Need For Speed – a term originally coined for a car racing video game, has overtime been used in movies, race tracks and everything that can be made to go faster. More specifically when we talk about fast cars. ☺
Car speeds can be derived from a powerful engine or from additional boosters. The thought of having enormous power in a car besides the engine power has always attracted many people and that is why engine tuners have turned to ‘Forced Induction’.
Forced Induction is a process that pumps more air, which is sent to the combustion chamber for bigger combustion explosions. This ultimately results in the generation of extensive power.
So, how does an engine generate the kind of power that will fulfill your Need for Speed?
There are 2 ways that can get you the boost you need. These are TurboCharger and SuperCharger.
A Turbocharger is an air compressor driven by exhaust gases. On the other hand, a Supercharger is also an air compressor, but is driven by the crankshaft of the engine, usually connected with a belt. That’s one of the prime differences between the two. This also means that the supercharger takes the power from the engine to run whereas turbocharger runs off waste energy created by the engine.
Turbocharger is made of two major components that handles the entire function of the turbo. They are namely, Compressor and a Turbine that are mounted on a common shaft. Turbine is rotated by the exhaust gases of the engine, which in turn rotates the compressor. Due to high speed rotation enormous heat is generated in the middle section of the turbo. Water based cooling or some other form of cooling system is provided to prevent the temperature of the turbo from rising.
Both, the turbine and the compressor section are properly sealed in order to prevent the mixing of gases. The turbine section is equipped with a filter to ensure the air going to the compressor is free of any impurities.
Working of a Turbocharger
The turbine uses exhaust gases energy and convert it into rotational motion. This rotational motion drives the compressor that pulls in the ambient air from the surrounding and pumps compressed air with high density and pressure into the intake manifold.
It is no different from the Turbocharger as it is used to provide boost to the engine to add more horsepower.
However, the only difference is that is doesn’t take power from the exhaust gases but it takes power directly from the engine. It is connected to the engine through a belt that is responsible for rotating it.
Working of a Supercharger
The superchargers are powered by the engine which is connected with a belt drive that is mounted on the crankshaft. When the engine runs, the crankshaft rotates which in turn, rotates the belt drive that is connected to supercharger which then compresses this air and pressure it into the intake manifold just like the compressor section of the turbocharger.
TURBOCHARGER VS SUPERCHARGER
Turbocharger usually have a lag, as it takes time for engine to release the exhaust gases everytime the rpm is low. However, the Supercharger is run by engine itself there is notably no lag and you have instant power every time you rev the engine.
|Inactive at low revs or idle and thus doesn’t provide immediate boost||Provides immediate boost|
|Works with both big and small engines||Works best with bigger engines|
|Can spin up-to 250,000 rpm, as they are not mechanically linked to the engine||Can spin only up-to 50,000 as they are mechanically linked to the engine|
|Used to increase power and decrease emissions at the same time||Used to increase power only, emissions mostly always increase after an supercharger installation|
|They generally increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicle||They generally decrease the fuel efficiency of the vehicle|
|Complicated to install and expensive too||
Comparatively less complicated to install and cheaper too
|Will not last as long as superchargers||Will have greater life over turbochargers|
Image Credits: Tyler Hartle
There are many options and solutions to add that extra boost to your car, be it a Turbocharger or a Supercharger, but no matter what you choose, we urge you to always wear your seatbelt and drive responsibly.