Does mating aluminum to steel speed up heat transfer through the steel?

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Curiosity Science Physics Does mating aluminum to steel speed up heat transfer through the steel?

  • Say I have a gallon of hot fluid (motor oil) at 250F, and ambient air temp of 80F. The oil is in a steel container that I can not modify (car oil pan). The oil currently cools down very slowly via thermal conduction through the steel oil pan transferring heat to the ambient air. Higher the ambient temp, slower the heat dissipation.

    My question is, if I use thermal glue to glue an aluminum radiator to the steel pan, then run fluid through the glued radiator that is cooled from another radiator with more surface area and better airflow, is there any advantage?

    Meaning, will the aluminum radiator “suck” heat faster out of the oil (through the steel pan) faster than just the conduction from the steel pan to the ambient air? Or will the heat transfer rate stay relatively the same since the steel pan is still the choke point?

  • Hi! Welcome to Geekswipe. For your question, of course, the answer is yes. Aluminium has a high thermal conductivity than steel. So the aluminium radiator certainly helps. And with the added benefit of another radiator with a much larger surface area, you can expect a faster convective heat transfer. Larger the surface area and higher the conductivity of the heat exchanger, the faster the heat transfer is.

    If you wouldn’t mind, can you post the picture of your setup? Just curious!

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