An intake, or especially for aircraft inlet, is an air intake for an engine. Because the modern internal combustion engine is in essence a powerful air pump, like the exhaust system on an engine, the intake must be carefully engineered and tuned to provide the greatest efficiency and power. An ideal intake system should increase the velocity of the air until it travels into the combustion chamber, while minimizing turbulence and restriction of flow.
Automobile engine intakes
Early automobile intake systems were simple air inlets connected directly to carburetors. The first air filter was implemented on the 1915 Packard Twin Six.
A modern automobile air intake system has three main parts, an air filter, mass flow sensor, and throttle body. Some modern intake systems can be highly complex, and often include specially-designed intake manifolds to optimally distribute air and air/fuel mixture to each cylinder. Many cars today now include a silencer to minimize the noise entering the cabin. Silencers impede air flow and create turbulence which reduce total power, so performance enthusiasts often remove them.
All the above is usually accomplished by flow testing on a flow bench in the port design stage. Cars with turbochargers or superchargers which provide pressurized air to the engine usually have highly-refined intake systems to improve performance dramatically.
Production cars have specific-length air intakes to cause the air to vibrate and buffett at a specific frequency to assist air flow into the combustion chamber. Aftermarket companies for cars have introduced larger throttle bodies and air filters to decrease restriction of flow at the cost of changing the harmonics of the air intake for a small net increase in power or torque.
With the development of jet engines and the subsequent ability of aircraft to travel at supersonic speeds, it was necessary to design inlets to provide the flow required by the engine over a wide operating envelope and to provide air with a high pressure recovery and low distortion. These designs became more complex as aircraft speeds increased to Mach 3.0 and Mach 3.2, design points for the XB-70 and SR-71 respectively. The inlet is part of the fuselage or part of the nacelle.
- Cold air intake
- Warm air intake
- Short ram air intake
- Ram-air intake
- Intake ramp