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The Analysis of Heat Transfer in Automotive Turbochargers

[+] Author Affiliations
Nick Baines

Concepts NREC, Oxford, UK

Karl D. Wygant

Concepts NREC, White River Junction, VT

Antonis Dris

Caterpillar, Inc., Peterborough, UK

Paper No. GT2009-59353, pp. 115-126; 12 pages
  • ASME Turbo Expo 2009: Power for Land, Sea, and Air
  • Volume 5: Microturbines and Small Turbomachinery; Oil and Gas Applications
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, June 8–12, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: International Gas Turbine Institute
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4886-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3849-5
  • Copyright © 2009 by Caterpillar, Inc.


Heat transfers in an automotive turbocharger comprise significant energy flows, but are rarely measured or accounted for in any turbocharger performance assessment. Existing measurements suggest that the difference in turbine efficiency calculated in the conventional way, by means of the fluid temperature change, under adiabatic conditions differs considerably from the usual diabatic test conditions, particularly at low turbine pressure ratio. In the work described in this paper, three commercial turbochargers were extensively instrumented with thermocouples on all accessible external and internal surfaces in order to make comprehensive temperature surveys. The turbochargers were run at ranges of turbine inlet temperature and external ventilation. Adiabatic tests were also carried out to serve as a reference condition. Based on the temperature measurements, the internal heat fluxes from the turbine gas to the turbocharger structure, and from there to the lubricating oil and the compressor, and the external heat fluxes to the environment, were calculated. A one-dimensional heat transfer network model of the turbocharger was demonstrated to be able to simulate the heat fluxes to good accuracy, and that the heat transfer coefficients required were ultimately found to be mostly independent of the turbochargers tested.

Copyright © 2009 by Caterpillar, Inc.



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