September 2018 Issue

Intercooling 101: Detonation Defense

Intercoolers have been offered by OEMs and for field retrofit for years, but there are technical tradeoffs that donít make them an across-the-board winner.

An intercoolerís goal is fairly simple: Reduce induction air temperature. If you had a simple Ideal Gas Law PV=nRT compressor, the simple fact of compressing gas (in this case, ambient air) from, say, 10 PSIA and 23 F (at roughly 10,000 feet) back to sea level pressure of 14.7 PSIG would heat the gas. But, in addition to that ideal gas behavior, our turbocharger compressors have other inefficiencies, like internal recirculation and heat transfer from the cowling environment, that heat the gas further. Itís not uncommon to see compressor discharge temperatures (CDT) over 200 degrees F at middle altitudes and over 300 F in the flight levels.

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