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How Does A Turbocharger Work

Updated on March 31, 2011

How Does A Turbocharger Work

The turbocharger, turbo often abbreviated, is a mechanical device whose purpose is to supercharge an engine.

Sometimes known as the turbine, the integration between turbine and compressor itself, is the most common method for increasing the alimententazione engines, especially those of automobiles.


Depending on the position relative to the body that fuel combustion mixture (carburetor or fuel injector), the turbocharger turbine is called (if the compression is done first) or turboaspirato (if it occurs later). The first is the most common, used in injection systems and most of those carbs, and the advantage is to limit the leakage of fuel along the walls of power plant. In some cases (such as the Renault 5 Alpine Turbo), the system is to turboaspirato carburetors, for this to work on the carburetor as a naturally aspirated engine, facilitating the development.



It consists of a turbine wheel that is rotated by exhaust gases and a compressor impeller, generally magnesium alloy, which is connected to the turbine through a small tree. The compressor, driven in rotation by the turbine, compresses the air and feeds it, and then, in the intake manifold, providing a volume-cylinder engine more air than they might expect. This is a complex highly efficient because it uses the residual energy of the exhaust gas to drive the turbine and then the compressor.


In this way you can enter the combustion chamber also increased the amount of fuel, thereby ensuring a higher power. However, just by virtue of that power even the exhaust gases are forced out faster, so the turbo will spin faster by giving more and more power to the engine. The impeller normally exceed 180,000 rpm. The turbocharger works particularly well at high speeds up to 2000-3000 RPM and is almost always a disadvantage because of the inertia of the rotor slows down the exhaust gases, although this view is most valid for large proportion turbo systems, while this problem does not occur with smaller systems which have less capacity but supercharging. In high performance engines so there is a tendency to install more of small turbochargers instead of one.


To avoid the phenomenon of so-called "detonation" or even breakage of the motor does not exceed a certain ratio of compression in the cylinders and therefore more valves are used:

wastegate, to remove the excess gas that operate over the turbine reliability by avoiding problems.

pop-off (located between the turbocharger and the throttle) it shall fully open the gas being released when, although the valve completely closed, the turbine continues to rotate due to inertia compressing the air that does not is injected into the cylinders and avoiding the so-called "water hammer".

These valves can be of two types:

A vent internal (also called ball or By-pass) in the case of pop-off excess air before the compressor is conveyed through a tube located in the valve itself, re-run the cycle, while in the case of the wastegate excess air is conveyed downstream of the turbine via a duct located in the valve, that will drain directly into the bottom of the exhaust.

A vented outside (or vent free) and in this case, the excess air is simply expelled from a special nozzle located in the valve, creating the typical puff.

Another method is to install a water injection system.

Combined Systems

The turbocharger system can be managed in different ways

Turbocharger and supercharger

On the subject of turbocharger and supercharger, it is worth spending two lines to the Lancia Delta S4 1985, whose four-cylinder 1759cc engine capacity delivered, in the "Street" and the rally in more than 250 hp respectively and 500 hp (declared , there was talk of 600 persons). This unit used a combined system in which a supercharger and a turbocharger operating in series at low speeds, the volume was active, whose activity decreased with increasing speed - and the corresponding entry into operation of the turbocharger - and then be completely "bypassed" high speed. This solution was taken up recently by the group on the Audi-VW Golf V, for example, displacement of 1,400 and with a power output of 180 hp (on the new Polo GTI) with excellent results in the field of performance and fuel economy.


The multi-turbo system is a turbocharged, using two or more units instead of the single solution, these units can be connected in two ways:


This system uses different units with different characteristics, to power the motor in different situations.

Generally you use a dual system, where there is a small turbine, which has a fast response and low output pressure, while the other is large, with a slow response, but with a high pressure ' output. These units are used at different times, the entire operation can be divided into three steps:

-Low speeds, in this situation, the exhaust gases are conveyed all the smaller turbine, in the transition mid-range part of the exhaust gas is piped to the turbine's largest

-Middle schemes, in this situation, the exhaust gases are conveyed to both the turbines, in the transition to high revs the exhaust gases are channeled mainly to the larger turbine.

-High speeds, in this situation, the exhaust gases are conveyed all the largest turbine

This procedure allows you to have the most gentle of the supercharging system with a more rapid response to the throttle, as against this is a very expensive and complex to develop.


This system directs the exhaust gases from the engine in equal parts on different turbo systems, which in this case are identical and that supply equal and distinct parts of the engine or may work differently depending on the regime.

In the example of a dual turbo, they receive respectively the share of gas from a mid-engine feeds into a mid-engine.

While more sophisticated systems in the different turbines are used in different ways depending on the scheme, more turbines running in parallel with increasing engine speed.

This system reduces the response delay of the system also allows an engine operating with a damaged turbine, as against a cost higher.


Variable Geometry Turbocharger


Conceptually identical to the turbocharger, the biggest difference from this is embedded in the impeller driving or unloading. In fact, it is surrounded by vanes whose movement is controlled by the electronic control unit determines the change in angle of attack of the exhaust gases with the blades of the impeller drive itself. Depending on the speed, they are open or closed to facilitate the speed or flow depending on the schemes themselves. This leads to greater flexibility and adaptability of behavior than the "Turbo" winding down: a variable turbine geometry allows for the same low inertia of a small turbine and the air flow (and hence power) of a turbine larger. The scope is broader than the high-pressure turbo as common rail injection pump and injector.


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      Dewi 2 years ago

      Thank u for creating a fdlrneiy atmosphere to show that we have been friends for a long time. It was such a great shoot and our friends are always asking what was so funny which kept me laughing again and again

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      Pelagy 2 years ago

      I have been doing some on solar panel and wind truibne sytmses. The pricing is crazy. For a 10Kw solar grid tie kit system is between $35,000 and $40,000. If you install batteries add $3,000-$5,000. 10Kw will only power a small to medium home without electric heat. Using my electric usage and info from my local electric company payback is 60 years for solar and 361 years for wind. This is unexceptionable. The manufactures of the solar and wind are gouging the consumers. They are using the excuse of supply and demand for the high cost. When demand goes up so will mass production and the price will go down. This is true, but they are making a huge profit on what they are making now. Some items are in the 3000% markup range. Are the power companies keeping the price up so their profits don't suffer? My local electric supplier has an ENERGY PARK that you can go see solar and wind power in action and check out real time data online. They have a 4Kw solar array installed and claim it cost $30,378 installed and a 2.5Kw wind truibne that cost about $20,000 installed. I think they are giving false numbers to consumers so you won't go green. I was able to find a 3.5Kw kit online for $9,000. This doesn't include any type of mounting materials. You can add $800-$1,200 for these materials. An installer will will charge you $2,000-$4,000 to install it. For the sake of argument lets say this will cost you $15,000 to install but still way out of line for you and me to install. That is a far cry from the $30,000 the power company claims. The power companies don't want you to make your own electric. They are keeping the cost high so they will still make money off you. A 210w panel sells for around $600. They probably manufacture it for under $50. The cost needs to be $100-$150 to the consumer to make it affordable to the average home owner. 50 210w panels make a 10Kw system. That would be $5,000 not $40,000. The manufactures are raping us and the power companies are helping them to keep prices high. When will we get the technology at a proper cost? Let me know what you think.In response to the first 5 answers, Yes, if demand increases so will mass production and thus supply will increase and this will drive the price down. I looked into panels from China. From what I was able to find panels sell for $0.17-$0.45 per watt. In the U.S. they sell for $3.00-$5.00 per watt. Manufactures in the U.S. have lobbied for a higher tariff on solar products that makes them impractical to import on mass. These companies want to keep the price high so their profits stay high, and the power companies do not want you to produce all your own power. That would put them out of business.In response to Steve R, You need to do more before you post another retarded comment like that. Air DOES have mass (just not very dense). When air is in motion it is called WIND . This motion creates energy. Have you ever heard of a tornado ? Get your facts together next time.

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