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How to read a turbo compressor map

Categories: Industry NewsStars: 3StarsVisit: -Release time: 2014-06-24 09:38:00
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When it comes to building boost, compressor wheel selection is the make-or-break decision facing the pressure-craving enthusiast. Too often ego enters the equation and when starry eyed enthusiasts run big wheels, performance is the loser.

A compressor map is a snapshot of the wheel’s efficiency laid out on an X-Y axis graph. Let’s break down a map by the numbers and plug in some hypothetical applications. Going into this process you need to first know how much power you intend to make and have an idea of how much boost you expect to run. The mechanical limitations of your engine and its displacement would be deciding factors in these estimates.


1)Pressure Ratio
The pressure ratio along the X-axis represents the boost you intend to run. The numeric pressure ratio value is calculated by taking the expected psi, adding one atmosphere (14.7) and dividing that number by one atmosphere (14.7).

2) Airflow

The Y-axis represents airflow in pounds per minute. As a general rule, each pound of air generated represents 10 hp. We are talking flywheel horsepower, so if you, like myself, think in “wheel time,” make allowances for driveline losses. It is along this line where you estimate engine power output.


3) Efficiency Island

Not fantasy island, so be real here. This is the bull’s-eye of efficiency. The center island is where the turbo is at its peak efficiency.


4) Wheel Efficiency
The outer rings of the graph represent reduced efficiency. The numbers and how much they drop off varies from compressor wheel to compressor wheel as does the corresponding loss of power potential.

5) Surge Limit
Any points plotted to the left of the Surge Line indicate the wheel in question is too big for the expected boost and power output. There would not be enough exhaust flow energy to spin the wheel fast enough to generate viable boost.

Keywords in the article: turbocharger turbo compressor tip car automotive

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