The intercooler cools compressed air and heat exchanger Essay

Forced Induction

Forced induction is described as the delivery of air to the intake of the external combustion engine in a compressed form. The process, therefore, is used in vehicle engines and the aviation sector to boost power and efficiency. These engines have a pair of compressors, with another compressor that feeds the engine, which leads to forced induction. One of the compressors delivers pressure to the other, which adds strength in the entire system resulting in a “boost,” which is significant in aviation as it helps overcome atmospheric pressure. The higher the compression in an engine, the lower the amount of fuel since more useful energy is utilized. However, drivers do not have very high compression due to the release of octane, which causes a premature detonation, which poses a risk of damaging the engine. Fortunately, a naturally aspirated engine can reach detonation easily with forced induction because the released air gets cooled after compression by the intercooler. The intercooler cools the compressed air and works similarly as a heat exchanger.

Types of Compressors

Forced induction is commonly applied in turbochargers and superchargers. A turbocharger is driven by flowing exhaust gases where it utilizes hot exhaust air to rotate the turbine wheel at a high velocity, which is connected to an impeller inbuilt in the compressor. Superchargers, on the other hand, use different compressors, which are all driven through a belt drive.  These generate an instant throttle response, which is also determined on the type used.


Gottlieb Daimler pioneered the air blower technique with the use of a gear pump to force air into the combustion engine in the 19th century. The first engineer to come up with the turbo idea was Alfred Buchi working for a company called Sulzer in the 20th century, where he introduced a device to increase diesel engine power. Buchi’s patent had an exhaust-driven turbine and compressor attached on a shaft, which he completed in 1915. The focus of this engineer was on marine machines, especially for massive ships, which were next tested on airplanes. The prototype, however, had drawbacks, which rendered it unreliable, leading to another patent by French scientist Auguste Rateau, who made steam turbines in 1916. The German government later used the engine for Preussen and Hansestadt Danzig. After the successful use of the turbochargers, the technique was given to the manufacturing industries to produce automobiles and marine machinery. The turbochargers were then used during World War II until various individuals and companies decided to exploit the technique and come up with multiple innovations. In the 1950s, race cars were mainly equipped with turbos due to their ability to make the engine more powerful.

The turbocharger is attached to the exhaust of the engine. As a result, the exhaust released from the cylinders triggers rotation on the impeller. The turbine is, in turn, attached to the compressor used to pressurize air directed to the pistons. The higher the volume of exhaust passing through the blades, the faster they spin. The turbine shafts are firmly bolted to ensure they can handle a speed of up to 150,000 rpms. In between the cylinders is a bearing that harbors oil, which continually flows in the shafts for cooling and lubrication. Turbochargers exist in either large or small sizes. The small ones provide the boost quickly at lower engine velocity but might be overwhelmed when large volumes of air pass through the engine. Large capacity, on the other hand, generates substantial boosts at high engine speeds even when the amount of air is high, but experience turbo lags.

Turbochargers compress the air that flows into the engine into a cylinder, which increases its power. The process is made possible by an exhaust flow from the motor, which rotates the turbine, which then turns the air pump. These chargers enable the engine to burn more fuel and air, which gives a significant boost to the driver. The turbocharger depends on the capacity and speed of the spinning exhaust gases in the turbine wheel. The turbine-driven device boosts internal combustion in the engine, which is efficient. A turbocharger has the advantage of consuming less power from the engine. It also aids in high altitudes with denser air as standard engines encounter lower energies due to lesser volumes of air in the cylinders. Nonetheless, it has its cons, too, such as taking longer to spool up, a condition referred to as a turbo lag. This drawback can be solved by using a smaller turbo, which can spin faster and boost pressure to the engine, which technically reduces the inertia of the spinning parts by weight reduction, thus allowing both the turbine and the compressor to accelerate faster.


The history of superchargers is dated back to Gottlieb Daimler, a German engineer who obtained the patent of the first pump that helped in the delivery of multiplied volumes of air and fuel in the cylinder and also disposal of exhaust gases (Engine Basics, 2020). The supercharger was invented after a device initially called an “air-mover” patented by Francis Roots in the 19th century, which is the idea behind the modern root type supercharger. This model did not use compressors until another engineer, Krigar, invented a pump that used two rotating shafts. Later in 1908, American race cars used centrifugal superchargers installed by Lee Chadwick, which were now used in passenger cars in the 1930s. During World War II, superchargers were used in fighter planes and bombers. After the war in 1950, Paxton engineering began developing less expensive superchargers fit for the public, which have been going through a series of developments up to date (Hiereth & Prenninger, 2007).

Compared to turbochargers, superchargers have little or no lag time, which is a result of the ever-spinning compressors which use torque produced in the engine. Superchargers exist in three different types; root type, screw type, and centrifugal type, which all work differently with their pros and cons. A supercharger system has various components, such as mounting brackets, ignition controllers, and a fuel pump. The roots-type, also known as a “blower,” was formally designed to move air from industrial buildings. It paddles two spinning drums, which push air through an outlet in fixed volumes in each rotation, causing positive displacement. The model cannot flow backward, which means that it can move vast amounts of air, thus boosting the engine even when the RPMs are low, making it a perfect model for trucks (Engine basics, 2020). It is self-lubricated, making it cheaper compared to other types and also reliable. Additionally, it has the advantage of producing an equally proportional pressure to the engine pressure. Root-type superchargers, however, have a disadvantage of generating a lot of heat because they do not compress air.

A screw-type supercharger also uses positive displacement but is more complicated compared to a root-type because it has two screws that rotate towards each other, making it more efficient. Like a root-type, the spinning screws are tight, making it possible to boost even at low rpms, making it ideal for trucks (Engine basics, 2020). Screw-type superchargers have the advantage of compressing air, making them reliable and also do not wear out fast like the root parts, and they are also self-lubricated. The disadvantage in this type is that the twin screws with internal compression fail to boost the engine during deceleration unless a throttle body is placed before the compressor.

A centrifugal type is different from the root and twin-screw types because it has higher thermal efficiency and does not use positive displacement, making it more compact to use. It is a modern technology because it operates like a propeller, sucking air towards the center then pushing it rapidly through the blades, which creates a centrifugal force. Air passes through the scroll, which slows the airspeed, which in turn boosts pressure. This model has the advantage of reliability and simplicity because only a few parts move. It also produces little heat, and it is too small in size, which sucks in air in different directions. The disadvantage of this type is that it has to spin at high speed to generate a significant boost (Tripathi et al., 2019). In conjunction with this, most centrifugal types lack a self-lubricating system, which means they draw oil from the engine.

In conclusion, although the two compressors work differently, the technology behind the devices is the same since the turbocharger is technically a supercharger, one driven by the exhaust air. These two compressors use the forced induction system, which can overcome atmospheric pressure in the engine, thus giving it the required boost.


Reisenberger, C., & Morin, F. (2020). U.S. Patent No. 10,598,105. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Snyder, P. H. (2018). U.S. Patent Application No. 15/653,273.

Tripathi, S., Singh, S., Ahmad, K., & Thakur, A. (2019, April). Despite the Turbo-Lag, Turbochargers are preferred to Superchargers by the Manufacturers. In 2019 International Conference on Automation, Computational and Technology Management (ICACTM) (pp. 577-581). IEEE.

Finn, B., Brandenburg, B., Salley, J., & Patrawala, P. S. (2019). U.S. Patent No. 10,508,590. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Chen, H., Wagner, C. R., England, T. L., Anker, J. J., Kiester, G., & Bartlett, M. T. (2018). U.S. Patent No. 10,006,339. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Lee, W., Schubert, E., Li, Y., Li, S., Bobba, D., & Sarlioglu, B. (2016). Overview of electric turbocharger and supercharger for downsized internal combustion engines. IEEE Transactions on Transportation Electrification, 3(1), 36-47.

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