Instrumentation of the Cooling System

When an engine is fitted to a test bed, its systems must be instrumented for the relevant information to be measured. Within the cooling system, the measurements of interest to the test project include some of the following:

• Coolant temperature—Into the engine, out from the engine, bypass circuit, heater circuit. The temperature of the coolant is measured using thermocouples.

• Coolant pressure—Into the engine, pump, out from the engine, bypass circuit, heater circuit. The pressure within the cooling system is measured using either dial gauges or, if a more accurate measurement is required, the system can be linked by pressure pipes to a transducer.

• Coolant flow—Into the engine, pump, out from the engine, bypass circuit, heater circuit. The flow rate of the coolant through the system can be measured using flow turbines fitted to the pipe-work of the system. The positioning of the instrumentation normally is as close as possible to the engine without disrupting the manufacturer’s production layout. In some cases, the engine and/or its components may need to be stripped, either partially or wholly, reworked or modified to accept sensors and measuring devices, and rebuilt to ensure that the instrumentation is fitted securely and will not affect the engine or its performance in any way. For frequent testing on a number of engines within a range or batch, it may be preferable to have a complete set of instrument-prepared components that are fitted to the test engine for the test and then are removed after the test for fitting to the next engine.

Health and safety considerations—Personal protection must be worn when dealing with both used and unused coolant. Also, correct disposal of the used coolant must be observed for health and environmental reasons.

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