Your vehicle's radiator plays an important role in regulating the temperature of your engine. Without a proper functioning radiator, the engine will overheat and cause damage to multiple components. Proper functioning will depend on the materials that were used in the radiator design. You will find that a radiator that is functioning properly will require proper airflow through the radiator components, a resistance to high internal temperatures and wide internal tubes to allow for proper heat transfer and coolant flow.
There are two main materials that are used to design radiators; these are aluminium and a copper-brass alloy.
Aluminium radiators take on a different design than other radiator materials in the market. First, aluminium is a stronger metal than many others in the market. This increases its ability to withstand high temperatures and to transfer heat to other parts of the engine as the vehicle is operating. An aluminium radiator can also be constructed with wider tubes that allow for more efficient airflow. With wider tubes, the radiator can maintain more contact with other parts of the engine and allow for heat to be transferred with greater efficiency.
Another advantage of using aluminium is that it is an excellent conductor of heat. It allows for heat to be transferred uniformly across the entire surface and to various parts of the engine. As soon as the radiator is filled with coolant fluid, it spreads in a uniform manner across the engine and provides a uniform cooling effect. The ability of aluminium to resist corrosion also means that the radiator will last longer than materials such as copper.
The other popular material used in radiator design is a copper-brass alloy. Copper-brass radiators are slightly weaker and heavier than aluminium, but they do have their own distinct advantages. For example, the weaker alloy makes it necessary for more tubes to be used in maintaining contact between the radiator and other surfaces of the engine. More tubes means more points of contact for coolant fluid to flow to various parts.
This increases the overall cooling efficiency of the radiator. And because the metal is heavier, the inner core of the radiator remains strong and more resistant to damage. In fact, it is less likely for a copper-brass radiator to develop holes or other forms of damage on interior components.
Copper-brass radiators may require more maintenance to prevent corrosion and to maintain the proper flow of air.
While most new vehicles take advantage of the convenient, corrosive resistant and lighter aluminium radiators, copper-brass radiators can provide excellent durability when properly maintained. Talk to your mechanic the next time you need car radiator repair to learn more about your options.