What is the Difference Between a Supercharger and Turbocharger?

For years, I actually thought that a compressor and turbocharger or turbo was the same. Just different names from different car manufacturers, right? Actually, it's not really true.

A turbocharger is actually a form of supercharger. It is a gas compressor used for forced induction on an internal combustion engine (such as car engines). The purpose of a turbo is to create more power by increasing the density of the air entering the engine. The turbocharger has the compressor driven by a turbine driven by the engine exhaust outlet. This is different from a compressor operated by a mechanical unit.

Turbocharging is very common on diesel engines as they are very suitable for turbocharging. The specific power and weight ratio of a motor can be dramatically improved by turbocharging. Without this, these statistics are poor in non-turbocharged diesel engines.

Turbochargers used in gasoline engines of high-performance cars and diesel engines in transport. Small cars really benefit from a turbo because there is not much room to fit a large engine. Some car manufacturers have produced turbocharged cars for many years such as Volvo, Saab, Audi, Volkswagen and Subaru. Chrysler and Buick developed turbocharged engines in the 70s and 80s.

A compressor is an air compressor used for forced induction of an internal combustion engine. Superchargers are mechanically driven with belt, gear, shaft or chain connected to the engine crankshaft. Supercharger powered by an exhaust turbine is a turbocharger. The supercharger increases the power output of the engine by providing more oxygen to support combustion. The first supercharged cars were introduced in 1921 by Mercedes. Superchargers are used extensively by racing and production cars, ie expensive cars with high performance.

There are three different types of superchargers in vehicle use: centrifugal turbochargers powered by exhaust, centrifugal superchargers powered by the motor via a belt drive and positive displacement pumps. Positive displacement superchargers, in many applications, are less efficient than turbochargers, but for dragsters and vehicles used in tractor hauling, these superchargers are very common for their engine response and power.

The economy and power of a turbocharged engine is better than with superchargers. But the biggest advantage of a mechanically driven overloader is a better gas response and the possibility of reaching a complete overpressure pressure directly.

For both superchargers and turbochargers, and important part of the design is to keep the air entering the engine cool. The air compression raises its temperature so it is common to use an intercooler to reduce the air temperature between the pump and the engine.