Anatomy of a Turbocharger: What’s Inside and How It Works

September 9, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

There are a few different ways to increase your engine’s performance. One of those ways is a turbocharge system. A turbocharge system uses a turbocharger to boost an engine’s power output.

But before deciding if you want a turbocharger for your vehicle, it would be helpful to know what it is, what’s in it and how it works. So if you’ve ever wondered, “How does a turbocharger work?” then this article is for you, because it will explain what’s inside a turbocharger and how it functions.

What is a turbocharger?

A turbocharger is a device that forces additional compressed air into an internal combustion engine’s combustion chamber. The turbocharger pumps significantly more air into the combustion chamber than a naturally-aspirated engine would.

This increase in air leads to a proportionate increase in fuel, and the overall power output of the engine increases. It’s frequently used in cars, trucks, trains, planes and construction equipment.

What’s inside a turbocharger?

There are three key parts to a turbocharger: the turbine, the compressor and the center housing. We’ll examine each part individually:

  • Turbine: The enthalpy and kinetic energy of the gas provide the necessary energy for the turbine to work. It uses that energy to power the compressor and nullify any friction it might encounter. The size and shape of the turbine can be customized for performance and efficiency optimization.
  • Compressor: Most compressors are centrifugal compressors. The compressor consists of a diffuser, an impeller and volute housing. The compressor sucks in air from the atmosphere and compresses it into air that has a higher pressure than the atmosphere. The air that’s been compressed is then routed directly into the engine.
  • Center housing: Between the compressor and the turbine there’s a bearing system that helps support the turbine-compressor shaft. This is known as the center housing rotating assembly (CHRA). Its purpose is to connect the compressor impeller and the turbine. Though usually composed of gray cast iron, the center housing can be made from aluminum as well.

How does a turbocharger work?

A turbocharge system has the goal of increasing the power of your car’s engine. A turbocharger facilitates this process by upping the amount of air and fuel that enters the engine’s cylinders. A turbocharger causes more exhaust to pass over its turbine blades, which causes them to spin faster.

The compressor, located opposite the turbine, then shoots air into the cylinders, using centrifugal force. The turbine shaft in the middle is specially designed to withstand significant revolutions per minute (RPM) and uses a fluid bearing. This bearing is constantly surrounded by a layer of oil that serves the dual purpose of lubricating the turbine shaft and preventing the shaft and other turbocharger components from overheating. You should expect a 30 to 40 percent increase in engine performance if you implement a turbocharger.

Call for your turbocharger today

Now you’ll no longer have to ask yourself, “How does a turbocharger work?” If you do have further questions about a turbocharger, or if you want to have one installed, give us a call at Coastal Diesel Injection. We’re the experts when it comes to diesel engine repair and maintenance, and we’d be happy to help with any of your car, truck, bus, boat or tractor’s diesel engine needs.

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