In a fuel injection engine, the throttle body is the part of the air intake system that controls the amount of air flowing into the engine, in response to driver input. While the accelerator is often called a "gas pedal", it would be more accurate to describe it as an "air pedal".
On many cars, the accelerator pedal motion is communicated through the throttle cable, which activates the throttle linkages, which moves the throttle plate. In cars with electronic throttle control (also known as "drive-by-wire"), an electric motor controls the throttle linkages and the accelerator cable connects not to the throttle body but to a sensor. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) determines the throttle opening. On some modern cars, the accelerator cable is replaced by a pedal position sensor, which sends the pedal position to the ECU.
When the driver presses on the accelerator pedal, the throttle plate opens up, allowing more air into the intake manifold. Either a throttle position sensor or an airflow sensor measures this change and communicates with the ECU. The ECU then increases the amount of fuel being sent to the fuel injectors in order to maintain the desired air-fuel ratio.
Throttle bodies may also contain valves and adjustments to control the minimum airflow during idle. Even in those units that are not "drive-by-wire" there may be a small electric motor that the ECU uses to modify the throttle opening.
Many cars have a single throttle body, however more than one may be used, chained together by linkages, to improve throttle response. At the extreme end, cars such as the BMW M1 have a separate throttle body for each cylinder. This is often referred to as "individual throttle bodies", or ITBs.
A throttle body is somewhat analogous to the carburetor in a non-injected engine. Carburetors combine the functionality of the throttle body and the fuel injectors into one, that is, to modulate the amount of air flow, and to combine air and gas together. Cars with throttle body injection (called TBI by General Motors and CFI by Ford) locate the fuel injectors in the throttle body, thereby allowing an older engine to be converted from carburetor to fuel injection without significantly altering the engine design.
Publication No. WO/2010/081595 Published on July 22, Assigned to Robert Bosch for Throttle Plate Device (German Inventors)
Jul 22, 2010; GENEVA, July 24 -- Achim Meisiek and Wolfgang Schulz, both of Germany, have developed a throttle plate device. The patent has...