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## Supercharger Calculators Explained

Supercharger Calculator Basics…

Supercharger calculators are based on several fundamental equations that govern performance and the physical laws that govern superchargers. At the very heart of the matter, superchargers operate on the ideal gas law where PV = NRT pressure x volume = number of gas molecules X a constant X temperature. What superchargers do is, they force the air into the engine and supply it with more air molecules. As the supercharger blows more air into the engine inlet, this air is forced into the engine, the engine normally breathing under its own device. The effect of this ‘forced induction’ can be seen and measured in one of two aspects: pressure or temperature. In an ideal world, with a supercharger with perfect adiabatic efficiency, we could supply twice as many molecules of air (to double the horsepower figure) to the engine by doubling the inlet air pressure (2.0 atmospheres, or what we call 15 pounds). per square inch (PSI) of boost). In the real world, superchargers are not 100% efficient, and so it is possible that doubling the inlet boost pressure gives you double the horsepower for the following reasons:

P*V=n*R*T Pressure increases by a factor of 2 is fixed Number of gas molecules increases by 80% (or by a factor of 1.8) Temperature increases by 11% (or by a factor of 1.11) If we look at our equation above, we can see: 2*P*V = 1.8*N*R* 1.11T This equation is balanced as 2.0X1 = 1.8 * 1.11 (the pressure increase is equal to the combined effect of the increase in airflow. and the increase in temperature).

From here, we can also see that even at the same ‘boost’ level, a more efficient supercharger can make more horsepower because more of the supercharger’s energy is translated into compression and airflow instead of thermal expansion… So, how do we make these equations ‘actual’ in terms of horsepower and boost? Bring to the world? Let’s start with the 2.0 liter (volume), 140hp (air molecules) engine. Say we’re aiming for 280 horsepower. Our flow ratio will correspond to our current horsepower ratio to our target horsepower….Density Ratio = 280/140 = 2.0 Density = Mass / Volume And since the engine volume is fixed at 2.0 liters, we need 2.0 times the mass of air to fit into the same volume. This means that we have to fit twice as many air molecules into the engine. Now let’s assume you have a supercharger that is 70% efficient. This means that to reach a density ratio of 2.0, we need a pressure ratio of: P = 2.0 / 0.70 = 2.85 A pressure ratio of 2.85 is equivalent to 27 psi. Looking at temperature rise instead… then T2/T1 = pressure ratio / density ratio so supercharger outlet temperature T2 = pressure ratio (P) / density ratio * T1 (where temperature is in degrees Kelvin).

Assuming an inlet temperature of 80*F, we find that the supercharger outlet temperature is T2 = 309*F. Something to think about here is the intercooler or aftercooler….after coolers are the radiators that remove heat from the compressed air. Releases the supercharger. An ideal intercooler dramatically cools the air temperature without severely obstructing the airflow path and thus with minimal pressure drop. An intercooler increases horsepower in three ways:

1 – By cooling the air charge, the density ratio of the mixture increases with the same pressure ratio.

2 – The final temperature of the air-fuel mixture entering the engine is reduced, which gives a more energy efficient combustion process (because the output power of the combustion process is directly proportional to the difference between the intake mixture temperature and the exhaust mixture temperature).

3 – Lowering the final octane requirement of the mixture allows us to add more timing advance or more boost pressure and make more horsepower at the same octane limit.

With a good intercooler, we can reduce the air intake charge temperature to within 30 degrees of the ambient air temperature. At the same time, the intercooler will only have a 0.5 to 1.0 psi pressure drop. With these numbers in mind, the combination of a supercharger with an efficient intercooler gives us a system that has adiabatic efficiency very close to 100% and means that we can make twice the horsepower of our original engine at 18psi. boost (instead of 27 without an intercooler, and 15 for the ‘ideal’ supercharger) if you care to know the math behind this scenario.

Once you have your pressure ratio, your density ratio, your intercooler outlet temperature, and your total horsepower and flow numbers, most supercharger calculators can give you more detailed specifications for your car’s buildup (such as exact supercharger gearing numbers and required intake). and exhaust dimensions, as well as fuel pressure or fuel flow upgrade requirements). But at the heart of any supercharged or turbocharged vehicle, PV = nRT will always be true. This is very good information to know, as many people have decided to use and sell water evacuation pumps used on boats as ‘electric’ superchargers for small displacement engines. Attaching a boost gauge to the inlet of any of these ‘electrically supercharged’ engines has shown many times that these bilge pumps have no measurable ability to raise the boost pressure of the inlet mixture or stop the flow. . Pressure (as we mentioned before) is not the only indication of forced induction… but no pressure boost at all, which means that the efficiency of an ‘electric’ supercharger is 0%, meaning that it only heats the inlet air and exhausts excess air. Flow will not appear.

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