What is a Supercharger in Cars?
While increasing the pitch of your car, you might have noticed a whining sound. It happens when the supercharger tries to increase the horsepower by using more air in the cylinders. The whining sound indicates the combustion of more fuel.
Let’s learn about superchargers in detail in the following sections.
What is a Supercharger in Cars?
Superchargers are a part of the piston engine responsible for pumping the pressurised air inside the intake manifold. For this, the superchargers have an air compressor. However, nowadays, instead of mechanical, electronic air compressors are more in use and are seen to be bolted over the engine.
The superchargers include an accessory belt connected to the engine's crankshaft to draw power and provide a spontaneous response.
How do Superchargers Work?
Discussed below is the working mechanism of superchargers.
- A supercharger's working principle is to increase an engine's power and torque. First, the internal combustion engine present sucks air and subsequently makes room for it to get compressed inside a cylinder.
- After the compression, the fuel and air mixture is ignited by that engine.
- Now, before it sends energy, a power stroke is generated. So, if you need more power from your engine, you could use a forced induction system like a supercharger rather than going for a larger engine.
- A supercharged engine allows air to enter through every entry point and compresses it to increase the air density and pressure. This results in the requirement for more air and more fuel burning, which is indicated by a great performance.
What is the Purpose of a Supercharging Engine?
As to the concept, superchargers increase the power of your engine and have the following objectives:
- It has to increase the output for a definite amount of weight and bulk, like that of marine engines and aircraft engines.
- Generally, the engines that are used at high altitudes face power loss. So, in that situation, the superchargers rescue the engines by compensating for the power loss that occurs due to the altitude.
- Lastly, it also focuses on obtaining more and more power from your vehicle's engine.
What are the Types of Superchargers?
Basically, 4 different types of superchargers are commonly used in engines:
- Roots Supercharger: This type is the oldest in the category, where a pair of rotors is used to suck in air and send it to the interiors. Hence, the intake manifold gets pressurised between the engine and the supercharger.
- Twin-Screw Supercharger: Twin-Screw supercharger looks similar to that of the roots supercharger. In this, the air that is sucked in is not compressed in the intake port. Rather, it is done inside the supercharger housing. The air is compressed between the interwoven screws.
- Centrifugal Supercharger: This design contains an impeller fan to draw in the air into the intercooler, or it may directly enter the engine. Centrifugal superchargers are very easy to pack in aftermarket installations.
- Electric Supercharger: Electric superchargers are the latest arrivals in the category of superchargers. They are similar to centrifugal superchargers, but the latter uses an electric motor to pressure the air. It is not very common and is seen in very few of the 48-volt hybrid systems.
What are the Advantages of Superchargers?
Some of the key benefits of superchargers are mentioned below:
- Lags are not seen: The engine crankshaft is responsible for driving a supercharger. So there is no lag and power delivery occurs constantly.
- Horsepower is increased significantly: Superchargers are mainly known to increase horsepower and boost the power of any engine. Therefore, superchargers work amazingly when we talk about increasing an engine's horsepower.
- RPM boost is relatively low: RPM talks about rotations per minute, so the most efficient engines at lower rpm will work the best with superchargers. However, superchargers put a little bit of extra strain on your engine.
- They are cheaper: Superchargers are much cheaper than turbochargers, which is why it is a very economical way to increase the engine's power.
What are the Disadvantages of Superchargers?
Highlighted below are a few drawbacks of superchargers:
- Not very efficient: Unlike turbos, superchargers use engine power to drive them. Their basic principle is to use and degrade engine power simply to generate even more engine power.
- Not reliable: The engines may be significantly affected due to the exposure to high pressure and temperature in the forced induction systems. This results in a reduction of the engine’s life.
Despite being old-fashioned, superchargers prove to be a very effective way to increase the capacity of the engines. The power increases vary from 50% to 100%, making the engines perfect for racing or carrying heavy loads. Driving cars with superchargers adds more excitement to your driving experience.