(And yes, they are different). Turbo-chargers and Super-chargers have always been the best way to add more horsepower and how they work is actually rather interesting.
It all started in 1905, when a swiss engineer who went by the name of Alfred Buchi powered a compressor using the exhaust gasses of the engine. Because of this, denser air could get into the combustion chambers which let more fuel burn giving bigger power.
At first, these were implemented by the aeronautical industry because since the air is so much thinner at higher altitudes, more air is needed to get more power. Trying to give the planes a bigger displacement was just not enough. Engines were becoming to big and heavy and slow to rev but the turbo charger solved this.
How turbo-chargers work is that the exhaust air from the engine goes to a place in the turbo where it spins a turbine. The turbine is connected to an Impeller which will also spin. As it spins, it ends up sucking in lots of air through an inlet. After that, it gets sent to the intake manifold giving it more air meaning more power. After you lift off the throttle, a blow off valve will open and release oygen back into the air to keep the air from going back into the turbo (thats why you get a whoosh noise when you lift off the throttle).
Now, one problem with this is that a lot of heat is generated in the process from friction. Now lets talk some science. When air molecules are warmer, they move around a lot and make the air less dense. Now, what we use to help solve this is an intercooler. An intercooler takes in cool air and cools the air in the turbocharger. The cooler the air is, the more dense it is giving us more power.
Now, if you have ever heard of turbo-lag, you will know that it is not good. Turbo-lag is when it takes to long for the turbos to spool up and compress the air after you hit the gas. It usually happens if you have too big of a turbo-charger so if you ever want to slap on a huge turbo on your car, just be wary of turbo-lag. There is a solution though! If you want even more power, you can add two smaller turbos. This is called twin turbos.
The first ever production car to use twin turbos was the Maserati Bi-Turbo (which Jeremy Clarkson drove the Grand Tour) which was first sold in 1981.
Now there are two ways a turbo charger can be used. Turbo normalizing gets the aircraft to its horsepower at sea level (which remember is less the higher you get). Then, turbo charging is when it exceeds the number of horsepower the engine would normally make by making a higher amount of air pressure. Did you know that turbo-charging is probably the most eco-friendly way to add horsepower?
Next we move on to super-chargers which are also air compressers like turbo-chargers. So then you are probably wondering what the difference is. Well, while turbos are driven by exhaust gasses, super-chargers are actually driven by the engine. Air is also taken in through an impeller where force sends it to get compressed. Basically like the turbo-charger. Also, there are many types of super-chargers, like turbo chargers though I think this article is long enough.
Thanks for reading, i hope you learnt something and please continue to scroll through my website.