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    • All Boost is not equal, comparing PSI To PSI : Things to understand Before Supercharging an E9X M3 S65 V8

      Foreword by admin: Gentlemen, many M3 enthusiasts and car modification enthusiasts in general tend to get this wrong. Active Autowerke put up a quick article explaining that one can not compare superchargers especially for the M3 platform simply by looking at the PSI figures. 7 psi on a Vortech T-Trim and 7 psi on a Rotrex blower do not tell the whole story as far as how much air (measured in CFM, or cubic feet per minute) is getting into the motor and at what rpm. PSI does not explain the torque curve, max CFM the blower is capable of, or the compressor map. A good read by Active Autowerke explaining this below even for those familiar with boost being a measure of backpressure.

      One other thing to remember, a car can make more power and torque even when boost or PSI drops with changes to the exhaust system such as the headers, manifold, heads, or a multitude of other areas.


      BimmerBoost members, I have been getting tons of questions regarding Psi and power output lately and it seems there is a ton of misinformation out there and it is spreading like wild fire. Below I will try and explain to the best of my knowledge how this all works. So Here it Goes!

      Things to know before reading:

      The boost (psi) you have come to know and love is being read at the intake manifold only. PSI does not tell you how much air actually makes it into the intake ports during their short open interval. It's only a measurement of force exerted on the intake plenum. With that said Lets get started!

      What is PSI ?

      First you need to understand 1PSI = 1LB force per square inch and not Pounds of air per square inch. A square inch is a unit of area, and not volume. 7 PSI = Seven pounds of force exerted on every square inch of internal surface area of the intake manifold and intake ports only. This says nothing about how much air is actually getting into the engine If this were the case it would be read as pressure per cubic inch. Psi is just how much force the air is exerting as it gets force fed from the Supercharger compressor.

      So to sum it you can calculate the air density based on how much pressure is exerted, but PSI is not a measure of volume.

      Comparing Superchargers:

      There are many misguided comparisons regarding blowers floating around on this forum so to start lets talk CFM "Cubic feet per minute." CFM is a non-SI unit of measurement of air-flow that indicates how many cubic feet of air pass by a stationary point in one minute. Or to simplify it is a unit for measuring the rate of flow of air volume into or out of a space.

      The wheel size and outlet volume of a supercharger compressor has a great impact on the CFM ( speed the air is actually traveling through the manifold" A large supercharge can flow much faster and requires less psi to make the same HP. This large volume of air leaves the Supercharger and enters the bottleneck which is the intake tract speeding up just as water speeds up just like in a river when you hit a bottle neck. You white water rafters know what Im talking about.

      The air flowing from a smaller supercharger on the other hand is flowing into the same size river, but this time the river is large in relation to the charge volume so the air just creeps along and will require more psi to hit the same hp.

      Notes: A larger supercharger can show less manifold psi compared to the smaller blower which needs higher Psi but the flow into the engine will be the same and make the same hp. All things being equal in this example temps,tune ect..

      Heat Soak:

      Heat soak is the systems lack of ability to get rid of excess heat much like having too small a radiator for a car.

      We measure Heat soak from the manifold in the form of Intake air temperature "IAT". When a gas "air" is heated, it's molecules get farther apart and it's density decreases while it's volume increases. However, if it is heated and has no room to expand, density will go down and volume stays the same, but it's pressure will increase. This is a generic property of all gases."

      So basically if you get heatsoak, and your boost doesn't increase, you're losing efficiency and in turn flow. This will result in lower hp numbers until lower Iat temperatures return.

      Conclusion:

      The air coming from the smaller blower will travel forward into the intake ports with a lower velocity than that from the larger blower for the reasons that we established in our "river bottlnecK" example above.

      So while both superchargers are exerting the same amount of force on the intake ports/ manifold the air from the larger blower is approaching the intake ports at a much higher velocity and therefore more will get in before the port closes.

      --And this ladies and gentlemen is why you cannot compare Psi from blower A to blower B.

      If you have any questions or if I left anything out please let me know.

      This article was originally published in forum thread: Comparing PSI To PSI : Things to understand Before Supercharging started by Andrew@activeautowerke View original post
      Comments 40 Comments
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        This is good, I'll front page this simply because too many people make these mistakes.

        Many equate PSI or Boost to airflow. You can have blowers with completely different compressor styles reaching the same boost but the curve and airflow (or max CFM) are completely different.

        You are essentially measuring backpressure with PSI or boost. You can make more power by making a setup more efficient (changing the exhaust, or headers, manifold, etc.) even when dropping boost pressure.

        Good post.
      1. DFM's Avatar
        DFM -
        Great read. Highlights the importance of trying to achieve your power goals with the lowest possible PSI.
      1. hkninja's Avatar
        hkninja -
        Good to know. Thanks Andrew.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by DFM Click here to enlarge
        Great read. Highlights the importance of trying to achieve your power goals with the lowest possible PSI.
        That's why the S65 V8 is so good to begin with as a low amount of boost goes a long way.
      1. Andrew@activeautowerke's Avatar
        Andrew@activeautowerke -
        Glad you like it.

        I did my best to keep it general for the intended audience I made it for so some things may be different depending a lot of variables but, the concept is still the same.
      1. rt turbo's Avatar
        rt turbo -
        Woah, News flash here {rolleyes}. In other news, an 80mm turbo flows more air at 20 psi than a 60mm turbo. More on that at midnight.
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by rt turbo Click here to enlarge
        Woah, News flash here {rolleyes}. In other news, an 80mm turbo flows more air at 20 psi than a 60mm turbo. More on that at midnight.
        That would be a 17 page debate on other forums though
      1. 600whp S4's Avatar
        600whp S4 -
        Yes very simple stuff people are $#@!ing morons now a days
      1. Flinchy's Avatar
        Flinchy -
        "Forward by admin:"

        foreword?
      1. Andrew@activeautowerke's Avatar
        Andrew@activeautowerke -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by rt turbo Click here to enlarge
        Woah, News flash here {rolleyes}. In other news, an 80mm turbo flows more air at 20 psi than a 60mm turbo. More on that at midnight.

        Seems simple right? If only it was Click here to enlarge
      1. rt turbo's Avatar
        rt turbo -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by LostMarine Click here to enlarge
        That would be a 17 page debate on other forums though
        Ha ha, yeah, I've participated in them on about 5 different forums over the past 10 years. I'm not sure what is so hard for people to understand, that pressure is different than air density. pressure does not explain flow through different volumes. Its very simple physics, I guess too many failed or never took physics. Half of my friends in high school took 'food physics' that covered physics credit on the more lame degrees. lol
      1. Andrew@activeautowerke's Avatar
        Andrew@activeautowerke -
        Funny Roman is still going on about 9 psi being to much, which it certainly is when using a Vortech v3! It would be making over 600 whp. Seems he still does not understand cfm and blower sizes. Sad
      1. MisterEm's Avatar
        MisterEm -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Andrew@activeautowerke Click here to enlarge
        Funny Roman is still going on about 9 psi being to much, which it certainly is when using a Vortech v3! It would be making over 600 whp. Seems he still does not understand cfm and blower sizes. Sad
        Because stereo salesman.
      1. fastgti69's Avatar
        fastgti69 -
        I remember I said this back 2 years ago when someone was comparing two kits. It's probably the most straight forward thing known when going FI. Bigger means less psi than smaller to make same power.
      1. Andrew@activeautowerke's Avatar
        Andrew@activeautowerke -
        Bigger the blower the less psi you can run before Boom.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Flinchy Click here to enlarge
        "Forward by admin:"

        foreword?
        Yikes, good catch.
      1. Sticky's Avatar
        Sticky -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Andrew@activeautowerke Click here to enlarge
        Funny Roman is still going on about 9 psi being to much, which it certainly is when using a Vortech v3! It would be making over 600 whp. Seems he still does not understand cfm and blower sizes. Sad
        Didn't you guys hit something like 13 psi with your blower on the stock internals?
      1. THATDONFC's Avatar
        THATDONFC -
        Great post. Im sure we have all explained this a few too many times.
      1. Andrew@activeautowerke's Avatar
        Andrew@activeautowerke -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Sticky Click here to enlarge
        Didn't you guys hit something like 13 psi with your blower on the stock internals?
        Yes but that was just for flow testing.. I would not run over 600whp
      1. LostMarine's Avatar
        LostMarine -
        Click here to enlarge Originally Posted by Andrew@activeautowerke Click here to enlarge
        Funny Roman is still going on about 9 psi being to much,
        Unless your running the car at Atco trying to take records at all costs subsequently rebuilding the DCT and motor Click here to enlarge