29 Sep Terminology Explained – Turbocharger
Pull quote: “General figures would indicate that a turbocharged engine gives a further 35 percent increase in power over a naturally-aspirated engine”
It’s something we’ve all heard of, some of us used, and most find themselves unable to afford the insurance ramifications. A turbocharger is widely known as an application beneath the bonnet that greatly increases a cars performance, but just how exactly does it work?
A bit of history first folks: In 1905 the first Turbocharger ever made was invented by a Swiss born engineer under the name of Alfred Buchi. Buchi applied the turbocharger initially to diesel ships in the early 1920′s, which then eventually made its debut to the automotive industry shortly after.
For those who don’t know, engines operate on an air/fuel mixture basis, breathing air in and using fuel to create energy; in turn running the engine and its internal parts that operate the driveshaft and wheels.
A turbocharger operates by drawing in an increased amount of air, at a much faster rate allowing a quicker air/fuel mixture ratio. A turbo powered car may be recognisable by a badge placed to the rear boot, for example a TDI (Turbo Diesel Injection) or newly introduced TSI (Twincharger Supercharged Injection) from VW.
Now over to the tech spec side of things, non-mechanically minded people look away! Inside the turbocharger are a compressor and turbine linked together by a shared axis. The turbine inlet receives exhaust gases through the engine exhaust manifold, allowing the turbine wheel to turn around. With the turbine now turning, this then drives the compressor, compressing ambient air and sending it straight to the air intake of the engine. With the air compressed, this allows for the engine to take in a far greater amount of air than normal, thus meaning that with more air added, more fuel can be used too.
It’s said that most turbochargers take in 50 percent more air over a standard engine. The typical boost made by a turbo is in around 6 to 8 pounds per square inch. General figures would indicate that a turbocharged engine gives a further 35 percent increase in power over a naturally-aspirated engine, which in lehmans terms means greatly improved performance!
Turbochargers in recent years have become a feature associated only to larger high performance cars, however in 2006 Volkswagen stepped to fore by unveiling the all new Golf 1.4TSI engine. Despite being small capacity with a mere 1400cc’s, these impressive new engines can blast out in excess of 165bhp, however not only is the TSI engine turbocharged, but supercharged too! The engine has been fitted to the new Golf GT and Sport, boasting performance of 0-100kph in less than 8 seconds. And for the cost conscious among you, its extremely fuel friendly too, doing well in advance of 38MPG! The innovative TSI engine technology is now available in the Golf GT and Sport along with the Golf Plus, Touran SE and Jetta.