It is a truism that in automobiles, the engine usually reaches a point where it overheats due to constant use. This is an unpleasant situation to be in. If it is not remedied properly, it can cause damage to the engine. This may be beyond repair if it is too severe. This is why radiators are installed next to the engine to somewhat cool it down with water. However, in the case of internal combustion engines, which use air to mix with fuel in creating a combustible mixture for power, a radiator will simply not be enough to cool an engine down.
In essence, a charge air cooler is an encompassing term that refers to any of the cooling system that supplies air to the engine for combustion. As such, the term "charge air cooler" can mean as an intercooler, which is a cooler that is positioned in between stages of compression. Charge air cooler could also refer to an aftercooler whose outlet feds the engine with cool air.
Cooling and Efficient Power Production
Because internal combustion engines require air to be feed and mixed with fuel, the temperature of the air that enters the engine is very critical. Here, there are certain principles that may be in certain contradiction with each other but which are very important in creating better internal combustion in the engine. For example, while it is necessary that cool air be funneled into the engine to cool the engine somewhat. This is hardly the case especially if the air has passed through a turbocharger, which compresses the air found in the atmosphere. Although in theory, the hotter the air, the more suitable it is for combustion, hot air is not really required prior to combustion because it makes the combustion process less efficient because the air is already heated.
This is where the benefit of the charge air cooler lies. It cools down the air that passes through the turbocharger but before it enters the engine. This procedure is very crucial to see to it that the combustion process is optimized.
Applications of Charge Air Cooler
Charge air cooler is widely used in vehicles that use diesel fuel. This is required especially in high performance and heavy duty diesel engines where the amount and nature of air that is part of the combustion process is very important for an efficient combustion. In the case of trucks doing long hauls, the air that enters the engine during the combustion process must be sustained because diesel as a fuel requires far more implements than a gasoline engine. As such, not only the amount of air but also the temperature of the air that is thrown into the mixture is critical. This is why a charge air cooler is very important especially during long hauls.
Common Problems with Charge Air Cooler
One of the most common problems that charge air coolers encounter is blockage due to the entry of fine particles that passes through the turbocharger and becomes mixed with fuel during the combustion process. This problem is commonly caused by a faulty filter.
Another problem with the charge air cooler is the fact that in many cases, the cooler suffers from overheating as a result of the failure of the ventilation system, primarily the radiator.
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