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A radiator is common term for a heat exchanger of some sort. The term normally applies to one of two uses:

  1. automobiles: a radiator is connected to channels running through the engine, through which is pumped a liquid, typically water or ethylene glycol. The fluid is heated and then moves to the radiator, where it is cooled again. This cools the entire engine.
  2. buildings: a radiator is a heating device, which is warmed by hot water being pumped into it from a water heater.

In electronics, a radiator is any device that emits radiation. It is also known as a radiating element. Radiating elements are a basic subdivision of an antenna. Radiating elements are capable of transcieving electromagnetic energy.