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How a Turbo System Works

A turbocharger uses an engine's exhaust gas to drive a turbine wheel at speeds up to 280,000 rpm.The turbine wheel is connected by a shaft to a compressor wheel and the two wheels turn together to suck in and compress large amounts of ambient air. This air is very dense and very hot, so it is passed through a charge-air cooler, where it cools and gains even higher density before entering the engine. The presence of this compressed air makes the fuel burn more efficiently, thereby delivering greater power while consuming less energy. Increasingly, turbos are coupled with high pressure fuel injection systems, a combination that makes for even more thorough, efficient and cleaner combustion.


So how does a turbocharger get more air into the engine? Let us first look at the schematic below:


1- Compressor Inlet
2- Compressor Discharge
3- Charge air cooler (CAC)
4- Intake Valve
5- Exhaust Valve
6- Turbine Inlet
7-Turbine Discharge


The components that make up a typical turbocharger system are:

The air filter (not shown) through which ambient air passes before entering the compressor (1)The air is then compressed which raises the air's density (mass / unit volume) (2)Many turbocharged engines have a charge air cooler (aka intercooler) (3) that cools the compressed air to further increase its density and to increase resistance to detonationAfter passing through the intake manifold (4), the air enters the engine's cylinders, which contain a fixed volume. Since the air is at elevated density, each cylinder can draw in an increased mass flow rate of air. Higher air mass flow rate allows a higher fuel flow rate (with similar air/fuel ratio). Combusting more fuel results in more power being produced for a given size or displacementAfter the fuel is burned in the cylinder it is exhausted during the cylinder's exhaust stroke in to the exhaust manifold (5)The high temperature gas then continues on to the turbine (6). The turbine creates backpressure on the engine which means engine exhaust pressure is higher than atmospheric pressure A pressure and temperature drop occurs (expansion) across the turbine (7), which harnesses the exhaust gas' energy to provide the power necessary to drive the compressor


1 Ball Bearings (support and control the rotating group)
2 Oil Inlet
3 Turbine Housing (collects exhaust gases from the engine and directs it to the turbine wheel
4Turbine Wheel (converts exhaust energy into shaft power to drive the compressor)
5 Center Housing (supports the rotating group)
6 Oil Outlet
7 Compressor Housing (collects compressed air and directs it to the engine)
8 Compressor Wheel (pumps air into the engine)
9 Backplate (supports the compressor housing provides aero surface)