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Yes, it is rocket science

Rocket-ship super-alloy aids durability of Ford's 2.0-litre Turbo engines

Published: August 28, 2012, 7:00 AM
Updated: November 22, 2021, 3:48 PM

It's an old put-down... "It's not rocket science." But in the case of the turbine wheel for the turbocharger fitted to Ford's 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine variants, it is rocket science.

To prolong turbo life and combat thermal fatigue, Ford's powertrain engineers, along with a team at turbocharger supplier, BorgWarner, stretched the limits of commercially available turbo materials when designing the turbine wheel for the turbocharger fitted to the 2.0-litre EcoBoost engines used in the new Fusion and Focus ST.

The same material has been tried and tested in outer space, on the Space Shuttle main engine's high-pressure fuel turbo pump and the blades of its high-pressure oxidizer turbo pump.

The addition of tungsten and cobalt to the alloy used in the turbine wheel for Ford's new applications gives it an upper temperature limit of 1,050 degrees C, compared to 970 degrees C for that used on the 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine in the Edge and Explorer.

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Fusion and Focus ST owners also benefit from the fact that the BorgWarner K03 turbocharger features both water and oil cooling; when the engine is running, it is primarily oil-cooled, but after the engine is turned off, the water cooling system creates a thermal water siphon to help draw heat away from the turbocharger.

In addition, the turbo's performance is further strengthened by an integrated exhaust manifold design that combines the cylinder head and exhaust manifold into one casting. Doing so allows the creation of smaller internal passageways (reduced plenum volumes) that direct more exhaust gas energy into the turbo more quickly than a separate head and manifold assembly.

The turbo in the new Fusion and the high-performance Focus ST is designed to run safely at speeds up to 190,000 rpm.