2 Methods Of Cooling (I.C) Engines: Working Principle And Advantages And Disadvantages

In this article I will share the two methods of cooling internal combustion engines, how they work, and their advantages and disadvantages.


The engine needs to be cooled because of the extreme heat that is produced due to combustion.


This heat is going to damage the engine without it being cooled.


There are two methods that are used when it comes to cooling internal combustion engines namely;

  • Air cooling
  • Water cooling

Without wasting time, let me share how these two cooling methods work.


Air cooling method and how it works

Air cooling is a direct method of cooling the engine. It mainly depends on air to flow in the engine to cool it.

The cylinder head and barrel are cast with fins that increase the surface area of contact with air.


As the surface area increases so is the cooling efficiency.

The air that passes over the fins on the cylinder head and barrel carries the air with it.


This air that is used to cool the fins can be obtained from a fan or a blower.

The air cooling method is not that effective because the amount of heat lost is about 13 to 15%.


This calls for a more efficient method of cooling and that is where the water cooling method comes in.


The advantages of the air cooling method are that it’s very light, simple, and easy to design compared to the water cooling method.

You also don’t have to worry about water corroding your engine at all.


Water cooling method and how it works

The water cooling method in an internal combustion engine is the most effective one.

This method involves indirect cooling of the engine since it’s the water that moves around the cylinder through water jackets and carries away the heat as the engine is operating.


The water jacket is designed to circulate around the main areas where lots of heat is generated (combustion chamber, cylinder, valves, etc.).


The water takes away the heat from these areas where heat is generated to the radiator where it’s cooled and then recirculated back for cooling.

This is to ensure that the internal combustion engine doesn’t use a lot of water for cooling.


The advantage of the water cooling method for internal combustion engines is that it takes away lots of heat compared to the air cooling method.

This method can take away 25% to 35% of heat from the engine, which signifies that it’s best when you compare it to the air cooling method.


There are some factors that need to be considered for the water-cooling method of the internal combustion engine to be effective.


You might like this: 4 Factors To Consider For Effective Cooling Of Diesel Engine


The disadvantage of the water cooling method is that the water needs to be treated or be soft for it to be used in the engine.

Water with scale formation impurities is going to clog the water jackets and the cooling capacity will be lower since less amount of water will be able to move through the designated area where a lot of heat is generated.


The other disadvantage of the water cooling method is that it’s not suitable for very cold areas because the water in the jackets is going to freeze; when that happens no cooling will happen since the water won’t be able to move via the water jackets thus leaving the engine to overheat.


Two types of water cooling systems used in diesel engine plants

These are the two water cooling systems used in diesel engine plants;

  • Open or single circuit system.
  • Closed or double-circuit system.


Working principle of Open or single circuit water cooling system.

The only components needed in this type of system are the pump, water jackets, and the cooling pond.


This is how the open or single-circuit water cooling system works; the pump draws water from the cooling pond, and water is then conveyed via the water jackets around the essential parts that generate lots of heat. The hot water is then taken back to the cooling pond to be cooled and then recirculated.


The advantages of using an open water cooling system are that it’s simple in construction and it doesn’t occupy a big space compared to the closed cooling water system.


Working principle of closed or double circuit water cooling system

The closed or double water cooling system has the following components; Two pumps (the water jacket pump and the pump connected to the cooling pond), the cooling pond, and the heat exchanger.


This is how a closed or double-circuit water cooling system works; the cooling water from the pond (cold) is pumped out of the cooling pond and then circulated around the engine via the water jacket pump.

After the water takes up the heat from the engine, it’s made to flow through the heat exchanger where it gives up some of the heat and then goes to the cooling pond where the final cooling will be done.


The cooled water can be recirculated to aid in cooling.

The double-circuit water cooling system is mainly used in power plants to cool diesel engines.


It’s effective compared to the single water cooling system since it’s enhanced by the aid of the heat exchanger and two pumps.




These are the two methods of cooling a diesel engine. This is just a summary and you shouldn’t completely rely on this information. You need to do more research about the topic to be able to explore it to the fullest.


Cooling of the diesel engine is essential and every measure should be put into the systems used to ensure optimum cooling is obtained.


Without forgetting the regulation of water temperature so that it doesn’t exceed the designed values (the temperature rise of the cooling water shouldn’t exceed 110C and the outlet of the cooling water temperature shouldn’t exceed 600C)


Thanks for reading the article, if you have any questions or suggestions about the topic feel free to get in touch with me.


See you in my next article.

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