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Turbocharger – Supercharger – They Both Squeeze Out More Power
What’s The Difference Between A Turbocharger And A Supercharger?
“Supercharger” is the generic term for an air compressor. Used to increase the pressure or density of air entering an engine. Providing more oxygen with which to burn fuel. The earliest superchargers were all driven by, power taken from the crankshaft. A turbocharger is simply a supercharger; that is powered instead by a turbine in the exhaust stream. That name was first shortened to turbocharger and then to turbo.
Which Is Better: Turbo- Or Supercharger?
Each can be used to increase power, fuel economy, or both, and each has pros and cons. Turbochargers capitalize on some of the “free” energy; that would otherwise be completely lost in the exhaust. Driving the turbine does increase exhaust backpressure. Which exerts some load on the engine. But, the net loss tends to be less by comparison with the direct mechanical load; that driving a supercharger involves. But, superchargers can provide their boost almost instantly; whereas turbochargers typically suffer some response lag. While the exhaust pressure required to spin the turbine builds.
Clearly a top-fuel dragster trying to run the quarter in four seconds; has no time to waste waiting for exhaust pressure to build; so they all use superchargers.
While vehicles tasked with boosting a company’s corporate average fuel economy (CAFE); can’t afford to squander precious horsepower on blowers. So, they mostly use turbos. But, with the rise of mild hybridization and 48-volt electrical systems; you can expect to see greater use of superchargers; driven by freely recuperated electricity stored during deceleration and braking.
How Do Turbos/Superchargers Save Gas?
So, One of the ways this happens is by reducing the pumping losses; that occur when a big-displacement engine is running; at five percent throttle or less; it must work hard to suck air past a mostly closed throttle. That same amount of power might require; a 20 percent throttle opening on the smaller engine; which results in less pumping work. Finally, This is why many newer cars don’t create enough vacuum to run many accessories.
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