Turbocharged scooter from campus stables

Special Correspondent

Thiruvananthapuram: A team of four students from the Government College of Engineering at Barton Hill here has developed a turbocharged two-wheeler for enhanced power and performance without compromising on fuel efficiency.

S. Swathy, H.K. Nithinkumar, P.S. Unnikrishnan and P.S. Abhiyajith, final year mechanical engineering students, bought a used two-stroke Kinetic Honda scooter engine and assembled it on an old chassis of the same model after fitting a turbocharger, which compresses the exhaust gas from the engine and redirects it to the carburettor.

Static tests revealed a power boost of 2.4 HP without a substantial decrease in fuel efficiency. The team was guided by S. Ramesh, Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Swathi says, “We tried to design a turbocharger ourselves, but owing to difficulties in fabrication of the turbine blades, we decided to go in for the small turbocharger used in the Tata Indica V2 car.”

Since there were space constraints in accommodating the turbocharger near the engine, the students had to design supporting equipment to hold it. The turbocharger is fixed near the carburettor. The pipes connecting the exhaust port to the turbine inlet were designed using Solid Edge software.

The muffler of a four-stroke motorbike was welded to the turbine outlet.

“We found that turbocharging is an excellent method of exhaust energy recovery. However, we observed that oil clogging in the turbine blades was reducing turbine efficiency. If this shortcoming is overcome, turbochargers can have a bright future in the low-power motorbike industry.”

The team spent Rs.16,000 on the project.

The students feel that a switching system and separate piping system can be designed at the engine exhaust portion to facilitate for turbo and non-turbo rides. This, they say, can help the vehicle adapt to both slow-moving city traffic and long drives without significant variation in performance.

They recommend an oil pump and cooling system to regulate oil pressure.

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