About charge air coolers - What is a charge air cooler

A charge air cooler is used to cool engine air after it has passed through a turbocharger, but before it enters the engine. The idea is to return the air to a lower temperature, for the optimum power for the combustion process within the engine.

Charge air coolers range in size depending on the engine. The smallest are most often referred to as intercoolers and are attached to automobile engines or truck engines. The largest are reserved for use on huge marine diesel engines, and can weigh over several tonnes, as you can see here.

Marine diesel engine charge-air coolers are still manufactured in Europe, despite the very largest engines mostly being built in the Far East. Most of the original charge air cooler manufacturers are gone but Vestas aircoil A/S, the oldest maker, are still in business.

The first marine diesel engine charge air cooler was built by Vestas aircoil A/S in 1956.

A charge-air cooler is simply an all-encompassing term, meaning that it cools the turbo's air charge before it is routed into the engine. Usually a charge-air cooler means an air-to-air cooler where the heat is rejected using ambient air flowing through the heat exchanger, much like the engine's coolant radiator.

While the multi-stage turbocharger systems are still in use in some tractor pull classes, selected high-performance diesels, and are also being used on newer late model commercial diesels, the term intercooler and aftercooler are used synonymously today. The term intercooler is widely used to mean in-between the Turbocharger and the engine. Both terms; intercooler or aftercooler, are correct, but this is the origin of the two terms that are used interchangeably by all levels of experts.

An intercooler, or "Charge-Air Cooler", is an air-to-air or air-to-liquid heat exchange device used on turbocharged and supercharged (forced induction) internal combustion engines to improve their volumetric efficiency by increasing intake air-charge density through isochoric cooling. A decrease in air intake temperature provides a denser intake charge to the engine and allows more air and fuel to be combusted per engine cycle, increasing the output of the engine.

Vestas aircoil charge air coolers can be class approved by all of the major class societies including:

  • American Bureaux of Shipping (ABS)
  • Lloyds Register (LR)
  • Det Norske Veritas (DL)
  • Germanischer Lloyd GL
  • DNV GL
  • Bureau Veritas (BV)

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design of Charge air coolers

repair process

functions

how a charge air cooler works

 

The charge air cooler is designed to cool the charge air from 180-200 degrees centigrade to around 40 degrees centigrade. It achieves this by using cooling water from the sea at about 25 degrees centigrade or a central cooling water system with water at around 32 degrees centigrade.

Location of cooler on large diesel engine

A charge air cooler is simply an all encompassing term, meaning that it cools the turbo's air charge, before it is routed into the engine. Usually a charge air cooler means an air-to-air cooler, where the heat is rejected using ambient air flowing through the heat exchanger, much like the engine's coolant radiator.

While the multi-stage turbocharger systems are still in use in some tractor pull classes, selected high performance diesels, and are also being used on newer late model commercial diesels, the terms intercool and aftercooler are used synonymously today. The term intercooler is used to mean in-between the Turbocharger and the engine. Both terms, intercooler or aftercooler, are correct, but this is the origin of the two terms that are used interchangeably by all levels of experts.
 
An intercooler, or "Charge Air Cooler", is an air-to-air or air-to-liquid heat exchange device used on turbocharged and supercharged (forced induction) internal combustion engines to improve their volumetric efficiency by increasing intake air charge density through isochoric cooling.

A decrease in air intake temperature provides a denser intake charge to the engine and allows more air and fuel to be combusted per engine cycle, increasing the output of the engine.

 

What is the difference between an intercooler, an aftercooler and a charge air cooler?

 

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Standard Vestas Charge Air coolers

Premium Tin Coated Charge Air Coolers

Compact Charge Air Coolers

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