Elara Cracks Open a Turbocharger

Elara Cracks Open a Turbocharger

If you know how a jet engine works, you’re halfway to understanding a car’s turbocharger. A jet engine sucks in cold air at the front, squeezes it into a chamber where it burns with fuel, and then blasts hot air out of the back. As the hot air leaves, it roars past a turbine that drives the compressor at the front of the engine. The turbocharger on a car applies a very similar principle. It uses the exhaust gas to drive a turbine. This spins an air compressor that pushes extra air into the cylinders, allowing them to burn more fuel each second.

A turbocharger is effectively two little air fans (also called impellers or gas pumps) sitting on the same metal shaft so that both spin around together. One of these fans, called the turbine, sits in the exhaust stream from the cylinders. As the cylinders blow hot gas past the fan blades, they rotate and the shaft they’re connected rotates as well. The second fan is called the compressor and, since it’s sitting on the same shaft as the turbine, it spins too.

But instead of drawing diagrams, making the customer read specs, or showing pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, how about an animation?

Ah. Much better.

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