Turbo/Supercharger Compressors and Turbines for Aircraft Propulsion in WWII: Theory, History and Practice—Guidance from the Past for Modern Engineers and Students
8. Alternative Systems
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The idea of precompression of the cylinder charge air is as old as the internal combustion itself. It is generally accepted that the first supercharger design in the modern sense was actually a turbocharger, patented in 1905 by the Swiss engineer Alfred Büchi (1879-1959). It comprised an axial compressor, an aftercooler and an exhaust gas turbine applied to a radial piston-cylinder engine as shown in the German patent drawings in Figure 8-1. Not surprisingly, it took him more than two decades to make the system work due to low component efficiencies, i.e., the problem that bedeviled all early gas turbine inventors due to the insufficient knowledge of aerodynamics.