The aircraft gas turbine engine has greatly benefited powered flight since its inception, and various types and advancements have come about over the years to continue improvements. With their high efficiency and low cost, the gas turbine aircraft propulsion system now dominates the aviation sector. In this blog, we will discuss some of the major features of gas turbine engines that set them apart from other propulsion systems, allowing you to better understand why they have become so widespread in use.
The gas turbine is the successor of the steam turbine, finding use in countless industries ranging from vessel propulsion to electric power generation. With gas as the driving fluid, a compressor may be used to draw in and compress gas while a combustor serves to add combustive fuel prior to ignition. The resulting combustion of the fuel and air mixture results in the generation of a rapidly expanding stream of exhaust, that of which is used to drive turbine blades within the aircraft turbine for the means of extracting power. While gas turbines may generally vary depending upon their application, those used within the aviation industry are often called a jet engine, turbofan engine, turboprop engine, turboshaft engine, or another name depending upon their design and use.
As power is extracted, the turbine blades will drive the compressor to continue operations. Meanwhile, an exhaust nozzle situated at the back of the engine assembly assists in expelling spent gases, imparting them with increased speed in order to generate thrust or propulsion. Thrust power is equivalent to the momentum increase of the mass flow starting from the engine inlet to the exit, that value then being multiplied by the flight velocity. In specialized engine types such as the turbofan, air may be sent through the assembly in two separate streams, one moving through the fan alone while another passes through the engine. This allows for higher fuel efficiency and peak thrust at takeoff speeds, making such engines very beneficial for commercial flights.
Despite their relatively small size and weight, gas turbines surpass many other similar systems in their ability to produce large amounts of power. Additionally, the use of rotating parts rather than reciprocating parts extends their standard service lives, driving down maintenance costs. These efficiencies and advantages were not immediate, however, as many breakthroughs had to be made during early development for gas turbines to overcome various issues in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and combustion.
Depending upon the application in question, a gas turbine may utilize various types of fuel to conduct standard operations. These include natural gas, kerosene-like fuel, diesel, oil, methane, and other combustible gases. For aircraft in particular, jet fuel is commonly used. Jet A and Jet A-1 are the most common for commercial aviation, each being produced to meet standardized international specifications. Generally, jet fuel is a mixture of hydrocarbons, their exact composition based on the petroleum source.
With the use of gas turbine engines, aircraft of all types can efficiently traverse the globe with ease. If you find yourself in need of various parts and components for a particular aircraft propulsion system such as a turbofan or turboshaft, look no further than Internet of Components. Internet of Components is a leading distributor of aircraft turbine products and other airplane parts, sourcing items from top global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our vast inventory containing over 2 billion ready-to-purchase parts, and our team of industry experts are always on standby to assist customers through the purchasing process. At Internet of Components, we are more than just a dependable distributor; we are your strategic sourcing partner for all your operational needs.
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