by Phil Kennedy, SprintAero.
As published in New Zealand Sport Flying Magazine Summer 2015 issue.
Unfortunately for those of us based in reality, the likes of “Knight Rider” and other silly TV programmes have given the public a very strange slant on what supercharging of any form really does for an engine.
The most common real-world reasons for wanting to use supercharging and turbo-supercharging are:
- Wanting to maintain standard power to a higher altitude: Known to us older guys as turbo normalisation, but I bet there’s a really cool TLA (three letter acronym) for that now. The plan is to keep the pressure at the intake valve the same as it would be if it was at sea level and didn’t have a turbo. The idea behind this is that we want to maintain the standard performance, without undue strain on the engine etc, up to a nominated altitude.
- Wanting more power: Taking the “more must be better” approach, this is for more horsepower down low and hopefully maintaining it when we get to those upper altitudes. Shortened takeoff runs, shorter time to climb numbers and SPEED. Grunt is what you are after and pushing more air into the cylinder is how you intend to get it!
- Wanting to silence the motor somewhat: If you choose to place a turbine in the exhaust pipe you will, by the very nature of the device, mash all the exhaust pulses together and then chop them up with the wheel. This is actually the only muffler in the world that improves the performance while it attempts to silence the barking exhaust.
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