Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Mechanical Engineering


Wagner, John R.


Advanced internal combustion engine thermal management systems can enhance overall engine performance through the use of computer controlled cooling system actuators. Existing ground vehicle cooling systems generally have performance limitations due to the fixed behavior of the wax-based thermostat valve and crankshaft dependent operation of the coolant pump and radiator fan. Upgrading the traditional thermostat valve, water pump, and radiator fan with actuators permit real time computer control for improved temperature tracking and reduced power consumption. In this paper, the benefits associated with advanced automotive cooling systems are experimentally investigated. A 4.6L engine with a real-time data acquisition and control system facilitated the investigation of cooling system configurations. The experimental results demonstrate that the smart thermostat valve and variable speed radiator fan offer a 42% power consumption reduction. Also, when pump control is implemented, power consumption reductions are 88%, in comparison to the factory emulated cooling system configuration. With this increased level of control, efficient controller designs have been realized for the cooling system configurations as well as accurate steady state temperature tracking.