Why Should a Turbocharged Engine Be Equipped with an Intercooler?
We all know that a turbocharged engine has a part called the intercooler. Many people think that the part is used to cool the turbocharger. In fact, it is not. The automotive intercooler cools the pressurized air.
1. Why use the automotive intercooler to cool the pressurized air?
Because the temperature of the supercharger itself is very high, and the temperature of the air will further rise after being compressed, the temperature of the air after being supercharged by the turbocharger can easily exceed one hundred degrees Celsius. As the air temperature rises, the density will decrease, and the oxygen content will naturally decrease as well. In this way, there is less oxygen in the cylinder, which will inevitably affect performance. Moreover, if the intake air temperature is too high, it is prone to knocking, so a supercharged engine needs to use an automotive intercooler to cool the supercharged air.
2. Classification of automotive intercoolers
(1) Air-cooled automotive intercooler
The air-cooled intercooler is located in the front of the car. Simply put, it is an ordinary radiator. The airflow flowing through the front of the car impacts the air cooler during driving to realize the heat dissipation of the intake air. Due to the low air temperature and the large air flow during driving, the air-cooled automotive intercooler has a very good heat dissipation effect. In addition, the structure is relatively simple and the cost is lower.
However, the airflow pipeline of the air-cooled intercooler is too long, and the air needs to pass from the supercharger to the front of the car through the pipeline, and then pass through the pipeline to the throttle after cooling, which will aggravate the turbo lag. Moreover, the smaller the displacement and the lower the speed, the more obvious the effect. Therefore, when people were not too sensitive to turbo lag in the early days, many cars used air-cooled intercoolers. In addition, because the air-cooled intercooler does not have enough air flow when the car is driving at low speeds, the heat dissipation effect will be reduced.
(2) Water-cooled automotive intercooler
The water-cooled automotive intercooler is cooled by the engine coolant, and the pipe length can be shorter, which can reduce the turbo lag. Moreover, the coolant circulation is stable, so there is no need to worry about the cooling effect when the car is driving at low speeds. However, the cost of the water-cooled automotive intercooler is higher, and because the coolant temperature is not low when we are warming up the engine, the overall cooling effect is not as good as that of the air-cooled type.
However, due to the layout of the engine compartment of the family car, the volume of the air-cooled automotive intercooler will be limited. In addition, the probability of low-speed driving in the urban area of the family car is very high, so for the family car, the advantages of the air-cooled type cannot be fully utilized. And its shortcomings of increasing turbo lag can easily be magnified. So now more and more manufacturers are beginning to use water-cooled automotive intercoolers in family cars.
And those performance cars and modified cars have almost no big restrictions on the space layout, and large-size intercoolers can be used casually. Moreover, these cars have large displacements, and they almost never encounter traffic jams when driving to buy food. Therefore, these cars are all equipped with large-sized air-cooled automotive intercoolers, so that they can reduce the intake air temperature and improve the power of the engine as much as possible during intense driving.