The Difference Between Down-Flow and Cross-Flow Radiators
Radiators are offered in a number of different configurations. These varying configurations are offered to influence; coolant movement, rigidity for mounting, and/or plumbing methods. The most popular are down-flow and cross-flow. Each design carries its own advantage. The down flow radiator design the tanks are located at the top and bottom of the core. The fluid enters through the top tank and trickles down through the tubes with the help of gravity easing the work load of the water pump. On the cross flow, the tanks are located on the sides of the radiator's core, allowing the pump to push the coolant across the core from right to left. Cross-flow can allow the radiator cap to be positioned on the low-pressure (suction) side of the system, which prevents the pressure created by a high-flow water pump from forcing coolant past the radiator cap at high rpm. Cross-flow systems are also offered in a single, double, or even triple pass orientation. These orientations give the radiator the ability to cool the fluid multiple times by separating the fluid to be cooled from that which already has been
The diagram to the left shows the coolant flow in a double pass radiator. One of the major benefits to this design is that temperatures run anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees cooler than a single pass radiator would with the same core size.
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