMs enable on-the-vehicle performance evaluation of the effects of cooling airflow on aerodynamic drag.

Simulation technology like this allows for better initial designs, which reduce the need for physical testing and lead to better final designs at less cost and in less time. The new ECM library facilitates close collaboration between suppliers and OEMs, as well as enabling engineers to meet manufacturability and vehicle performance targets through accelerated digital vehicle thermal design.

No one wants to be stuck somewhere with an overheating engine, so it is critical for manufacturers to ensure that every engine’s cooling system is functioning optimally from the very beginning. Simulation can ensure that an ECM is designed and tested properly in the early stages of development.

SIMULIA offers an advanced simulation product portfolio, including AbaqusIsightfe-safeToscaSimpoe-MoldSIMPACKCST Studio SuiteXFlowPowerFLOW and more. The SIMULIA Community is the place to find the latest resources for SIMULIA software and to collaborate with other users. The key that unlocks the door of innovative thinking and knowledge building, the SIMULIA Community provides you with the tools you need to expand your knowledge, whenever and wherever.

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