Essay on The Physics of Turbo Charging

Essay on The Physics of Turbo Charging

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The Physics of Turbo Charging

Turbo charging is one of the most efficient ways to make an engine preform better. They are very common on cars with smaller displacement engines and are even showing up on cars as a production item these days. As common as they are though, very few people truly know and why they work. They are fascinating even though they are fairly simple, or at least the principal behind them is simple.

To under stand how and why a turbo charger works one must first understand how the modern automobile engine works. These engines are known as four strokes, for one complete cycle there are four strokes of the piston. As the piston descends in the cylinder for the first time a mixture of gasoline and air is pulled into the cylinder through an open valve. As he piston moves back up in the cylinder the valve closes and the mixture is compressed in the combustion chamber. As the piston reaches the top of the cylinder a spark is fired from the spark plug. This spark ignites the mixture and it expands at a very fast rate. This explosion forces the piston down in the cylinder again. On the next rise the left over gasses are expelled through an open valve into the exhaust system. This is a fairly efficient process but has one major drawback. The engine can only pull so much air in on its own, and the more air and gas that is in the cylinder the more forceful the explosion will be.

This is where the turbo charger comes in. It was developed between 1909 and 1911 by Alfred J. Buchi. It was first used on aircraft during world war one. These engines worked on the same principal as the automobile engine, combusting a mixture of gasoline and air. One problem with the aircraft is that at high altitudes the air is thinne...

... middle of paper ...

...rformance of an engine. It can also increase the efficiency of an engine. Gases that are normally wasted are put to use making free horse power. Although turbo charging has its draw backs it is quite possibly the easiest and most cost efficient way to make an engine run better. With intercoolers, ball bearings, ceramic turbine blades, or sequential twin turbos chargers these problems can be almost eliminated.


1.Forced Induction. Pg 1. <>. 4/29/2003.

2.Physics A World View. Larry D. Kirkpatrick, Gerald F. Wheeler. Harcourt College Publishers. 2001. P174.

3. Turbo Chargers 101. Pg 3 of 4. 4/29/2003. <>

4.How Stuff Works. “How Turbochargers Work” pg 6 of 8. 4/29/2003. <>

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