What Does a Supercharger Do and How It Functions


People have been always searching for how to speed up existing engines. Creating a big and powerful engine could be a way out but such a unit is doomed to be heavy and expensive. Another decision is to provide more air. This is a bright idea and it can be achieved by the means of a supercharger.

What Is a Supercharger

Supercharger is responsible for pressurizing air to above atmospheric pressure. To be honest, turbocharger is an unofficial name of turbosupercharger. It’s just a shorter version which is easier to pronounce. Still, there’s some difference between them. Turbocharger gets power from the mass flow of gasses exhausted when a turbine is driven. A supercharger absorbs power in a mechanical way. It needs belt drive from the crankshaft of an engine.

How a Supercharger Works

If we consider an engine with four strokes, it uses one stroke for an air intake. First, a piston goes down which creates a vacuum. Then combustion chamber is getting filled with atmospheric pressure. After that, the fuel is getting combined with air. This is how a charge is formed. The potential energy which will become kinetic is called combustion. This is a chemical reaction which is produced by spark plug igniting a charge. Fuel meets oxidation which results in a powerful release of energy. This explosion leads to a pistol moving down creating a reciprocating motion which is sent to a vehicle’s wheels.

Why not fill the engine with more fuel? A bad idea indeed. To burn fuel you need the right amount of air. It’s a precise chemical mixture which should stay proportional. Want more fuel? Find enough air.

A supercharger is responsible for this process. It can bring more air in without creating a vacuum. Thus, the boost inside of the engine is getting increased. As a result, the charge has more air too and the engine is more powerful. At average engine becomes 46 percent more powerful in terms of horsepower and 31 percent more powerful in terms of torque. In the case with high-performance engines with low-density air, supercharger helps provides the air of a higher density.

A turbocharger absorbs power by the means of a crankshaft. In most cases, they include accessory belts wrapped around a pulley. It is connected with drive gear which rotates compressor gear. For air pressurizing purposes a supercharger needs to work much faster than an engine.

When air is compressed it is extremely hot. So it’s density is extremely low. As a result, it can’t expand that well and can’t provide enough energy. There’s an intercooler which helps to cool the air. So when a hot air reaches a supercharger it meets an intercooler.

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