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Turbochargers and Superchargers

Looking across the broad scope of automotive design and engineering, it becomes clear that since the advent of the automobile almost a century ago, the combustion engine has been the principle means of generating power. Although marked improvements have been made to the internal combustion engine over the course of the last several decades, the most significant has been the introduction of turbochargers and superchargers. Capable of increasing the horsepower of the combustion engine without substantially increasing the weight of the engine, turbochargers and superchargers have revolutionized the way that basic mechanics and automotive engineering is conceptualized and developed.

Turbochargers and Superchargers

With the realization that turbochargers and superchargers have changed the dynamics of automotive engineering, this investigation considers a broad overview of these devices. Material design issues, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, heat transfer, pollution and emissions and combustion chemistry of turbochargers and supercharges will be examined with the ultimate goal of drawing some conclusions about how to improve the overall functionality of these machines. By examining these specific issues, it will also be possible to garner a more comprehensive understanding of these machines and the benefits and drawbacks of their use overall.

Turbochargers and Superchargers—An Overview

Although there are specific issues with regard to turbochargers and superchargers that need to be considered within the context of this investigation, a basic overview of the structure, function and design of these machines is first warranted. Examining the basic function of both turbo- and superchargers, researchers have noted that the systems are designed to work through forced induction systems. The premise of this system is that by forcing more air into the engine cylinder, more fuel can be forced in the cylinder as well. Each explosion of the cylinder thus produces more power because of the increased air and fuel.

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