What is a Turbocharger?

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So, what is turbocharger is a question that can easily come in people’s minds. A turbocharger is a turbine-driven induction device. It plays a significant role in enhancing the engine’s efficiency and power output. It stimulates extra air into the combustion chamber.


The improvement over the engine’s power output is only because of the fact that the compressor can force more air. The compressor can force proportionately more fuel into the combustion chamber than atmospheric pressure alone.

If we talk about naturally aspirated piston engines, intake gases are pushed into the engine due to atmospheric pressure. Such atmospheric pressure fills the volumetric void due to the downward stroke of the piston. Such a downstroke piston creates a low-pressure area). It is just like how the liquid is put into a syringe.

The main purpose of a turbocharger is to improve engine efficiency. It enhances its efficiency by increasing the density of the gas it intakes. Such intake gas is usually air. It, therefore, allows more power per engine cycle.


The compressors of turbocharger draw in ambient air and then compress it. It compresses at the time it enters into the intake manifold at increased pressure. This results in a greater mass of air enter the cylinder on each intake stroke. It requires immense power to spin the centrifugal compressor. Such power is derived from the kinetic energy of the engine exhaust gases.

Use of turbocharger

A turbocharger is useful in increasing fuel efficiency without increasing power. This is achievable by recovering waste energy in the exhaust and feeding it back into the engine intake. By using this technique, it becomes easier to ensure that fuel is burning before it is vented at the start of the exhaust stage.

Turbocharging operating principle

Turbo lag

Turbo lag is also known as turbocharger lag. It is a time that needs to change the power output against throttle change. It also observed as slowed throttle response in comparison with the naturally aspirated engine. The reason is the time you need for the exhaust system. And of course, the turbocharger generates the boost which also called spooling. The primary contributors to turbocharger lag are compressor load. If we consider superchargers, they do not suffer this problem. As and when the compressor powered by the engine, there is the elimination of the turbine.

Turbocharger lag is problematic in applications as it requires rapid changes in power output. Certainly, Engine designs diminish lag in a number of ways:

  1. Firstly, the change in turbine aspect ratio.
  2. Using an antilog system.
  3. Using multiple turbochargers in parallel.
  4. Decreasing the volume of the upper-deck piping.
  5. Using a variable nozzle or twin-scroll turbochargers.

Boost threshold

The boost threshold is the lower fix of the region within which the compressor operates. Below a certain rate, the compressor produces an insignificant boost. Further, with the advancement in technologies, a new turbocharger and engine developments reduce boost thresholds.

Under the new development electrical boosting known as e- boosting is a new technology. It uses an electric motor by which the speed of turbocharger becomes quicker than possible.

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