Why did the FW-190 A use a radiator but other radial engine fighters did not?

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historygeek2021
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Why did the FW-190 A use a radiator but other radial engine fighters did not?

Post by historygeek2021 » 09 Nov 2021 22:18

The FW 190 A is the only single radial engine fighter in WW2 that required a radiator, as far as I am able to find. The radiator was located in the cowling on the nose of the fighter. Other prominent single radial engine fighters, such as the P-47, A6M Zero, and Nakajima Ki-84 did not have a radiator.

Can anyone offer insights as to how other countries were able to successfully design single radial engine fighters without radiators, but Germany was seemingly unable to? The radiator seems like a big drawback, as radial engine fighters otherwise made good fighter-bombers/ground-attack aircraft, since their engines could take damage and keep running, whereas an airplane with a radiator can be brought down by a single bullet piercing the radiator.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Why did the FW-190 A use a radiator but other radial engine fighters did not?

Post by Ironmachine » 10 Nov 2021 08:23

The radiator located in the cowling on the nose of the FW 190 A was the oil radiator (that is, a radiator for cooling the oil, not the engine), which otherradial engines also had, though generally not so massive and located in far less conspicuous places.
So no, the FW 190 A is not the only single radial engine fighter in WW2 that required an (oil) radiator, and actually other countries were designing radial engines with radiators, only they were oil radiators, just like the German case,
As for why the Germans opted for such a design, instead of a more usual one, this link provides a number of reasons, including some exposed in the patent for the oil cooler filed by by BMW in 1937:
https://ww2aircraft.net/forum/threads/t ... tem.19028/

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Re: Why did the FW-190 A use a radiator but other radial engine fighters did not?

Post by historygeek2021 » 10 Nov 2021 17:17

Thanks. So the difference was just the location of the oil cooler. I was confused as to why Wikipedia described the FW190A as having a "radiator" but no other radial engine fighter is described using that word.

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Ironmachine
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Re: Why did the FW-190 A use a radiator but other radial engine fighters did not?

Post by Ironmachine » 11 Nov 2021 08:40

The first mentions of the radiator in the wiki article about the FW190 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focke-Wulf_Fw_190) make it clear that it is an oil radiator:
The eventual choice of the BMW 801 14-cylinder radial over the more troublesome BMW 139 also brought with it a BMW-designed cowling "system" which integrated the radiator used to cool the motor oil. An annular, ring-shaped oil cooler core was built into the BMW-provided forward cowl, just behind the fan. The outer portion of the oil cooler's core was in contact with the main cowling's sheet metal. Comprising the BMW-designed forward cowl, in front of the oil cooler was a ring of metal with a C-shaped cross-section, with the outer lip lying just outside the rim of the cowl, and the inner side on the inside of the oil cooler core. Together, the metal ring and cowling formed an S-shaped duct with the oil cooler's core contained between them.

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Re: Why did the FW-190 A use a radiator but other radial engine fighters did not?

Post by ThatZenoGuy » 16 Nov 2021 11:40

The 190 used an oil radiator to ensure the oil did not become massively heated, and therefore not actually work as oil.

All radial engine planes of WW2 had this feature, I am not even sure if you can have an engine without some form of oil cooling, pistons literally contain miniature explosions, explosions are hot.

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