Aluminum vs Copper Radiator
Radiator is an important part of cars that is used to keep car engines cool with help of a liquid known as coolant. Radiators are traditionally made of either copper or aluminum and both aluminum radiators and copper radiators are popularly used in modern cars. Both aluminum and copper are used because of their physical properties and have their own features and pros and cons.
Now that we know what the main purpose of a radiator in a car is, let us compare the two metals side by side so as to see which one is better for your car. It was copper that was first used as a metal for making radiators as it has very good heat conductivity. As manufacturers have to make use of the limited space to fit radiators, its surface area is an important factor that helps in keeping the liquid, and therefore engine cool. Modern radiators employ wide tubes made of aluminum with cross sections that have more surface area per cubic inch than earlier radiators made of copper.
Copper has less strength than aluminum as a metal and as such tubes have to be made thin to keep the radiator cooling effectively. As aluminum has higher strength, its tubes can be made wider and hence better cooling effect. Wide tubes mean direct contact between fins and tube thus dissipating heat at a faster rate.
However, both copper and aluminum have their own advantages. Heat conductivity of copper is far superior to aluminum’s heat conductivity. It is also easier to repair copper radiators. However, aluminum is much lighter than copper and also has higher strength than copper. Those who are more into aesthetics prefer aluminum that can be polished to have a mirror like finish.
When it comes to corrosion, it is seen that both aluminum as well as copper are prone to corrosion. This implies that both have to be properly maintained through regular care. Modern radiators made of aluminum employ one inch wide tubes whereas copper radiators have 1.5” tubes. Copper tubes get readily damaged than aluminum tubes. Copper radiators are easy to produce and also clean whereas it takes experts to clean an aluminum radiator.
• Copper has better heat conductivity than aluminum.
• Aluminum radiators resist damage more than copper radiators.
• Aluminum is lighter and has more strength than copper.
• Copper is easier to produce and to clean
• Copper is recyclable.
• Aluminum radiators have a better look than copper radiators.