Supercharger or Blower - Chevrolet Corvette C5 C6 high horsepower performance - supercharged – supercharge, supercharging – Chevy Corvettes

"The ZR1 is the factory blown (blower) Vette, but you can add superchargers too"
Pictures open in this window - Supercharged and intercooled GM Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 SuperCar pictures - opens in this window - Corvette American Metal Racing modern muscle cars by Zorly 
Supercharged and intercooled GM Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 SuperCar pictures
First of all, the 2010 ZR1 Corvette is the GM supercharged factory SuperCar. With this in mind it is obvious supercharging works and Chevrolet is willing to back their reputation up on that. There have been quite a few other automakers that use superchargers, but not to these output levels, and usually on smaller engines.
2009 LS9 6.2L V-8 SC (LS9) Corvette supercharged ZR1 high resolution images open in this window - American Metal Racing
2009 Chevrolet Corvette Supercharged ZR1 motor pics
Corvette LS9 ZR1 Supercharged engine cutaway illustration opens in this window
Corvette LS9 ZR1 Supercharged engine drawing – illustration – cutaway image
In this article, however, we will mainly think about superchargers, or blowers, that are not factory installed production units. Then we'll take a quick look at some of the top manufacturers (outside of the GM factory itself) and tuners involved in this aspect of improving performance.
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DPE Supercharged C6 GM Chevrolet Corvette pictures
The turbocharger is a turbine-driven supercharger. It uses the exhaust gas to spin a turbine which is directly connected to another turbine via a shaft. This other turbine pushes, or rams, extra air into the motor through the intake. Turbochargers will be covered, in some detail, in a future article.
Superchargers (blowers) are powered directly off of the engines crankshaft via a belt, pulley, or chain. Superchargers use the same drive method for power as do the other belt driven accessories on your engine, such as, the air conditioning, alternator, air pump, etc. In other words, the supercharger drive belt will run off the crankshaft pulley right along with your AC and alternator.
Basically a supercharger is just an air compressor that pushes more air (oxygen) into your engine, and along with that comes more fuel, which makes for more powerful explosions in the engine cylinders. This equals more power output.
Whipple Twin Screw Supercharger (blower) picture - Corvette American Metal Racing Modern Muscle Cars by Zorly aka Paul Malessa
Whipple Twin Screw Supercharger (blower) picture
The superchargers we are thinking about here are the positive displacement type. These pump air at all engine speeds unlike the dynamic compressors (on most turbochargers) that need to wind up with the engine. Turbo's need the engine RPM's at a high level (sometimes called spooling up) before they push enough air pressure, through the intake, for a noticeable gain in power.
In general, with a supercharger, on the other hand, you get power right off the line, from idle on up. With a turbocharger you need to get the engine revved up before the added power increase kicks in. Of course, they do have dual turbochargers, and other tricks, that get the power level up faster.
LZR1 LS9 6.2L V-8 SC (LS9) Supercharger Rotors quality images - open in this window
LZR1 LS9 6.2L V-8 SC (LS9) Supercharger Rotors image
The big Vette motors generally use a roots or twin screw type supercharger (again excluding the turbocharger type setup that will be discussed in the next article).
Weiand 142 Vorvec Root–Style Supercharger and Intake - holley - American Metal Muscle Racing Modern muscle Cars by Zorly
Weiand 142 Vorvec Root–Style Supercharger and Intake pictures - holley.com
Some of the most well know supercharger manufacturers for the Corvette are: Magna Charger (Lingenfelter and Callaway use these), Eaton (the Corvette ZR1 and Roush use this company), Weiand, Vortech, ProCharger, and Paxton.
Edelbrock Magnuson E-Force Supercharger - edelbrock - American Metal Racing - photographs open in this window
Carburetor type Edelbrock Magnuson E-Force Supercharger - edelbrock.com
A 35% increase in horsepower is an easy gain to make with a supercharger and a nearly stock engine. Many aftermarket companies will install the unit and provide a nice warranty around these lower power levels.
Keep in mind that the supercharger consumes quite a bit of horsepower itself to run, but the total power gain far outweighs this.
Boost is the extra pressure that the blower adds to the normal atmospheric pressure. Typically superchargers are set to around 6-8 pounds per square inch (PSI) of boost, which equal about a 50% increase in air volume being pushed into the engine.
Intercoolers, also to be covered in the future, are basically units often added to superchargers, which cool the incoming air. Cooler air is denser air, which means it has contracted. With the intercooler, more air still can be introduced to the combustion process.
The sky is the limit though if you are willing to build your engine to suit the supercharger. King Racing gets 1000 horsepower out of a drag racing motorcycle for 0-60 mph times of 0.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 1.1 seconds, and 0-230 mph in less than 6.5 seconds.
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[ref] wikipedia.org, howstuffworks.com
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