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Post by Jetta2 »


A turbocharger (short for turbine driven supercharger) is an exhaust gas driven forced induction supercharger used in internal combustion engines. This differentiates it from a normal supercharger (or blower) which uses a prime mover to power the compression device.


Working principle

A turbocharger consists of a turbine and a compressor linked by a shared axle. The turbine inlet receives exhaust gases from the engine exhaust manifold causing the turbine wheel to rotate. This rotation drives the compressor, compressing ambient air and delivering it to the air intake of the engine, resulting in a greater amount of the air/fuel mixture to enter into the cylinder. The objective of a turbocharger is the same as a normal supercharger; to improve upon the size-to-output efficiency of an engine by solving one of its cardinal limitations. A naturally aspirated automobile engine uses only the downward stroke of a piston to create an area of low pressure in order to draw air into the cylinder. Because the number of air and fuel molecules determine the potential energy available to force the piston down on the combustion stroke, and because of the relatively constant pressure of the atmosphere, there ultimately will be a limit to the amount of air and consequently fuel filling the combustion chamber. This ability to fill the cylinder with air is its volumetric efficiency. Because the turbocharger increases the pressure at the point where air is entering the cylinder, and the amount of air brought into the cylinder is largely a function of time and pressure, more air will be drawn in as the pressure increases. The additional air makes it possible to add more fuel, increasing the output of the engine. Also, the intake pressure can be controlled by a wastegate, which controls boost by routing some of the exhaust flow away from the exhaust side turbine. This controls shaft speed and regulates boost pressure in the inlet tract.

The application of a compressor to increase pressure at the point of cylinder air intake is often referred to as forced induction. Centrifugal superchargers operate in the same fashion as a turbo; however, the energy to spin the compressor is taken from the rotating output energy of the engine's crankshaft as opposed to exhaust gas. For this reason turbochargers are ideally more efficient, since their turbines are actually heat engines, converting some of the thermal energy from the exhaust gas that would otherwise be wasted, into useful work. Contrary to popular belief, this is not totally "free energy," as it always creates some amount of exhaust backpressure which the engine must overcome. Superchargers use output energy from an engine to achieve a net gain, which must be provided from some of the engine's total output; either directly or from a separate smaller engine, perhaps electrically driven from the main engine's generator.


The turbocharger was invented by Swiss engineer Alfred Buchi, who had been working on steam turbines. His patent for the internal combustion turbocharger was applied for in 1905.[1] Diesel ships and locomotives with turbochargers began appearing in the 1920s.

One of the first applications of a turbocharger to a non-Diesel engine came when General Electric engineer Sanford Moss attached a turbo to a V12 Liberty aircraft engine. The engine was tested at Pikes Peak in Colorado at 14,000 feet to demonstrate that it could eliminate the power losses usually experienced in internal combustion engines as a result of altitude.

Turbochargers were first used in production aircraft engines in the 1930s before World War II. The primary purpose behind most aircraft-based applications was to increase the altitude at which the airplane can fly, by compensating for the lower atmospheric pressure present at high altitude. Aircraft such as the Lockheed P-38, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Republic P-47 all used exhaust driven "turbo-superchargers" to increase high altitude engine power. It is important to note that the majority of turbosupercharged aircraft engines used both a gear-driven second stage centrifugal type supercharger and a first stage turbocharger.

The first Turbo-Diesel truck was produced by the "Schweizer Maschinenfabrik Saurer" (Swiss Machine Works Saurer) 1938 [1]. The turbocharger hit the automobile world in 1952 when Fred Agabashian qualified for pole position at the Indianapolis 500 and led for 100 miles before tire shards disabled the blower.
The Corvair's innovative turbocharged flat-6 engine; The turbo, located at top right, feeds pressurized air into the engine through the chrome T-tube visible spanning the engine from left to right.
The Corvair's innovative turbocharged flat-6 engine; The turbo, located at top right, feeds pressurized air into the engine through the chrome T-tube visible spanning the engine from left to right.

The first production turbocharged automobile engines came from General Motors in 1962. The A-body Oldsmobile Cutlass Jetfire and Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder were both fitted with turbochargers. The Oldsmobile is often recognized as the first, since it came out a few months earlier than the Corvair. Its Turbo Jetfire was a 215 in³ (3.5 L) V8, while the Corvair engine was either a 145 in³ (2.3 L)(1962-63) or a 164 in³ (2.7 L) (1964-66) flat-6. Both of these engines were abandoned within a few years, and GM's next turbo engine came more than ten years later.

Offenhauser's turbocharged engines returned to Indianapolis in 1966, with victories coming in 1968. The Offy turbo peaked at over 1,000 hp in 1973, while Porsche dominated the Can-Am series with a 1,100 hp 917/30. Turbocharged cars dominated the Le Mans between 1976 and 1988, and then from 2000-2007.

BMW led the resurgence of the automobile turbo with the 1973 2002 Turbo, with Porsche following with the 911 Turbo, introduced at the 1974 Paris Motor Show. Buick was the first GM division to bring back the turbo, in the 1978 Buick Regal, followed by the Mercedes-Benz 300D, Saab 99 in 1978. Japanese manufacturers and Ford followed suit, with Mitsubishi Lancer in 1978, Ford Mustang in 1979, Toyota Supra in 1980, Nissan 280ZX in 1981 and Mazda RX-7 in 1984.

The worlds first production turbodiesel automobile was also introduced in 1978 by Peugeot with the launch of the Peugeot 604 turbodiesel. Today, nearly all automotive diesels are turbocharged.

Alfa Romeo introduced the first mass-produced Italian turbocharged car, the Alfetta GTV 2000 Turbodelta in 1979. Pontiac also introduced a turbo in 1980 and Volvo Cars followed in 1981. Maserati in 1980 was the first to introduce twin or bi-turbo Maserati Biturbo. Renault however gave another step and installed a turbocharger to the smallest and lightest car they had, the R5, making it the first Supermini automobile with a turbocharger in year 1980. This gave the car about 160bhp in street form and up to 300+ in race setup, which was extraordinary output for a 1400cc motor. The R5's powerful motor was complemented by an incredible lightweight chassis, and as a consequence it was possible for an R5 to nip at the heels of the quick Italian sports car Ferrari 308.

In Formula One, in the so called "Turbo Era" of 1977 until 1989, engines with a capacity of 1500 cc could achieve anywhere from 1000 to 1500 hp (746 to 1119 kW) (Renault, Honda, BMW, Ferrari). Renault was the first manufacturer to apply turbo technology in the F1 field, in 1977. The project's high cost was compensated for by its performance, and led to other engine manufacturers following suit. The Turbo-charged engines took over the F1 field and ended the Ford Cosworth DFV era in the mid 1980s. However, the FIA decided that turbos were making the sport too dangerous and expensive, and from 1987 onwards, the maximum boost pressure was reduced before the technology was banned completely for 1989.

In Rallying, turbocharged engines of up to 2000cc have long been the preferred motive power for the Group A/NWorld Rally Car (top level) competitors, due to the exceptional power-to-weight ratios (and enormous torque) attainable. This combines with the use of vehicles with relatively small bodyshells for manoeuvreability and handling. As turbo outputs rose to similar levels as the F1 category (see above), the FIA, rather than banning the technology, enforced a restricted turbo inlet diameter (currently 34 mm), effectively "starving" the turbo of compressible air and making high boost pressures unfeasible. The success of small, turbocharged, four-wheel-drive vehicles in rally competition, beginning with the Audi Quattro, the Peugeot 205 T16, the Renault 5 Turbo, the Lancia Delta S4 and the Mazda 323GTX, has led to exceptional road cars in the modern era such as the Lancia Delta Integrale, Toyota Celica GT-Four, Subaru Impreza WRX and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.

In the late 1970s, Ford and GM looked to the turbocharger to gain power, without sacrificing fuel consumption, during not only the emissions crunch of the federal government but also a gas shortage. GM released turbo versions of the Pontiac Firebird, Buick Regal, and Chevy Monte Carlo. Ford responded with a turbocharged Mustang in the form of the 2.3L from the Pinto. The engine design was dated, but it worked well. The bullet-proof 2.3L Turbo was used in early carburated trim as well as fuel injected and intercooled versions in the Mustang SVO and the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe until 1988. GM also liked the idea enough to evolve the 3.8L V6 used in early turbo Buicks into late '80s muscle in the form of the Buick Grand National and it's pinnacle (and final) form, the GNX.

Although late to use turbocharging, Chrysler Corporation, after some joint development with Maserati (Chrysler TC), turned to turbochargers in 1984 and quickly churned out more turbocharged engines than any other manufacturer, using turbocharged, fuel-injected 2.2 and 2.5 litre four-cylinder engines in minivans, sedans, convertibles, and coupes. Their 2.2 litre turbocharged engines ranged from 142 hp to 225 hp, a substantial gain over the normally aspirated ratings of 86 to 93 horsepower; the 2.5 litre engines had about 150 horsepower and had no intercooler. They also pioneered variable geometry turbocharging,(an industry first) with the introduction of the Dodge based 1989 Shelby CSX, a system that completely eliminated "turbo lag".Though the company stopped using turbochargers in 1993,they returned to turbocharged engines in 2002 with their 2.4 litre engines, boosting output by 70 horsepower.[2]

Design details


The turbocharger has four main components. The turbine and impeller/compressor wheels are each contained within their own folded conical housing on opposite sides of the third component, the center housing/hub rotating assembly (CHRA).

The housings fitted around the compressor impeller and turbine collect and direct the gas flow through the wheels as they spin. The size and shape can dictate some performance characteristics of the overall turbocharger. The area of the cone to radius from center hub is expressed as a ratio (AR, A/R, or A:R). Often the same basic turbocharger assembly will be available from the manufacturer with multiple AR choices for the turbine housing and sometimes the compressor cover as well. This allows the designer of the engine system to tailor the compromises between performance, response, and efficiency to application or preference. Both housings resemble snail shells, and thus turbochargers are sometimes referred to in slang as snails.

Split-Inlet Exhaust Housings known as "Twin Scroll" permit the exhaust pulses to be grouped (or separated) by cylinder all the way to the turbine. The reason for doing this in keeping the individual package of energy, an exhaust pulse, intact and unmolested by other pulses all the way to the turbine. This in turn can give the turbine a better kick to get it moving. This is specifically usefull in four-cylinder engines. Because a four-cylinder only sees one pulse every 180 degrees of crank rotation, it needs all the energy it can get from each pulse. Keeping them separate and undisturbed will therefore pay back some dividends. 5* (Information from "Maximum Boost" by Corky Bell).

The turbine and impeller wheel sizes also dictate the amount of air or exhaust that can be flowed through the system, and the relative efficiency at which they operate. Generally, the larger the turbine wheel and compressor wheel, the larger the flow capacity. Measurements and shapes can vary, as well as curvature and number of blades on the wheels.

The center hub rotating assembly houses the shaft which connects the compressor impeller and turbine. It also must contain a bearing system to suspend the shaft, allowing it to rotate at very high speed with minimal friction. For instance, in automotive applications the CHRA typically uses a thrust bearing or ball bearing lubricated by a constant supply of pressurized engine oil. The CHRA may also be considered "water cooled" by having an entry and exit point for engine coolant to be cycled. Water cooled models allow engine coolant to be used to keep the lubricating oil cooler, avoiding possible oil coking from the extreme heat found in the turbine.


Boost refers to the increase in manifold pressure that is generated by the turbocharger in the intake path or specifically intake manifold that exceeds normal atmospheric pressure. This is also the level of boost as shown on a pressure gauge, usually in bar, psi or possibly kPa This is representative of the extra air pressure that is achieved over what would be achieved without the forced induction. Manifold pressure should not be confused with the amount, or "weight" of air that a turbo can flow.

Boost pressure is limited to keep the entire engine system, including the turbo, inside its thermal and mechanical design operating range by controlling the wastegate which shunts the exhaust gases away from the exhaust side turbine.

The maximum possible boost depends on the fuel's octane rating. Also, depending on the engine you may be able to run more or less boost than other cars. To run higher boost you need to have a source to cool the charging air. With proper tuning and efficient charge cooling, you can run upwards to 15 PSI of boost pressure on a stock motor. Ethanol, methanol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and diesel can naturally allow for higher boost than gasoline.

Many diesel engines do not have any wastegate because the amount of exhaust energy is controlled directly by the amount of fuel injected into the engine and slight variations in boost pressure do not make a difference for the engines.


By spinning at a relatively high speed the compressor turbine draws in a large volume of air and forces it into the engine. As the turbocharger's output flow volume exceeds the engine's volumetric flow, air pressure in the intake system begins to build, often called boost. The speed at which the assembly spins is proportional to the pressure of the compressed air and total mass of air flow being moved. Since a turbo can spin to RPMs far beyond what is needed, or of what it is safely capable of, the speed must be controlled. A wastegate is the most common mechanical speed control system, and is often further augmented by an electronic boost controller. The main function of a wastegate is to allow some of the exhaust to bypass the turbine when the set intake pressure is achieved. Most passenger cars have wastegates that are integral to the turbocharger.

Anti-Surge/Dump/Blow Off Valves

Turbo charged engines operating at wide open throttle and high rpm require a large volume of air to flow between the turbo and the inlet of the engine. When the throttle is closed compressed air will flow to the throttle valve without an exit (i.e. the air has nowhere to go).

This causes a surge which can raise the pressure of the air to a level which can be destructive to the engine e.g. damage may occur to the throttle plate, induction pipes may burst. The surge will also decompress back across the turbo as this is the only path that the air can take. This sudden flow of air will often cause turbulence and a subsequent whistling noise as the air passes past the compressor wheel.

The reverse flow back across the turbo acts on the compressor wheel and causes the turbine shaft to reduce in speed quicker than it would naturally. When the throttle is opened again, the turbo will have to make up for lost momentum and will take longer to achieve the required speed, as turbo speed is proportional to boost/volume flow. (This is known as Turbo Lag) In order to prevent this from happening, a valve is fitted between the turbo and inlet which vents off the excess air pressure. These are known as an anti-surge, bypass, blow-off or dump valve. They are normally operated by engine vacuum.

The primary use of this valve is to prevent damage to the engine by a surge of compressed air and to maintain the turbo spinning at a high speed. The air is usually recycled back into the turbo inlet but can also be vented to the atmosphere. Recycling back into the turbo causes the venting sound to be reduced and can actually help keep the turbo spooled while changing gears. The benefits of venting to the atmosphere are simply the ease of installation (because there is no need to run an extra hose to plumb the charge back into the system) and that it makes a sound considered desirable by some. There are no/little performance benefits for venting to the atmosphere, but because a Dump Valve is present the Turbo will slow down naturally rather than forcefully and will shorten the time needed to "spool-up" to counteract any turbo lag.

Fuel efficiency

Since a turbocharger increases the specific horsepower output of an engine, the engine will also produce increased amounts of waste heat. This can sometimes be a problem when fitting a turbocharger to a car that was not designed to cope with high heat loads. However, the higher compression ratios attained generally contribute to greater fuel efficiency.

It is another form of cooling that has the largest impact on fuel efficiency: charge cooling. Even with the benefits of intercooling, the total compression in the combustion chamber is greater than that in a naturally-aspirated engine. To avoid knock while still extracting maximum power from the engine, it is common practice to introduce extra fuel into the charge for the sole purpose of cooling. While this seems counterintuitive, this fuel is not burned. Instead, it absorbs and carries away heat when it changes phase from liquid mist to gas vapor. Also, because it is more dense than the other inert substance in the combustion chamber, nitrogen, it has a higher specific heat and more heat capacitance. It "holds" this heat until it is released in the exhaust stream, preventing destructive knock. This thermodynamic property allows manufacturers to achieve good power output with common pump fuel at the expense of fuel economy and emissions. The stoichiometric Air-to-Fuel ratio (A/F) for combustion of gasoline is 14.7:1. A common A/F in a turbocharged engine while under full design boost is approximately 12:1. Richer mixtures are sometimes run when the design of the system has flaws in it such as a catalytic converter which has limited endurance of high exhaust temperatures or the engine has a compression ratio that is too high for efficient operation with the fuel given.

Lastly, the efficiency of the turbocharger itself can have an impact on fuel efficiency. Using a small turbocharger will give quick response and low lag at low to mid RPMs, but can choke the engine on the exhaust side and generate huge amounts of pumping-related heat on the intake side as RPMs rise. A large turbocharger will be very efficient at high RPMs, but is not a realistic application for a street driven automobile. Variable vane and ball bearing technologies can make a turbo more efficient across a wider operating range, however, other problems have prevented this technology from appearing in more road cars (see Variable geometry turbocharger). Currently, the Porsche 911 (997) Turbo is the only gasoline car in production with this kind of turbocharger, although in Europe turbos of this type are rapidly becoming standard-fitment on turbodiesel cars, vans and other commercial vehicles, because they can greatly enhance the diesel engine's characteristic low-speed torque. One way to take advantage of the different operating regimes of the two types of supercharger is sequential turbocharging, which uses a small turbocharger at low RPMs and a larger one at high RPMs.

The engine management systems of most modern vehicles can control boost and fuel delivery according to charge temperature, fuel quality, and altitude, among other factors. Some systems are more sophisticated and aim to deliver fuel even more precisely based on combustion quality. For example, the Trionic-7 system from Saab Automobile provides immediate feedback on the combustion while it is occurring by using the spark plug to measure the cylinder pressure via the ionization voltage over the spark plug gap.

The new 2.0L TFSI turbo engine from Volkswagen/Audi incorporates lean burn and direct injection technology to conserve fuel under low load conditions. It is a very complex system that involves many moving parts and sensors in order to manage airflow characteristics inside the chamber itself, allowing it to use a stratified charge with excellent atomization. The direct injection also has a tremendous charge cooling effect enabling engines to use higher compression ratios and boost pressures than a typical port-injection turbo engine.

Automotive design details

The ideal gas law states that when all other variables are held constant, if pressure is increased in a system so will temperature. Here exists one of the negative consequences of turbocharging, the increase in the temperature of air entering the engine due to compression.

A turbo spins very fast; most peak between 80,000 and 200,000 RPM (using low inertia turbos, 150,000-250,000 RPM) depending on size, weight of the rotating parts, boost pressure developed and compressor design. Such high rotation speeds would cause problems for standard ball bearings leading to failure so most turbo-chargers use fluid bearings. These feature a flowing layer of oil that suspends and cools the moving parts. The oil is usually taken from the engine-oil circuit. Some turbochargers use incredibly precise ball bearings that offer less friction than a fluid bearing but these are also suspended in fluid-dampened cavities. Lower friction means the turbo shaft can be made of lighter materials, reducing so-called turbo lag or boost lag. Some car makers use water cooled turbochargers for added bearing life. This can also account for why many tuners upgrade their standard journal bearing turbos (such as a T25) which use a 270 degree thrust bearing and a brass journal bearing which only has 3 oil passages, to a 360 degree bearing which has a beefier thrust bearing and washer having 6 oil passages to enable better flow, response and cooling efficiency. Turbochargers with foil bearings are in development which eliminates the need for bearing cooling or oil delivery systems, thereby eliminating the most common cause of failure, while also significantly reducing turbo lag.

To manage the upper-deck air pressure, the turbocharger's exhaust gas flow is regulated with a wastegate that bypasses excess exhaust gas entering the turbocharger's turbine. This regulates the rotational speed of the turbine and the output of the compressor. The wastegate is opened and closed by the compressed air from turbo (the upper-deck pressure) and can be raised by using a solenoid to regulate the pressure fed to the wastegate membrane. This solenoid can be controlled by Automatic Performance Control, the engine's electronic control unit or an after market boost control computer. Another method of raising the boost pressure is through the use of check and bleed valves to keep the pressure at the membrane lower than the pressure within the system.

Some turbochargers (normally called variable geometry turbochargers) use a set of vanes in the exhaust housing to maintain a constant gas velocity across the turbine, the same kind of control as used on power plant turbines. These turbochargers have minimal amount of lag, have a low boost threshold (with full boost as low as 1,500 rpm), and are efficient at higher engine speeds; they are also used in diesel engines.[3] In many setups these turbos don't even need a wastegate. The vanes are controlled by a membrane identical to the one on a wastegate but the level of control required is a bit different.

The first production car to use these turbos was the limited-production 1989 Shelby CSX-VNT. In essence a Dodge Shadow, equipped with a 2.2L petrol engine. The Shelby CSX-VNT uses a turbo from Garrett, called the VNT-25 because it uses the same compressor and shaft as the more common Garrett T-25. This type of turbine is called a Variable Nozzle Turbine (VNT). Turbocharger manufacturer Aerocharger uses the term 'Variable Area Turbine Nozzle' (VATN) to describe this type of turbine nozzle. Other common terms include Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG), Variable Geometry Turbo (VGT) and Variable Vane Turbine (VVT). A number of other Chrysler Corporation vehicles used this turbocharger in 1990, including the Dodge Daytona and Dodge Shadow. These engines produced 174 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque, the same horsepower as the standard intercooled 2.2 liter engines but with 25 more pound-feet of torque and a faster onset (less turbo lag). However, the Turbo III engine, without a VATN or VNT, produced 224 horsepower. The reasons for Chrysler's not continuing to use variable geometry turbochargers are unknown, but the main reason was probably public desire for V6 engines coupled with increased availability of Chrysler-engineered V6 engines.[4]

The 2006 Porsche 911 Turbo has a twin turbocharged 3.6-litre flat six, and the turbos used are BorgWarner's Variable Geometry Turbos (VGTs). This is significant because although VGTs have been used on advanced diesel engines for a few years and on the Shelby CSX-VNT, this is the second time the technology has been implemented on a production petrol car since the 1,250 Dodge engines were produced in 1989-90.


Using turbochargers to gain performance without a large gain in weight was very appealing to the Japanese factories in the 1980s. The first example of a turbocharged bike is the 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC. It used a Rayjay ATP turbo kit to build 5lb of boost, bringing power up from ~90hp to ~105hp. However, it was only marginally faster than the standard model (11 lb and 145hp with a modified wastegate). A US Kawasaki importer came up with the idea of modifying the Z1-R with a turbocharging kit as a solution to the Z1-R being a low selling bike. In 1982 Honda released the CX500T featuring a carefully developed turbo (as oppose to the Z1-R's bolt on approach). The development of the CX500T was riddled with problems; due to being a V-twin engine the intake periods in the engine rotation are staggered leading to periods of high intake and long periods of no intake at all. Designing around these problems drove the price of the bike up, and the performance still was not as good as the cheaper CX900, making turbocharging motorcycles from factory an educational experience; as of 2007 no factories offer turbocharged motorcycles (although the Suzuki B-King prototype featured a supercharged Hayabusa engine).

Properties and applications


Turbochargers can be damaged by dirty or ineffective oil, and most manufacturers recommend more frequent oil changes for turbocharged engines; many owners and some companies recommend using synthetic oils, which tend to flow more readily when cold and do not break down as quickly as conventional oils. Because the turbocharger will get hot when running, many recommend letting the engine idle for one to three minutes before shutting off the engine if the turbocharger was used shortly before stopping (most manufacturers specify a 10-second period of idling before switching off to ensure the turbocharger is running at its idle speed to prevent damage to the bearings when the oil supply is cut off). This lets the turbo rotating assembly cool from the lower exhaust gas temperatures, and ensures that oil is supplied to the turbocharger while the turbine housing and exhaust manifold are still very hot; otherwise coking of the lubricating oil trapped in the unit may occur when the heat soaks into the bearings, causing rapid bearing wear and failure when the car is restarted. Even small particles of burnt oil will accumulate and lead to choking the oil supply and failure. This problem is less pronounced in diesel engines, due to the lower exhaust temperatures and generally slower engine speeds.

A turbo timer can keep an engine running for a pre-specified period of time, to automatically provide this cool-down period. Oil coking is also eliminated by foil bearings. A more complex and problematic protective barrier against oil coking is the use of watercooled bearing cartridges. The water boils in the cartridge when the engine is shut off and forms a natural recirculation to drain away the heat. It is still not a good idea to shut the engine off while the turbo and manifold are still glowing.

In custom applications utilizing tubular headers rather than cast iron manifolds, the need for a cooldown period is reduced because the lighter headers store much less heat than heavy cast iron manifolds.


A lag is sometimes felt by the driver of a turbocharged vehicle as a delay between pushing on the accelerator pedal and feeling the turbo kick-in. This is symptomatic of the time taken for the exhaust system driving the turbine to come to high pressure and for the turbine rotor to overcome its rotational inertia and reach the speed necessary to supply boost pressure. The directly-driven compressor in a supercharger does not suffer this problem. (Centrifugal superchargers do not build boost at low RPMs like a positive displacement supercharger will). Conversely on light loads or at low RPM a turbocharger supplies less boost and the engine is less efficient than a supercharged engine.

Lag can be reduced by lowering the rotational inertia of the turbine, for example by using lighter parts to allow the spool-up to happen more quickly. Ceramic turbines are a big help in this direction. Unfortunately, their relative fragility limits the maximum boost they can supply. Another way to reduce lag is to change the aspect ratio of the turbine by reducing the diameter and increasing the gas-flow path-length. Increasing the upper-deck air pressure and improving the wastegate response helps but there are cost increases and reliability disadvantages that car manufacturers are not happy about. Lag is also reduced by using a foil bearing rather than a conventional oil bearing. This reduces friction and contributes to faster acceleration of the turbo's rotating assembly. Variable-nozzle turbochargers (discussed above) eliminate lag.

Another common method of equalizing turbo lag is to have the turbine wheel "clipped", or to reduce the surface area of the turbine wheel's rotating blades. By clipping a minute portion off the tip of each blade of the turbine wheel, less restriction is imposed upon the escaping exhaust gases. This imparts less impedance onto the flow of exhaust gases at low RPM, allowing the vehicle to retain more of its low-end torque, but also pushes the effective boost RPM to a slightly higher level. The amount of turbine wheel clipping is highly application-specific. Turbine clipping is measured and specified in degrees.

Other setups, most notably in V-type engines, utilize two identically-sized but smaller turbos, each fed by a separate set of exhaust streams from the engine. The two smaller turbos produce the same (or more) aggregate amount of boost as a larger single turbo, but since they are smaller they reach their optimal RPM, and thus optimal boost delivery, faster. Such an arrangement of turbos is typically referred to as a parallel twin-turbo system.

Some car makers combat lag by using two small turbos (such as Nissan, Toyota, Subaru, Maserati, Mazda, and Audi). A typical arrangement for this is to have one turbo active across the entire rev range of the engine and one coming on-line at higher RPM. Early designs would have one turbocharger active up to a certain RPM, after which both turbochargers are active. Below this RPM, both exhaust and air inlet of the secondary turbo are closed. Being individually smaller they do not suffer from excessive lag and having the second turbo operating at a higher RPM range allows it to get to full rotational speed before it is required. Such combinations are referred to as a sequential twin-turbo. Sequential twin-turbos are usually much more complicated than a single or parallel twin-turbo systems because they require what amounts to three sets of pipes-intake and wastegate pipes for the two turbochargers as well as valves to control the direction of the exhaust gases. An example of this is the current BMW E60 5-Series 535d. Another well-known example is the 1993-2002 Mazda RX-7. Many new diesel engines use this technology to not only eliminate lag but also to reduce fuel consumption and produce cleaner emissions.

Lag is not to be confused with the boost threshold; however, many publications still make this basic mistake. The boost threshold of a turbo system describes the minimum engine RPM at which there is sufficient exhaust flow to the turbo to allow it to generate significant amounts of boost[citation needed]. Newer turbocharger and engine developments have caused boost thresholds to steadily decline to where day-to-day use feels perfectly natural. Putting your foot down at 1200 engine RPM and having no boost until 2000 engine RPM is an example of boost threshold and not lag. If lag was experienced in this situation, the RPM would either not start to rise for a short period of time after the throttle was increased, or increase slowly for a few seconds and then suddenly build up at a greater rate as the turbo become effective. However, the term lag is used erroneously for boost threshold by many manufacturers themselves.

Electrical boosting ("E-boosting") is a new technology under development; it uses a high speed electrical motor to drive the turbocharger to speed before exhaust gases are available, e.g. from a stop-light. The electric motor is about an inch long.

Race cars often utilize an Anti-Lag System to completely eliminate lag at the cost of reduced turbocharger life.

On modern diesel engines, this problem is virtually eliminated by utilizing a variable geometry turbocharger.

Boost Threshold

Turbochargers start producing boost only above a certain rpm (depending on the size of the turbo) because they are powered by the movement exhaust gases; without an appropriate exhaust gas velocity, they logically cannot force air into the engine. The point at which the airflow in the exhaust is strong enough to force air into the engine is known as the boost threshold rpm. Engineers have, in some cases, been able to reduce the boost threshold rpm to idle speed to allow for instant response.[citation needed].

Both Lag and Threshold characteristics can be acquired through the use of a compressor map using a compressor map and a mathematical equation. Performance shops have the maps on hand and/or can walk you through the process of mapping a turbo for your particular vehicle and the type of racing you wish to do.

Automotive Applications

Turbocharging is very common on diesel engines in conventional automobiles, in trucks, locomotives, for marine and heavy machinery applications. In fact, for current automotive applications, non-turbocharged diesel engines are becoming increasingly rare. Diesels are particularly suitable for turbocharging for several reasons:

* Naturally-aspirated diesels will develop less power than a gasoline engine of the same size, and will weigh significantly more because diesel engines require heavier, stronger components. This gives such engines a poor power-to-weight ratio; turbocharging can dramatically improve this P:W ratio, with large power gains for a very small (if any) increase in weight.
* Diesel engines require more robust construction because they already run at very high compression ratio and at high temperatures so they generally require little additional reinforcement to be able to cope with the addition of the turbocharger. Gasoline engines often require extensive modification for turbocharging.
* Diesel engines have a narrower band of engine speeds at which they operate, thus making the operating characteristics of the turbocharger over that "rev range" less of a compromise than on a gasoline-powered engine.
* Diesel engines blow nothing but air into the cylinders during cylinder charging, squirting fuel into the cylinder only after the intake valve has closed and compression has begun. Gasoline/petrol engines differ from this in that both fuel and air are introduced during the intake cycle and both are compressed during the compression cycle. The higher intake charge temperatures of forced-induction engines reduces the amount of compression that is possible with a gasoline/petrol engine, whereas diesel engines are far less sensitive to this.

Today, turbocharging is most commonly used on two types of engines: Gasoline engines in high-performance automobiles and diesel engines in transportation and other industrial equipment. Small cars in particular benefit from this technology, as there is often little room to fit a larger-output (and physically larger) engine. Saab is a leader in production car turbochargers, starting with the 1978 Saab 99; all current Saab models are turbocharged with the exception of the 9-7X. The Porsche 944 utilized a turbo unit in the 944 Turbo (Porsche internal model number 951), to great advantage, bringing its 0-100 km/h (0-60 mph) times very close to its contemporary non-turbo "big brother", the Porsche 928.

In the 1980s, when turbocharged production cars became common, they gained a reputation for being difficult to handle. The tuned engines fitted to the cars, and the often primitive turbocharger technology meant that power delivery was unpredictable and the engine often suddenly delivered a huge boost in power at certain speeds. Some drivers said this made cars such as the BMW 2002 and the Porsche 911 exciting to drive, requiring high levels of skill. Others said the cars were difficult and often dangerous. As turbocharger technology improved, it became possible to produce turbocharged engines with a smoother, more predictable but just as effective power delivery.

Chrysler Corporation was an innovator of turbocharger use in the 1980s. Many of their production vehicles, for example the Chrysler LeBaron, Dodge Daytona, Dodge Shadow/Plymouth Sundance twins, and the Dodge Spirit/Plymouth Acclaim twins were available with turbochargers, and they proved very popular with the public. They are still considered competitive vehicles today, and the experience Chrysler obtained in observing turbochargers in real-world conditions has allowed them to further turbocharger technology with the PT Cruiser Turbo, the Dodge SRT-4 and the Dodge Caliber SRT-4.

Advantages and Disadvantages


* More specific power over naturally aspirated engine. This means a turbocharged engine can achieve more power from same engine volume.
* Better thermal efficiency over both naturally aspirated and supercharged engine when under full load (i.e. on boost). This is because the excess exhaust heat and pressure, which would normally be wasted, contributes some of the work required to compress the air.
* Weight/Packaging. Smaller and lighter than alternative forced induction systems and may be more easily fitted in an engine bay.
* Fuel Economy. Although adding a turbocharger itself does not save fuel, it will allow a vehicle to use a smaller engine while achieving power levels of a much larger engine, while attaining near normal fuel economy while off boost/cruising. This is because without boost, only the normal amount of fuel and air are combusted.


* Lack of responsiveness if an incorrectly sized turbocharger is used. If a turbocharger that is too large is used it reduces throttle response as it builds up boost slowly. However, doing this may result in more peak power.
* Boost threshold. Turbocharger starts producing boost only above a certain rpm due to a lack of exhaust gas volume to overcome inertia of rest of turbo propeller. This results in a rapid and nonlinear rise in torque, and will reduce the usable power band of the engine. The sudden surge of power could overwhelm the tires and result in loss of grip, which could lead to understeer/oversteer, depending on the drivetrain and suspension setup of the vehicle. Lag can be disadvantageous in racing. If throttle is applied in a turn, power may unexpectedly increase when the turbo winds up, which can induce wheelspin.

* Cost. Turbocharger parts are costly to add to naturally aspirated engines. Heavily modifying OEM turbocharger systems also require extensive upgrades that in most cases requires most (if not all) of the original components to be replaced.
* Complexity. Further to cost, turbochargers require numerous additional systems if they are not to damage an engine. Even an engine under only light boost requires a system for properly routing (and sometimes cooling) the lubricating oil, turbo-specific exhaust manifold, application specific downpipe, boost regulation, and proper gauges (not intrinsically necessary, but very highly recommended). In addition inter-cooled turbo engines require additional plumbing, whilst highly tuned turbocharged engines will require extensive upgrades to their lubrication, cooling, and breathing systems; while reinforcing internal engine and transmission parts.


Types of supercharger

There are two main types of supercharger defined according to the method of compression: positive displacement and dynamic compressors. The former deliver a fairly constant level of boost regardless of engine speed (RPM), whereas the latter deliver increasing boost with increasing engine speed.

Positive displacement

Lysholm screw rotors (as used in the BBM chargers). Note the complex shape of each rotor which must run at high speed and with close tolerances. This makes this type of supercharger quite expensive. (This unit has been blued to show close contact areas.)

Positive displacement pumps deliver a nearly fixed volume of air per revolution at all speeds (minus leakage which is nearly constant at all speeds for a given pressure and so its importance decreases at higher speeds). The device divides the air mechanically into parcels for delivery to the engine, mechanically moving the air into the engine bit by bit.

Major types of positive displacement pumps include:

* Roots (V8 drag cars)
* Lysholm screw (BBM)
* Sliding Vane
* Scroll-type supercharger, also known as the G-lader (VW G40 & G60)
* Piston as in Bourke engine
* Wankel

Positive displacement pumps are further divided into internal compression and external compression types.

Roots superchargers are typically external compression only (although high helix roots blowers attempt to emulate the internal compression of the Lysholm screw).

* External compression refers to pumps which transfer air at ambient pressure into the engine. If the engine is running under boost conditions, the pressure in the intake manifold is higher than that coming from the supercharger. That causes a back flow from the engine into the supercharger until the two reach equilibrium. It is the back flow which actually compresses the incoming gas. This is a highly inefficient process and the main factor in the lack of efficiency of roots superchargers when used at high boost levels. The lower the boost level the smaller is this loss and roots blowers are very efficient at moving air at low pressure differentials, which is what they were first invented for (hence the original term "blower").

All the other types have some degree of internal compression.

* Internal compression refers to the air being compressed within the supercharger itself and this compressed air, already at or close to boost level, can be delivered smoothly to the engine with little or no backflow. This is more efficient than backflow compression and allows higher efficiency to be achieved. Internal compression devices usually use a fixed internal compression ratio. When the boost pressure is equal to the compression pressure of the supercharger, the backflow is zero. If the boost pressure exceeds that compression pressure, backflow can still occur as in a roots blower. Internal compression blowers must be matched to the expected boost pressure in order to achieve the higher efficiency they are capable of, otherwise they will suffer the same problems and low efficiency of the roots blowers.

Positive displacement superchargers are usually rated by their capacity per revolution. In the case of the roots blower, the GMC rating pattern is typical. The GMC types are rated according to how many two stroke cylinders, and the size of those cylinders, it is designed to scavenge. GMC has made 2-71, 3-71, 4-71, and the famed 6-71 blowers. For example a 6-71 blower is designed to scavenge six cylinders of 71 cubic inches each and would be used on a two-stroke diesel of 426 cubic inches which is designated a 6-71 and the blower takes this same designation. However because 6-71 is actually the engines designation, the actual displacement is less than the simple multiplication would suggest. A 6-71 actually pumps 339 cubic inches per revolution.

Aftermarket derivatives continue the trend with 8-71 to current 14-71 blowers. From this you can see that a 6-71 is roughly twice the size of a 3-71. GMC also made -53 cubic inch series in 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8-53 sizes as well as a “V71” series for use on engines using a V configuration.
Roots Supercharger Efficiency Map. This generalized roots blower efficiency map shows how a roots blower's efficiency varies with speed and boost.
Roots Supercharger Efficiency Map. This generalized roots blower efficiency map shows how a roots blower's efficiency varies with speed and boost.

Roots Efficiency map

For any given roots blower running under given conditions, a single point will fall on the map. This point will rise with increasing boost and will move to the right with increasing blower speed. It can be seen that at moderate speed and low boost the efficiency can be over 90%. This is the area in which roots blowers were originally intended to operate and they are very good at it.

Boost is given in terms of pressure ratio which is the ratio of absolute air pressure before the blower to the absolute air pressure after compression by the blower. If no boost is present the pressure ratio will be 1.0 (meaning 1:1) as the outlet pressure equals the inlet pressure. 15 psi boost is marked for reference (slightly above a pressure ratio of 2.0 compared to atmospheric pressure). At 15 psi boost Roots blowers hover between 50% to 58%. Replacing a smaller blower with a larger blower moves the point to the left. In most cases, as the map shows, this will moves it into higher efficiency areas on the left as the smaller blower likely will have been running fast on the right of the chart. Usually, using a larger blower and running it slower to achieve the same boost will give an increase in compressor efficiency.

The volumetric efficiency of the roots type blower is very good, usually staying above 90% at all but the lowest blower speeds. Because of this, even a blower running at low efficiency will still mechanically deliver the intended volume of air to the engine but that air will be hotter. In drag racing applications where large volumes of fuel are injected with that hot air, vaporizing the fuel absorbs the heat. This functions as a kind of liquid after cooler system and goes a long way to negating the inefficiency of the roots design in that application.

Supercharger drive types

Superchargers are further defined according to their method of drive (mechanical—or turbine).


* Belt (V belt, Toothed belt, Flat belt)
* Direct drive
* Gear drive
* Chain drive

Exhaust gas turbines:

* Axial turbine
* Radial turbine

All types of compressor may be mated to and driven by either gas turbine or mechanical linkage. Dynamic compressors are most often matched with gas turbine drives due to their similar high-speed characteristics, while positive displacement pumps usually use one of the mechanical drives. However, all of the possible combinations have been tried with various levels of success.

In cars, the device is used to increase the "effective displacement" and volumetric efficiency of an engine, and is often referred to as a blower. By pushing the air into the cylinders, it is as if the engine had larger valves and cylinders, resulting in a "larger" engine that weighs less.

In 1900 Gottlieb Daimler, of Daimler-Benz (now Daimler AG) fame, became the first person to patent a forced-induction system for internal combustion engines. His first superchargers were based on a twin-rotor air-pump design first patented by American Francis Roots in 1860. This design is the basis for the modern Roots type supercharger.

It was not long before the supercharger was applied to custom racing cars, with the first supercharged production vehicles being built by Mercedes and Bentley in the 1920s. Since then superchargers (as well as turbochargers) have been widely applied to both racing and production cars, although their complexity and cost have largely relegated the supercharger to pricey performance cars.

Boosting, or adding a supercharger to a stock naturally-aspirated engine, has made a comeback in recent years due largely to the increased quality of the alloys and machining used in modern engines. In the past, boosting would dramatically shorten engine life due to the extreme temperature and pressure created by the supercharger, but modern engines produced with modern materials provide considerable overdesign; thus, boosting is no longer a serious reliability concern. For this reason boosting is commonly used in smaller cars, where the added weight of the supercharger is less than the weight of a larger engine delivering the same amount of power. This also results in better gas mileage, as mileage is often a function of the overall weight of the car, a sizeable percentage of which is weight of the engine. Nevertheless, adding boost to a car will often void the drivetrain warranty. Also, improperly installed or excessive boost will greatly reduce the life expectancy of the engine, the differential and transmission (which may not have been designed to cope with additional torque).

Supercharging and turbocharging

The term supercharging technically refers to any pump that forces air into an engine—but in common usage, it refers to pumps that are driven directly by the engine as opposed to turbochargers that are driven by the pressure of the exhaust gases.

Positive displacement superchargers may absorb as much as a third of the total crankshaft power of the engine, and in many applications are less efficient than turbochargers. In applications where engine response and power is more important than any other consideration, such as top-fuel dragsters and vehicles used in tractor pulling competitions, positive displacement superchargers are extremely common. Superchargers are generally the reason why tuned engines have a distinct high-pitched whine upon acceleration.

There are three main styles of supercharger for automotive use:

* Centrifugal turbochargers—driven from exhaust gases.
* Centrifugal superchargers—driven directly by the engine via a belt-drive.
* Positive displacement pumps—such as the Roots and the Lysholm (Whipple) blowers.

The thermal efficiency, or fraction of the fuel/air energy that is converted to output power, is less with a mechanically driven supercharger than with a turbocharger, because turbochargers are using energy from the exhaust gases that would normally be wasted. For this reason, both the economy and the power of a turbocharged engine are usually better than with superchargers. The main advantage of an engine with a mechanically driven supercharger is better throttle response, as well as the ability to reach full boost pressure instantaneously. With the latest Turbo Charging technology, throttle response on turbocharged cars is nearly as good as with mechanical powered superchargers, but the existing lag time is still considered a major drawback. Especially considering that the vast majority of mechanically driven superchargers are now driven off clutched pulleys, much like an air compressor.

Roots blowers tend to be 40–50% efficient at high boost levels. Centrifugal Superchargers are 70–85% efficient. Lysholm-style blowers can be nearly as efficient as their centrifugal counterparts over a narrow range of load/speed/boost, for which the system must be specifically designed.

Keeping the air that enters the engine cool is an important part of the design of both superchargers and turbochargers. Compressing air makes it hotter—so it is common to use a small radiator called an intercooler between the pump and the engine to reduce the temperature of the air.

Picking any method of compression that cannot support the mass of airflow needed for the engine creates excessive heat in the air/fuel charge temperatures. This is true with all forms of supercharging. It is critical to not under-size the component.

Turbochargers also suffer (to a greater or lesser extent) from so-called turbo-spool in which initial acceleration from low RPMs is limited by the lack of sufficient exhaust gas mass flow (pressure). Once engine RPM is sufficient to start the turbine spinning, there is a rapid increase in power as higher turbo boost causes more exhaust gas production—which spins the turbo yet faster, leading to a belated "surge" of acceleration. This makes the maintenance of smoothly increasing RPM far harder with turbochargers than with belt-driven superchargers which apply boost in direct proportion to the engine RPM.

Turbo-spool is often confused with the term turbo-lag. Turbo-lag refers to how long it takes to spool the turbo up when there is sufficient engine speed to create boost. This is greatly affected by the specifications of the turbocharger. If the turbocharger is too large for the power-band that is desired, needless time will be wasted trying to spool-up the turbocharger.

By correctly choosing a turbocharger, for its use, response time can be improved to the point of being nearly instant. Many well-matched turbochargers can provide boost at cruising speeds. Modern practice is to use two small turbos rather than one larger one, see Sequential, Twin and Compound turbochargers below.

Centrifugal superchargers suffer from a form of turbo spool. Due to the fact that the impeller speed is directly proportional to the engine RPM, the pressure and flow output at low RPM is limited, thus it is possible for the demand to outweigh the supply and a vacuum is created until the impeller reaches its compression threshold. This is not a great problem for aero-engines that almost always operate in the top half of their power output, but it is not much help in a car.

There are also acts of combining both turbocharging, and a positive displacement supercharger (VW 1.4TSI). By compressing air first in the turbocharger, and feeding it to the supercharger. By running more compression in the turbocharger, efficiency is improved as superchargers are less efficient.

There is also another type of compound system called turbocompound, this system implements the turbine section of a turbocharger, it does not have a compressor instead it converts the energy from the exhaust into kinetic energy that is then used to add power to the crank shaft.

Still other combinations are possible—there are after-market kits for several supercharged cars to add a turbocharger either before, after or in parallel with the supercharger. In this manner the supercharger operates alone at lower RPMs and the turbo either takes over from—or adds to the supercharger once there is sufficient exhaust gas pressure available.

The downside of supercharging is that compressing the air increases its temperature. When a supercharger is used on an aircraft, manifold air temperature becomes a major limiting factor in engine performance, as extreme temperatures will cause pre-ignition and/or detonation of the fuel-air mixture and damage to the engine. This caused a problem at low altitudes, where the air is both denser and warmer than at high altitudes. Pilots were taught to watch their manifold pressure gauge and not push it past redline, yet the manifold pressure gauge ignores the effect of temperature on engine performance and life. Several solutions to this problem were developed: intercoolers and aftercoolers, anti-detonant injection, two-speed superchargers and two-stage superchargers.

Two-stage and two-speed superchargers

In the 1930s two-speed drives were developed for superchargers. These provided more flexibility for the operation of the aircraft although they also entailed more complexity of manufacturing and maintenance. The gears connected the supercharger to the engine using a system of hydraulic clutches which were manually engaged or disengaged by the pilot with a control in the cockpit. At low altitudes the low-speed gear would be used in order to keep the manifold temperatures low. At around 12,000 feet, when the throttle was full forward and the manifold pressure started to drop off, the pilot would retard the throttle and switch to the higher gear, then readjust the throttle to the desired manifold pressure.

Another way to accomplish the same level of control was the use of two compressors in series. After the air was compressed in the low pressure stage the air flowed through an intercooler radiator where it was cooled before being compressed again by the high pressure stage and then aftercooled in another heat exchanger. In these systems damper doors could be opened or closed by the pilot to bypass one stage as needed. Some systems had a cockpit control to open or close a damper to the intercooler/aftercooler, providing another way to control temperature. The most complex systems used a two-speed, two-stage system with both an intercooler and an aftercooler, but these were found to be prohibitively costly and complicated. Ultimately it was found that for most engines (excepting those in high-performance fighters) a single-stage two-speed setup was most suitable.

Comparison to turbocharging

It is interesting to compare all of this complexity to the same system implemented with a turbocharger. A supercharger inevitably requires some energy to be bled from the engine to drive the supercharger. On the single-stage single-speed supercharged Rolls Royce Merlin engine for instance, the supercharger uses up about 150 horsepower (110 kW). Yet the benefits outweigh the costs, for that 150 hp (110 kW) lost, the engine is delivering 1000 hp (750 kW) when it would otherwise deliver 750 hp (560 kW), a net improvement of 250 hp.

On the other hand, a turbocharger is driven using the exhaust gases. The amount of power in the gas is proportional to the difference between the exhaust pressure and air pressure, and this difference increases with altitude, allowing a turbocharger to compensate for changing altitude without added complexity. While the exhaust from a non-turbocharged engine can be used to provide additional thrust, a turbocharger is generally more adaptive than a supercharger; a supercharger is unable to passively adjust to changing altitude and fuel-air ratios.

Yet the vast majority of WWII engines used superchargers, because they maintained three significant manufacturing advantages over turbochargers, which were larger, involved extra piping, and required exotic high-temperature materials in the turbine. The size of the piping alone is a serious issue; consider that the Vought F4U and Republic P-47 used the same engine but the huge barrel-like fuselage of the latter was, in part, needed to hold the piping to and from the turbocharger in the rear of the plane.

Today, most general aviation aircraft are naturally aspirated. The small number of modern aviation piston engines designed to run at high altitudes generally use a turbocharger or turbo-normalizer system rather than a supercharger.

Effects of fuel octane rating

Prior to the opening of WWII, all automobile and aviation fuel was generally rated at 87 octane. This was the rating that was achieved by the simple distillation of "light crude" oil, and was therefore the cheapest possible fuel. Engines from around the world were designed to work with this grade of fuel, which set a limit to the amount of boosting that could be provided by the supercharger.

Research into "octane boosting" via additives was an ongoing line of research at the time. Using these techniques, less valuable crude could still supply large amounts of useful gasoline, which made it a valuable economic process. But the additives did not have to simply make poor quality oil into 87 octane gasoline; the same additives could also be used to boost the resulting gasoline to much higher octane ratings.

Higher octane fuel burns slower at the same temperature than low octane fuel, reducing the risk of detonation. As a result, the amount of boost supplied by the superchargers could be increased. In 1940 a batch of 100 octane fuel was delivered from the USA to the RAF. This allowed the boost on Merlin engines to be increased to 48 inHg (160 kPa) and the power to rise by more than 10% (from 1030 to 1160 hp, or 770 to 870 kW). By mid-1940 another increased boost yielded 1310 hp (980 kW). Supercharging by itself could not have achieved these improvements; however, when married with fuel improvements, the engine could respond to both. By the end of the war fuel was being delivered at a nominal 150 octane rating, on which the Merlin could reach about 1,700 hp and, with additional water injection, as high as 2000 hp.

In comparison the German oil industry had ready access to light crude from Romania and other European sources, and spent very little effort on octane boosting techniques. As a result their engines were all rated to use "B2" fuel at 87 octane, or the slightly higher 96 octane "C3". This limited the amount of boost they could use with their supercharger, which initially were of a higher level of development than their English counterparts. By 1941 the altitude advantage they had at the beginning of the war was erased, and as the war progressed their engines fell further and further behind. Their only solution was to build much larger engines, thereby constantly disrupting their assembly lines in order to introduce new models, leading to a chronic shortage of engines throughout the war.

The result was that late in WWII, British aircraft engines generally had higher critical altitudes than their German counterparts, which meant that British airplanes were generally abl
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Post by SvdM »

Hey Jetta2,

This post seems truncated at the end. Is there any more, or is it not all that relevant?
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Re: Truncated?

Post by Jetta2 »

SvdM wrote:Hey Jetta2,

This post seems truncated at the end. Is there any more, or is it not all that relevant?
Hi Schalk, yeah, I chopped the rest, was only info about airplane and ship motors after that :wink:
Ryan Demoser

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