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Tur bo Tech 1 0 3 ( Ex per t )

This article is a bit more involved and will describe parts of the compressor map, how to estimate pressure ratio
and mass flow rate for your engine, and how to plot the points on the maps to help choose the right
turbocharger. Have your calculator handy!!
1 Part s of t he Compressor Map:
The compr essor map is a gr aph t hat descr ibes a par t icular compr essor s per for mance charact er ist ics, including
eff iciency, mass flow range, boost pr essure capabil it y, and t ur bo speed. Shown below is a figur e t hat ident ifies
aspect s of a t ypical compressor map:

Pr essu r e Rat i o
Pressur e Rat io ( ) is defined as t he Absolut e out let pr essure divided by t he Absolut e inlet pr essure.

o = Pr essur e Rat io
o P
= Compressor
o Discharge Pr essure
o P1c = Compressor I nlet Pressur e
I t is impor t ant t o use unit s of Absol ut e Pr essu r e for bot h P1c and P2c. Remember t hat Absolut e
Pressur e at sea l evel is 14. 7 psia ( in unit s of psia, t he a r efer s t o absolut e ) . This is r efer red t o as st andar d
at mospher ic pr essur e at st andar d condit ions.
Gau ge Pr essur e ( in unit s of psig, t he g r efer s t o gauge ) measures t he pr essure above at mospher ic,
so a gauge pressure r eading at at mospher ic condit ions will r ead zer o. Boost gauges measur e t he manifold
pressur e r elat ive t o at mospher ic pr essur e, and t hus ar e measur ing Gauge Pressur e. This is impor t ant when
det er mining P2c. For example, a r eading of 12 psig on a boost gauge means t hat t he air pressur e in t he
manifold is 12 psi above at mospher ic pr essur e. For a day at st andar d at mospher ic condit ions,
12 psig + 14. 7 psia = 26. 7 psi absolut e pr essure in t he manifold

The pr essu r e r at i o at t his condit ion can now be calculat ed:
26. 7 psia / 14. 7 psia = 1 . 82
However , t his assumes t her e is no adverse impact of t he air filt er assembly at t he compr essor inlet .
I n det ermining pr essure rat io, t he absolut e pressur e at t he compressor inlet ( P
) is oft en LESS t han t he
ambient pr essure, especially at high load. Why is t his? Any rest r ict ion ( caused by t he air f ilt er or rest r ict ive
duct ing) will result in a depression, or pr essure loss, upst r eam of t he compressor t hat needs t o be account ed
for when det er mining pr essur e r at io. Thi s depr ession can be 1 psig or more on some int ake syst ems. I n t his
case P
on a st andard day is:
14. 7psia 1 psig = 13. 7 psia at compr essor inlet
Taking int o account t he 1 psig int ake depressi on, t he pr essu r e r at i o is now:
( 12 psig + 14.7 psia) / 13. 7 psi a = 1. 9 5.
That s gr eat , but what if your e not at sea level? I n t his case, simply subst it ut e t he act ual at mospher ic
pressur e in place of t he 14. 7 psi in t he equat ions above t o give a more accurat e calculat ion. At higher
elevat ions, t his can have a significant effect on pr essur e r at io.
For example, at Denvers 5000 feet elevat ion, t he at mospher ic pressur e is t ypically around 12. 4 psia. I n t his
case, t he pr essur e r at i o calculat ion, t aking int o account t he i nt ake depr ession, is:
( 12 psig + 12. 4 psia) / ( 12. 4 psia 1 psig) = 2. 1 4
Compared t o t he 1. 82 pr essure rat io calculat ed or iginally, t his is a big differ ence.
As you can see in t he above examples, pr essur e rat io depends on a lot mor e t han j ust boost .
Mass Fl ow Rat e
Mass Flow Rat e is t he mass of air f lowing t hrough a compr essor ( and engine! ) over a given per iod of
t ime and is commonly expr essed as lb/ min ( pounds per minut e) . Mass flow can be physically measured, but in
many cases it is sufficient t o est imat e t he mass flow for choosing t he proper t ur bo.
Many people use Volumet r ic Flow Rat e ( expressed in cubic feet per minut e, CFM or ft
/ min) inst ead of
mass flow r at e. Volumet r ic f low rat e can be conver t ed t o mass flow by mult iplying by t he air densit y. Air
densit y at sea level is 0. 076lb/ ft

What is my mass flow r at e? As a very gener al r ule, t urbochar ged gasoline engines will gener at e 9. 5-
10. 5 hor sepower ( as measured at t he f lywheel) for each lb/ min of air flow. So, an engine wit h a t ar get peak
hor sepower of 400 Hp will r equir e 36- 44 lb/ min of air flow t o achi eve t hat t ar get . This is j ust a rough fir st
appr oximat ion t o help narr ow t he t ur bo select ion opt ions.
Sur ge Li n e
Sur ge i s t he left hand boundary of t he compressor map. Operat ion t o t he left of t his line r epr esent s a
r egion of f low inst abilit y. This r egion is char act er ized by mild flut t er t o wildly f luct uat ing boost and bar king
fr om t he compr essor. Cont inued operat ion wit hin t his r egion can lead t o pr emat ur e t urbo failure due t o heavy
t hr ust loading.
Sur ge is most commonly exper ienced when one of t wo sit uat ions exist . The f ir st and most damaging is
sur ge under load. I t can be an indicat ion t hat your compr essor is t oo lar ge. Surge is also commonly
exper ienced when t he t hr ot t le is quickly closed aft er boost ing. This occur s because mass f low is dr ast ically
r educed as t he t hr ot t le is closed, but t he t ur bo is st ill spinning and gener at ing boost . This immediat ely dr ives
t he oper at ing point t o t he far left of t he compr essor map, r ight int o surge.
Sur ge will decay once t he t ur bo speed f inally slows enough t o r educe t he boost and move t he operat ing point
back int o t he st able region. This si t uat ion is commonly addr essed by using a Blow- Off Valves ( BOV) or bypass
valve. A BOV funct ions t o vent int ake pr essur e t o at mospher e so t hat t he mass flow ramps down smoot hly,
keeping t he compr essor out of surge. I n t he case of a r ecir culat ing bypass valve, t he air f low is recir culat ed
back t o t he compressor inlet .
A Por t ed Shroud compr essor ( see Fig. 2) is a feat ur e t hat is incor por at ed int o t he compressor housing.
I t funct ions t o move t he sur ge line furt her t o t he left ( see Fig. 3) by allowing some airf low t o exit t he wheel
t hr ough t he por t t o keep sur ge fr om occur r ing. This provides addit ional useable r ange and allows a lar ger
compr essor t o be used for higher flow requir ement s wit hout r isking r unning t he compr essor int o a danger ous
sur ge condit ion. The presence of t he por t ed shr oud usually has a minor negat ive impact on compr essor
eff iciency.

Fig. 2 Fig. 3

The Ch ok e Li n e is t he r ight hand boundar y of t he compr essor map. For Gar r et t maps, t he choke line is
t ypically def ined by t he point wher e t he efficiency drops below 58%. I n addit ion t o t he rapid dr op of compressor
eff iciency past t his point , t he t urbo speed will also be appr oaching or exceeding t he allowable li mit . I f your act ual
or predict ed operat ion is beyond t his limit , a lar ger compressor is necessar y.
Tur bo Speed Li nes are lines of const ant t ur bo speed. Tur bo speed for point s bet ween t hese lines can be
est imat ed by int er polat ion. As t ur bo speed incr eases, t he pressur e r at io increases and/ or mass flow incr eases. As
indicat ed above in t he choke line descr ipt ion, t he t ur bo speed lines are ver y close t oget her at t he far r ight edge
of t he map. Once a compressor is oper at ing past t he choke limit , t ur bo speed incr eases very quickly and a t ur bo
over - speed condit ion is ver y likely.
Ef f i ci ency I sl ands ar e concent r ic regions on t he maps t hat r epresent t he compr essor efficiency at any point
on t he map. The smallest island near t he cent er of t he map is t he highest or peak efficiency island. As t he r i ngs
move out fr om t her e, t he eff iciency drops by t he indicat ed amount unt il t he sur ge and choke limit s ar e r eached.
2. Pl ot t i ng You r Dat a on t he Compr essor Map
I n t his sect ion, met hods t o calculat e mass f low rat e and boost pressur e r equir ed t o meet a horsepower t arget are
present ed. This dat a will t hen be used t o choose t he appropr iat e compr essor and t urbocharger . Having a
hor sepower t ar get in mind is a vit al part of t he pr ocess. I n addit ion t o being necessar y for calculat ing mass f low
and boost pr essur e, a hor sepower t ar get is r equired for choosing t he right fuel inj ect or s, fuel pump and r egulat or ,
and ot her engine component s.
Est i mat i ng Requi r ed Ai r Mass Fl ow an d Boost Pr essur es t o r each a Hor sepow er t ar get .
Things you need t o know:
Hor sepow er Tar get
Engi n e di spl acement
Max i mu m RPM
Ambi en t condi t i on s ( t emperat ur e and baromet r ic pr essure. Baromet r ic pressur e is usually given as inches
of mer cury and can be conver t ed t o psi by dividing by 2)
Things you need t o est imat e:
Engi n e Vol umet r i c Ef f i ci ency. Typical number s for peak Volumet r ic Eff iciency ( VE) range in t he 95%- 99% for
moder n 4- valve heads, t o 88% - 95% for 2- valve designs. I f you have a t or que cur ve for your engine, you can
use t his t o est i mat e VE at var ious engine speeds. On a well- t uned engine, t he VE will peak at t he t or que peak,
and t his number can be used t o scale t he VE at ot her engine speeds. A 4- valve engine will t ypically have higher
VE over more of it s r ev r ange t han a t wo- valve engine.

I n t ak e Man i f ol d Temper at u r e. Compressors wit h higher efficiency give lower manifold t emper at ur es.
Manifold t emper at ur es of int er cooled set ups ar e t ypically 100 - 130 degrees F, while non- int er cooled values can
r each fr om 175- 300 degr ees F.

Br ak e Speci f i c Fu el Con sumpt i on ( BSFC) . BSFC describes t he fuel f low r at e r equired t o generat e each
hor sepower. Gener al values of BSFC for t ur bocharged gasoline engines r ange from 0. 50 t o 0.60 and higher. The
unit s of BSFC ar e
Lower BSFC means t hat t he engine r equir es less fuel t o gener at e a given hor sepower . Race fuels and aggressive
t uning ar e requi red t o r each t he low end of t he BSFC r ange descr ibed above.
For t he equat ions below, we wi ll divide BSFC by 60 t o conver t fr om hour s t o minut es.
To plot t he compr essor operat ing point , first calculat e airf low:

Wa = Air flowact ual ( lb/ min)
HP = Hor sepower Tar get ( flywheel)
= Air / Fuel Rat io
= Brake Specif ic Fuel Consumpt ion ( ) 60 ( t o conver t fr om hour s t o mi nut es)

I have an engine t hat I would like t o use t o make 400Hp, I want t o choose an air / fuel r at io of 12 and use a BSFC
of 0.55. Plugging t hese number s int o t he formula f rom above:
of air.
Thus, a compressor map t hat has t he capabilit y of at least 44 pounds per minut e of air flow capacit y is a good
st art ing point .

Not e t hat nowher e in t his calculat ion did we ent er any engine displacement or RPM numbers. This means t hat for
any engine, in or der t o make 400 Hp, it needs t o flow about 44 lb/ min ( t his assumes t hat BSFC r emains const ant
acr oss all engine t ypes) .

Nat urally, a smaller displacement engine will requir e more boost or higher engine speed t o meet t his t arget t han
a lar ger engine wil l. So how much boost pressur e would be r equir ed?
Cal cul at e r equ i r ed man i f ol d pr essu r e r equ i r ed t o meet t h e hor sepow er , or f l ow t ar get :


MAPr eq
= Manifold Absolut e Pr essur e ( psia) r equir ed t o meet t he hor sepower t ar get
Wa = Airf low
act ual
( lb/ min)
R = Gas Const ant = 639. 6
Tm = I nt ake Manifold Temperat ur e ( degr ees F)
VE = Volumet r ic Eff iciency
N = Engine speed ( RPM)
Vd = engine displacement ( Cubic I nches, convert fr om lit ers t o CI by mult iplying by 61. 02, ex. 2. 0 lit er s *
61. 02 = 122 CI )

To cont inue t he example above, let s consider a 2. 0 lit er engine wit h t he following descr i pt ion:
Wa = 44 lb/ mi n as previously calculat ed
Tm = 130 degr ees F
VE = 92% at peak power
N = 7200 RPM
Vd = 2.0 lit er s * 61. 02 = 122 CI

= 41 .1 psi a ( r emember , t his is absolut e pr essur e. Subt ract at mospher ic pr essur e t o get gauge pr essur e ( aka
boost ) :
41. 1 psia 14. 7 psia ( at sea level) = 26. 4 psig boost
As a compar ison let s repeat t he calculat ion for a lar ger displacement 5. 0L ( 4942 cc/ 302 CI ) engine.

Wa = 44 lb/ mi n as previously calculat ed
Tm = 130 degr ees F
VE = 85% at peak power ( it is a pushr od V- 8)
N = 6000 RPM
Vd = 4.942* 61. 02= 302 CI

= 21 .6 psi a ( or 6. 9 psig boost )
This example illust rat es in order t o r each t he hor sepower t arget of 400 hp, a larger engine r equir es lower
manifold pr essur e but still needs 44lb/min of airflow. This can have a ver y significant effect on choosing t he
cor rect compr essor .
Wit h Mass Flow and Manifold Pr essur e, we ar e near ly ready t o plot t he dat a on t he compr essor map. The next
st ep is t o det er mine how much pressur e loss exist s bet ween t he compr essor and t he manifold. The best way t o
do t his is t o measur e t he pressur e drop wit h a dat a acquisit ion syst em, but many t imes t hat i s not pr act ical.
Depending upon flow r at e, char ge air cooler charact er ist i cs, piping size, number / qualit y of t he bends, t hr ot t le
body rest rict ion, et c., t he plumbing pr essur e drop can be est imat ed. This can be 1 psi or l ess for a ver y well
designed syst em. On cer t ain r est r ict ive OEM set ups, especially t hose t hat have now higher - t han- st ock airf low
levels, t he pr essur e dr op can be 4 psi or gr eat er .
For our examples we will assume t hat t her e is a 2 psi loss. So t o det ermine t he Compr essor Discharge Pr essure
( P
) , 2 psi will be added t o t he manifold pr essur e calculat ed above.


P2c = Compr essor Dischar ge Pressur e ( psia)
MAP = Manifold Absolut e Pr essure ( psia)
Pl oss = Pr essure Loss Bet ween t he Compr essor and t he Mani fold ( psi)

For t he 2. 0 L engine:

= 43 .1 psi a
For t he 5. 0 L engine:

= 23 .6 psi a
Remember our discussion on inlet depr ession in t he Pr essur e Rat io discussion ear lier , we said t hat a t ypical value
might be 1 psi, so t hat is what will be used in t his calculat ion. For t his example, assume t hat we ar e at sea level,
so ambient pressur e is 14.7 psia.
We will need t o subt r act t he 1 psi pressur e loss from t he ambient pressur e t o det er mine t he Compr essor I nlet
Pressur e ( P1) .


= Compressor I nlet Pr essur e ( psia)
= Ambient Air pr essure ( psia)
Pl oss = Pr essur e Loss due t o Air Filt er / Pipi ng ( psi)
= 14. 7 - 1
= 13 .7 psi a
Wit h t his, we can calculat e Pr essur e Rat io ( ) using t he equat ion.

For t he 2. 0 L engine:

= 3. 14
For t he 5. 0 L engine:

= 1. 72
We now have enough infor mat ion t o plot t hese oper at ing point s on t he compr essor map. Fir st we will t ry a
GT2860RS. This t urbo has a 60mm, 60 t r im compressor wheel.

Clear ly t his compr essor is t oo small, as bot h point s are posit ioned far t o t he r ight and beyond t he compr essor s
choke line.
Anot her pot ent ial candidat e might be t he GT3076R. This t ur bo has a 76mm, 56 t r im compr essor wheel:

This is much bet t er ; at least bot h point s ar e on t he map! Let s look at each point in mor e det ail.
For t he 2.0L engine t his point is in a ver y eff icient ar ea of t he map, but since it is in t he cent er of t he map, t her e
would be a concer n t hat at a lower engine speeds t hat it would be near or over t he surge line. This might be ok
for a high- rpm- biased power band t hat might be used on a r acing applicat ion, but a st reet appli cat ion would be
bet t er ser ved by a different compr essor.
For t he 5.0L engine, t his looks like a ver y good st r eet - biased powerband, wit h t he lower engine speeds passing
t hr ough t he highest eff iciency zone on t he map, and plent y of mar gin t o st ay clear of sur ge. One ar ea of concern
would be t urbo over speed when r evving t he engine past peak power. A larger compr essor would place t he
oper at ing point nearer t o t he cent er of t he map and would give some addit ional benef it t o a high- r pm- biased
powerband. Well look at a lar ger compressor for t he 5. 0L aft er we figur e out a good st r eet mat ch for t he 2. 0L
So now let s look at a GT3071R, which uses a 71mm, 56 t r im compr essor wheel.

For t he 2.0L engine, t his is a much more mid- r ange- or ient ed compr essor. The operat ing point is shift ed a bit
t owar ds t he choke side of t he map and t his pr ovides addit ional sur ge mar gin. The lower engine speeds will now
pass t hr ough t he higher efficiency zones and give excellent per for mance and r esponse.
For t he 5.0L engine, t he compr essor is clear ly t oo small and would not be consider ed.
Now t hat we have ar r ived at an accept able compr essor for t he 2.0L engine, let s calculat e a lower rpm point t o
put on t he map t o bet t er get a feel for what t he engine operat ing line will look like. We can calculat e t his using
t he following for mula:

Well choose t he engine speed at which we would expect t o see peak t or que, based on exper i ence or an educat ed
guess. I n t his case we ll choose 5000rpm.

Wa = Airf lowact ual ( lb/ min)
MAP = Manifold Absolut e Pr essure ( psia) = 35. 1 psia
R = Gas Const ant = 639. 6
Tm = I nt ake Manifold Temperat ur e ( degr ees F) = 130
VE = Volumet r ic Eff iciency = 0.98
N = Engine speed ( RPM) = 5000r pm
Vd = engine displacement ( Cubic I nches, conver t fr om lit ers t o CI by mult iplying by 61, ex. 2.0 lit ers * 61 =
122 CI )

= 34.1 lb/ min
Plot t ing t his on t he GT3071R compr essor map gives t he following operat ing point s.

This gives a good repr esent at ion of t he operat ing line at t hat boost level, which is wel l suit ed t o t his map. At
engine speeds lower t han 5000rpm t he boost pressur e will be lower, and t he pressur e r at io would be lower , t o
keep t he compressor out of sur ge.
Back t o t he 5.0 L engine. Let s look at a larger compressor s map. This t ime we will t ry a GT3582R wit h an
82mm, 56 t r im compr essor.

Her e , compar ed t o t he GT3076R, we can see t hat t his point is not quit e so deep int o choke and will give bet t er
high- rpm perfor mance t han t he 76mm wheel. A fur t her increase in wheel size would give even bet t er high- rpm
per formance, but at t he cost of low- and mid- r ange r esponse and dr ivabilit y.
Hopeful ly t his has given a basic idea of what a compr essor map displays and how t o choose a compr essor . As you
can see, a few simple est imat ions and calculat ions can pr ovide a good basis for compr essor sel ect ion. I f real dat a
is avai lable t o be subst it ut ed in place of est imat ion, more accur at e r esult s can be gener at ed.