HVAC: Internal Combustion Engine Powertrain

Micro extrusions and precision tubing are widely used on internal combustion powertrains, in the engine, the climate control system, and the transmission. ​

​The most commonly known application is in climate control. Heating and cooling the air conditioning unit as the transfer of liquid through the extruded tubing is heated or cooled in the condenser and in the evaporator.  ​

​The high-volume application of extrusions is in the tubing. In header pipes, at an American vehicle build of 17 million cars, the estimated consumption would be 21 million pounds. Another 58 million pounds of transfer tube, and tens of millions of pounds of micro-channel, yet some is welded sheet, some are extruded.​

Automotive Climate Control Systems​

Within the climate control system are a number of extruded aluminum materials of varying alloys, wall thickness and lengths.

Application Alloy Diameter (in.) Wall Thickness (in.) Notes
Header Tubes 3003 1.0 - 1.7 0.060 - 0.079  
Fins 3102   0.01 internal, 0.03 external  
Refridgerant 3003 0.5 - 0.75 0.055 15-40 ft per car
Micro Channel

25 years ago, micro-channel cooling was commercialized, and it reduced by amount of refrigerant by 50%.

In some applications, these tubes are copper yet with today's high cost of copper, as high as 4 times the cost of aluminum, aluminum solutions are in development to replace copper.

Source: Alfiniti​

Condensers and evaporators, as shown above from GM pickups, are largely unchanged from the petroleum fuel to the electric powertrain.

The HVAC tubing comes in a variety of forms, from round and oval precision-drawn shapes, to some that contain inner grooves.

Source: Penn Aluminum
Source: Brazeway