An Experimental and Computational Investigation of Water Condensation inside the Tubes of an Automotive Compact Charge Air Cooler

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


To address the need of increasing fuel economy requirements, automotive Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are increasing the number of turbocharged engines in their powertrain line-ups. The turbine-driven technology uses a forced induction device, which increases engine performance by increasing the density of the air charge being drawn into the cylinder. Denser air allows more fuel to be introduced into the combustion chamber, thus increasing engine performance. During the inlet air compression process, the air is heated to temperatures that can result in pre-ignition resulting and reduced engine functionality. The introduction of the charge air cooler (CAC) is therefore, necessary to extract heat created during the compression process. The present research describes the physics and develops the optimized simulation method that defines the process and gives insight into the development of CACs. The present research develops a 3-D computational model using ANSYS® Fluent of the CAC internal flow with condensate and validates the predictions of the 3-D model using measurements from experimental data. Finally, the research presents a correlation that provides an approach for designing heat exchangers for practical applications that encounter moisture in the intake air stream. The overall benefit presented is an experimentally validated simulation methodology to evaluate and design CACs that function outside the condensate formation zone during vehicle operation modes.

Publisher's Statement

Copyright © 2016 SAE International. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.4271/2016-01-0224

Publication Title

SAE Technical Papers