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Hellcats to gain power from new superchargers?

by Patrick Rall on

The Hellcat Twins could get even more power from composite superchargers

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat are two of the most powerful cars in the world, but with composite material projects going on in the supercharger world, the Hellcat twins could get more power from the same basic setup.

Hellcat-Engine-Web

The current supercharger is an impressive design from IHI Turbo,  which is responsible for the design and production of the supercharger, integrated intake manifold, and the heat exchangers built into the housing.  Developments in the supercharger industry could lead to future relatives of the Hellcat Hemi generating even more power with the same basic design.

The “problem” with all supercharger designs is that they are belt driven off of the crankshaft, so the amount of force needed to spin the supercharger eats some of the power created by the engine.  In the case of the 6.2L Hellcat Hemi, the engine makes an official figure of 707 horsepower, but the IHI supercharger unit absorbs roughly 80 horsepower (at peak) to create the boost.  If the supercharger took less effort to spin and create boost, more net power would be created.

One way to improve the efficiency of a supercharger like the one in the Hellcat Charger and Challenger is to lighten up the internal moving components, which would then use less force to spin.  The rotors are already made of lightweight alloys, but advancements in both carbon fiber and plastic composites could allow supercharger companies to build the rotors out of even lighter weight materials.

There have been rumors about Chrysler working with composite superchargers, and while there is no proof of Chrysler-specific applications, there are major players in the forced induction aftermarket who are working on something along these lines – and Eaton has applied for a patent on a supercharger housing using lightweight composites for the central rotors.

According to a patent filing made by Eaton back in 2013 that was published mid-2014, the company is working to replace the metal rotors with molded or laid composites that could include both high tech plastics and carbon fiber composites.  A composite material that will hold up to the heat and stress that the rotors of a supercharger face during every second of operation would be a huge breakthrough in the industry…but how does this affect Chrysler, since they use an IHI supercharger design?

When the Hellcat Hemi was in its earliest design stages, the folks responsible for creating this monster engine considered designs from a variety of companies.  While IHI is the company providing Chrysler with blowers right now, a big breakthrough by Eaton or some other manufacturer could lead the automaker to switch supplies.

A breakthrough by one manufacturer will also likely lead to similar new products from other manufacturers, through patent licensing, so should Eaton roll out a supercharger with a composite rotor design, it would only be a matter of time before the competition offered up something similar.  IHI could be the company to create a composite supercharger to rival Eaton, provided that Chrysler didn’t just jump at the first option that would help put more power to the ground in the most powerful American performance cars on the road.

Finally, in addition to creating superchargers with lighter rotors that would “eat” less engine power, there is also the possibility that Eaton, IHI, or some other company (including Chrysler internally) could come up with a supercharger that uses plastic or carbon fiber composites for other parts of the unit.  For instance, using lightweight composites for portions of the case, the cooling system, or the manifold wouldn’t help make the supercharger more efficient, but it would cut the overall weight of the car.  In the case of the 4,500 pound Hellcat Charger or Challenger, every pound shaved — particularly up front — will improve the overall performance of the car.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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