Coolant is used in almost all major automobiles ranging from small engine motor bikes to heavy duty commercial vehicles. Coolants are used for three major functions: cool down engine parts to avoid over heating during use of the automobiles; to maintain minimum temperature level of engine and avoid freezing when the vehicle is unused for long duration, especially in cold climates and to prevent corrosion of the metal machinery of the automobile.
The engine operating temperature must be maintained in an optimum range for engine’s proper operation and efficiency. High temperatures of engine tend to oxidize the engine oil and break it down into hard carbon, thus destroying it. Coolant flows from the automobiles engine picking up heat and giving it to outside air while the coolant flows to radiator. The maximum coolant flow rate in automobile engine can be one gallon (4 ltr) per minute for each horse power of engine. The heat transfer rate depends largely on the temperature difference between coolants and outside air and the coolant’s flow rate. In ideal condition, the freezing point of a coolant remains -20 degree Fahrenheit where as boiling point normally does not exceed 234 degree Fahrenheit.
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Based on technology, the global automobile coolants market is broadly categorized as inorganic additive, organic acid, hybrid organic acid and others. Further on the basis of application in automobiles, the coolant market is categorized as passenger car, commercial vehicle, two wheelers and others. Ethylene glycol based coolants such as ‘traditional green ethylene glycol’ and ‘embittered coolant’ (contains up to 93% ethylene glycol plus water and additives) has higher boiling point resulting in high absorption of heat than some of the other coolants. Organic acid coolants are basically ethylene glycol-based but it does not contain silicates or phosphates, whereas hybrid organic acid based coolant such as VW/Audi pink (green or orange in color) contain ethylene glycol with small amount of silicate to provide correct pH for antifreeze properties.
North America is the largest market for automobile coolant attributed to large number of vehicle and their vibrant intercity/country road connectivity. It is followed by Europe and Asia Pacific. The growth rate of automobile coolant is highest in Asia Pacific, lead by China and some of the other developing countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines. Growing middle class population, rising disposable income, developing surface transportation infrastructure, growing aspiration of owning private vehicles, increasing mobility due to development of satellite townships near megacities and increasing demand of goods carriers from micro, small and medium size enterprises are fueling the market for automobile coolant in Asia Pacific region. Growing automotive aftermarket and do it yourself (DIY) culture in North America and Europe is fueling the growth of automobile coolant in these two region.
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Some of the major players operating in automobile coolant market include Total S.A., Castrol Limited., Cummins Filtration, Motul S.A., China National BlueStar (Group) Co. Ltd., Valvoline International Inc., Exxon Mobil Corp., Sinopec Corp. and Shandong Yuean Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.