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Post by tazberry on Wed 02 May 2007, 6:19 am

An intercooler, is a device used on turbocharged and supercharged internal combustion engines to improve their volumetric efficiency by increasing the amount of charge in the engine and lowering charge air temperature, thereby increasing power and reliability. It is also known as a charge air cooler, especially on larger engines that may otherwise easily self-destruct with high intake-air temperatures.

Turbochargers and superchargers compress incoming air, causing it to become heated. Since hot air is less dense than cooler air at the same pressure, the total charge delivered to the cylinders is higher than non-compressed air but still less than it could be at lower temperature. By cooling the charge after compression, the stream experiences further densification. With this further densification even more charge can be delivered, increasing power. Additionally, intercoolers help to reduce tendency for engine knock. One of the most efficient intercoolers is water injection—it cools the intake charge as well as the combustion temperature.

An intercooler is similar to a radiator, but tuned for high air flow rates and to increase density of the charge air by lowering its temperature. Most designs use ambient air for cooling, flowing through the radiator core, and often co-located with other radiators for oil or cooling fluid. When air is directly used with no intermediate fluid, the approach is known as Air To Air intercooling.

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