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Heat Properties of Stainless Steel

927 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Jiro
Im looking into getting a custom Stainless Steel pipe made up for an Induction kit after seeing it on some other cars.

Getting a Cold Air Intake(CAI) made up (i.e a pipe that goes down to the bumper and holds the filter there), and the price wont be too bad either, reckon ill have a CAI pipe and K&N filter for bout €150 which is about $145 i think.

Now i dont wanna talk about the performance effieciencies of short-ram V Cold Air V OEM set-up, ive already looked in to this.

My question is: will S/S absorb and hold the heat tradiating from the engine thereby heating and expanding the cold air coming up from the filter at the bumper? or does S/S insulate...or wud it be a good idea to insulat the pipe on the outside with sumthing??

AEM who make sum of the best CAIs make them out of Aluminium i there a reason4 this u think?

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Think about it. If stainless steel didn't do such a good job at transferring heat, then they wouldn't use it to make pots and pans.

Now, with that said, have you considered using stainless steel and getting it ceramic coated? That might do the trick.

As for making pipes out of aluminum, there are 2 reasons for this.

1. Aluminum is cheaper
2. Aluminum dissipates heat quicker than stainless steel. Thats why most heat sinks are made of aluminum (or even better copper) instead of steel.
aluminum is cheaper than stainless steel but you could get galvanized steel cheaper still, so the cost of the metal is not a reason,

steel in general,(stainless or not) 'holds' the heat more than aluminum, thats why they make pots and pans from it besides the fact that its pretty lol, if your intake was made from S/S, then it would heat up the air that was going in your engine,

aluminum also does this, but when the air rushes through, it quickly drops the temp of the alum. so it doesn't affect your temp. that much, S/S would not have this temp drop so it will continually heat your air while you drive,

if you ceramic coat S/S, then it might keep it from heating up for a while, then it will keep the heat in longer once it heat up, so thats a bad idea
Then it sounds like ceramic coated aluminum piping may be an option to explore.
stainless steel does not transfer heat as well as say aluminum, stainless steel pots and pans will usually have copper or aluminum bottoms in order to distribute heat properly. the only real advantages of SS over aluminum for your application would be corrosion restistance and greater strength. Wrapping the induction system with some sort of insulation that has a reflective coating may help slightly, but I don't believe it will do much. Aluminum is a great conductor of heat, meaning it transfers heat energy exceptionaly well, thus placing a plain aluminum pipe in the engine bay will cause it to heat the air in the tube more quickly then say plastic. That's why many are coated with heat resistant materials such as ceramic.

Many people argue that when they shut off their car the aluminum pipe feels cooler than the rest of their engine, the reason, the aluminum has realeased it heat energy so quickly, into the engine compartment and your intake air that it no longer feels hot. The most likely reason AEM uses aluminum, wieght, and the fact that its cheap and easy to bend.
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I mis-typed. I used 'transfer' when I should have used 'hold'. As was stated, the aluminum will absorb heat quicker, but it also dissipates heat quicker than steel. So it will not heat the intake air as much as a steel pipe would.
Alum has greater thermal conductivity than steel. That is why it is used in heat sinks. The reason an Alum intake feels cooler on the outside is because it has transfered the heat to the air rushing through it. Think about it. Really, this is alot of trouble for negligible gain. At speed, the engine bay will be relatively cool. The reason many companies use Alum is it is cheaper and easier to bend, like someone mentioned earlier.
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