Why Chose an All Aluminum Radiator?
All-Aluminum radiators are fast becoming the new wave in radiator replacement. 100% Aluminum construction has eliminated the problems associated with plastic tanks and epoxy bonding to the radiator core. The auto industry has migrated from the old standard copper/brass to create significantly lighter and more efficient aluminum core cooling systems. Our All-Aluminum radiators take it one step further. Solid hand welded construction, high-flow tubes, increased fin count and overall higher efficiency ratings.
The obvious advantage of an aluminum radiator versus a copper/brass version has a lot to do with weight savings, but there are actual cooling benefits as well. Even though traditional brass and copper materials are better conductors than aluminum, the extra strength of the aluminum allows for larger tubes with more surface area. Even an aluminum radiator with fewer tubes than its traditional counterpart can potentially offer improved cooling, as the larger tubes make more efficient use of available core space.
Aluminum is much stronger, allowing the use of considerably wider tubes. Wider tubes allow more direct contact between the fins and the tube, increasing the radiator's capacity to dissipate heat away from the engine.
An aluminum radiator built with 1" wide tubes with a .016" tube wall turned out to be approximately 60% lighter than the same copper brass radiator. The 1" tube increased direct tube-to-fin contact and cooling capacity by roughly 25%. Therefore, a 2 row aluminum radiator with 1" tubes is equivalent to a 5 row copper brass radiator with 1/2" tubes.
Today all vehicle manufacturers incorporate aluminum radiators with wide tubes in their designs. GM, for instance, offers an aluminum radiator with 1-1/4" tubes. Mercedes Benz uses 1-1/2" tubes.
Copper is a good heat conductor, but solder required to bond the tubes to fin creates an insulation point that prevents some heat transfer. Aluminum tubes are welded rather than soldered to the aluminum tanks, providing a more efficient conductor for cooling efficiency.
Most aluminum radiators are manufactured with plastic tanks. To take it one step further, some are manufactured with aluminum tanks. The advantage of the aluminum tanks over plastic is the obvious added strength and the elimination of the insulating epoxies between the core and tank as well as the added heat dissipation properties of the aluminum tanks themselves.
In conclusion, an all aluminum radiator will have an overall efficiency rating 20-30% higher than the traditional copper/brass version with the same core thickness, regardless of the number of rows. Some of the increase in efficiency is directly attributable to the use of aluminum tanks in place of the plastic tanks in the majority of modern radiators.