Video: How Turbochargers Work Shown In A Simple Animation From Mahle

Silent movies are long-dead in the traditional viewer marketplace, but in the automotive performance aftermarket, sometimes a simple animation speaks volumes without uttering a single word.

That’s exactly the case with this video from Mahle Aftermarket, home of Mahle Original turbochargers, components supplied to both the OEMs and aftermarket service facilities.

In the video, we get the bare-bones visual description of how a turbocharger system operates. If you’re anything like we are, seeing the components in operation makes it easier to understand how they all work together.

mahle

The blue particles represent the incoming fresh air, and the red particles the hot, outgoing air. Note how the blue particles turn red after exiting the engine; contrary to internet lore, it is not OK to plumb the turbocharger exit flow right back into the engine.

It’s interesting to note the wastegate in the equation. For those who don’t understand how the wastegate operates, once the intake side of the engine sees too much pressure, incoming air is diverted through the wastegate, where the extra pressure opens the spring-loaded valve inside the gate.

This allows some of the exhaust flow backed up in the pipe to exit without going through the turbine wheel. This process prevents an overboosting situation and potential engine damage from occurring due to the boost pressure. In other words, it’s simply a turbine bypass, limiting the amount of power that the turbine provides to the compressor wheel.

Hopefully this simple animation helps you to get a better handle on “how it works”. Thanks to the Mahle Aftermarket guys for putting it together.

For more information about the complete lineup of Mahle Aftermarket items, check out their website.

About the author

Jason Reiss

Jason draws on over 15 years of experience in the automotive publishing industry, and collaborates with many of the industry's movers and shakers to create compelling technical articles and high-quality race coverage.
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