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How aluminium is helping MAHLE Behr cool engines

February 26, 2019

The fundamentals of cooling an engine or warming a passenger compartment have not changed much in the past 50 years, but the technological advances have been stunning. "It is very exciting for engineers," says Martin Bauer.

Bauer is head of development for engine-mounted components at MAHLE Behr USA Inc. in Troy, Michigan. “Now we are doing the work much more efficiently, with lower weight and optimal designs,” he says. “I have never had a boring day.”

Perry Paladino, head of product development for climate heat exchangers, points to one major industry change over the last half-century: Copper is out. Today, it is all aluminium.

Aluminium’s advantages

  • Excellent thermal properties
  • Weight-saving advantages with thinner walls
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Flexibility in the manufacturing process

Paladino says brazing is another area where aluminium shines. In this process, the components of condensers, evaporators or heater cores are joined using an aluminium alloy whose melting point is appreciably lower than the components.

Hybrid and electric vehicles

MAHLE develops and manufactures vehicle heat exchangers including radiators, evaporators, condensers and air conditioning. The majority of its heat exchangers go into the passenger cars of all major car companies such as the ones that cool the battery in the Volt, General Motors’ extended-range electric car.

The company wants suppliers who can help develop its products, such as meeting the newest design challenges posed by hybrid and electric vehicles. Bauer sees a growing market for transmission cooling, with new all-aluminium heat exchangers similar to the core condenser technology.

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