A critical part of the fluid handling systems of the vehicle are hoses and tubing. These transport different types of fluids such as air, brake fluid, fuel, coolant etc. And depending on the purpose, different materials are chosen to prioritise efficiency and safety.
Silicone hose and tubing are used for various applications because of their incredible flexibility. Silicone is a material that has good resistance to high and low temperatures and can last a long time. Because of this high temperature resistance, you can use this in the engine compartment. Some of the silicon hoses in the vehicle will be found transporting coolant and air. The coolant will be transported between the engine, radiator and water pump. As a result of high heat resistance, the hose will not crack or deform even in this demanding environment. You can also find silicone hoses connecting the intercooler to turbocharged engines where they will again be working under high temperatures.
Then there are applications where weight reduction is essential
In situations such as this, aluminium tubing is used. It is durable and lightweight and has a resistance to corrosion. You can find aluminium tubing in HVAC systems of the vehicle. If your vehicle has a forced induction system like a turbocharger, intercooler piping will be done with aluminium tubing. This allows for the efficient delivery of compressed air. And these are also used to connect the radiator and engine allowing coolant to flow through a lightweight system.
A material that has been used for a long time in vehicle construction is rubber because it is cost-effective and highly versatile. The engine is connected to the heating system of the vehicle through rubber heater hoses. These transport hot coolant to the core of the heater. And these are also used for vacuum lines and power steering hoses. In the latter, hydraulic fluid is transported through rubber hoses.
A material that is known for its long lasting properties and corrosion resistance is stainless steel
And this makes this an ideal material to be used in demanding environments where high temperatures are reached. You can find stainless steel in exhaust systems because of its resistance to corrosive gases, high temperatures and road salt. This will not rust which contributes to its structural integrity. You can also find this in brake lines. PTFE is also known as Teflon and this has a high resistance to chemicals. Because of this resistance, PTFE is used for high performance fuel lines.
And it will also withstand the high pressure of these fuel delivery systems. And as PTFE doesn’t expand under pressure, they are used for brake hoses in many racing vehicles. The reason to select the materials for vehicle hoses and tubing depends on a variety of factors. The application is considered along with where the hose or tubing is located within the vehicle systems. This is why materials with high resistance to corrosion and temperature are used in exhaust systems. Other selection criteria are operating conditions of pressure and temperature, chemical resistance, weight, cost and durability.