Turbochargers are not a novelty now that most of the new automobiles come equipped with it due to the pressure of delivering high performance on roads and sometimes rugged terrains as well. However, still there’s much about these components that you may find interesting to know in case these have escaped your notice.
Along these lines, this blog presents some such interesting facts about now-common-yet-important component known as turbochargers.
1. Newer models with age-old basic working principle
How the turbocharger function and deliver better performance could be found in the basic principle it got patented with. Almost 100 years back, a Swiss Engineer Alfred Büchi got the design and functioning patented and it still is the same with maybe a few modifications. There’s a turbine wheel forced run by exhaust stream making the connected shaft run which is conned by another wheel. The fresh air is thus sucked and pressed in the chamber to burn producing gases in the process. Basically */more air comes in to produce more energy and thus more power (and resultant heat as well!).
2. An incredible amount of revolutions (at least it appears this way if you hear it for the first time!)
The high performance delivered by the turbocharger is possible due to the generation of the highest possible air pressure. If you take superior modern turbochargers in consideration, the compressor wheel revolves around 290,000 times per minute. Of course, the high performance is not the only result but also the extremely high temperatures. This is the reason why turbocharger models include something to keep them cool, like systems to water-cool the charge air. Too much heat if not attended can hamper the component as well as the reason these are included in the design: performance.
3. Many aspects to manage
Since great heat energy and chemicals are generated during the process, it’s not a chance that production of turbocharger are quite challenging and thus have to done with extreme care, be it the housing or the turbine shaft itself. Naturally, the material to be used must be good with both the heat (in the range of temperature 1,000 degrees Celsius or 1,832 degree Fahrenheit) and the chemicals. The options include cast steels or Inconel alloys, machined through Chip free electrochemical processes. Benefits include allowing the turbocharger shaft to be balanced with a single repeat step. Also, the machining is responsible for no-to-minimum thermal damage to the material as well as the tool wear and tear.
4. The downsizing trend and a shift in the design of engines
Size has also to do with the increased demand in the production and usage of the turbocharger. There has been a downsizing trend in the automotive industry and a shift to the turbocharger. From combustion engines, reasons being the constantly delivered better performance. Even when the model is complex with the issues of a heavier unit and high-heat management, the result is what is at the focal point of the companies. The weight of intercooler in the turbochargers is managed by reducing the thickness of the housing wall, something conventional machining finds difficult to handle.
5. Challenges to attain betterment
Over the years what essentially has changes in the manufacture of turbocharger is its design to deliver even better performance that what is possible for the components with their current designs. They make automobiles more affordable and performance-efficient. Still there’s always a scope of improvement, which could be included in the other aspects of turbocharger like for better fuel-efficiency and reduced emissions (especially in the diesel engines), exhaust gases are cooled, mixed with the charge air and re-circulated into the engine. However, this requires pressing more air into the combustion chamber to keep up with the optimum supply of oxygen, which means increased work load on the turbochargers. No wonder, increasing numbers of manufacturers are finding their solution in an engine with two turbochargers to achieve two-stage charging.
And if you are still wondering about the benefits of turbochargers, these can be condensed as greater horsepower, compact in size, better fuel economy and much better engine efficiency.
Hope you enjoyed the read!
About the Author
This post is written By Vince Osbourne, content strategist at Turbo Performance. He love to share his knowledge and views to automobile related audience.