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Radiator

Radiators are types of converter which exchangers heat designed to transfer thermal energy from one medium to another for the purpose of cooling and heating. The majority of radiators are constructed to function in automobiles, buildings, and electronics.

One might expect the term 'radiator' to apply to car parts which transfer heat primarily by thermal radiation, while a device which relied primarily on natural or forced convection would be called a "convector". In practice, the term "radiator" refers to any of a number of devices in which a liquid circulates through exposed pipes, notwithstanding that such devices tend to transfer heat mainly by convection and might logically be called convectors. The term "convector" refers to a class of devices in which the source of heat is not directly exposed.

Automobiles

In all automobiles with a liquid-cooled internal combustion engine a radiator is connected to channels running through the engine and cylinder head, through which a liquid (coolant) is pumped and many car parts.

The radiator transfers the heat from the fluid inside to the air outside, thereby cooling the engine. Radiators are generally mounted in a position where they will receive airflow from the forward movement of the vehicle.

Where engines are rear- or mid-mounted, it's usually still necessary to mount the radiator behind the front grill, so as to achieve sufficient airflow, even though this requires long coolant pipes.

Radiator construction

Automobile radiator is constructed of a pair of header tanks, linked by a core with many narrow passageways, thus a high surface area relative to its volume. This core is usually made of stacked layers of metal sheet, pressed to form channels and soldered or brazed together. Many years radiators were made from brass or copper cores soldered to brass headers. Modern radiators save money and weight by using plastic headers and may use aluminum cores. This construction is less easily repaired than traditional materials.

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