Turbocharger and supercharger

Turbocharger & Supercharger


The turbocharger actively increases the air pressure supplied to an internal combustion engine using a compressor that is powered by the exhaust gases.

Fig: Turbocharger


The exhaust gases from the exhaust manifold come and hit the turbine which then rotates the shaft. At the other end of the shaft there is a compressor wheel connected which rotates at a very high rpm, the compressor wheel then compresses the fresh air and pushes it into the engine which increases the pressure. Along with the pressure the temperature also increases which decreases the density of the air. Decreasing the density will affect the mass of the air and we don’t want that to happen so we need to reduce the temperature by adding an air cooler into the system. The fresh air passes through the air cooler which cools down the compressed air from the turbocharger before it enters the intake manifold, increasing its density and further enhancing the engine’s power output.

turbocharger working
Fig: Turbocharger

One major drawback of a turbocharger is that when starting the engine there are less exhaust gases so can’t produce much power to rotate the turbine.


A supercharger is a device that increases air pressure supplied to an IC engine with a belt driven shaft mechanism.

Fig: Supercharger


A supercharger increases the amount of air entering an engine by compressing it before it enters the combustion chamber. A supercharger is driven by a belt connected to an engine’s crankshaft which rotates the blower attached to it through a shaft. When the blower rotates it draws in air and compresses it at a higher pressure which increases the temperature. To further optimize the performance, the fresh air goes through a cooler before entering the system increasing its density. This cooling process actively enhances the density of the air, allowing for a greater amount of oxygen-rich air to be supplied, leading to improved combustion and increased engine power output.

supercharger working
Fig: Supercharger

One major drawback of a supercharger is that 30-35% of its energy of the crankshaft is lost while rotating the shaft.

Why do we prefer a turbocharger over a supercharger on a ship?

In ships, turbochargers are generally preferred over superchargers because they are more efficient at providing the necessary boost to the engine. Turbochargers are powered by the exhaust gases from the engine which would otherwise be wasted, which are used to spin a turbine that compresses the incoming air before it enters the engine. This compressed air results in more fuel being burned during the combustion process, which in turn produces more power.

        Superchargers, on the other hand, are driven by a belt or chain that is connected to the engine’s crankshaft. This means that they require power from the engine to operate, which can reduce overall engine efficiency. This means that turbochargers are able to provide more compressed air to the engine for the same amount of energy input, leading to better fuel efficiency.

Difference between turbocharger and supercharger?

A turbocharger is driven by the engine’s exhaust gases.A supercharger is driven directly by the engine via a belt or chain.
Turbochargers are generally more efficient than superchargers because they use waste energy from the exhaust gases to drive the compressor.    2.While superchargers draw        power directly from the engine’s crankshaft, which can result in reduced efficiency
Turbochargers typically have some lag time while starting the engine due to lack of exhaust gas, which can result in a delay in power delivery.     3.  Superchargers, on the other hand, provide instant boost and response, as they are driven directly by the engine.


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