The radiator and its vulnerability to damage is one of the main criteria in automotive design. This study employed heat pipes in simulated radiators to transfer waste heat to the surrounding environment. A small-scale heat-pipe radiator module was designed using a computer program. Experimental tests were performed on this module to validate the design methodology and to study the vulnerability characteristics. The tests were conducted for a wide range of operating parameters such as air velocity, coolant flow rates, and the number of heat pipes damaged. The study indicated that a heat-pipe radiator may provide the necessary “limp home” capability to a vehicle, even with 50 percent of the pipes damaged. Also, with the radiators operating at less than peak load (slower vehicle speed), the undamaged heat pipes substantially compensated for the damaged heat pipes, adding to the reliability of the system.

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