Oops! Right-clicking is not allowed.
Skip to content
What is a turbocharger? How does it work?

What is a turbocharger? How does it work?

A turbocharger is a device that increases the power and efficiency of an internal combustion engine by forcing more air into the combustion chamber. It consists of two main components: a *turbine* and a *compressor*. The turbine is driven by the exhaust gases from the engine, and the compressor is powered by the turbine. The compressor draws in ambient air and compresses it before sending it to the intake manifold. This way, the engine can burn more fuel and produce more power for a given displacement.

How does a turbocharger work? 

The basic working principle of a turbocharger can be explained as follows:

- The exhaust gases from the engine flow through a pipe and enter the turbine housing. The turbine housing contains a wheel with blades that spin as the exhaust gases pass through them. The spinning wheel is connected to a shaft that also rotates the compressor wheel on the other end.

- The compressor wheel draws in ambient air and compresses it as it spins. The compressed air is then sent to an intercooler, which cools down the air and increases its density. The intercooler is usually a radiator-like device that uses ambient air or coolant to remove the heat from the compressed air.

- The cooled and compressed air then enters the intake manifold, where it mixes with the fuel and creates a powerful combustion. The combustion pushes the pistons and turns the crankshaft, which drives the vehicle's wheels.

Why use a turbocharger?

A turbocharger can provide several benefits for an engine, such as:

- Increased power output: A turbocharger can increase the power output of an engine by up to 40% or more, depending on the design and configuration of the turbocharger and the engine. This can improve the performance and acceleration of the vehicle, as well as its towing and hauling capabilities.

- Improved fuel efficiency: A turbocharger can improve the fuel efficiency of an engine by reducing the amount of fuel needed to produce the same amount of power. This can lower the fuel consumption and emissions of the vehicle, as well as its operating costs.

- Reduced engine size and weight: A turbocharger can allow an engine to produce more power with a smaller displacement and fewer cylinders. This can reduce the size and weight of the engine, as well as the space and materials needed to build it. This can also improve the handling and aerodynamics of the vehicle, as well as its fuel economy.

What are some examples of turbocharged vehicles?

Turbochargers are widely used in various types of vehicles, such as:

- Passenger cars: Turbochargers are popular in passenger cars, especially in sports cars, luxury cars, and compact cars. They can provide more power and performance without sacrificing fuel efficiency and emissions. Some examples of turbocharged passenger cars are the Audi A4 the BMW 3 Series, the Ford Fiesta and the Honda Amaze

- Commercial vehicles: Turbochargers are essential in commercial vehicles, such as trucks, buses, and tractors. They can provide more torque and hauling capacity, as well as better fuel economy and durability. Some examples of turbocharged commercial vehicles are the Volvo 210D, the Ashok Leyland, the Tata LPO Bus, and the Backhoe Loader JCB.

- Off-highway vehicles: Turbochargers are also used in off-highway vehicles, such as construction equipment, agricultural machinery, and marine engines. They can provide more power and reliability in harsh and demanding environments. Some examples of turbocharged off-highway vehicles are the Caterpillar C7 the John Deere 9RX, the Cummins HE200WG, and the MAN V12-2000.

Previous article How much power do you lose with an aftermarket turbocharger?
Next article Significant difference between a supercharger and a turbocharger