In the vehicle industry, thermal balance experiments are
extensively conducted on engines to determine energy
distribution from fuel to engine power. The temperature
differences between the hot and cold sides of the vehicular heat
exchanger are the key data used to calculate heat quantity.
However, in certain gas–liquid heat exchangers, the
temperature difference of the liquid side is significantly smaller
than that of the gas side. Measuring error is increased when
adopting an inappropriate measurement method. To minimize
error, a temperature difference measurement method based on
compound thermocouple (CTC) is introduced in this paper.
This method is calibrated using a thermostatic oil tank. An
empirical formula is used to calculate cases in which the basic
temperature ranges from 20°C to 120°C, and a temperature
difference of less than 20°Cisgained. The proposed method is
applied in a practical thermal balance experiment using a
vehicle radiator, and the results are compared with that
obtained by measuring with pairing calibrated resistance
temperature detectors. Results show that the CTC can reduce
thermal balance error in vehicular cooling systems to less than
Papers presented to the 12th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Costa de Sol, Spain on 11-13 July 2016.