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10 Things You Didn’t Know about Superchargers

10 Things You Didn’t Know about Superchargers

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 4th May 2012

supercharger-facts

1. The famous scene in the Mad Max film where he switches on the supercharger is commonly said to be unrealistic, but some cars have an electromagnetic supercharger clutch, which means it’s possible fit a switch that would enable you to turn them on and off.

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2. Although we’ve never seen one on a car, as far back as World War 2 there were superchargers with two or three gears. This enabled boost to be adjusted at the flick of a switch. Clever eh?

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3. Superchargers are certainly not the preserve of cars. They are fitted to almost everything, including many planes, trains and boats – we’ve even seen some supercharged lawnmowers!
supercharger-facts4. Not all superchargers are big. ProCharger make the A1, a tiny centrifugal supercharger for things like quad bikes with a maximum power output of 150bhp.
supercharger-facts

5. Despite it being known as older technology, the supercharger was invented just five years before the turbo.

supercharger-facts6. The supercharger is often known as a ‘blower’. This is due to the fact it was first invented in 1860 as a device to blow fresh air down mineshafts.

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7. Supercharged diesels are not commonplace, but all diesel 2-stroke engines have to have a supercharger by design. The reason isn’t to create boost, but to simply push the air in to the cylinders, as the engine design means it can’t do it on its own. Some of these also run a turbo to create actual boost pressure.

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8. Centrifugal superchargers are, just like turbos, thought of as newer technology than the traditional Roots supercharger. However these were invented just three years after the first supercharged car appeared in 1905.
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9. The characteristic whine from a supercharger may not be from what you think. It’s actually a mix of many things; the air being compressed by the supercharger, the belt that turns it, and the straight-cut gears inside it all combine to make that high- pitched shriek.

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10. Although superchargers help create power, they sap power from the engine, too. For example a ’charger uses 1200bhp of the engine’s power when helping a Funny Car drag engine make 5000bhp

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