As air pressure and oxygen density lowers as an aircraft increases its altitude, it is important that they have systems capable of compressing air for the sake of optimal combustion. For many non-ground boost systems or standard aircraft engine types, air pressure can be increased upwards to a value of 30 inches of mercury. With a supercharged engine, also known as a ground boosted engine, the manifold pressure of the engine can reach above 30 inches of mercury which can be beneficial for various aircraft types. As the engines of many light aircraft are devoid of compressors, supercharged induction systems may be used for the means of achieving high fuel and air mixture efficiency.
Internally driven superchargers are a type of system that were often used on radial reciprocating engines touting high horsepower, though they are now mostly used on select cargo carriers and spray planes. Despite a number of varying models existing, most induction systems that relied on internally driven superchargers shared similar designs. For efficient cylinder combustion, vaporization, and distribution, temperature control is extremely important. As supercharger reciprocating engine equipment heats up air during the compression process, cooling is often implemented before the air is permitted to reach the intake port of the engine. To ensure that air temperature always remains within safe values, internally driven supercharger assemblies utilize temperature sensors.
For a standard internally driven supercharger aircraft induction system, air first enters the assembly through the ram air intake port. With the orientation of the intake port, air is forced into the induction system and then passes through ducts to reach the carburetor. The carburetor is useful as it meters fuel based on the intake of air, then mixes the two together to create a balanced mixture. The carburetor is manageable from the cockpit, allowing for the engine power output to be adjusted as needed. Before the mixture is permitted to flow into each engine cylinder, a manifold pressure gauge first measures pressure.
To increase the efficiency of fuel distribution, radial reciprocating engines may use what is known as a distribution impeller. The impeller is affixed to the engine crankshaft with fasteners, allowing it to operate at the same speed. This permits fuel in the globular form to be broken up as it strikes the impeller, causing it to have increased contact with air for more optimal distribution. While increasing distribution, the distribution impeller also has the benefit of avoiding increases of mixture pressure. If an increased amount of pressure for the fuel and air mixture is needed, however, a high speed impeller will often be implemented near the diffuser or blower section.
Turbosuperchargers are also capable of increasing the compression of air, serving as an externally driven supercharger. As exhaust gases from an engine are forced against a turbine wheel assembly, an impeller is driven so that incoming air is compressed. Generally, a typical turbosupercharger will feature a compressor assembly, turbine wheel assembly with blade sets, and a full floating shaft bearing assembly. To control the amount of exhaust gas that is directed into the turbine wheel, a waste gate and waste gate actuator serve to manage flow. In order for a turbosupercharger to be considered a true supercharger, it must be capable of increasing the manifold pressure above 30 inches of mercury. Depending on one’s needs, there are a number of turbocharger, turbosupercharger, and supercharger systems that may be used on various aircraft. In general, common types include those such as normalizer turbochargers, ground-boost turbocharger systems, and other such systems.
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