Obviously, engines make a lot of byproducts, but one of them is often overlooked: heat. The amount of heat given off by a vehicle’s motor can range greatly, but Car and Driver decided to have a look at how the 2015 Corvette Z06 manages with its behemoth of a 6.2-liter supercharged V8.
Cranking out a healthy 650 hp and 650 lb-ft is no small duty from the budget supercar, and it comes with great risks of failure from overheating important internal parts. This was remedied by extensive testing in the Arizona deserts by Chevrolet, to engineer a system to work in concert with high temperatures.
Heat is created from a few things, in the Z06: combustion, friction, and intake-air compression. These main factors also tie into a low hoodline and and other important stylistic and aerodynamic bits beckoned for by designers. Of course, it has been overcome, but engineers had to work on nearly every component of the car and subsystem to create an optimal thermal-management.
A few of the major components and their temperatures are as follows:
- Exhaust valves, 1652º — hot enough to melt gold.
- Exhaust gas at the catalytic convertor, 1238º — the equivalent of lava.
- Carbon-ceramic disc braking pads, 1382º — the equivalent of a blow torch.
- Transaxle clutch, 572º — the equivalent of a high-end pizza oven.
Temperatures are converted from widely used celsius to familiar fahrenheit units for ease of understanding. These numbers would never show up around town, but rather when the Z06 is at home on the racetrack being pushed to its limits. To put these numbers in perspective, though, your standard issue iPhone suggests an operating temperature of around 32-95ºF.
It’s incredible what modern day engineering can overcome, and those are just a few of the major systems engineers had to overcome, with plenty more in the infographic provided by Car and Driver.