Very simply, a turbocharger is a kind of air pump taking air at ambient pressures (atmospheric pressure), compressing to a higher pressure and passing the compressed air into the engine via the inlet valves. For cars and vans, generally, turbos have been more commonly used on diesel engines as a way of boosting performance but, to meet ever-tightening emissions control, there is now a move towards the turbocharging of production petrol engines.




As all engines are dependent on air and fuel we know that increases in these elements within set limits will increase power from the engine, but if we increase the fuel we must be capable of burning off all of it or the mixture becomes too rich which can have various issues. Likewise, too much air is known as running too lean and can be quite destructive.

To meet our requirements for power, this requires air; putting in more air presents far more problems than putting in more fuel. Air is around us all the time and is under pressure, (at sea level this pressure is about 15 p.s.i.) and it is this, when combined with the induction stroke of the engine, forces air into the cylinders. To increase the airflow further, an air pump (turbocharger) is fitted and compressed air is blown into the engine. This air mixes with the injected fuel allowing the fuel to burn more efficiently so increasing the power output of the engine.

One other side of turbocharging, which may be of interest, is an engine which works regularly at high altitudes, where the air is less dense and where turbocharging can restore some of the lost power caused by the drop in air pressure. An engine's power at 8,000 feet is only 75% of its power at sea level.



Instead of escaping through the exhaust pipe, hot gases produced during combustion flow to the turbocharger. The cylinders inside an internal combustion engine fire in sequence (not all at once), so exhaust exits the combustion chamber in irregular pulses. Conventional single-scroll turbochargers route those irregular pulses of exhaust into the turbine in a way that causes them to collide and interfere with one another, reducing the strength of the flow. In contrast, a twin-scroll turbocharger gathers exhaust from pairs of cylinders in alternating sequence.



The exhaust strikes the turbine blades, spinning them at up to 150,000 rpm. The alternating pulses of exhaust help eliminate turbo lag.



Having served their purpose, exhaust gases flow through an outlet to the catalytic converter, where they are scrubbed of carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and other pollutants before exiting through the tailpipe.



Meanwhile, the turbine powers an air compressor, which gathers cold, clean air from a vent and compresses it to 30% above atmospheric pressure, or nearly 19 pounds per square inch. Dense, oxygen-rich air flows to the combustion chamber. The additional oxygen makes it possible for the engine to burn gasoline more completely, generating more performance from a smaller engine. As a result, engines can generate 30% more power than a non-turbocharged one of the same size. 



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