A gas turbine is a machine delivering mechanical power or thrust. It does this using a gaseous working fluid. The mechanical power generated can be used by, for example, an industrial device. The outgoing gaseous fluid can be used to generate thrust. In the gas turbine, there is a continuous flow of the working fluid.


This working fluid is initially compressed in the compressor. It is then heated in the combustion chamber. Finally, it goes through the turbine. The turbine converts the energy of the gas into mechanical work. Part of this work is used to drive the compressor. The remaining part is known as the net work of the gas turbine.


History of gas turbines
We can distinguish two important types of gas turbines. There are industrial gas turbines and there are jet engine gas turbines. Industrial
gas turbines were developed rather slowly. This was because, to use a gas turbine, a high initial compression is necessary. This rather troubled early engineers. Due to this, the first working gas turbine was only made in 1905 by the Frenchman Rateau.

The first gas turbine for power generation became operational in 1939 in Switzerland. It was developed by the company Brown Boveri. Gas turbines had a rather low thermal efficiency. But they were still useful. This was because they could start up rather quickly. They were therefore used to provide power at peak loads in the electricity network. In the 1980’s, natural gas made its breakthrough as fuel. Since then, gas turbines have increased in popularity. After world war 2, the gas turbine developed rapidly.

New high-temperature materials, new cooling techniques and research in aerodynamics strongly improved the efficiency of the jet engine. It therefore soon became the primary choice for many applications. Currently, there are several companies producing gas turbines. The biggest producer of both industrial gas turbines and jet engines is General Electric (GE) from the USA. Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney are also important manufacturers of jet engines.

The ideal gas turbine cycle


The cycle that is present is known as the Joule-Brayton cycle. This cycle consists of four important points. We start at position 1where the gas has passed through the inlet, after that the gas then passes through the compressor. We assume that the compression is performed isentropically. So, s1 = s2. The gas is then heated in the combustor. (Point 3.) This is done isobarically (at constant pressure). So, p2 = p3. Finally, the gas is expanded in the turbine. (Point 4.) This is again done isentropic ally. So, s3 = s4.

The whole process is visualized in the temperatureentropy diagram as shown above. The cycle consists of an isentropic compression of the gas from state 1 to state 2; a constant pressure heat addition to state 3; an isentropic expansion to state 4, in which work is done; and an isobaric closure of the cycle back to state 1. Above Figure shows, a compressor is connected to a turbine by a rotating shaft. The shaft transmits the power necessary to drive the compressor and delivers the balance to a power-utilizing load, such as an electrical generator.

When examining the gas turbine cycle, we do make a few assumptions. We assume that the working fluid is a perfect gas with constant specific heats cp and cv. Also, the specific heat ratio k (sometimes also denoted by ) is constant. We also assume that the kinetic/potential energy of the working fluid does not vary along the gas turbine. Finally, pressure losses, mechanical losses and other kinds of losses are ignored.

The gas turbine can be classified into two categories, i.e. impulse gas turbine and reaction gas turbine. If the entire pressure drop of the turbine occurs across the fixed blades, the design is impulse type, while if the drop is taken place in the moving blades, the fixed blades serving only as deflectors, the design is called reaction type.

The advantage of the impulse design is that there is no pressure force tending to move the wheel in the axial direction and no special thrust balancing arrangement is required. There being no tendency for gas to leak over the tips of the moving blades. A purely reaction turbine is not generally used. In a small multi-stage construction the velocity change in the moving and fixed blades is about the same, the design being 50% reaction types.


The simple gas turbine power plant mainly consists of a gas turbine coupled to a rotary type air compressor and a combustor or combustion chamber which is placed between the compressor and turbine in the fuel circuit. Auxillaries, such as cooling fan, water pumps, etc. and the generator itself, are also driven by the turbine. Other auxillaries are starting device, lubrication system, duct system, etc. A modified plant may have in addition to the above, an inter-cooler, a regenerator and a reheater. The arrangement of a simple gas turbine power plant is shown in Figure in next slide

Schematic Arrangement of a Simple Gas Turbine Power Plant


The basic construction of a gas turbine employs vanes or blades mounted on a shaft and enclosed in a casing. The flow of fluid through turbine in most designs is axial and tangential to the rotor at a nearly constant or increasing radius. There are two types of blades used in all turbines : those that are fixed on the rotor and move with the shaft and those that are fixed to the casing and help to guide and accelerate or decelerate the flow of fluid, being called fixed blades or vanes.

The power of the turbine depends upon the size, shape and the speed of the blades used. Multi-staging is employed to increase the power output of the turbine by placing additional sets of fixed and moving blades in series. To prevent leakage of gas along the shaft gas seals or glands are provided where the shaft emerges from the turbine casing. The extending lengths of the shaft on the two sides of the turbine are supported on journal bearings which also maintain it’s proper alignment.

There are several accessories fitted to the turbine. These are : a tachometer driven through a gear box, an over speed governor, a lubricating oil pump and a fuel regulator. The starting gear is mounted on the shaft at one end. The tachometer shows the speed of the machine and also actuates the fuel regulator in case of speed rises above or fall below the regulated speed, so that the fuel regulator admits less fuel or more fuel into the combustor and varies the turbine power according to demand of load.

The governor back off fuel feed, if the exhaust temperature from turbine exceeds the safe limit, thermal switches at the turbine exhaust acting on fuel control to maintain present maximum temperature. The lubricating pump supplies oil to bearing under pressure. Other auxillaries used on the turbine plant include the starting motor or engine with starting gear, oil coolers, filters and inlet and exhaust mufflers. The turbine (and with it the compressors) is driven by the starting motor through a clutch and set-up gearing. A standby motor driven pump is also provided for emergency service. A failure of lubricating pump system results in stopping of the unit automatically.

A compressor is a device that is used to supply compressed air to the combustion chamber. Compressors are broadly classified as positive displacement type and rotodynamic type and may be of single stage or multi-stage design. In the positive displacement machine, successive volumes of air are pressurized within a closed space. These may be of reciprocating type or rotary type. In reciprocating type machines, air is compressed by a piston in a cylinder, while in the rotary type, this is accomplished by positive action of rotating elements.

The roto-dynamic compressors may be of radial flow, axial flow or mixed flow type. In these machines, compression takes place by dynamic action of rotating vanes or impellers which impart velocity and pressure to the air as it flows through the compressor. Roto-dynamic type
compressors include the centrifugal, axial and mixed flow compressors which are all high speed machines running at as high as 3,000 to 4,000 RPM driven by turbines. These are designed to have high value of air discharge capacity at moderate pressure. These types of compressors are usually employed for gas turbine applications.


A combustor is a device inside which the combustion of fuel takes place. For an efficient operation of gas turbine plant, it is necessary to ensure good combustor performance. A good combustor should achieve completeness of fuel combustion and the lowest possible pressure drop in the gas, besides being compact, reliable and easy to control. Complete combustion of fuel depends upon three factors, viz. temperature, time and turbulence. Temperature in the combustor directly affects combustion and high temperature is conductive to rapid combustion.

It is a device that generates electricity. It is coupled to the same shaft of turbine and runs at same speed to that of the turbine. The capacity of generators depends on installed capacity of the plant. The types of generators to be used depend on the purpose for which electrical energy is to be produced.


The gas turbine power plants can be classified mainly into two categories. These are :open cycle gas turbine power plant and closed cycle gas turbine power plant. Open Cycle Gas Turbine Power Plant In this type of plant the atmospheric air is charged into the combustor through a compressor and the exhaust of the turbine also discharge to the atmosphere. Closed Cycle Gas Turbine Power Plant In this type of power plant, the mass of air is constant or another suitable gas used as working medium, circulates through the cycle over and over again.


The schematic arrangement of a simple open cycle gas turbine power plant is shown in Figure in next slide




In the process shown the cycles are : 2-3: Isentropic compression 3-4: Heat addition at constant pressure 4-1: Isentropic expansion 1-2: Heat rejection at constant pressure The ideal thermal efficiency for the cycle,ç t, is given by, Heat supplied - Heat rejected/Heat supplied where, r is the compression ratio=V2/V3and k is the ratio of specific heat of the gas.

In actual operation the processes along 2-3 and 4-1 are never isentropic and the degree of irreversibility of these processes and the mechanical efficiencies of the machine components greatly reduce the ideal value of thermal efficiencies of the cycle. If the air entering the combustor is preheated by the heat of exhaust gases escaping from the turbine, some heat can be recovered resulting into an increase in the efficiency of the cycle improved. Such heating of combustion air is known as regeneration and the heat exchanger transferring heat from gas to air is called regenerator.

Since most of the output of turbine is consumed by the compressor, the actual efficiency of the cycle greatly depends upon an efficient working of the compressor. To attain higher compression ratios, it is necessary to use multi-stage compression with inter-cooling. In actual practice, all these modifications, viz. regeneration, reheating and intercooling are combined in a simple modified cycle and a substantial gain in the overall plant efficiency is attained.

In the closed cycle, quantity of air is constant, or another suitable gas used as working medium, circulates through the cycle over and over again. Combustion products do not come in contact with the working fluid and, thus, remain closed.


A development in the basic gas turbine cycle is the use of the closed cycle which permits a great deal of flexibility in the use of fuels. Moreover, working medium of the plant could be any suitable substance other than air which would give higher efficiency. An arrangement of closed gas turbine cycle is shown in Figure in next slide. In this cycle, working fluid is compressed through the requisite pressure ratio in the compressor, and fed into the heater, where it is heated up to the temperature of turbine itself.

Arrangement of Closed Cycle Gas Turbine Plant


The fluid is then expanded in the turbine and the exhaust is cooled to the original temperature in the pre-cooler. It then re-enter the compressor to begin the next cycle. Thus, the same working fluid circulates through the working parts of the system. The heater burns any suitable fuel and provides the heat for heating the working fluid. In fact, this combustor is akin to an ordinary boiler furnace, working at the atmosphere pressure and discharging the gaseous products to the atmosphere. There is, thus, a great deal of flexibility in respect of furnace design and use of fuel, allowing low cost fuel to be used.

Another advantages in use of closed cycle is the choice of selecting a convenient pressure range, once the pressure ratio has been selected. The volume of the air or the working fluid in the cycle depends upon the pressure range which, in turn, affects the sizes of the air heater, compressor, turbine, etc. In a closed cycle, there is no restriction to keep the pressure low and this could be kept at any suitable value say 7.03 kg/cm2(68.9 N/cm ) abs.

The pre-cooler in a closed cycle plant is an important equipment and corresponds to the condenser of a steam plant. However, unlike the condenser, cooling water in the pre-cooler could be heated to a fairly high temperature depending upon temperature of exit gas from the turbine, and then used elsewhere in the plant. The design of pre-cooler is commonly of the shell and tube type, and water is the coolant commonly used. The air heater of the closed cycle corresponds to the water heaters of the steam plant, but with one important difference that it has very small heat storage capacity .

Natural gas is the ideal fuel for gas turbines, but this is not available everywhere. Blast furnace and producer gas may also be used for these plants. However, liquid fuels of petroleum origin, such as, distillate oils or residual oils are most commonly used for gas turbine power plants. The essential qualities of these fuels include proper volatility, viscosity and calorific value. At the same time, the fuel should be free from any content of moisture and suspended impurities that may clog the small passages of the nozzles and damage valves and plungers of the fuel pump.

However, liquid fuels of petroleum origin, such distillate oils or residual oils are most commonly used for gas turbine plants. Residual oils burns with less ease than distillate oils and the heaters are often used to start the unit from cold, after which the residual oils are red into the combustor. Pre-heating of residual oils may be necessary in cold climates. Use of solid fuel, such as coal in pulverized form in gas turbines presents several difficulties, most of which have been only partially overcome.

Types of Gas Turbines

Jet engines Airbreathing jet engines are gas turbines optimized to produce thrust from the exhaust gases, or from ducted fans connected to the gas turbines. Jet engines that produce thrust from the direct impulse of exhaust gases are often called turbojets, whereas those that generate thrust with the addition of a ducted fan are often called turbofans or (rarely) fan-jets. Gas turbines are also used in many liquid propellant rockets, the gas turbines are used to power a turbopump to permit the use of lightweight, low pressure tanks, which saves considerable dry mass.

Diagram of a gas turbine jet engine


Turboprop engines
A turboprop engine is a type of turbine engine which drives an external aircraft propeller using a reduction gear. Turboprop engines are generally used on small subsonic aircraft, but some large military and civil aircraft, such as the Airbus A400M, Lockheed L-188 Electra and Tupolev Tu-95, have also used turboprop power.

Aeroderivative gas turbines
Aeroderivatives are also used in electrical power generation due to their ability to be shut down, and handle load changes more quickly than industrial machines. They are also used in the marine industry to reduce weight. The General Electric LM2500, General Electric LM6000, Rolls-Royce RB211 and Rolls-Royce Avon are common models of this type of machine.

Amateur gas turbines

In its most straightforward form, these are commercial turbines acquired through military surplus or scrapyard sales, then operated for display as part of the hobby of engine collecting. In its most extreme form, amateurs have even rebuilt engines beyond professional repair and then used them to compete for the Land Speed Record

Auxiliary power units
APUs are small gas turbines designed to supply auxiliary power to larger, mobile, machines such as an aircraft. They supply: compressed air for air conditioning and ventilation, compressed air start-up power for larger jet engines, mechanical (shaft) power to a gearbox to drive shafted accessories or to start large jet engines, and electrical, hydraulic and other power-transmission sources to consuming devices remote from the APU.

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Industrial gas turbines for power generation
Industrial gas turbines differ from aeronautical designs in that the frames, bearings, and blading are of heavier construction. They are also much more closely integrated with the devices they power— electric generator—and the secondary-energy equipment that is used to recover residual energy (largely heat). They range in size from man-portable mobile plants to enormous, complex systems weighing more than a hundred tonnes housed in block-sized buildings.

Turboshaft engines
Turboshaft engines are often used to drive compression trains (for example in gas pumping stations or natural gas liquefaction plants) and are used to power almost all modern helicopters. The primary shaft bears the compressor and the high speed turbine (often referred to as the Gas Generator), while a second shaft bears the lowspeed turbine (a power turbine or free-wheeling turbine on helicopters, especially, because the gas generator turbine spins separately from the power turbine).

Microturbines are one of the most promising technologies for powering hybrid electric vehicles. They range from hand held units producing less than a kilowatt, to commercial sized systems that produce tens or hundreds of kilowatts. Basic principles of microturbine are based on micro combustion.


Microturbine systems have many claimed advantages over reciprocating engine generators, such as higher power-to-weight ratio, low emissions and few, or just one, moving part. Nevertheless reciprocating engines overall are still cheaper when all factors are considered. Microturbines also have a further advantage of having the majority of the waste heat contained in the relatively high temperature exhaust making it simpler to capture, whereas the waste heat of reciprocating engines is split between its exhaust and cooling system.

External combustion
Most gas turbines are internal combustion engines but it is also possible to manufacture an external combustion gas turbine which is, effectively, a turbine version of a hot air engine. Those systems are usually indicated as EFGT (Externally Fired Gas Turbine) or IFGT (Indirectly Fired Gas Turbine). External combustion has been used for the purpose of using pulverized coal or finely ground biomass (such as sawdust) as a fuel.

Gas turbines in surface vehicles
Gas turbines are often used on ships, locomotives, helicopters, tanks, and to a lesser extent, on cars, buses, and motorcycles. Gas turbines offer a high-powered engine in a very small and light package. However, they are not as responsive and efficient as small piston engines over the wide range of RPMs and powers needed in vehicle applications. Turbines have historically been more expensive to produce than piston engines, though this is partly because piston engines have been mass-produced in huge quantities for decades, while small gas turbine engines are rarities; however, turbines are mass-produced in the closely related form of the turbocharger.

The turbocharger is basically a compact and simple free shaft radial gas turbine which is driven by the piston engine's exhaust gas. The centripetal turbine wheel drives a centrifugal compressor wheel through a common rotating shaft. This wheel supercharges the engine air intake to a degree that can be controlled by means of a wastegate or by dynamically modifying the turbine housing's geometry (as in a VGT turbocharger). It mainly serves as a power recovery device which converts a great deal of otherwise wasted thermal and kinetic energy into engine boost.

Concept cars
The first serious investigation of using a gas turbine in cars was in 1946 when two engineers, Robert Kafka and Robert Engerstein of Carney Associates, a New York engineering firm, came up with the concept where a unique compact turbine engine design would provide power for a rear wheel drive car. The original General Motors Firebird was a series of concept cars developed for the 1953, 1956 and 1959 Motorama auto shows, powered by gas turbines. Toyota demonstrated several gas turbine powered concept cars such as the Century gas turbine hybrid in 1975, the Sports 800 Gas Turbine Hybrid in 1979 and the GTV in 1985.

Racing cars
The first race car (in concept only) fitted with a turbine was in 1955 by a US Air Force group as a hobby project with a turbine loaned them by Boeing and a race car owned by Firestone Tire & Rubber company.[31] The first race car fitted with a turbine for the goal of actual racing was by Rover and the BRM Formula One team joined forces to produce the Rover-BRM, a gas turbine powered coupe, which entered the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by Graham Hill and Richie Ginther.

The arrival of the Capstone Microturbine has led to several hybrid bus designs, starting with HEV-1 by AVS of Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1999, and closely followed by Ebus and ISE Research in California, and Design Line Corporation in New Zealand (and later the United States).


The MTT Turbine SUPERBIKE appeared in 2000 (hence the designation of Y2K Superbike by MTT) and is the first production motorcycle powered by a turbine engine - specifically, a Rolls-Royce Allison model 250 turboshaft engine, producing about 283 kW (380 bhp). Speed-tested to 365 km/h or 227 mph (according to some stories, the testing team ran out of road during the test), it holds the Guinness World Records for most powerful production motorcycle and most expensive production motorcycle, with a price tag of US$185,000.

Several locomotive classes have been powered by gas turbines, the most recent incarnation being Bombardier's JetTrain.


The German Army's development division, studied a number of gas turbine engines for use in tanks starting in mid-1944. The first gas turbine engines used for armoured fighting vehicle GT 101 was installed in the Panther tank. A turbine is theoretically more reliable and easier to maintain than a piston engine, since it has a simpler construction with fewer moving parts but in practice turbine parts experience a higher wear rate due to their higher working speeds. The turbine blades are highly sensitive to dust and fine sand, so that in desert operations air filters have to be fitted and changed several times daily. Like most modern diesel engines used in tanks, gas turbines are usually multi-fuel engines.

Marine applications
Naval Gas turbines are used in many naval vessels, where they are valued for their high power-to-weight ratio and their ships' resulting acceleration and ability to get underway quickly. The first gas-turbine-powered naval vessel was the Royal Navy's Motor Gun Boat MGB 2009 (formerly MGB 509) converted in 1947.

Advances in technology
Gas turbine technology has steadily advanced since its inception and continues to evolve. Development is active in producing both smaller gas turbines and more powerful and efficient engines. Main drivers are computer design (specifically CFD and finite element analysis) and development of advanced materials: Base materials with superior high temperature strength (e.g., single-crystal superalloys that exhibt yield strength anomaly) or thermal barrier coatings that protect the structural material underneath from ever higher temperatures. These advances allowed higher compression ratios and turbine inlet temperatures, more efficient combustion and better cooling of engine parts.

ENGINE TYPES and APPLICATIONS Most of modern passenger and military aircraft are powered by gas turbine engines, which are also called jet engines. There are several types of jet engines, but all jet engines have some parts in common . Aircraft gas turbine engines can be classified according to (1) the type of compressor used and (2) power usage produces by the engine. Compressor types are as follows: 1. Centrifugal flow 2. Axial flow 3. Centrifugal-Axial flow. Power usage produced are as follows: 1. Turbojet engines 2. Turbofan engines. 3. Turboshaft engines.


Centrifugal Compressor Engines
Centrifugal flow engines compress the air by accelerating air outward perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the machine. Centrifugal compressor engines are divided into Single-Stage and Two-Stage compressor. The amount of thrust is limited because the maximum compression ratio. Principal Advantages of Centrifugal Compressor 1. Light Weight 2. Simplicity 3. Low cost.




Axial Flow Compressor Engines

Axial flow compressor engines may incorporate one , two , or three spools (Spool is defined as a group of compressor stages rotating at the same speed) . Two spool engine , the two rotors operate independently of one another. The turbine assembly for the low pressure compressor is the rear turbine unit .




Axial-Centrifugal Compressor Engine

Centrifugal compressor engine were used in many early jet engines , the efficiency level of single stage centrifugal compressor is relatively low . The multi-stage compressors are some what better , but still do not match with axial flow compressors.




Characteristics and Applications

The turbojet engine : Turbojet engine derives its thrust by highly accelerating a mass of air , all of which goes through the engine. Since a high " jet " velocity is required to obtain an acceptable of thrust, the turbine of turbo jet is designed to extract only enough power from the hot gas stream to drive the compressor and accessories . All of the propulsive force (100% of thrust ) produced by a jet engine derived from exhaust gas.

The turboprop engine : Turboprop engine derives its propulsion by the conversion of the majority of gas stream energy into mechanical power to drive the compressor , accessories , and the propeller load. The shaft on which the turbine is mounted drives the propeller through the propeller reduction gear system . Approximately 90% of thrust comes from propeller and about only 10% comes from exhaust gas. The turbofan engine : Turbofan engine has a duct enclosed fan mounted at the front of the engine and driven either mechanically at the same speed as the compressor , or by an independent turbine located to the rear of the compressor drive turbine . The fan air can exit seperately from the primary engine air , or it can be ducted back to mix with the primary's air at the rear .


The turboshaft engine : Turboshaft engine derives its propulsion by the conversion of the majority of gas stream energy into mechanical power to drive the compressor , accessories , just like the turboprop engine but The shaft on which the turbine is mounted drives something other than an aircraft propeller such as the rotor of a helicopter through the reduction gearbox . The engine is called turboshaft.




There are two big advantages: Gas turbine engines have a great power-to-weight ratio compared to reciprocating engines. That is, the amount of power you get out of the engine compared to the weight of the engine itself is very good. Gas turbine engines are also smaller than their reciprocating counterparts of the same power. The Gas Turbine Plant is simple in Design and Construction. It has few Reciprocating Parts and is lighter in weight. The Gas Turbine is quite useful in the regions where due to scarcity it is not possible to supply water in abundance for raising steam.

Other advantages include:
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Moves in one direction only, with far less vibration than a reciprocating engine. Fewer moving parts than reciprocating engines. Greater reliability, particularly in applications where sustained high power output is required Waste heat is dissipated almost entirely in the exhaust. This results in a high temperature exhaust stream that is very usable for boiling water in a combined cycle, or for cogeneration.


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Low operating pressures. High operation speeds. Low lubricating oil cost and consumption. Can run on a wide variety of fuels. Very low toxic emissions of CO and HC due to excess air, complete combustion and no "quench" of the flame on cold surfaces


The main disadvantage of gas turbines is that, compared to a reciprocating engine of the same size, they are expensive. Because they spin at such high speeds and because of the high operating temperatures, designing and manufacturing gas turbines is a tough problem from both the engineering and materials standpoint. Gas turbines also tend to use more fuel when they are idling and they prefer a constant load rather than a fluctuating load. That makes gas turbines great for things like trans-continental jet aircraft and power plants,

So far we have read about:  Introduction  History of gas turbines  Classification  Gas Turbine Power Plant  Open type gas turbine power plant  Closed type gas turbine power plant  Fuel used in gas turbine power plant  Types of gas turbines  Aircraft Gas Turbine Engines  Advantages  Disadvantages