This study concerns the dynamic performance of passive and active wax-actuator driven thermostats. The study is extended to wax actuator driven thermostats that have been fitted with a heating device, such that the thermostat can be actuated electrically. The thermostat valve type chosen for this study is a balanced, sleeve-type thermostat typically used in large over-the-road and industrial diesel engines. The valve operates like a spool valve to direct the flow of the engine coolant to the bypass, the heat exchanger, or partially to each. Since conventional thermostats are passive devices they lag in response to dynamic engine conditions, and under certain circumstances overheating can occur as a result of the device’s inability to respond quickly. Also, conventional thermostats are designed to protect an engine against overheating year round. Therefore, a thermostat designed to protect against overheating in the summer will often result in an overcooling condition in the winter. One possible solution to the problem is to control the thermostat electrically through the electronic engine control system, or other system, making the thermostat an active control device instead of a passive one. In this study, a mathematical model is developed to determine wax temperature, and thereby predict the thermostat operation and response. The wax temperature depends on the heat transfer from the engine coolant through the brass cup that encapsulates the wax, as well as heat transfer from the heater. The simulations are compared with measurements of temperature, thermostat position and flow at several locations around the thermostat in an experimental set-up. The outcome is used to analyze the accuracy of the methods used in the thermodynamic calculations.

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