Provides effective heat transfer for a vehicle, even at zero to low speed, while reducing the frontal area of the vehicle and aerodynamic drag upon the vehicle.



Currently, heat exchangers on vehicles are typically placed substantially perpendicular to an air flow and towards the front of the vehicle, which requires a large frontal area on the vehicle, thereby producing a high associated drag. Private and commercial vehicles usually employ a heat exchanger commonly referred to as a “radiator” to effect heat transfer. As illustrated, the radiator is traditionally placed substantially perpendicular to the free stream flow encountered by the vehicle as the vehicle travels forward. As a result, the vehicle experiences a substantial drag force. While the perpendicularly arranged radiator cools the vehicle engine effectively, the associated drag greatly affects the performance of the vehicle. The result is a decrease in fuel efficiency.

Technology Description:

Researchers Robert Englar and Kenneth Burdges from the school of Aerospace Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology have presented an invention that provides a system and method for supplying high density heat exchange to a vehicle at various speeds, including zero to low speeds. In structure, the high density heat exchanging system essentially comprises an aerodynamic member, a porous device, and a force augmentation device. The aerodynamic member is configured to generate aerodynamic forces when a free stream flow is encountered, and includes a high pressure surface, a low pressure surface, a leading edge and a trailing edge, where the leading edge and the trailing edge define a length there between. The aerodynamic member is arranged and configured on the vehicle to produce forces and loads on the vehicle generally desirable for improving traction and handling of the vehicle. The porous device is disposed intermediate within the length of the aerodynamic member and provides heat exchange when fluid flows through the porous device. The porous device includes an inlet, configured to receive fluid flow and disposed in the high pressure surface of the aerodynamic member, and an outlet, configured to expel fluid flow and disposed in the low pressure surface of the aerodynamic member. In this configuration, the fluid flow passes from flowing adjacent the high pressure surface of the aerodynamic member to flowing adjacent the low pressure surface of the aerodynamic member through the porous device. The force augmentation device is disposed on the aerodynamic member. The force augmentation device can augment forces generated by the aerodynamic member or be configured to generate force independently, thereby encouraging fluid flow through the porous device when a free stream of flow is absent. The present invention can also be viewed as a method for producing high density heat exchange in a vehicle. The method can be broadly summarized by the following steps: providing an aerodynamic member on a vehicle and generating an aerodynamic force on that vehicle with the aerodynamic member. The method further comprises the steps of providing heat exchange with a porous device disposed within the aerodynamic member and augmenting the aerodynamic force with a device disposed on the aerodynamic member.

Commercial Applications:

In the case of racing cars, the side pod thickness and drag, of the conventional configurations, will be decreased by the new shape of the member fixed to the vehicle and because the radiator is no longer substantially perpendicular to the airflow. In the case of commercial vehicles, the frontal area will be reduced, thereby reducing drag. Additionally, the present invention operates on pressure differentials to provide heat exchange and therefore does not require a fan or other mechanical device to operate effectively, thereby cutting down on moving parts, reducing vehicle weight, and increasing mechanical reliability of the vehicle.

Technology Benefits:

•Provides an increased pressure differential across a porous device and radiator core for efficient heat transfer.

•Provides effective heat transfer for a vehicle, even at zero to low speed, while reducing the frontal area of the vehicle and aerodynamic drag upon the vehicle.

•Provides a heat exchange device for racing cars that improves aerodynamic down force and reduces aerodynamic drag while providing high cooling rates without the use of moving parts, such as fans.

•Provides a system of non-moving parts comprising a synergistic radiator/aerodynamic control surface in a single structure contributing to improved mechanical reliability of the system and reduced weight of the vehicle.

•Leads to improved traction in turns for race cars, or in icy/snowy/rainy weather for commercial vehicles.

•Reduction of frontal area and radiator drag.

•Improvement in fuel economy for commercial vehicles due to the reduction in frontal area and radiator drag.

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