Automotive climate control

Automotive climate control

A system for providing a comfortable environment within the passenger compartment of a vehicle. Controlled ventilation is utilized, along with a heater, an air conditioner, or an integrated heater and air-conditioner system. Linked to the setup is a windshield defrosting and defogging system capable of clearing the windshield. Some vehicles have a ventilation-air filter which cleans the outside air that enters the passenger compartment through the fresh-air inlet. The increasing glass area of many passenger vehicles places an additional load on the air conditioner. Many vehicles incorporate solar-control glass to reduce solar transmission to the interior.


There are two types of passenger-compartment heaters: engine-dependent and engine-independent. The engine-dependent heater utilizes waste heat from the engine. The engine-independent heater includes a small combustion chamber in which fuel is burned.

Most vehicles have a liquid-cooled engine and an engine-dependent heater through which hot engine coolant flows. The coolant passes through the tubes of a tube-and-fin heater core (see illustration) while air flows between the fins. Heat output into the passenger compartment is regulated by controlling either the coolant flow or the airflow. An electric blower motor may run at various speeds to help move the air. When the heater is turned off, a coolant flow-control valve may close to stop the flow of coolant through the heater core. See Dewar flask, Engine cooling

Schematic of an automotive air conditionerenlarge picture
Schematic of an automotive air conditioner

Air conditioning

When the outside temperature is above 68°F (20°C), the passenger compartment may be uncomfortable for the occupants unless the inside air is cooled. Cooling is provided by a mobile, vehicle-mounted refrigeration system known as an automotive air conditioner. The automotive air conditioner combines the refrigeration system with an air-distribution system and a temperature-control system to cool, clean, dry, and circulate passenger-compartment air. Cooling is provided by a mechanical vapor-compression refrigeration system with five major components: compressor, condenser, refrigerant flow-control valve, evaporator, and a receiver or accumulator that includes a desiccant. See Compressor, Evaporator, Heat exchanger, Refrigeration

Operation, air temperature, and air distribution through the passenger compartment may be controlled either automatically or manually by the driver. In some vehicles, conditioned air distribution can be controlled for each seat or seating position. See Air conditioning

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Engineering. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The world's first automotive climate control unit that can be used across vehicle models
in Van Buren Township, Mich., which makes automotive climate control, electronics and interior components, including plastics.
[22] Saunders, 2002, Automotive climate control based on thermal state estimation, PhD thesis, University of Glasgow, England.
The products include automotive climate control elements such as accumulators and receiver dryers for automotive climate control systems which do not use the typical aluminum parts with thin walls which are assembled by MIG or TIG welding methods.
A Michigan-based company, Visteon Corp., has begun to manufacture automotive climate control components and systems in Turkey.
To be capitalized at $2 million, MHI Automotive Climate Control (Shanghai) Co.
When the Visteon plant in Connersville, IN, was assigned production of scroll compressors for automotive climate control systems, it turned to CIMTEC centerless microfinishers from IMPCO Machine Tools, Lansing, MI, on two critical components.
The JV, which will focus on automotive climate control, will have initial shareholdings of 34 percent for Valeo, and 34 percent for Iran Radiator and 32 percent for Sapco.
On April 30, Asen Vasilev, Bulgaria's caretaker Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, awarded an A class investor certificate to German Behr-Hella Thermocontrol GmbH, BHTC, a leading manufacturer of automotive climate controls and thermalmanagement products.
Asen Vasilev, Bulgaria's caretaker Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, will award Tuesday an A Class Investor certificate to German Behr-Hella Thermocontrol GmbH (BHTC), a leading manufacturer of automotive climate controls and thermalmanagement products.

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