You are on page 1of 4

Turbocharger Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is the most important part of the exhaust gas exchange process and is

used to direct exhaust gas pulses from the exhaust ports of the cylinder head to the turbine of

the turbocharger via a series of connecting pipes. The engine efficiency, power output, and

turbocharger response would depend upon the rate at which the exhaust gases were removed

from the cylinder. Its design (shape, size, and material type) affects heat loss, reliability,

backpressure, and flow characteristics of the exhaust gases which directly impacts engine

efficiency and power output.

To understand how a typical exhaust system works, one must understand what exhaust pulses

are. The main purpose of the turbocharger exhaust manifold is to guide the gases that leave

the cylinder head’s exhaust ports just after each power stroke into the turbine of the

turbocharger through the turbine housing. These gases exit the ports in the form of pulses at

high-speed, high-pressure pulses created by the piston moving upward on the exhaust stroke.

Flow characteristics in bent pipes have been studied for a long time, in the late 1920's Dean

experimented on bent pipes (Dean, 1927), where he first described the two counter rotating

vortices that would later be named after him.

Almost half a century later (Tunstall, 1968), concluded that not only was the flow after a 90-

degree pipe bend made up of two counter rotating vortices, they were also subject to a bi-

stable configuration making one of them stronger than the other in an alternating manner.

In later years, this phenomenon has been observed and studied further by several researchers

e.g. (Sudo, 1998), (Rutten, 2001), (Rutten F. S., 2005), (Sakakibara, 2012).

The turbocharger exhaust manifold is also under thermal fatigue produced by the exhaust

gases due to variation in temperature because of exhaust gas pulsation. The exhaust gases
contain pressure waves which are cyclic and subjects the exhaust manifold to fluctuating

internal pressure which leads to warping and cracks.

Thermal and mechanical loadings are the major factors in the failure of the turbocharger

exhaust manifold. To minimize thermal and mechanical loading efforts have been made in

the past to optimize designs.

(Bin Zou, 2013), have analysed the impact of temperature effect on exhaust manifold modal

analysis through Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Method analysis. (Bin

Zou, 2013) concludes that heating cause the nonlinear change of material physical property

and generate thermal stress, the combined effects of both make the structure’s natural

frequency decline after heating.

(Sweta Jain, 2012), in their paper “Comparison of predictions obtained from an exhaust

manifold analysis using conformal and indirect mapped interface” have investigated the

associated thermal stresses and deformations under simulated operational conditions. The

purpose of this analysis is to ensure the appropriateness of material selection in the design

optimization of turbocharger exhaust manifold to promote reliability and minimum thermal

and mechanical deformation.

Turbocharger Exhaust Manifold Types

Turbocharger exhaust manifolds are classified as either cast or fabricated. Cast manifolds can

be designed as a separate part but can also be integrated into the cylinder head structure.

Fabricated manifolds are known as tubular manifolds or headers and comprise of pre-bent

sections welded together.

Log Manifold: These are the most compact and economical turbocharger exhaust manifold.

They reliable are usually found on turbocharged production cars internal combustion engines.

However, the overall flow through these manifolds is poor. The log style manifold gets its
name from the fact that it consists of a single, larger diameter pipe into which very short

primary runners merge one after another at abrupt angles (usually 90 degrees). Figure 4

below shows a turbocharger log style manifold.

Figure 5 Turbocharger log manifold. Image from (Honewell Garrett, n.d.)

Tubular Manifold: A tubular or individual runner turbocharger manifold is one that is

custom made specific to the end user’s application. The individual runner style manifold has

much longer primaries that merge together much more smoothly. The primaries are designed

such that they are all the same length. The actual length of the primaries can be played with

to increase the engine’s performance. These manifolds are fabricated with pre-bent sections

welded together. They are bulky and costly depending on the choice of material. However,

they flow exceptionally well once designed using engineering principles.

Figure 6 Tubular turbocharger exhaust manifold. Image from (Turbo Gemini, n.d.)
Single scroll tubular turbocharger manifold (4 into 1): A single scroll manifold is a

tubular exhaust manifold where all the exhaust runners come to a common collector where

they enter the turbocharger.

Figure 7 Single scroll tubular manifold. Image from (Prorace Tune, n.d.)