Turbos: How They Work | Science Garage


It means power, speed and… (imitates engine) (electronic music) To understand turbos, you have to know the basics
of how an engine works. Think of an engine like a very large pump. It sucks air and fuel into a cylinder, compresses and combusts it before pumping out all the goodies that
people like to get angry about. (coughs) To get more power from an engine, we need to burn more fuel, more quickly. Getting fuel is usually as
simple as turning the tap up, but unless there’s also more air, that extra fuel is useless. A cylinder is limited in
how much air it can breath, by it’s size or displacement. Historically, when engine makers wanted more air to mix with their fuel, they needed a bigger cylinder. There was no replacement for displacement. This made engines larger, heavier, and often times slower to rev. Then in 1905, a Swiss
engineer named Alfred Buchi, came up with a replacement
for displacement, when he used the exhaust
gasses of an engine, to power a compressor that then fed denser air into the combustion chamber. More air, meant more fuel
could burn, and get more boom. Turbos were quickly adopted
by the aeronautical industry. When you’re 20,000 feet up, the
air is almost half as dense, and engines would lose as
much as half of their power. – [Narrator] 400 horsepower at sea level. But moving up to 14,000
feet, it drops to 265. – A turbo restored air
pressure in the engine, back to sea level pressure. This is called turbo normalizing. When a turbo is used to
exceed that pressure, that’s called turbo charging. So how does all this crap work? This is a turbo. As your engine expels exhaust
gasses, they enter in here. The exhaust air gets
piped over this turbine, and spins it like a pinwheel. Now we’re done with the exhaust, and it gets shot out the back of your car. The turbine is connected to this impeller, on the other side of the turbo. And it spins too. As it spins, it sucks in a
ton of air through this inlet, and shoots it out this outlet
into your intake manifold. The air is now more dense,
so it has more oxygen, so it can burn more gas more quickly, giving you more power. To keep that charged air from
going back into the turbo, when you lift off the throttle, a blow off valve relieves the pressure, by letting the air go
back into the atmosphere. That’s why you get that cool… (imitating valve release) – I like V8s. (laughing) – Turbo charging creates a lot of heat. The turbine side constantly has blazing exhaust gasses passing through it, making it literally burn red hot. You may have noticed that this side, which is appropriately referred to as the hot side of a
turbo, often looks rusty. That’s because the extreme
heat acts as a catalyst, causing the metal to oxidize more quickly. This side, also generates heat. When you compress air, you push the molecules closer
together, and create friction, when they all rub up against each other. All these hot energized molecules, they move around everywhere,
and then they increase the speed of the air, and
that makes them lose density. The whole point of forced induction is to get denser air, right? Well if we cool all of this
hot turbo charged air off, the molecules will cool down, sit closer together and
become even more dense. There are a few ways to do this. The most popular and simple
way, is with an intercooler. An intercooler sits between
the turbo and the engine. The air passes through
channels with cooling fins. The cool air from outside
passes over the fins, absorbs the heat, and
reduces the temperature. And if your Suburu’s
got a hole in the hood, don’t worry, that’s for your intercooler. (slow piano music) So, now we know that a turbo
charger is an air compressor. So if you want more power, why not just get the
biggest turbo you can find? Well it’s not that easy. If a turbo’s too big it takes a long time for the exhaust to get
it spinning fast enough, to compress the air. The time between hitting the gas, and feeling the boost, is called lag. Engineers solved this problem
by using two smaller turbos, to push more air than one large one. While we think of twin turbos
as a their own category, there’s actually multiple ways
to put two turbo chargers, on an engine. Parallel turbo charging, sequential turbo charging, and to a lesser extent,
two stage turbo charging. The first commercially
available twin turbo car, to put these ideas to the test, was the Maserati Biturbo sold in 1981. This first production attempt
at twin turbo charging, used the simplest method of applying two turbos to an engine. Parallel turbocharging. As long as there’s enough
space in the engine bay, using two turbos is actually
easier than using one, when an engine has two banks of cylinders, such as a V shaped engine. Each bank can have its own turbo, rather than routing all of the
cylinders into a single one. Achieving the proper power
balance between the two banks, proved to be a challenge. In early twin turbo cars
like the Nissan 300ZX, and Mitsubishi 3000GT, designers found, that the
easiest way to get it right, was to have each turbo feed
the opposite cylinder bank, instead of the one it was closest to. This formed a healthy feedback
loop that automatically balanced the power between the two banks. Crossing the V solved one problem, but it created another one. The turbos would spool quickly,
but now the charged air, had to travel further before
it reached the engine, creating a new kind of lag. Dang, just when you think you got it! If only there was a way to have the quick spool time of a small turbo, the power of a big one, and get that air to the dang engine toot sweet. (phone rings) Yes? – What about sequential turbo chargers? – Sequential turbos, thanks James. I’ll see you tomorrow at work? Why not? Well parallel turbo charging, uses two equally sized turbos,
working 100% of the time. Sequential systems use a little turbo that spools up quickly to tide you over, until another larger turbo,
has time to spool up. This method alleviates turbo lag, and provides a much smoother power gain. To control the flow of
exhaust to the correct turbo at the right rev range,
a series of bypass valves opens and closes at just the right moment, ensuring the proper
turbo is getting spooled at the proper time. Both the Mark 4 Supra, and FDRX7, use sequential twin turbo systems. Those cars ruled the 90s. Just like me dude. (rhythmic music) Turbo charging, is the perfect example of
performance technology, trickling down to the rest of the market. The 80s and 90s paved the way
for modern turbo charging. And now, almost anything
can come with a turbo. And that means, sometimes normal drivers, can have a little fun when they want to. Do you like videos about air and gas? Check out this other
episode on combustion. Or check out Pumphrey’s new car show, where he drives the Mazda
sparkless petrol engine prototype. Hit that subscribe button. The more subscribers we get, the more cool stuff we get to do. Tell your teachers that if they
show this in the classroom, I’ll give them extra credit. Don’t tell my wife I work here.

100 thoughts on “Turbos: How They Work | Science Garage

  1. only if you could add that turbo to the wifey so she could cook faster n run her mouth less 🤔

  2. App kay tamam masalay picclay 1 saal say bahut halkay banraha ho gai hain

  3. When you said "This is a turbo" I just wanted to pull a pic up of one of the 4 turbos on one of our railway locos and say, "no, THIS is a turbo"

  4. when you look at the complexity of an ICE then you look at a simple electrical motor that basically can do more with less.. i figure how spoiled and corrupt these car manufacturers are for not even entertaining the idea of making EVs. they knew once EVs are mainstream no one will buy their shit anymore

  5. Turbo are shit engine! Only engine that are good are mpi engine! All the rest are shit! Increase presure!!! Increase temp!!!! Engine broken!!!!! This is the auto shit eater tallet!!!!!!

  6. A turbo-Charger is a Jet Engine with an Internal Combustion Engine in the Middle

  7. You forgot to mention super chargers that spin up with a pulley drive (like your water pump). This has no lag, but then it doesn't get as fast at highway speeds.

  8. So many low key questions I’ve had for yeeeeaaars are now being answered by you guys.😀

  9. So what your saying is I should put two turbos in my Sierra 2500hd 6.0 with a cold air intake and an upgraded exhaust?

  10. Why not film in a garage or a workshop not a kitchen lol😂 im just saying

  11. Just stumbled across this vid by accident, and it may be what I need. This vid showed me a lot I didn't know about superchargers (not hard). I wish more of my professors could have presented the way you do.
    We have a 2005 Lexus ES 330 (3.3 L, V-6, OEM turbo, 225 hp @ 5600 rpm, 240/56 ft-lbs torque @ 3600 rpm torque, that almost killed me. I was stopped at a 90° 4-way stop, with no room to maneuver. I was almost T-boned by a semi speeding downhill. I floored it. The engine remained @ idle, with no change in engine sound; it went precisely nowhere. For reasons passing understanding, we missed each other. My only evasive maneuver was a VERY slow creep forward. Every Lexus dealer anywhere near Seattle later told me either ,"that's just the way they are," or, "there's nothing wrong with it." The Lexus Club website had some folks talking about "the well-known problem with severe turbo lag," but made no mention of a throttle kick or 2-step bypass. One guy even talked about putting something under the accelerator. I think your riff sounds more reasonable than any of those I've heard so far. I am just astonished that none of the Lexus guys admitted to ever having heard of this problem before. I got the distinct feeling with more than one of them that butter would not melt in his mouth. Can't think why.
    Any ideas float to the surface? Do I put another booster (supercharger?) in series with this one? Take this one out? Is a connection severed, or air/fuel passage obstructed? I live in Seattle. I am now readying myself to push it (or drive it) into Puget Sound. You think I should ask Scotty Kilmer if he will sell me his 1994 Celica, or a spare Matrix?
    Thanks very much. I got to go – I have some vids to catch up on, and will check where you might leave any answers to questions like mine.
    Mel Shelton
    (206) 407-9884
    [email protected]

  12. College would of been awesome learning cars from this guy, honestly these vids are hilarious. 😂😂

  13. Let's hear it for the municipal waste t shirt guy. Municipal waste is gunna fuck you up!
    Good in formation and presented and explained very well! Good job guys 👍

  14. Bro my mind was blown when I finally understood what he was saying

  15. For city driving like most of us do, superchargers make more sense. But turbos are so much more fun!

  16. Is there any difference between diesel turbo and gas turbos or do they work in the same way.

  17. there's like 5 cuts in one sentence. I'm wondering who's making him laugh lol

  18. Please someone turbonormalize my Echo 2004 to same as sea level cuz currently it sucks

  19. Anyone else. distracted by the. number of cuts. in this. video. how many. takes does. it take to get. it right?

  20. 3:57 there is a way to kill lag by spinnin’ the turbo electronically although it might take a tall on the battery
    Look up on top gears review on the Mercedes Benz Amg 1

  21. why wouldn't keeping the gas in the system (no blow off, but with a check valve to keep it from going back) make for less time to spool? Would the air get too hot?

  22. I have an engine from a ford pinto in my ‘66 bug and all my friends say I should put a turbo on it.

  23. my question is when and atmosphere is moist then does the moisture (water vapour) become water again in the compressor cooler and does the water block the compression chamber in the durings trokes does the water in the engine create hydro block just you moist ( water vapour, in rainy season) in Air by turbos ???

  24. Who else wants to get into tuning but doesn't know jack crap about the inside of cars so now your watching this to learn

  25. Can you make a cool video like this about Variable Geometry Turbos and Twin scroll turbos

  26. You taught me more about my engine in 7 minutes than I learned in a year in automotive shop.

  27. Well done sir right amount of knowledge mixed with some humor Perfect combo for learning this is the first time I've ever posted a comment and it went to you dude so whatever that means

  28. I have a 2011 Chevy Cruze 1.4L ecotec turbocharge. Would it have an intercooler or is this something you need to add on to your car?

  29. If the turbo sacrifices miles per gallon for power, does this make the car have more power in a short amount of time? Please correct me if I am wrong.

  30. 612 thumbs down on this video? they must be Justin Bieber or Floyd GayNigger fans.

  31. great video👍👍👍
    i have a question, is having a turbo makes your engine life shorter?

  32. everyone loves turbos 😀
    https://strefa.biz/motoryzacja/kolo-dwumasowe-co-to-jest-i-do-czego-sluzy/

  33. Omg… the Supra Mk 4 & FD RX-7
    Who didnt drive one of these in Gran Turismo & dream of driving one irl

  34. All the Americans here like” what are turbo’s? How do they work?? You stupid thick cunts

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