Readers Determine That Cooling Systems In Automobiles Are Not Needed

Some readers have determined that insulators can not increase the temperature of an object. So I guess they can wrap their automobile engine in thick fiberglass insulation, and expect that nothing bad will happen.

Fascinating science.

About stevengoddard

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64 Responses to Readers Determine That Cooling Systems In Automobiles Are Not Needed

  1. Ben Vorlich says:

    As long as there is a heat source within the engine. Conversely if the engine is not running and there is an IR source heating the engine block and we then wrap it in an IR reflector around the fibreglass what is the result?

    I don’t actually disagree with you, but this is a complex chaotic system, without knowing everything it is a best guess.

  2. Baa Humbug says:

    Steve the first “increase” needs to read “cause”?

  3. Stephen Richards says:

    It’s semantics.

  4. davidswuk says:

    NO! Its the fuel your car engine doesn`t need if you just insulate it and run it on water instead – Jeepers – how dumb can you get?

  5. mkelly says:

    The cooling system in your car is a good demonstration of how gases dissipate heat in our daily life. Hair dryers, base board electric heaters, ceiling fans, etc.

    • Mack says:

      It also demonstrates the total effectiveness of water in regulating engine temperatures, cooling tower temps, nuclear power plant temps. human body temps , and last but not least global temps., , ,

      • Ben Vorlich says:

        The specific heat* of water is 4.19 kJ/kg.K, the only (common) liquid to surpass it is Ammonia.

        * For completeness Specific heat is the amount of heat required to change temperature of one kilogram of a substance by one degree K. Specific heat may be measured in kJ/kg K or Btu/lb F. For comparing units

  6. John Silver says:

    Once again body is confused with process.

  7. Chris Barron says:

    You could wrap most car engines up in fibreglass, or an even a better insulator, and it won’t overheat.

    Just as long as yoU leave the radiator clear and it’s fan functional !

    • Edmonton Al says:

      And, one’s fridge is insulated, but the cooling system keeps it cool.
      CO2, a gas, is compressed; passes through the fridge and the heat of expansion cools the fridge and the heat is dissipated out the back by the heat exchanger. Then the CO2 is compressed again to continue the cycle.
      The insulation in one’s fridge slows down the heat loss but does not make the fridge warmer. Only by turning up the thermostat in the fridge will do that, requiring more energy.
      RE the car engine. The engine is designed to run at a certain temp. As Chris said, that is why it has a cooling system. Of course if you block the cooling system, the engine will overheat if left running.
      CO2 in the atmosphere act in a similar fashion to the CO2 in your fridge.
      It is a gas, picks up heat of expansion; rises; to higher levels in the atmosphere and radiates the heat to space. It is miniscule compared to the water cycle.
      The hotter the sun the faster the water cycle acts. Just like the burner on your stove. The higher the heat, the faster your water boils to carry that heat away. The temp of the water is still 100C.
      Because of gravity; water flows one way.
      Because of the 2nd LoT heat flows one way. hot to cold.

      • Mack says:

        Edmonton Al…
        “It is a gas, it picks up heat of expansion; rises; to higher levels in the atmosphere and radiates heat to space.”
        Yes Ed Al,… In addition to this you may have updrafts of convection hoisting this heavy gas to altitude…it loosing the heat (as you say) and then the weight of the gas bringing it back down to pick up more heat…etc…etc..kind of like a heat pump…with work input by water vapourisation from the sea and convection. Just a thought. .

      • nickreality65 says:

        I’m not aware of CO2 commonly used as a refrigerant. The most popular seem to have been ammonia and various freons.

      • I was not aware that Freon was also called CO2, just like CO2 is. Interesting.

      • Chris Barron says:

        There really can be no more confusing device than my grandparent’s old fridge. It was connected to the gas main and used no electricity, it had a pilot light which, when it went out, the fridge became warm again.

        I think that gas powered fridge is what fascinated me so much in the mysteries of the world that I became an engineer !

        As for CO2 causing global warming….as result of a request for further information from the British Soft Drinks Manufacturer’s Association, they confirmed that on average 24g/L of CO2 is released from all carbonated drinks, and similar amounts are released from beer, sparkling wine and mineral water.
        Therefore, in some people’s households, more CO2 is released from them all guzzling sodas and beers than comes from another neighbours car, where they use ithat vehicle merely for local trips.

        And while I’m on a roll….after calculating the amount of CO2 released when building a new car (used a VW Gold as a typical car) the only way to recoup the CO2 savings (reduction in CO2 produced) by switching cars from a low mpg gas guzzler to higher mpg efficient device, is to keep the new car for at least 100,000 miles just to break even, and only after that first 100,000 miles will there be less CO2 in the world.
        most people change cars before then.
        Therefore, the worst thing you can do if you have a gas guzzler is switch it for something more efficient (as far as CO2 is concerned)….of course, that might be quite harmful to the economy 😉

        Don’t get me wrong, I think renewables are a good idea, a great idea in fact, because oil is just too valuable a resource to simply burn in a fire…..we get plastics, medicines and fertilisers from oil, and we need those things to last as long as possible. There might even be a cure for cancer in oil…who knows…..but blaming ordinary changes in the climate on the consumption of fossil fuels is stone cold nuts.

        My degree is in automation and control, and if I was asked to devise a control system for the temperature of the planet, given that the heat source is about 90million miies away, and there are so many local variables affecting it and with most feedbacks being negative, I would politely tell the person asking me to end climate change that they had more money than sense…..and if they didn’t walk away immediately i might give them a gentle slap on the face , just to wake them up.

        As for electric vehicles….yeah okay I like them, but I have to like them because I also like gas powered fridges…… here’s a video of me on my electric motorcycle conversion….I do it for the fun though, and so i can have a cheap, a very cheap to run personal vehicle

      • Michael 2 says:

        I am impressed. I have learned something today. I had no idea anyone was using carbon dioxide as a refrigerant, other than cooling beers with a fire extinguisher.

        Having a thousand PSI in your household refrigerator is a bit scary especially as some people pick at the frost with a sharp pointed ice pick.

  8. richard says:

    steve, you have learnt something, the engine has a cooling system like the earth’s atmosphere, your analogies of a “body wrapped in a blanket do not”.

  9. Anto says:

    A thermos is a two-trick pony. It can both reduce the rate of cooling of a liquid which is warmer than the ambient atmosphere, and reduce the rate of warming of a liquid which is cooler.

    Insulators are just that – good at insulating their contents from equalising with the warmer or cooler external environment.

  10. richard says:

    steve, as you know, big dams made of concrete heat up for many years after construction , as such they have tubes, carrying water, running through them to take away the heat. surrounding the tubes is hundreds of tons of so called thermal insulation. It doesn’t matter how much you add, the tubes of water ,as long as they are running, draw away the heat. Of course if the water does not run it will heat up much as you body surrounded with a blanket would- but that is not how the atmosphere works.

  11. Eliza says:

    Dmi seems to be down or do you need to log on now?

  12. nickreality65 says:

    Well, your straw man engine doesn’t have a thermostat.

    He who gets to define the terms wins the argument.

    If I wrap that engine in a blanket, the thermostat is going to open further, circulating more water through the radiator, sending more heat to the air, maintaining the engine’s temperature at set point. Except in the extreme case where the radiator, pump, and fan become too small for the heat load or the air gets too light, like here at 8,300 feet.

  13. Centinel2012 says:

    Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    WOW I’m going out to Home Depot and get a truck load of insulation and wrap my house in it. I’ll be able to turn off my furnace and save a ton of money!

    • Only a complete moron would not recognize that solar radiation heats the Earth’s surface. Do you come in that category?

      • nickreality65 says:

        Yes, the sun heats the earth, but the water vapor controls the temperature. It’s the water vapor thermostat that controls the atmospheric set point. It’s the water vapor that makes earth unique compared to Venus.

        What are your thoughts on Miatello’s paper?

    • emsnews says:

      If you heavily insulate your house and then warm it a tad, yes, it works great in winter and ditto in summer if your well-insulated house has a tad cooling going on, too! 🙂

  14. nickreality65 says:

    “WOW I’m going out to Home Depot and get a truck load of insulation and wrap my house in it. I’ll be able to turn off my furnace and save a ton of money!”

    Well, actually that’s exactly how it works. However, the energy you save won’t begin to pay for those triple pane windows, two feet of attic insulation, insulated storm doors, etc.

    • Eventually it will pay for it. The cost of the fuel saved determines how soon the payoff will occur. After that, it is money in the bank.

    • emsnews says:

      EXCEPT if you live in Buffalo, NY!!!

      I live in upstate NY and yes, money invested in all those things pay off very fast indeed.

    • Michael 2 says:

      The storm door is vital. I tend to get ice cold trade winds hitting that side of the house quite regularly in winter. My infrared thermometer shows it to be working nearly perfectly. Now I need to do a bit more for the windows, that’s where most of my house heat is escaping (or, in summer, entering).

  15. Richard Smith says:

    To those poking fun at Steve’s example please explain why the cooling system in the car has to kick in or do more work when the engine is insulated.

    • Because the engine gives off lots of heat directly from the ending block, not just through the radiator. I have a tractor that always overheats in the summer unless I take the hood off. The radiator isn’t enough to cool it alone, if I take the hood off the engine discharges plenty of heat from the block itself and my tractor NEVER overheats with the hood off.

      Satoh tractor. It’s a real beast.

    • usJim says:

      please explain why the cooling system in the car has to kick in or do more work when the engine is insulated.

      Have you ever seen red-hot exhaust manifolds?

    • Michael 2 says:

      WHAT??? Nobody said anything about the engine running! That changes the parameters of the test!

      But to answer your question, most engine heat is dissipated by convection into forced air through the radiator.

      • Genghis says:


        Normally I agree with you, but you are absolutely wrong.

        Most of the heat leaves through the exhaust. You can actually see it in the picture.

  16. nickreality65 says:

    Because some of the engine’s heat is lost from the engine block and heads. An insulator will impede that heat flow. If the water jacket doesn’t carry that heat away, the block and heads will get hotter, possibly enough to do damage. It’s all about that thermostat.

  17. nickreality65 says:

    “Wait. Water vapor is the thermostat? Richard Alley says CO2 is the thermostat. You mean… you think he would lie to us? No way.”

    Lie? No, simply mistaken and can’t admit it. Miatello’s paper is heavy on calculus and thermo, but some of it is clear enough for the less scientific.

  18. Richard Smith says:

    Miatello’s article is nonsense on stilts. In it he states that the GHG theory is false because it means that ‘additional energy is being created’.

  19. nickreality65 says:

    “Miatello’s article is nonsense on stilts. In it he states that the GHG theory is false because it means that ‘additional energy is being created’. Sigh.”

    Miatello’s paper is 41 pages with 18 paragraphs. Is the excerpt below your only concern?

    Excerpted from Section 11

    “The absurd result propounded by the GHE hypothesis which claims that atmospheric greenhouse gases, by gaining 240 W/m2 from the surface and back radiating 120 W/m2 to the ground, grow the energy at the surface to 360 W/m2 (by adding the fluxes) and increase temperatures is clearly unacceptable. This is equivalent to inventing an impossible efficiency of 150% (!), with an obviously absurd additional of the residual (120 W/m2) energy. This basic error is so blatant that it almost does not deserve comment, as the efficiency of a thermodynamic cycle, in fact,
    is always to be calculated by subtracting the energy dissipated to the cooler body outside as (Q1 – Q2 out)/Q1, not by adding the energy lost and therefore not (Q1 + Q2 in)/Q1. In other words, here the same considerations, involving subtraction rather than addition can be applied to the electromagnetic flows in opposite directions, discussed in Section 10 above.”

    Basically Miatello is saying that for the GHGs to function as advertised by the AGW/CCC advocates requires a heat balance in excess of 100%. The hiatus is prima facie evidence that the greenhouse gas theory doesn’t work as advertised.

    So what else ya’ got?

  20. higley7 says:

    Insulators serve to decrease the heat loss from an object, but they do not heat up or warm the object. These are two different things.

    • nickreality65 says:

      Insulators slow the rate of heat transfer from hot to cold. If-if -if you want to maintain the original heat flow, Btu/h, the hot object has to get hotter or the cold object colder. A thermostat could reduce the incoming heat flow to adjust to the new flow rate with the insulator in place.

  21. Richard Smith says:

    Higley says insulators decrease heat loss but don’t warm an object.

    The result of insulation is that the temperature of the object increases until equilibrium is reached. How this is not warming?

    • Michael 2 says:

      Richard Smith says “The result of insulation is that the temperature of the object increases until equilibrium is reached. How this is not warming?”

      You *start* the experiment at equilibrium and absolutely nothing happens. Seriously. I double dog dare you to take a thermometer in the kitchen and wrap a towel around it. Come back in an hour or two but be careful not to burn yourself and have a fire extinguisher handy in case the thermometer gets so hot it ignites the towel.

      Or maybe it will just sit there wondering why it is wrapped in a towel.

      Ah, but maybe you are assuming that heat is being added to the object you have just insulated. If so, declaring that to be the case would be enormously helpful.

  22. nickreality65 says:

    The surface of the earth is the warm system, the troposphere is the cold system. Heat flows from the warm system to the cold system. The warm system gains heat as fast as it loses heat, temperature remains steady. Same with the cold system. All is in balance.
    Along comes an insulator, CO2 and other GHGs. An insulator slows the rate of heat transfer. In order to maintain the heat flow and balance, the surface must get hotter to drive the heat at the original rate through that insulation.
    What’s missing is water vapor’s role as a thermostatic controller. Air absorbs water vapor, increasing its relative humidity, lb water per lb dry air, and associated heat (and lots of it) without increasing its temperature!

    Click to access PSI_Miatello_Refutation_GHE.pdf

  23. markstoval says:

    Just testing. I have not been able to post here for a while now.

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