71 turbo and supercharger

turbo and supercharger


By Vukasin Herbez on 2018-07-06 17:43:26

Ever since the first engines were produced and installed into cars, people looked for a way to enhance performance and power. The most primitive way was to enlarge the displacement and number of cylinders which resulted in bigger and bigger engines. Even though enlarging the engines did produce results, but enormous engines weren´t particularly practical or economical, so engineers needed to find another way. The key of achieving big power is not necessarily a big motor but clever engineering, fiddling with the engine‘s intake and trying to put as much fuel and air inside the engine as possible with forced induction. Over the years of car development, there came two distinctive ways of making engines more powerful and cars faster turbocharging and supercharging and today we will explain both of them to you.

1. Turbo charging

First used in Second World War on fighter airplanes, turbocharging became the industry‘s standard in the ‘80s. The principle is pretty simple yet effective and uses a turbine device which is powered by the engine‘s exhaust. The turbine is turned by the fumes and creates the pressure which is used to force clean fuel and air mixture into the engine‘s intake manifold. Since the turbine is spinning much faster than the engine, the pressure it creates is pretty high which means that the engine receives much more fuel and air which translates to more power and ultimately better performance.

In the last couple of years, more and more turbocharged engines were introduced by the manufacturers since this technology allowed the engineers to create smaller and more fuel-efficient engines without sacrificing the performance. The nature of turbochargers which are capable of delivering power and torque relatively low in rpm range makes them perfect for modern compact and economy cars.

For years, diesel engines were much behind petrol units in terms of power and performance but with the introduction of turbocharged diesel, the oil-burners finally got the performance to match which helped the rising popularity of that fuel source amongst the car buyers, especially in Europe.

The downsides of the turbo engine are the excessive heat generated by the turbine so most of the forced induction engines are equipped with powerful intercoolers which are additional cooling systems for turbochargers. Also, high pressure in the intake system can affect the head gaskets and some other parts.

2. Superchargers

Superchargers are a second most common way of forced induction which dates back to the early ‘20 and race cars. Over the decades, several manufacturers used this system in order to upgrade the power and performance of their engines. In contrast to turbochargers which are driven by the engine´s exhaust, a supercharger is mechanically driven by the timing belt or chain. The supercharger sits on top of the engine‘s manifold with the air running through them. While the engine is turning, superchargers scroll-type gears inside rotate, gradually creating pressure and forcing the air into the engine. As the engine approaches the maximum rev range, the pressure is mounting, providing the engine with more and more power. When the supercharger is fully operational its scroll gears emit the signature whine which is an easy way to tell if the engine is supercharged.

Just like turbocharged engines, supercharged motors are also in need of some additional cooling since the scroll gears inside are turning at amazing speeds and they get hot.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
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