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- -


S~R.... ' ~S

; Model


© Allflage 1995 by Verlag mrTechnik lind Handwerk
Postfach 227,i, 76492 Baden-Baden
English Language © 1995 Traplet Puhlications Limited

Translated fmm the:: o.-iginal German by Kcith Thomas

Technical support by Tom Wilkinson

© 2005 Traplet Puhlications Ltd

All rights reserved. All tradc::marks and rc::gisterc::d names acknowledged. No part of this book may be copied.
reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the Puhlishers.
The information in this book is tnle to the best of our knowledge at the time of compilation . Recommendations are
made without any guarantee, implied or otherwise, on the part of the author or publisher, who also disclaim any
liability incurred in connection with the use of data or specific information contained within this publication.

First published by Traplet Puhlications Limited 1995

Second Edition 2002
Third Edition 2005
Traplet HOllse.
Pendragon Close,
Worcestershire. WRI4 IGA
United Kingdom .

ISBN 1 90037 1 91 X

Technical drawings by Let: Wisnlale

Front COI'er: The Wren il1W44 is current~J' tbe smallest

production model aircraft gas turfJine - a man'ei of miniatllrisatioll.

Back COl'er: Two PST 600R gas turbines power Dtll'id Law's 1':14 Tomcat .

.. \J B I I ( A 1

Printed by Wa Fai Graphic Arts Printing Co .. Hung Kung

About the Author
T homas Kamps, DipL-Kaufmann (approx. GB equiv-
alent : B.Sc . busine s~ studies), born 197 0 . The
author's liking for technology stretches back as far
as he can remember. No sweets or chocolate in his
Christma~ stocking: it wa~ full of electrical and mechani-
cal components. Following his practical inclinations, he
converted the family cellar workshop first into a preci-
sion enginee ring manufacturing workshop, and subse-
quently into an engine testing station. He is lucky - his
neighbours art: very sympathetic towards his hobby.
His practical Gtpahilities are matched by his theoreti-
cal understanding - as witness the efficient, smooth-nm-
ning engines he has made, a number of published articles,
and not least this book.
Currently he is living in Zurich/Switzerland and works
in a major Swiss hank . Tn addition to modelling he enjoys
in his leisure time , reading, skiing and mnning.
he idea of the gas turbine can be traced back to a also reflected in the activities of the GTBA , the Gas
patent filed by the Frenchman Guillaume in the Turbine Builders Association . which has approximately
year 1921 , and is therefore quite ok!. However, it 1,700 members enrolled to date and which facilitates the
was many yt:ars before it proved possible to pm the prin- exchange of ideas and practicalities.
Ciple into pr.tctice in the form of the jet engine. In the The thmst figures have increased significantly. High
late nineteen-thirties Hans-Joachim Pabst von Ohain and tech materials are used in the area of the turbine wheels
Sir Frank Whittle succeeded virtually simultaneously in and bearings. By far. no othe r engine can give so much
applying the principle to constmct a working engine. night power to a model plane as a small gas turbine .
It has taken us modelle rs a great deal more time to C:ommercial engines offer thrusts of lOON or more .
bring the idea to fmition . Too complex and too much Electronic starters and control units become more and
trouble - that was always the verdict. Now and then more standard. Therefore I have paid special attemion to
rumours of successful model-scak gas turbines filtered to the constantly increasing number of production nlrbines
the outside world, but in many cases the engines were now on the market and have revised and updated the
only capable of running when their constructor was description of these power plants.
dreaming. In my eyes, the rapid development has only been pos-
As a result we in the model world were tmly aston- sible because of an open information exchange by ama-
ished to learn that amateurs had acnlally managed to pro- tc:urs and home builders. Many commercial engines
duce working jet engines using relatively straightforward include the knowledge of milny amateurs and their con-
methods. The key to success lay not so much in high-level stnlction is in many ways very alike tu the Microturbine.
precision manufacture. but in simplicity and careful KJ-66 or its predecessors. In this second edition [ have
matching of individual components. As Kurt Schreckling also improve d the building instructions ro achieve an
hiL'i shown with his engines. if the design is right. then it e asier constnlction with a solid performance.
is possible to uSt: a wooden compressor wheel and still At this point I wish to thank very sincerely all those
achieve a thrust:weight r.ttio comparable to that of a full- who have helped me with tips and ideas. and c:specially
size aircraft jet engine. Jeslis Artes de Arcos, Otto Bmhn, Alfred Kittelberger, Ridi
However how do we go about designing a working jet Reichstetter, Tom Wilkinson and John G . Wright.
engine? Wllat special characteristics have to be consid-
ered? How do these engines work, anyway? This book ThOJnas Kamps, April 2002
attempts to answer th ese questions and many
others. with the overall aim of helping you to understand
this new type of engine. As such it is really aimed at the
beginner to jets, but don 't give up if you are already famil-
iar with that special kerosene fragrance; you will still find
a few useful ideas here even if you already have some
experience of jet engines.
At this point I would like to offer my gr.ttdul thanks to
my like-minded friends and colleagues for their help and
encouragement. My special thanks must go to Kurt
Schreckling, Bennie van de Goor and Han Jenniskens for
their helpful and useful comments. I would also like to
thank Karl-Hdnz Collin and Arno Foerster, who were
very helpful in imparting their specialist knowledge and

Foreword to the second edition

In recent years model jets have become more and
more common at our flying fields. Many engines are avail-
able today. The new power source has been proven
strong and reliable. World Championships have been
held and the winning models were powered by jet
engines. It seems that the ducted fan will he replaced
soon. The growing interest in this small turbo engine is

Introduction ....... . ... .. ......... ,." .. , . .. . . . • . .• , •• , , •• , , •. . ... . . . ..... . . . .• , ... . .. ... _1/
How do jet engines work? ......... . ,. , , ,. . ., . . .. . . .. .. . . ............. , , , . 11
17.1e open gas /urfJille p rocess . , ....... ...... , . ,.,.,. ............... • .. /1
'fl.1e qllestiun u/e/ficie/1(y . . . . . . . . , . , , , . . , . .. . . .. ..... " , .. , ....... . .. 13
The lk"e1opment histo ry of the jet engine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................ . 14
It all started ill The 1930s .. ... ... .... , , , , , , , , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
TIn' ro/Justjet ellp,il1eS (!f the 1950s . , , , , , ........ . , . , , , , , , , , , .. ....... .. . . ... , ... ]()
Prototypes for model jet engines .... . .. . . . . . . . . . . . , ... . , , , . , , , , , , .. .... . I !)
Drolle eng ines (lml AP[ls (AlIxiliaJ:I' PUll'er Un its) .. . ..... , . , , . , , , .. , , . . . . , . , , . 18
Hlper-cbargillg ... .. . . , .... ... . . ...... . , • . . 19
Blrly model jet engines ........... .. ... . . ... ,",. .... . .. . . ... ,' , " ' , ' . ... .. .22
,Ua.\' Ureber :~ Bahr Mamba . ..... . . .. ........ , . . .""" , . . .22
'fl.1e Sll'edish PAL .~I'stem a nd lts slIccessor TlIr!Jumin .. , " " ' " ...... ... 22
KlIrt Scbrecklin/!, :~ rD series ... . . . ...... , , , , , , , ' . . . . . . .23
Turborec T240 ji·ull1]PX . . ...... .... ...... ,"'. . . , , , , , , , ,. . .... .26
Model jet engines to date .... . ... . . . . , , . , , .. , .. .. .. . . . . .... .. , , ... . . ... .. . . ... , , , .. , , .2H
1.1. Tbe}-4 50 I~)' Sopb ia Precisiull . . . . . .. ..,,",',. .. . ......... . . , , .. .29
1.2. AMT - Adlwlced .HiCl'U Turbines. , . , , , . , , , .. , . , . . . ...... . . . . . .30
1.3. 'fl.n' r;T 66 . . .. . ... . , , , , , , ............. .. , , , , .. , ...... . . .. .. , , , , , , . .3 1
1.4. The .411es-TlIrbin es .. . . ... .. . .. ,. .., .. ...... ...32
1.5. 'fl.?e}et CtlllI1()d el tlll'hille "',,..... . ... . . ..... , " , , ' ..... ... .... . " )')

1.6 . 'fl.1e Smallest Ellgilles . ... ... ... . . ... , , , , , , , , , , , .. ........ . , , , , , , , , , , . ... _34
1 . . Turboprup and Sb{!/i POll'er Engines . . . ... ........ . , . , , , , , .... ..... . .. , 36

Chapter 1 The Component Parts of a Model Jet Engine . . . ...... .. . . . , . , . ..... - - - .... . " - )>7 (

Special features of small gas turhines . , , ' . . . . . . . . . . .. . , ." ..37

CumlmstiOll . . ... ... , . . ... .3 7
Rotor d esig n , . . . . . ,.,.,,.'. . . .. , , . . ,38
Gap lo~~~es . . . . . .," .... . ... .. . ,,,,,,,,,... ........ , , , .. . ... .38
COllclusions relatillg to tbe model jet ellRille ....... .... .. , ,",... . .... .. . ... .. " .39
The compressor . . . . . . . . . . , , , .. ... .. . ,, ,. .. ... .. . . . . . . . . .4 1
The radial compressur . ... .. ..,......... . . . . . . . .. .42
Typical calculaticJ1l/or a radial compressor . .. ... . .. , , . , . . ... . .. . . ... , . . . .·14
TlIr/)ocbarger compressurs . . , ...... . . , , , , , , , , , , . ... . . ......... , , , ....... ... ,15
The compressur cbarllcterislic [!,rapb . . .,.. . . .. . . , . . ,.. ............ 47
D(ffuser lI'beel~ . . . . . . . .. . .. .. ... . . . . .... . , , , , , , .. , .. .48
EWllllple u/ calculatillg tbe d(llilser s),stem . . . . . , . , , ... , . ........ , , , . 51
'fl.1e surge limit .. . . . . . . , , , , , . ........ , . , . . . . ')2
The axial compressor ..... ' ......... .................... . ... ')4
EX'ample calculatiulI: llxial cOli/pressor stage . ................. , . . . . . . . , , .... . 55
The combustion chamher ., . .. . , .... ,..... .. .. . ... ........ . . . , , . , . , , ' .. ' , ... 5 7
Desigll andfilllction (~f the cOIIIIJIIstic)// chmll/]er . , ...... . . , , , , , , , , , , . . , ... ... ..... . ')
The questiun o//i lel .. ,.. . . . . . _. . . . . .... , , , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 58
Jlix ture fo/'llwtion .... .... . .. ... . . .. ... . . ... .. , , , ...... .. .. . . .... .60
'fl.H! significance c!lre-circlIfation ZO/les . , ...... .. ..... , , , ... ... . . .. , . , , , . , , . , , . .. 62
Turbine stage and exhaust cone . . . . . . . .. .. . . , .. , , , , , , , . .. . ...... .63
HOII' tbe turbl/ Ie stliRe lI 'orks .... , ... _ ............ .. .. , , . , . . . . . .. .... , .63
Axial turhine or radial turbine? . ... _ ...... , . , , , , .. , . . ..... . .. .6')
Design and l'ector diagrams qfa/l axial tur!Jil/e ...... . ... . , .. , , .. , . . ... _ . . . . . . .. .65
1)pica/ calculatioll: IlIriJine design/or a model jet ellg ille . . . ... ................ .. 66
CelltriJi'l!,alload~ 011the rotor lIheel . .. , . . . . . . .. , .. ,........ . . . . . ..... .. 68
Tbe exha1lst cOl1e . ...... , . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ..... , ... . .. .69
17.1e sbc{/i o/a m odeljetenJl,ine .... .. . , . . . , , ............ . ................. .. 69
Calculating the critical rotatiollal speed . ..... . , . . . • . . . .. . .... . 7U

Chapter 2 A Home-made ModelJet Engine . ....... . . . . . . . . . . . . ,., .... .. 71

Introduction . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , , ,.. .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
Ir'hat tools u'ill T need." ... ". _ ..... , , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . , .... . . /.!
Selecting materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .. .. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. 73
Tbe compressor wheel . , . , . , , , . , . . . . ..... , , ... , , . , . . . . . . . . . . ..... ... 74
Constructing the engine . , ..... ... ... . ... . ............ , , . . .... , • ' ..• . ... , , .. ... .. 75
Maki ng the shaft . . , . . .. . , . , , . . . .... , . . . . . .. ..... . ............ .. 75
17.1e sbaji tlll1l1el and hearill[!, ..... ...... ... , . . . . . . . , , , , ...... , ... , , ... , , . . 76
17.n' turhine nozz le f!.u icle l 'CII/{' sy~tem .... . . ............. .. , .. , ........... .... ... 78
17.1e (u rbi Ill' l{'heel . , , , , .,...,,.. .. . . ' . . , . . " . , ' " . . . . . .. . . .. 78
BlIlllllcillg . .. ........ ... ...... ... . ....... ........ ......... , , . . . . . '9
The compre~~~() r system . . . ,. . ........... , . , , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 79
17.](.' combustioll chaJllher . . . . . . . . . . . . . ................ . , .. .. " .. , .. . .80
17.1e bousing ... . .. ,. . , . , .. , . .... . ......... ..... ..... . .. . .. .......... . .82
Assembling the components .. ... .. . . ...... .. . , .. ,.,',., .85
Running the engine for the first time . . . . . . . . . . . . . .85
Bench running stand for kerosene operation .. . ....... , , . , , , . , , , . ' . . . ..... , , .. , , , . , .. 87
Pumps, tallks alld otber equipmellt . ............ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . .. 88
Running the eng ine on kerosene .. . ... , .. , ............... .. . .. " ..... ........ .. 89 instructions for different compressors , ... ............... ,............ ... .. .. 90
Optimising the performance of model jet engines .. ....... . . , , .. ... . ....... .. ...... . 92

Chapter 3 The Engine in Practice . . . .. . ... . ... . .. ... .................. . .... .... .......... . 9<1
Safety: the First Commandment ... . ..... .... , , .. , , .. '. .... . . , ....•.... , . . . .94
Measuring the engine's performance data ..... ..... . . ............. .... .. .. ............. .. 95
Rutatiollal speed. pressure and thrust . .. ... , . , ........... , , . ..... .. , , .......... . . 95
Measurements/or tbe adl'cJlZced operator . .. . ............. ..... ... . ........ ...... .95
Using jet engines in model aircraft .. . ." ........ , .. , ..... ... ... , ... ................. .97
FlIlldamellfal special/eallires .. . ,"...... .. • .•. , , . , , . . . . . . . . . •. . , .97
Howiet engines hehat'e in flight . , . . . . .......... ..... . . .. . ............... ... 97
Air ill take d esif.!,11 , .... " ....... .•... .. ' ... ,.".... ..,." .. " .. , ... " . , . " , .98
C:oolillg tbe /lIselage . . . . . . . . . . . .. ...... .. . ...... .......... . . .. .. .. ... .. . .. 99
Auxiliary Equipment .. . . ....... .............. . ...... . . .• ..... . ..... . .. .. , .. ... . . . . .. 101
Particular problems encountered in jet-powered flight . . .. ...... .. .. ... . .. . . . , ' , . . .. .102
Thrust delay .. , . . , , .. ,. . . ... ," , ... ..... ..... . .. . . .... . ... , . . ... . 102
Gyroscopic effects . , .. , , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. ., .............. , ... , .. , ... . IUj
Fault-finding . . . .. . . , .. ... .. ........ ,'.' , . . . . ................... . . .104
\f'hat tbe sOllnd (~ltbe engille tells you . . .... , .... , , , . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . 104
Exceeding the pressure limit (surgillg) ... . ... .. , . . ...... ............ , . , ... .. .105
A standard problem .. .... ... ... , ......... , . . ... , .. , , , . , . , .. , . , . , . , .......... .. . 105
ExcessiL'e(l' high exbaus! gas temperatllre ..... ... , , . ' , , . , , . • ' .....•. , .. , .. , ... .. .105
Maintenance and repair ... , ., , . .. .. ...... , , , . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .106
CheckillJl, tbe bearings ..... .. "....... , , • , , , . , , , . , , , .. , , . , . , ... , , .106
CleaJliJll!,theengille .......... .. . ... ...... ,. . ... , .... , . .106
Bibliography . . , .... , ... " . " , . " , . . .. , ....... , , , ....................... ... J0 7
Notes .. . . . . ............. . .. . . . . ......... . , ... ... . .. ... .. . ....... , ' , .. ... .108
How do jet engines work? basic principles, the jet engine will soon give up its mys-
terious secrets.
Gas turbine1i have long since claimed a secure place
for themselves in our world. Amongst the most ohvious The open gas turbine process
examples are the innumerahle aircraft which day after Regardless of whether we are considering a shaft
day fly above us, trailing their wakes of condensation power turbine (designed to produce mechanical power)
across the sl'1', hut that's not all: gas turbines are at work or a jet engine. we find the same working process at the
where you might not know it: nowadays they are used core: it is termed the open gas turhine process. Air is
more and more commonly in power stations, electricity sucked into the engine and compressed. The compressed
generators, hoat engines and much more. air then tlows through a comhustion chamber in which it
Suddenly these engines are increasingly heing used to is heated to a high temperature.
propel models, and that is why we need to understand [n their hot state the gases are capable of performing
how they work. Unfortunately it is much more difficult to more work than was put into them during the compres-
explain how a gas turbine works than to elucidate what is sion stage. Finally the air expands again as it i ~ released
probably the most important energy machine of our time: into a turbine , to which it imparts a proportion of its
the piston engine. There the immense pressure caused by power. This process sets the turhine spinning, which in
explosive combustion moves a piston running inside a rurn drives the compressor to which it is connected by a
cylinder. shaft. The residual energy in the exhaust gas can now be
The principle is clear and compn:hensihle. Alas, it is exploited to serve the purpose of the engine . If the
just impossible to explain in so few wonh how a gas tur· exhaust stream of the hasic gas turhine is further acceler-
bine works. Here we find spinning rotors and wheels, gas ated by an exhaust cone the machine hecomes a jet
flow and energy conversion, hut don 't let that worry you engine.
- once we have made a little headway in explaining the The resultant tlow of hot gas produces a forwards·

Compressor CombustiOfI clJamber Turbine

o 0
o 0

o 0

o 0

d e g b

Diagram of a jet engirle.

a) Air intake, b) Compressor blades, c) Ring of diffuser blades, d) Compressor rotor,
e) Front bearing,f) Fuel injector 'IOZZle, g) Combustion cbll1llber, b) Shaft, i) Nozzle gUide l'alles,
j) Turbille rotor blades, k) Turbine rotor. I) Tail cone.

ModelJet Engines 11
a b c

Types of turbille compressor.

a) Axial compressor. b) Radial compressor. c) Diagonal cumpressur.

directed force, i.e. there is an equal and opposite reaction cent in order to achieve stable combustion. The sole pur-
according to the familiar laws of physiCS. pose of the combustion chamber in a gas turbine is to
The gas turbine is c1asscd as a heat engine as is the pis- heat air. As a result the ga~ turbine i~ not bound strictly to
ton engine familiar to model flyers, so it will be no sur- a specific fuel. In principle the engine could be madt' to
prise (0 find that borh engines s hare certain hasic work if an electric heating element were used instead of
features. The working medium is tirst compressed and burning kerosene.
then heated in a comhustion chamber. In the piston The crucial difference between the gas turbine and the
engine rhe hearing occurs by the cumbustion of a fuel - piston engine is in the sel[uence of the processes within
air mixture , the combustion occurring in an explosive the engine. The piston engine completes the stages of its
form . The result is a tremendous rise in pressure inside power cycle in sequence, one by one, whereas the gas
the cylinder. ]n contrast, the analogous process inside the turbine dot's everything at the same time. Air is constant-
gas turbine is isobaric in nature, i.e. the pressure remains ly sucked in and comprt'sst'd, ht'ated and expanded
constant when the working gases now through the com- again. II is this very con~tancy which constitutes the great
bustion chamber. Thus in the case of the gas turbine the advantage of the gas turbine. The individual processes
increase in usable power is nOI due to a rise in pressure run continuously and in separate spaces or areas of the
in the combustion chamber. Quite the opposite: in prac- engine.
tice we have to accept a loss of pressure of a few per Every g.IS turbine possesses a compressor and a tur-
bine. These components are designc::d in the form of a
continuous flow machine . In comparison with piston
engines they offer the important advantage that they are
able to produce great power in the smallest possible
space . For example , a model engine 's single turbine
wheel , just 6<; mm in diameter, can drive a compressor
with a power absorption of more than 20 kW at full
throttle . [n full-size jet engines the power levels are
astronomic - to the point where they are difficult to
The compressor of a gas turhine is always some fonn
of turbine machine; usually either an axi.1I or a radial com-
pressor. [n the case of the axial type the gas flows parallel
to the drive shaft. while the radial type hurls the gas out-
wardo; perpendicular to the shaft. A third type - tht:' diago-
nal compressor - is used rarely, hut it is still worthy of
mention. As is easy to see, this represents a hybrid of the
two other types. The air arrives in the axial direction and
is pushed on in a broadly axial direction . the diameter
of the now increasing steadily. The axial compressor
is broadly similar to the fan of an impeller (ducted
fan) . A compressor may consist of st:'veral
stages, t:ach stage consisting of .1 rotating compressor
wheel and a fixed diffuser whc::el. also known as the sta-
Si1lgle stage axial lurbi'le. tor. The rotor and stator are always fitted with a partinl-
a) Nuzzle guide l'alles, b) Rotating blade.... lar numher of vanes or blades . The air is initially
accelerated as it flows through the stages, then slowed

12 .Hllde/.fel Engines
down again slightly. As a result of this process a propor- Like the compn:ssor, the power turbine GIn be con-
tion of the air·s kinetic energy is converted into pressure Mmcted in axial or radial form . The first successful gas
energy in each stage. Multi-stage axial comprt:ssors art: turbine designed by Pabst von Ohain (1937 ) wa~ fittt::d
standard for full-size gas turbines. Modern jet engines with a radial tumine. In the course of time the radial tur-
have extremely complex compressors consisting of up to bine has been superseded almost entirely by the axial
17 stages and even more. The result is an increase in pres- type. Even by the 50s the radial turbine only survived
sure of up to 30 times. occasionally in low-power shaft power engines. However,
The radial compressor is much simpler in construc- for model jet engines this type of turbine could still bt:: of
tion and therefore much more suitable for model interest.
engines. The air flows into the wheel in the axial direc-
tion and is the n tlung outward by centrifugal force. On its The question of efficiency
own this device is known as a centrifugal compressor. We will now consider the processes inside the gas tur-
Once again a Single stage consists of a rotor and a stator, bine somewhat more closely. If we adopt the proct::ss
although the pressure increase per stage is much higher described here, the engine can only function if the tur-
than with an axial compressor stage. As a result gas tur- bine produu:s sufficient power to drive the compressor.
bines with radial compressors can often manage with Unfortunately turbines and compressors are not zero-
only one stage. loss machin es. In each stage friction and turbulence
Additional advantages of the radi<t1 compressor are its absorb pan of the energy and waste it as heat. To mini-
robust nature and its inherent reliability. The disadvan- mise friction losses there must be a gap between the
tage is the large frontal area of the machine. Gas turbines rotor blades and the housing to avoid any danger of foul-
with a radial compressor are therefore always somewhat ing. This clearance then allows a proportion of the gas
bull'T simply to slip past the rotor.
The second continuous flow machine in the gas tur- To counter this problem and still keep the engine mn-
bine is the actual tumine. This can be visualised as a com- ning it is essential to keep the temperature of the gas -
pressor "in reverse". The turbine converts pressure and therefore its power capacity - high enough to com-
energy into the shaft power which is required to drive pen~att:: for the losses. However. the permissible gas tem-
the compressor. Since the hot gases contain much more perature is not infinitely high. The maximum temperature
energy than the compressor absorbs, the system is self- is limited by the strength of the materials used in the
sustaining. If the final temperature after the combustion engine , especially where the modeller does not have
chamber - what is known as the combustion gas temper- access to heat-resistant steels. The only way out of this
ature - is high enough, additional power can he extracted dilemma is to strive for maximum possible efficiency of
from it. the compressor and turbine. This is one of the most diffi-
Like the compressor, the turbine itself may consist of cult problems for the modeller to tackle, since the laws
one or more stages. When the air reaches the turbine of physics have been drawn up to thwart the experi-
stage it first tlows through the stator which converts part menter. The smaller we make the compressor and tur-
of the pressure energy into kinetic energy. As the gases bine, the less effiCient, in general terms. they become.
pass through the fixed
stator they are accelerat- Alread)' recognisClbl), a model jet engine, this desigll pro€luced 5 Nell'to1ls of
ed in the direction of thrust at CI maximum speed of 35,000 rpm. Tbe fuel -pure diesel -was
rotation of the rotor . vaporised ill a copper tube and burlled ill a rel'erse flow combustioll chamber.
The gas is accelerated
once more within the
vanes of the rotor, but
thb. time in the opposite
direction. The net result
is a powerful peripheral
force acting on all the
rotor blades, and taking
the form of a propulsive
torque . This peripheral
force arises from the
recoil which the rotor
blades experience . As
the exhaust gases flow
through at high speed
they are accelerated in
the direction opposite to
that of rotation. On the
other hand the twisting
motion produced by the
nozzle guide vane sys-
tem produces an im -
pulse force in the rotor
blades, varying accord-
ing to the design of the
turbine stage.

ModelJet Engines 13
until the air diffuser system in the compressor region
Simply reducing the size of a gas turhine and huilding it
to model scale does not help , as it is impossihle tohad heen reworked, and even then the engine's running
qualities were very unsatisfactory. In subsequent experi-
reduce the size of the gas molecules in the air at the
ments I used tht:: housing of a commercial turhocharger
same timt::. It is the air molecules which are responsihle
for the inferior aerodynamic characteristics of small jet
in an effort to improve compressor efficiency. The
experimemal engine based on this component worked
engine hlades compared with large ones. It is the same
prohlem that we encounter with very small model air- at the first attempt. The compressor and diffuser system
were taken from an exhaust gas turbocharger designed
craft wings - which is what the hlades really are. This
was tht:: reason why wt:: modellers were so pleased for a lorry engine, and the air supplied hy the compres-
when it proved possible to make a model jet engine nmsor was ducted to the gas-heated comhustion cham her
at all. hy means of spiral tuhing. The turbine was a home-
The first engine which I constmcted refused to nm made axial device with a rotor formed from thin sheet
metal. Initially the
Experimelltal eugi1le:jirst ruu October 1990, maximum speed: 19,000 rpm, engine' s efficiency was
pressure ratio: 1.04, fuel: propane gas. so poor that the system
could only just keep
itself running. At the
same time the tempera-
ture of the gas was so
high that the turbine
rotor glowed bright
orange. Residual energy
for thrust was virtually
non-existent . When the
throttle was opened the
spiral hose inflated itself
horrihly, and the com-
pressed air whistled out
from many a leak.
Since then I (and
others) have produced a
series of usahle model
jet engines. The efficien-
cy of the stages has heen
improved to the point
where the gas tempera-
ture can he held down
to a sensihle level.
However, the relatively
poor rotor efficiency still
manifests itself in the
engines' high fuel con-
sumption: specific con-
sumption is ahout 2-3
times that of comparahle
full -size engines and
ahout 8 times the con-
sumption of modern by-
pass engines.

The development
history qf the
jet engine
Since they were in-
vented jet engines have
been the subject of con-
tinuous development ,
and have t::volved and
changed to an enormous
extem. The dual require-
ments of higher perfor-
mance and hetter fuel
consumption havt:: re -
sulted in an endless
stream of new designs.

14 ,'/,fodelJet Ellgines
Clt:ar trenlb can now be perceived: higher and higher back as 1935. From today's point of view this machine
combustion gas temperanlres (above 1500 0 C) and pres- had more in common with a washing machine drum than
sure ratios mostly in the mnge 10 lO 30. This is the only a jet engine, and indeed it could not run independently.
way in which maximum power can be combined with Ernst Heinkel, who recugnised thl:' Significance of Ohain 's
efficient exploitation of fuel. Turbine blades capablt: of wurk, allowc::d him to continue his experiments in the
surviving under such conditions an: extremely sophisti- Heinkel works. Abuut a year later, in March 1937. vun
cated high-tech products. The simplt: form of the turbo- Ohain 's S2 engine ran autonomously fo r the first time.
jet - what we might call the pure jet engine - has heen Only one month later Frank Whittle' s engine was also
almost entirely sidelined. In its place we find extremely running. Two years later the S2 's successor - thl:' HI:' S3 B
complex engines, most of them multi-shaft by-pass and - had been developed to the point where it was capable
turbo-fan designs. There must be many modellers who of prope lling an aircraft.
would like to design their own model jet engines, but Von Ohain's enginl:' is notable for its simplicity am.l
they will find no help at all in this type of prototype. On functional nature. He used a radial compressor and a radi-
the ·: ontrary: modern jet engines with all their sophistica- al turbine, both with an initial diame te r of 600 mm . An
tion do an effective job of scaring modellt:rs off. If you are axial compressor stage was fitted in front of the radial
one of thuse wunder-moddlers who is capable of proouc- compressor in an effort to increase the pressure ratio .
ing a miniature version of such an engine at model scale The rotor, i.e. all the wheels and the shaft, was mounted
you will undoubtedly be feted as a master mechanical on ballraces; one each between the axial and radial com-
engineer, but it is extremely unlikely that you will be able pressor stages and onl:' behind the turbine. The maximum
to persuade your engine to run. rotatiunal spc::ed of the S2 engine was 10,000 rpm at
The jet-minded muddlt:r really has no alternative but which point it produced a cunstant thrust of 1, 27 0
to concentrate on the essentials of the matter: the open Newtons. The exact thermo-dynamic data for this I:'xperi-
gas turbine process. The first question we have to tackle mental engine are not available, hut calculations show
is this : can a jet engine function at all if we do not that the compressor could only have produced an excess
achieve a particular minimum pressure ratio or a partiClI- pressure of around 0 .8 to I bar.
lar gas temperature? Fortunatc:1y the answer is yes ; It proved necessary to carry out a tremenduus amount
theory promises that a gas turbine will function even if of experimental work in order to optimise the combus-
the gas temperature is kept down to a value which we tion chamber. Initially von Ohain used a shon-<:ut, in so
can comfortably handlt:. Prospects are also good when far as gaseous hydrogen was used as the fuel. This gas
we consider pressure ratios; in fact, any minuscult: excess forms a combustible mixture when mixed with air in
pressure is theoretically sufficient to keep a gas turbine almust any proportion. Later a number of tuhes were fit-
running. te d , running through thl:' cumhustion chamher. Petrul
Supporting evidence for this theory is found in early was pumped into the engine and vaporised in these
gas turbines. The first examplt:s were ex tremely simple in tubes, so that it was in a more or less gaseous stage when
deSign , but they did work. The thermodynamic data , it reached the combustion chamber.
pressure ratio and combustion gas temperature of these Similar problems afflict today's model jet engines, and
engines are within regions which we can certainly the burning of liquid fuel still presents us with serious dif-
achieve Witll model jet engines. In shon, if we are look- ficultie s.
ing for full -size jet
engines which might
encourage us in our
quest for successful
model gas turbines, we
should go right back to
the original develop-

It all started in the

The history of jet
engines begins in the
late 1930s. The German
physicist Hans-Joachim
Pabst von Ohain and
the Englishman Frank
Whittle developed the
first engines indepen-
dently of each other and
almost exactly at the
same time . Von Ohain
had heen experimenting
with the new propulsive On 27th August 1939 the first jet-powered flight took place when the He
technology since 1933. 178J1ew powered by the He S3 Bjet ellgille. Thrust: 4.9kN at 13,000 rpm,
His firs t experimental throughput: 12 kg/so diameter: 1.2m, mass: 360 kg.
engine , termed the SI , ljrom: Leist, Ellcyclopedia ofjet engilles [German]).
was completed as far

i\lod e/Jel Ellgilles 15

Model jet engines which are capable of running on hecause of its simplicity and reliability. In many countries
diesel or kerosene usually exploit the technique of pre- it was the starting point for further tlevelopments, and
vaporisation. This technique was tried at the time, but in numerous variants were protlucetl. These jet engines
spite of its simplicity it was not successful. Totla), it has were used to propel many famous aircraft types. Thanks
become a useful technique for model jet engines once to the engine types ' widespread application we fintl
again. examples in most museums and exhibitions of aircraft
technology. The technology is of particular interest to us
The robust jet engines ofthe 1950s because we can clearly see in it the elementary principles
In the course of time mun:: anti more companks of the jet engine. The basic layout, i.e. radial compressor
turned to the develupment of this type of engine . combined with axial turbine, is often usetl nowadays in
Amongst the best-known manufacturers at that time model jet engines.
were Allison, General Electrics, Pratt & Whitney, Bristol, Another very s uccessful family of engines was devel-
de Havilland , Rolls-Royce and Turbomeca, and these oped by the French firm Turbomeca. The company was
companies producetl numerous variants on the gas tur- foundetl in 19~8 with the aim of manufacturing air com-
bine theme. Initially many engines were based on Frank pressurs for supercharging piston engines. The develop-
Whittle' s general design . The primary feature of these ment of small gas turbines began in 1941 , and the first
engines is their twin-flute radial cumpressor and single- approved jet engine of the series was known as the
stage axial turbine . The compressor whed features Pimene, which protlucetl 1,080 Newtons of thrust. The
vanes on the front and rear faces . which means that Palas anti Marbon:: types followed in 19S I and 19';2
double the quantity of air can be moved. A gigantic dif· respectively. At the same time shaft power engines were
fuser system is usually connected to the rotor, ending in derived from the basic design by adding a further turbine
convoluted ducts running to the individual combustion stage. Probably the best known representative is the
chambers. An axial turhine is used . This type of engine Artouste which was used in numerous helicopters ,
is very clumsy and hulky, anti its great frontal arc;, including the Alouette.
makes it a poor contender for use in high-speed jet air· All these engine types were based on a radial com-
craft. pressor and an axial turbine. The tlesign uf the compres-
Nevertheless the Whittle design was very popular sor gives important clues to the would-be tlesigner of

Alliso1lJ33-A-35 -Ma1lufacturer: Allis01I Divisioll, Illdimtapolis. USA. thrust: 20.5 kN £11 11.750 rpm,
throughput 39.5 kg/ s, pressure ratio: 4.25, exhaust gas temperature: 686° C mass: 826 kg, 1 q illdi"iduai
combustioll chambers. Used;'l Lockheed F80 Shootillg Star alld Lockheed T33.

\ \
\ \

16 ModelJet Ellgilles

Examples of the Turbomeca Marbore II can befound in many museums. Continuous thrust: 3.1 kN at
21.000 rpm. maximum thrust: 3.9 kN at 22.600 rpm (limited to 15 minutes). pressure ratio: 4. mass: 146 kg,
length: 1.566 m. diameter: 567mm.

MudelJet E I1J!,illes 17
duration . Of course ,
very small profe~sionally
built gas turbines do
exist, and the modeller
can draw inspiration
from them. This type of
miniature engine is
often utilised where
high levels of propul-
sive power must be
combined with low
weight and compact-
ness . For example , a
portable fire -fighting
water jet has been built
powered by a miniature
gas turbine made by the
company of Kloeckner-
Humboldt-Deutz . Most
of the engines of this
type are based on radial
compressors and some
of them even use radial
The AllisonJ33-A-35 is a typical represelltatil'e of the Whiffle sclJool of desigll,
here with the double-J1uted compressor clearly l';sible. Each combustion Drone engines and
chmnber is assiglled to 01W duct of the compressor diffuser system. APUs (Auxiliary Power
Small jet engines are
often used in unmanned
ai rcraft (drones), which
are usually de~ignt:"d for
a short flight duration
and are subsequently dis-
posed of after being
usnl once . For this rea-
son the engines art:" also
designed for a short life.
The main design criteria
for these units a re low
weight and , above all,
minimum possibk cust.
A typical single-use
Perspective cut-away drawing of the Marbore II (from: Letst, Encyclopedic, ofjet engine of this type is the
engines [Germcmj). Williams WR 2 made by
Williams Research Corp.,
modd jet engines. In order to keep the frontal area of the Walled Lake, USA, which was used in the Canadair C189
engine small the designers employed an ultr.! low-profile reconnaissance drone . Fuel is injected via fine openings
compressor diffuser system . The diffuser vanes were in the rotating engine shaft, which acts as a cemrifugal
arranged in two rings - one radial, directly aft of the com- pump. Tht:" compressor and turbine rotors are each manu-
pressor wheel, and one axial at the periphery of the dif- factured in one piece using a pn:cision casting process.
fuser system, after the direction of the airflow had already This little engine's rorational speed and gas temperature
been ddkcted. Thi~ neat trick allowed the company to are vt:"ry high, with the result that it achieves an excel-
build relatively slim engines which were very robust. The lent pressure ratio and efflux velocity, comparabk to the
same general type of diffuser system is also used success- performanct:" values for full -size engines of similar
fully in model jet engines. design.
At the same time the stresses due to temperature and
centrifugal force rise to such levels that the turbine wheel
Prototypes for model jet engines can only survive for a few minutes.
Old jet engines can certainly give us ideas for small Tht:" most common application for professionally built
model versions, hut there is no point in talking of actual small ga!'. turbines is the APlJ , or Auxiliary Power Unit.
prototypes. To my knowledge, fully working jet engines TIlese are supplememary aircraft engines which provide
small enough to be used to propd a standard modd air- additional power when required . Small shaft power
craft did not exist until the late ROs. It is true that ama- engines are used to drive electrical generators or
teurs made many attempts at con s tructing engines to hydraulic systems. Often these gas turbines can also sup-
model scale, but any success they achieved was of short ply compressed air in order to start the main engines.

18 .HodelJet EI/gil/cs
The KHD Tl12 is a
typical APU . Other
examples are the T212
air pump and the T312
used in the Tornado .
These engines were
developed and huilt at
Oherursel near Frank-
furt. The rotors are
almost of model size ,
and the compressor
consists of one axial
stage and one radial
stage . The comhustion
chamber is designed as
a reverse flow type in
order to save space .
After the combustion
chamber comes a two-
stage axial turbine . The
axial compressor stage
is particularly note-
worthy, as the blades of Williclms WR2, built 1962, tIJrust: 550 Newtolls, speed: 60,000 rpm, tIJrougIJput: 1
this "trans-sonic " wheel kg/s, pressure ratio: 4.1, diameter: 274 mm, mass: 13.6 k& a gellerator is built
run at supersonic speed illto the illtake opellillg.
at full load . These
hlades prove that it is
possible to design very
small axial compressors
capable of achieving
high levels of efficiency.
In technical terms the
engines of this type are
very highly refined
power plants , and any
amateur attempt at emu-
lating them would c er-
tainly he doomed to
failure . Even so , it is
obvious that much small-
er ga s turhines could
have heen made if a
need for them had
In the meantime KHD
has been taken over hy
BMW and Rolls-Royce .
Even today the new
company of BMW Rolls-
Royce GmhH continues KHD T112, built 1963, lellgtIJ: 789 1Il1ll, dic,meter: 368 mm, tIJroughpllt: 0.86 kg/ s,
to work on full -size pressure ratio: 4.96, speed: 64.000 rpm. 104 kif' shaft power. IIWSS: 34.1 kg, II
engines and small gas starter is fitted ill tIJe air ;'llake.
exhaust gases flow through the t urhocharger and drive
Hyper-charging the compressor via its turhine stage . Therefore inside
There are other s oun:t:~ of idea~ for the modeller every turhocharger there are a turhine and a compres-
interested in miniature jet engines. Another area which sor.
at first sight has nothing to do with jet engines can, in A d isadvantage of exhaust turbo -cha rging is the
fact, give us some interesting food for thought. Indeed. delayed response of the turbocharger. If the driver sud-
this is an area where some important components c an denly opens the throttle from idle the charger pressure is
even he used directly in our model jet engine. What we very low, and therefore requires a certain amount of time
are talking ahout is exhaust turhochargers. A turhocharg- to get up to speed. This accounts for what drivers of
er is basically a compressor which is used to feed pre- turhocharged cars know as turbo -lag . In modern
compres sed air to a piston engine . This technique turhochargers the inertia of the rotor is so low that turho-
increases the engine's air throughput so that it Gill hurn lag is harely perc eptihle. One very neat solution to this
more fuel and produce more power . The engine ' s problem is the hi-turho, where two small chargers, with

Jlodel./et t) lgilles 19
E:..perimental ga ... turbine based on Cl turbocharger.

correspondingly short rt:sponse time, are used instead of

bochargc::r to zero - this technique is known as hyper-
one:: larger one. charging and it exploits the fact that a turhocharger is
already almost a gas turbine. The housing of the charger
For special purposes a further alternative is available::
which can be used to shorten the response time of a tur-accommodates a turbo-compressor and a turbine . The
throughput of the tur-
Itlternall'iew oflhe KHD T112 showing the two axial turbine stages and the bine stage is accurately
ret'erse floit' combustion chamber. The turbi"e rotors are 100 mm alld 130 mm matched to that of the
in diameter -almost model size already. compressor , for the
mass of the exhaust
which the:: engine:: emits
is exactly the same as
the mass of fresh air it
ingests. The mass of the
fud fed to the engine is
so small that it can be
ignored. The exhaust gas
turbocharger is there-
fore almost a gas tur-
bine ; all it lacks is a
combustion cham her.
In tht: case of a hyper-
charger the turhocharg-
er is connected to a
combustion chamber.
When the main engine is
idling, the valves leading
to the combustion cham-
ber arc open, and fuel is
injected and burned.
The turbocharger is tem-
porarily converted into a
gas turbine by this

20 lv1ode/Jet Enp,ines
Fresh (lir

Piston engine turbocharger

ExlJaust gas

Diagram of a turbo-engine.

Fresh air
h i

a- b
d e

Diagram ofa hyper-cbarging system: a) piston engine, b) exbaust gas duct, c)fueljet,
d) combustion cbamber, e) exbaust gas duct to turbilze,j) turbine, g) inlet mallifold, b) vallIe,
i) turbocbarger compressor.

means, and therefore maintains a high rotational speed. gy and is seldom used. Its main application is to provide::
The main engine now has high charger pressure available brief increases in power in diesel engines. For example,
at any time::, with ze::ro lag, and the:: ne::t re::sult is that the the BKS proce s s de::vdope::d by MTU (Motoren-und
engine can produce:: high torque even at low e::ngine Turbinen-U nion , Munich) for military tank e::ngine::s
speeds. exploits this technology.
Hyper-charging repre::se::nts highly spe::cialisnl te::chnolo- The vital point of all this is that the modeller can

ModelJet EIIRilles 21
exploit t:xhaust gas turbochargt:rs as a source of parts for All those turbine dcsigns which have comc to my
modd jd t:ngint~ . Tht: dfickncy kvels achieved by tur- notict. and which ont can believe might have run. have
bocharger comprtssors and turbines arc sufficiently high ont: feature in common: they impltmt:nt the basic physi-
to enabk a ~mall gas turbint: to nm; and this applks to cal working principlc using thc simplcst possibk mems.
vtry small units too. as shown hy the performanct: graphs In virtually every case the air is compressnl using a
of a turho-t:ngine. At full throttk turbocharger pressurt: single-stage radial comprtssor, and the turbint stctinn
rises far abovt: txhaust pn::ssurt:. You might think that also employs only a singk wheel.
this indicatt:s a rist in gas prt:ssure insidt: tht: combustion Ntvertheless, a numbt:r of moddlers have actually suc-
engint:. but this is not so. This is what happens: simply ceeded in making Vtry small cngincs which were capable
ht:ating the gast:s is sufficknt to drive the turbocharger. It of running, and havt used them to propd model aircraft:.
would aIM) run if tht: t:ngine were removed and a simple The next st:ction lkals briefly with several different
combustion chambt:r wt:rt: installed bctwcen comprcssor mouel jet tngine types. Many of them are not in USt today
and turbine. any more . New powerhll successors supplanttd thtm,
I constmctt:d just such an engint: for t:xptrimt:ntal hut especially ht:rt wc can scc the: differcnt approaches
purposes. hased on a scrappnl lorry turbochargt:r with a the constructors chost to reach thdr targtt, a real work-
rotor diamt:tt:r of 76 mm. Tht: combustion chamber con- ing model jet engint.
sistnl of a tin can , allll tht: t:nginc was run on prupant:
gas. It is only really possible to start this monstrous cre- Max Dreher's Baby Mamba
ation using a vacuum dt:aner fan . Even when the tlame is Whtthcr this is redly a model jct cnginc depends on
burning in tht: combustion chamher some patienct: is your point of vkw . The engine is several magnitudcs
calkd for, since the engine will not nm until tht: oil in tht: smaller than a normal aviation engint. but is still a touch
bearings has rt:acht:d its opt:rating tcmpt:rature and the too large for moddling use. The Baby Mamba, or mort:
rotor system floats on the film of lubricant. Wht:n the accurately the TJD-'76C, was devdoped and huilt in the
engine is running, lubricating oil is pumped into tht: tur- mid 'iOs by Drthtr Enginccring (USA) . The whole
bocharger bt:arings from an oil tank connt:ctnl to com- engine has a mass of 6 . S kg , its diameter is lSI mm ,
bustion chamber prt:ssure. overall length 416 mm . Tht Baby Mamba produces a
If you art: intt:rt:sted in trying this out. pkase hear in thrust of 200 Ntwtons which can be increased to 240
mind that this crudt: object is nt:verthdt:ss a fully li.ll1c- Newtons for britf periods , at which point the rotor
tional gas turhine with all its inht:rt:nt characteristics, and spttd is 96,000 rpm . Originally thc Baby Mamba was
that it must thert:fore be handled with appropriatc GIU- designcd as an auxiliary power source for gliders and as
tion. a power plant for lightweight dronts. Ont fetture of this
For safety's sake you should ket:p tu a maximum com- engine worth mtntioning is its unconventional compres-
pressor prt:ssurt: of 0 .3 bar - which t:quatt:s to a rotation- sor design. The Baby Mamba is ont of the few tngines
al spt:ed of around SO,OOO rpm in this case. Tht: turbine which utilist a diagonal comprtssor. This typc of com-
wheel can bt: obst:rvnl with the hdp of a mirror and the pressor gentratts a prcssure ratio of .l.R from a singk
gas supply throttkd back if it starts glowing more brightly stage. Of courst , this is slightly lower than can be
than dull rn\. Liquid fuds such as pdrol or dksd shoukl obtained with a radial compressor at the same peripheral
not be used, again in tht: interests of safety, sinct: liquid spttd, but the diagonal compressor makes up for this
fuel tt:nds to collect in the compressur housing if it is not with a much smaller frontal area. For this rcaSon the
burned immediately. Baby Mamba is an txtremely slim aircraft tngine.
When the t:ngint is nUl up to spttd this fud is then Unfortunately the tngine is too complt:x to be copinl at
disturbed and burned. U' this ou:urs thc cngine may thcn true modd scale. The turbine and combustion chamber
accelerate uncontrollably and run up to dangtrously high are made of heat-rtsistant nickd-based alloys, and these
speeds. materials are difficult for the moddkr to obtain . The
Frank Whittlc encountered similar problems during his design of the compressor also calls for too much exptr-
first experiments in April 1937. It is reported that Whittk tise from the exptrimenter. The distribution rights to the
opened tht fud valve of his Wl i (Whittk Unit) frum an Baby Mamba art owned by Franz Kavan. but tht enginc
initial speed of 2,300 rpm . Immediately the engint ran is of no significance for model applications.
out of control, accderating very quickly and emitting a
deafening wailing noise. whtrtupon everyont exctpt The Swedish PAL System and its successor
Whittk himself immediately ran for cover. Turbomin
The reason for this unt:xpt:cttd bchaviour was It:aking Back in 1982 thrte Swedes succttdnl in building a
fuel lines in tht combustion chamber. Evt:n before the working model jtt tnginc. The name of the dtsign is
engint: was ignitt:d, pools of ktrostne formed and imme- derived from tht: Initials of tht constructors: Prisel . Almc
diatdy caught light. kading to uncontrollable comhustion and Lyrsdl. Thc core of the cngine is the rotor of a Garret
and very high gas ttmper,llures. turbochargtr, conSisting of a radial compressor and a
radial turbine. Thc actual engine is built around tht stan-
Early model jet engines dard rotor. One notable feature of this engine is the
Many amatt:urs have made hrave attempts at building lltsign of the comhustion chambtr, which is annular and
model jet cngines. but until rectntly tht SUCCtSS rate has arranged around tht t:xhaust cont. As a result it can bt
been moot:st. A good few engines havt been constructed made as long as tht designer wishes since it dots not
using admirabk manual skill and hundrcds of hours of have to fit bctwctn comprtssor and turbine. Reports
tendt:r loving care, but tvt:n so they are destined for a state that the engint has productd a thrust of 120
quiet life in a colkctor's showcase . [n some cases the Newtons at a rotational speed of 10'i,000 rpm at full
rt:asons for failurc can be seen just by glancing at the throttk. Tht PAL jtt engine is 460 mm long, I SO mm in
t:ngine. diamt:tt:r and has a mass of 4 kg. Type JP4 kt:rosent was

22 /v!ode!Jel F.IlRilles
used as fuel. Although
these figures are good.
the PAL system was not
adopted for model fly·
ing; at least. not during
the period in which it
was lkvelopnl.
Since that time the
Swedish firm of
Turbomin has produced
another version of the
engine which reflects
further development
work. TIle basic design , Compressor Turbine Comhllslio" cba",her Fllel ;1ljector jet Exbaust cOile
with its characteristically Diagram of the PAL engine.
large reverst'-t1ow com·
bustion chamber , has
been retained, and this means that it is possible to use in the field , the turhine is impressively simple to handle.
actual full·size fuel of the JET Al type of kerosene. Fuel Mainremlllce work can and should he carried out hy the
enters the combustion chamber via five injector nozzles, customer, including bearing replacemenr. For the highly
derived from the atomiser nozzles used in an oil fired stressed rear turbine bearing the estimated exchange
bumer. At full throttle the Turbomin consumes :\30 ml of interval is 100 flights. The TN 7S weighs 3 kg including
kerosene per minute at an injector pressure of 10 bar, the fuel pump. The diameter is 148 mm , the length ·i2S
and develops a thrust of 7S Newtons. The maximum rota- mm. This makes the engine one of the heavier types cur-
tional speed is 100.000 rpm. and the pressure ratio is LI . rently available, and quite a large model is required to
The starting procedure is ingenious: initially fuel is fed to accommodate it.
the engine hy a separate fuel pump in the pit box .
However, the kerosene only reaches the combustion Kurt Schreckling's FD series
chamber through one of the five atomiser nozzles , In my opinion the FD engines (FD = Feuer-Dosen .
where it is ignited hy a high-voltage spark plug. Only at gas canister) represent the most nota hie achievement to
this point does the actual injector pump start running, date in the area of model jet engines . Kurt Schreckling
taking over the fuel supply system completely. The rotor was the first modeller successfully to construct very
is run up to speed using compressed air applied directly small, lightweight jet engines using amateur means. His
to the compressor wheel. All in all the Turhomin TN 75 starting poim was not full-size jet engines; instead he
is a very solid jet engine . Great emphasis has heen
placed on the simplicity of the design , and expensive Tbe Baby Mamba - all eye-catchillg picture on the
high-tech components have heen largely avoided in the Kal'all catalogue.
interests of low price, even though this has limited its
potential performance. For example, the hall races used
are simple standard bearings. and the rotor system is a
modified unit from a Garrett turhocharger. In actual use

The compressor wheel made of high-quality

plywood, reinforced with CUl·bOfljibre.
(Photo: Schreckling)

Model j el Engi lies 23

took the fundamental principles of the gas tumine as his unit 's efficiency usually stays at a high level. The only
reference point and worked "from the ground up". drawback is the rotor's slightly lower maximum rotation-
The focal point of his consideration was this: what al speed compared with a wheel not fitted with a cover
was the hest way of making small rotors in urder tu plate.
achieve maximum possihle efficiency? The outcome wa~ The compressor is driven by an axial turbine. This is
a radial compressor with many ingeniuus features : a made of 1. '; mm thick sheet metal. The hlade profile is
rotor with sub~tantially retro-curved blades and a cover worked from the solid using a mini-grinder. Before Kurt
plate . This is a type of construction widely used in Schreckling completed his first working engine he car-
industrial fans , hut probably never before used in a jet ried out many experiments with compressors and tur-
engine. The cover plate over the blades almost complete- bines. He found that the efficiency of each stage was so
ly avoids the gap losses which are critical in small good that the engine was bound to work - at least ,
engines. A further advantage of this type of compressor is according to theory. The first engine that he persuaded
its non-temperamental behaviour. Whether the rotor is to run was an experimental unit which was not recog-
required to move a large or small quantity of gas, the nisable externally as a gas turbine.
The next-but-one ver-
The FD 2: tlJefirst clirll'orlhJ' lIlocleljel ellgille powered bJ' IlormalJillillg station sion - the FD 2 - was
fllels. (Pboto: SclJreckling) already such an improve-
ment that it proved
capable: of propelling a
model aircraft. This early
engine could already run
reliably on liquid fud : a
mixture of diesel and
about 1 '; '~" petroL The
engine ' s compressor
whed was made of ply-
wood as in his initial
experimental work. hut
in this case it was
wrapped with carbon
fibre to reinforce the
rotor and the cover
plate. This construction
has proved strong
enough to withstand
peripheral speeds of
more than 300 m/s with-
out failing.
The engine was
developed further to
produce the FlJ 3 and
finally a production ver-
sion in kit-form . All the
The ED 3, here installed in Ibe "Rlltollius"lIlodeljet aircraft. engines in the scries
feature ;1 compressor
wheel huih as des-
crihed . ahhough the
production version is fit-
ted with a compressor
wheel cast in aluminium
alloy . Another character-
istic feature of the FD
series is the fuel vapori-
sation system. It seems
likely that il was this sys-
tcm together with the
comhustion cham her
that absorbed most of
the designer's experi-
mental lahours . The
vaporiser itself consists
of a coiled tuhe about
one and a half metres
long. located inside the
comhustion chamher. A
gear pump pushes liqUid

24 .\;fode/./e/ f:/Ig i/lcs

fud into the hot vaporis-
t:r where tht: fud , still
under prt:ssurt:, is par-
tially vaporist:d. As pres-
sure falb off more fud
vaporises in the injec-
tion openings Icading
into the comhustion
The residue of tht:
fuel. still in liquid form .
is injected into tht: com-
hustion chambt"l" in fine
particles where it hums
successfully. Using this
techniqut: the designer
was successful in crt:at-
ing engines which
would run on Standard
"Filling Station " fuds.
This is an important
Ikvdopmellt, as modd
jet engines will only
become widespread if
they are easy to operate.
FD engines do not need
propane gas , which , The kilr'ersioll Of the ED 3 is produced bJ' the Austria"jirm of
although it does hurn Scblleider-SallC:hez..
cka nly and easily , is a
safety risk in a modd aircraft. stnlction. The sealing of the housing prest:nts no major
Tht: thermodynamic data of the FD engines are as problems. Tht: exhaust temperature is in tht: range 6uo°C
unusual as the overall design. The pressure ratio is very to 6';O°C - valut:s at which ordinary 316 stainkss skel
low , reaching a value of only 1.'; at full throttk. As a can still - just - bt: usnl as turbine material if rotational
result the whole engine can be of very lightweight con- speeds are kt:pt to moderate levels. The jet efflux speed

RulOll;US, presellted by its buil~ler. Kurt Schrecklillg.

.1-1odel Jet HIlf!,illes 25

Turborec T240 from JPX
JPX, a company based in Vibraye in Northern France,
was the first firm to produce a jet engine specially devd-
oped for model aircraft. The company 's first mrbine:, the
Turborec T240, was manufactured and marketed as far
back as 19'-) I . It is a small engine with a radial compres-
sor and radial turbine. The design is based on develop-
ment work carried out by the: Frenchman Michel Serrier,
who had worked on producing a practical model jet
engine since the mid-80s. For his experiments he used
the complete rotor of a small turbocharger of 60 mm
diameter. In taking this approach he started with the
advantage of a complete, professionally manufactured
rotor system. The compressor whed and turbine wheel
are accurately matched to each other in terms of through-
put and are of good effiCiency. In addition the turbine
whed is made of high-strength. heat-resistant materials
This modified FD 3/ 64features a compressor :md Gm withstand very high loads in terms of tempera-
1I'IJeeilllaciJilledfrolll the solid. Tbe builder ture and rotational speed.
decided llot toji' a COI'er ol'el'lhe compressor. The e:ntire rotor is surrounded by a spe:cially made
housing . In contrast to a turbocharge:r this de:sign
is about 200 mIs, which is rdatively low in comparison employs rings of guide vane:s. The compressor diffuser
with full-size engim:s. As a direct result of this the engine system is similar to that of the Turbomeca Marbore, i.e.
is very quiet in operation. The familiar thunderous noise it features one radial ring and one: axial ring of guide
of full-size jet engines is primarily a function of their very vanes , milled from aluminium alloy . The individual
high efflux speed, and the FD engines side-step this prob- vanes are machined from the solid on CNC milling
lem . The engine ' s thrust of 30 Newtons is high for an machines. The combustion chamhe:r was designed to
engine mass of about 7')0 g, and this is due to the consid- flm on propane gas only, although that does not apply
erable throughput. in the latest modds. The liquid gas first flows through a
The engine is 16') mm long and 110 mm in diameter. ring welded onto the hot thrust nozzle. This arrange-
These figures make the FD 3 hard to beat in terms of mem represents a small he:at exchangc:r, which partially
thrust/weight ratio ; even full-size jet engines do not vaporises the fuel. The propane: e:ve:ntually readles the
always achieve such good values. In overall terms the FD turbine 's throttle, where a needle valve is used to control
3 must be judged an effective model jet engine, and it has the gas flow, and with it the turbine 's rmational speed. A
alrt:ady proved its rdiability and practicality in many mod- second adjustable throule limits the fuel flow to the
ds. Thanks to the constructional drawings produced by combustion chamber. Us ing this technology the: engine
Kurt Schreckling many modellers have already produced ofkrs clean and almoSl complete cumbustion . For the
their own versions, which have bee:n made and flown in same reason a fuel pump is not required since the gas is
many parts of the world. under pressure and re:adily flows into the e:ngine. After
the: combustion cham-
TheJPX T240, thejirst series-produced model.iet ellg;'le. ber the hot gases flow
intu the nozzle gUide
vane system . This sec-
tion is also different (() a
turbocharger because it
features guide vane:s.
The hot gas , now at a
temperature of around
7'50°C, eventually reach-
e:s the turbine wheel ,
where it gives up the
major part of its energy.
The remaining heat loss
takes place in the high-
volume thrust nozzle .
The working gas finally
leaves the engine after
being accelerated to a
speed of more than 300
The T240 produces a
thrust of around ·i'5
Newtons at full throttle
and a rotational speed of
122,000 rpm . The pres-
sure ratio is around 2.1 '5,

26 .Wodel]et Eng ines

the exhaust tempt:rature
approximately 6500C.
Further thermodynamic
data has not yet heen
puhlished hy JPX ,
although calculations
indicate:: a throughput of
around 0 . 13 kg/s and an
exhaust spe::ed of 345
m/!> . The comhustion
gas temperature is proh-
ahly arouml R300C. At
these operating values
the Turhorec achieve::s a
very commendabk fud
consumption of around
135 g gas per minute .
This corresponds to a
volume of approximate-
ly 270 ml of liquid gas.
The mass of the T240 is
1. 7 kg , the kngth 335
mm, the maximum diam-
eter 116 mm.
The engine has heen
the suhje::ct of a continu- The JPX turbille Oil the test stalld.
ous programme of modi-
fication and development. Its direct successor, the T250P, the standard combustion chamber with a kerosene-hurn-
offers increased thrust com hi ned with lower engine mass. ing variam using hooked tuhes (sticks). TIle various ver-
JPX quotes a continuous power rating tllr this engine of sions for Jet A 1 fuel all produce the same thntst as the
49 Newtons at a speed of 1 I H , ()()O rpm . The engine propane gas powered types. JPX turhines have proved
weighs 1.55 kg plus auxiliary equipment. The:: thrust of their practicality at numerous tlying events, and they
the turhine can be increased to a maximum of 59 been popular and successful in spite of their high pur-
Newtons for a brief period, for example , at take-off. chase price. Several kit manufacturers have offered ver-
Further development has resulted in a new, own-design siems of their models that ;Ire specially designed for
rotor system , in which the compressor and turhine these engines . There have even been models which
wheels are connected to each other hy a largc-diame::tt:r have were designed exclusively for the installation of the
tuhular shaft. The wheels are manufactured specitlcally T240 or their successors. The importance of the JPX
for this engine. The turbine based on this work is the series later decreased from year to year. Othcr construc-
T260P, and its specified power output is 60 Newtons tions with axial turbine wheels have proven faster to
continuous thmst. Its mass remains at 1.7 kg. The other accelerate and more powerful. Also the use of liquid
dimensions are largely the same as those of the original propane:: gas has always been a disadvantage compared
T240 version. These later engines also run on propane to the easy to handle kerosene . Modelkrs using the
gas. Turborec need a considerable amount of auxiliary
Handling the fuel (liquid propane gas) does require a equipment: compressed air is needed to start the engine.
cautious, circumspect approach. The only type of fuel This is fed through a nozzle to the compressor whecl.
tank which can he used is a pressure container, and this
must be located close to the Ce ntre of Gravity of the The Sophialiqllidfllelled ellgitle is ofl.ery similar
model aircraft. Without doubt propane gas represents a tlppearallce to theJPXfamily.
considerable fire hazard. If the model should catch fire,
the tank represents a danger to everything in the immnli-
ate vicinity . For this reason a fire extinguisher is an
absolutely e::ssential component of the standard equip-
ment - although this also applies to other types of jet
engine. On the other hand propane gas is a clean fuel ; the
modd never becomes soiled with spilt diesel or
kerosene. A further advantage is the lack of probkms in
igniting the mixture in the combustion chamber.
In recent years great efforts have be::e::n made in con-
verting the turbines to nm on kerosene. On several occa-
sions the company has announced series production of
the "K" ve::rsion designed for liquid fuel , and eventually
this version did reach the model shops . The turhine
employs a numher of small injector nozzles which atom-
iSt;: the kerosene very findy. Some JPX owners have also
converted their own engines to kerosene hy replacing

Model j et Ellg i lies 27

the rear is state of the art. Only AMT still use their own
walking sticks type. Burning real kerosene in model size
combustion chamhers was formerly a significant problem.
Nowadays most combustors work well with kerosene so
that tanks with liquid propane gas are no longer required .
Automatic starters that spin the engine's rotor on com-
mand are also Widely spread. These motors are located in
the air inlet. When started, the inertia of the clutch press-
es an o-ring to the spinner of the compressor wheel. As
long as the engine's shaft doesn't overtake the starter, the
system is loosely coupled.
Mirroring developments in full-size engine building.
the trend has been towards higher pressure rouios and gas
temperatures. However, the rise has heen modest, and
the values are still a long way below those usnl in "full-
size" aviation . As a result it is inevitable that fuel efficien-
cy and power density remain inordinately low in
In general terms it is important to have a realistic
understanding of the complexity of all the model jet
engines currency available commercially. Extremely tight
manufacturing tolerances arc essential where all the
revolving parts are concerned, otherwise there can Ix- no
guarantee of long, trouble-free operation. Some of the
components used for the rotor. especially the radial com-
pressor, are sourced from the motor car industry . These
pans are dynamiGllly balanced with great precision at the
factory, and this ensures smooth running even at very
high rotational speeds. Any attempt at improving the bal-
ance - unless you have expensive special equipment - or
even dismantling the rotor assemhly incorrectly, almost
inevitably results in a worsening of rotor halance .
Tbe T250P supplies plenty oftbrust wben correctly Maintaining the engine in the amateurs modeller's work-
installed ;11 tbe fuselage. shop, as happens with small piston engines, is generally
not possible. Most manufacturers state that a defective
which it sets in rotation. JPX has now stopped develop- engine must be returned to the manufacturer, or an
ing and producing this famous series. authorised service centre, for servicing, and there are
good reasons for this.
Model jet engines to date The jet engine's control system is also complic;lted .
In recent years various nlrhines have been devdupnl Most commercial turbines are supplied with control units
to the point where they are ready for series production, that automatic,tlly regulate the engine, hased on cnlcial
and are now available to the keen modeller. The thrust factors such as rotational speed or pressure, and exhaust
figures rose almost from year to year and have reachnl a gas temperature. The control unit 's software includes a
level that b almost too high for man}' amateur pilots. special program sequence for staning the engine, which
Thrusts of l ·i O Newtons and more are widespread. ensures that the fuel tlow is metered at the optimum rate,
Vertical climhs are easily possihle if the model weight is the propane gas for starting can enter and the glow plug
low. is turned on for this moment. These facilities make
At the same time . manufacturers also realised the engine operation much easier and also safer. Today many
demand for even smaller engines. With higher rotational engines can be started and run completely via the remote
speeds it is even possihle to huild much smaller engines control. During operation the rotational speed and the
th e n descrihed here in the building instructions . exhaust gas temperature (EGT) are permanently moni-
Compressor diameters uf unly SO mm and beluw are used tored and regulated.
in commercial engines. TIleSe small units reach rotatiunal It is especially important that the control unit takes
speeds of 180,(KK) rpm and more. Apart from their main into account the possibility of user error, and eliminates
use - producing thrust [0 propel the aircraft - these very the dangers from such mistakes. Playing about with the
small engines have proven ideal for driving a second throttle stick when controlling a piston engine does no
stage free turhine to deliver shaft power. harm, hut repeating the experimem with an unregulated
The general layout has become more and more similar jet engine will wreck it in very short order. At one
nowadays. The deSigns follow the former amateur con- extreme the rotational speed of the turbine may fall
structions, as they have proven reliable and powerful. All below what we call the sustain speed , Le . helow the
model jet engines use compressors from car or lorry tur- point at which the rotor is capable of accderating under
bochargers. The working turbine is a single stage axial its own power. At this point the compressor and turbine
type. The uSt" of heat resistant alloys such as Inconel 713 are working at greatly reduced efficiency, and at the same
o r ilJimoni<: types is standard today. The design of the time bearing friction has ;1 much more serious influence.
combustion chamber has heen taken over from the home- If you open the throttle in this state, any turbine will he
huilt engines. Prt" vaporisation of kerosene in sticks from damaged or even mined in just a few seconds. Even more

28 M otielJet EIl!!.illes
AMTOlympus KH66 WREN MW54 JF-50 Bee
Engine diameter (mm) 130 112 87 80
Length (mm) 267 230 150 173
Compressor diameter (mm) 84 66 54 50
Turbine diameter (mm) 84 66 55 50
Engine weight
(without fuel pump and ECU) 2475 930 800 800
Maximum rpm 108'000 115'000 160'000 180'000
Idle rpm 34'000 35'000 45'000 50'000
Thrust @ max rpm (Newton) 230 75 54 63
Pressure ratio 4.0 2.2 2.3 2.3
Fuel consumption (ml/min) 800 300 210 220
Mass flow (kg/s) 0.45 0.23 -0.18 -0.2

dangerous is the opposite extreme, which is the turbine's how. The complicated handling and the progress with
ability to run away uncontrollably. This is simpl)' the other designs made this turhine:: become more and more::
n:sult of feeding too much fuel to the engine, and allow- meaningless . Yet even today so me examples can be
ing it to exceed its safe maximum rotational speed. The found at jet meetings.
latter case is panicularly hazardous and the control unit
must prevent it happening with perfect reliability. 1.2. AMT - Advanced Micro Turbines
Any modeller who uses a jet engine must be fully Really trend-setting engines have bee::n designed in the
aware of the special characteristics of these power plants Netherlands. Han Jenniskens and Bennie van de Goor
and handle them cautiously and responsibly. However, staned early in the 90s with their turbine constmctions.
model jet engines can be considered safe provided that Both were experienced pulse-je::t builders and pilots and
you observe elementary safety precautions aimed at prop- became re::al model jet pioneers. They have been the core
er fuel metering and the avoidance of fire. of a team and have worked together for many years.
M;my calculations and experiments have taken place in
1.1. TheJ-450 by Sophia Precision 1 ~~O and the following years. I have also bee::n in comact
The overall design of the Japanese J-4 S0 turbine is very with them and we exchanged many ideas.
similar to that of the French T 240: here again we find a The company of Advanced Micro Turbines (AMT) was
rotor consisting of a radial compressor and radial turbine. later founded specifically to manufacture and market the
The majur difference between the two engines is the engines. This philosophy has proved to offe::r many advan-
combustion chamber system: the J-450 uses a mixture of tages: planning, development, testing and production are
petrol and kerosene as fuel. Burning this mixture in such all carried out in-house. and this results in a tumine that
a small combustion chamber presents many problems. In incorporates many good ideas and a great wealth of expe-
contrast to propane gas, the liquid fuel has to be very rience. Their first engine, the Peg;lsus Mk-2 has been the
finely atomised ur vaporised . For this engine Sophia most powerful production model jet engine for years.
Precision decided to take the route of direct injection In contrast to most other manufacturers, AMT decided
through small atomiser jets, using an injector pressure of un a genuine axial turbine from the outset; a type of tur-
around 10 bar at full throttle. The high pressure is pro- bine which is now absolutely standard in all full-size jet
duced by a powerful clectric gear pump, which sucks the engines. With an axial turbine the working gas flows par-
fuel mixture from a tank and forces it into the engine. Of allel to the shaft all the time it is passing through the
course, the turbine could also be run on pure kerosene, rotor. The only component that is derived from a tur-
but to achieve reliable ignition of the mixture in the com- bocharger is the radial compressor wheel.
bustion chamber the flash point of the fuel must be very The hot devdopment-phase began in 1992 with a first
low. To achieve this the kerosene is mixed with gasoline,
which is highly volatile and therefore a serious fire haz- The Sophia PrecisiOPIJ-450 installed ill a1l F86.
ard. Initially it was necessary to preheat the J-450 with a
hot air gun for several millmes if weather conditions
were cool; only then was the spark plug projecting inside
the combustion chamber capable of igniting the fuel .
However, thes e probkm s had been solved. The
engine is designed to produce a continuous thrust of
around 5S Newtons, but it can provide up to 60 Newtons
if required. Its maximum pressure ratio is 2.4 at a rota-
tional speed of 150,000 rpm , and these figures clearly
exceed those of the Tumon::c T240. The Sophia Precision
J-450 weighs 1.8 kg without the fuel pump. The engine
did not feature a speed limiter, and was sold without a
regulator. A~ with the JPX turbines, compressed air from
a bottle is required for staning. A lO-litre steel bottle is
sufficient for 10 to 1S stans. The moddler. who used the
Sophia needed a lot of equipment and technical know

;"'[odel jet Ellg i lies 29

The AMT Oi)'mpus, Pegasus and Mercury famii)' of ellgilles.

prototype. This power plant was fitted with an 84 mm

El'en Ihefirst prototype AMT Pegasus (Mk-l) diameter rotor, and after a short period of development it
produced a thrust of 100 N. The blade tips are was already producing an impressive thrust of around 70
mOI'ing at a speed of about 1500 km/ hr atfull Newtons. Continual improvements in the area of the
throttle, and this demallds enormous precisioll in combustion chamber and the nozzle gUide vane system
mallufacture. (Photo: A VIVA Press,JooP Wenstedt). increa~nl thi~ figure to a final value of 100 Newtons at a
rotational ~peed of 95 ,000 rpm. In the course of the next
few years this engine completed numerous test flights
mounted on a Heinkel Salamander. The next prototype,
the Pegasus Mk-3 , retlected a further improvement in the
technology. With a similar rotor, consisting of a Garrett
compressor wheel and an axial turbine , the engine
achieved a remarkable 150 Newtons of static thrust at a

The NGV systems and turbine wheels ~ifthe AMT

Oi)'mpus and Mercury C£Ist in I"conel 713.

iUodel.let EIl/!,illes
pressure ratio of 3.5; a figure which lies in the r.mge of tion of 0 , 17 kg/Nih at full throttle, the engine is extremt'-
full-size engines of similar design _ This engine proved Iy fmgal on fuel. but this still means that it consumes the
beyond all doubt the feasibility of an axial tumine in a suhstantial quantity of 3'50 ml of kerosene per minute.
model jet engine. The Pegasus is extremely compact, with a diameter of
This level of power was considered no longer appro· 120 mm and a length of 270 mm, and weighs 2050 g
priate to the model aircraft application, so the production including fuel pump and electronics. Many of these fea-
engine is slightly smalle::r. The production version of the tun:s that were first found in this engine are standard on
~lk - 3 features a 76 mm diameter compressor wheel , others today.
which is part of a high-throughput Garrett turbocharger. Two further engines have been developed on the basis
The diffuser system consists of two rings of vanes , of this proven design. The first was an even more power-
through which air tlows first radially and then axially. The ful variant , the Olympus , which is based on existing
compressor is driven by an axial tumine wheel, manufac- Pegasus components. but employing an 84 mm Garrett
tured by a specialist company using a vacuum casting unit as compressor wheel. The turbine wheel was origi-
process. The material is a heavy-duty heat-resistant nickel· nally that of the Pegasus, but a larger diameter unit is now
based alloy - the same material from which turhocharger used . In this configuGltion the AMT Olympus produces
components and gas turbine vanes are manufactured. 230 Newtons of thrust, which is well outside the spec-
The combustion chamber of the Pegasus Mk-3 is trum of nurmal modd applications. Hardly any model jet
designed to work with Jet A 1 kerosene or a comparable:: aircraft are designed to handle such levels of power. As a
fuel , injected by means of so-called sticks, or mixer tubes. result it only forms a suitahle power plant for the highly
These tuhes extend into the combustion zone of the com- experienced and very safety-conscious modeller who
bustion chamber, where the fuel vaporises and mixes wishes to build and tly really extraordinarily large models.
with the comhustion air. The injection pressure required Like the Pt"gasus. the Olympus turbine is also controlled
for this to work is very low. Much development work on by a sophisticated system of electronics. The mass of the
optimising the combustion chamber has resulted in a sim- engine is 2,400 g . Externally it is virtually identical to its
ple::. reliable:: system : fuel is burned very efficiently (Le. smaller brother, although the diameter is a little larger at
completely) from a very low idle speed right up to full 130 mm . The thermodynamic data produced hy the
throttle. For starting it is necessary to pre-heat the com- engint" almost approach those of gcnuine drone engines:
hustion chamher using gas from a small cartridge, and the the pressure ratio reaches a value of 4 , tht" exhaust gas
mixture is actually ignited using a glowplug. temperature 65()~C. At full throttle, which is no le::ss than
The engine designers also invested some fresh think- 108,000 rpm, the Olympus consumes SOO ml of kerosene
ing In the matter of the rotor bearings. They realised that per minute.
the extreme rotational speeds encountered in a model jet Howt"ver, the latest development from AMT is more
engine actually called for a lubricant of very low viscosity. signifkant, a~ it is a smaller turbine: the Mercury. Here
In fact, the viscosity of the kerosene fuel itself was suffi- again, the design of the engine is baskally the same as
cient to lubricate the bearings, and this made it possible that of the Pegasus, but in terms of size and thrust it is a
to omit the oil tank generally used until then. Inside the good match for most current model jet aircraft. One
engine a pipe guides a few percent of the fud to the bear- notable:: attribute is the turhine 's modest external diame-
ings. To ensure effective lubrication even when the ter, which is a deliherate design feature . The case diame-
kerosene fud is ahove its hailing point, 4.5% of turhinc ter is only 100 mm, and the lengtb JUSt 225 mm . These
oil is atllled to the fuel. TIle engine is fitted with hybrid small dimensions are only possihle hecause the engine is
bearings with silicon-nitride running surfaces. based on a very small rotor. Nevertheless, the turbine
The Pegasus is regulated by a special micro-processor produces an impressive thrust of 88 Newtons, and the
controlled electronic unit. A sensor picks up the rota- secret to its high output is the high rotational speeds at
tional speed of the rotor, while a thermo-dement moni- which it runs: the full throttle speed is L50,000 rpm. The
tors the exhaust gas temperature in the thrust nozzle::. The axial turhine wheel is another precision casting in
electronic unit then controls the injector pump on the Inconel 713. Tht' Mercury achieves a pressure ratio of 2.8
basis of this data and the position of the throttle stick. at an exhaust gas tempt'rature of 650°C, and fuel con-
The unit includes protection against over-revving, and sumption is very low at around 360 ml per minute .
also prevents the turbine running below the safe mini- Externally the smaller engine is very similar to its two
mum rotational speed. The controller software provides a larger brothers.
further program sequenct: to give reliahle starting. The In the meantime the good team of Rennie and Han has
turbine is also stopped under computer control. Before unfortunately split up and two hranche~ developnl. They
the fuel supply is cut off, the engine is run to a rotational are AMT Netherlands and AMT USA. Both companit's are
speed at which the exhaust gas temperature is at a mini- legally independent, but now sell similar turbines.
mum. Thb means that little heat is able to penetrate to
the delicate bearings when the rotor is stationary and the 1.3- The KJ 66
flow of cooling air non-existent. SpeCial software is also In recent years Schreckling has abandoned his original
available to allow the transfer of current operational data design. The latest turbine that is linked to his name is the
from the controller to a Personal Computer via a serial K.1 66. This is a high-performance model jet engine that
link. has become extremely well known since its introduction.
The Pegasus Mk-3 was rated at a continuous thmst of The name is derived from the initials of the first names of
100 Newtons, and thus represented the top end of the the motor's manufacturers. Kurt Schreckling and Jesus
power spectrum of model jet engines for some years. The Artes, who collaborated on the design of the new engine.
wrbine's full throttle speed is I05,0()(J rpm. At this speed The KJ 66 is externally similar to the original FD 3/6-1 ,
the pressure ratio is 3. the throughput 0.28 kg/so and the which was designed by Kurt Schreckling, but that is all
efflux speed just on 360 m/s. With a specific consump· the two turbines have in common . Only the outer hous-

,Hoc/eljel EIlRilles 37
The Germall Behotec has i,,,enUllly a similar
desig" tu the KJ 66.
KJ 66 £l1ld Microturbille (left).
therefore offers an impressive thnlst:wcight ratio. With
ing of the engine was retainnl for the new design. It is these figures the turhine is capable of providing plenty of
the case of a small gas container which can he hought as thmst for virtually any model jet aircraft.
a camping accessory. The other internal parts have heen Further development~ around tIlt:: KJ 66 include an
entirely redesigned, and in general layout they corre- electronic control unit. Gaspar Espiell, a memher of the
spond to the Micro-Turhine described in these building team centred on Jesus AnI's, has developed an engine
instmctions. governor which control~ this (and other) model turhines
The compressor is a proven turhocharger whed with VtTy accurately . The electronic circuit monitors hoth
a diameter of 66 mm. This component is mm:h more effi- exhau~t gas temperature and compressor pressure. and
cient tha n the wooden type previously use d . The com- maximum and minimum pressures G ill he entered to suit
prt:ssor diffuser takes the fonn of a machined aluminium the specific application hy means of a handhdd data ter-
part. who~e vanes take the form of fat wedges. The axial minal. The KJ 66 has not heen produced as a complete
turhine wheel is a precision-made fine cast item with 23 engine in the heginning. A set of plans and the most
vanes that can tolerate extremely high rotational speeds. important part~ . including the turhine wheel have heen
The wheel is cast in Spain in Incond "713 . It has been a available. Meanwhile almost all parts can he hought from
co-operation hetween Jesus, Kurt and me to enable the different vendors. This turbine-design has heen copied
whed to fit the KJ and the Micro-Turhine as well. It is many times and many of the current commercial turbines
now also used in other engines of the same size. look like this turhine in many points.
The combustion chamher employs the now proven
stick principle. The actual comhustion c hamher is very 1.4. The Artes-Turbines
compact, so that a short shaft can he used. The shaft is Jesus Artes and his Spanish Team moved on in devel-
carried in two hallr.lces that are mounted in an alumini- oping their own model engines. The origin:lI design of
um shaft tunnel; the hearings are pre\oaded hy means of a the KJ 66 was improved and new components were
spring. added. The .IG- IOO Eagle, a design of Jcsus :ll1d Gaspar
The KJ 66 has a high maximum rotation,1I speed. The Espiell, had been the next turhine. The thrust had almost
use of a very strong turbine wheel makes it possible to doubled and 150 Newtons were possible with this
mn the jet engine safely at very high peripheral speeds. machine in a casing of only 108 mm diameter. This
At 115,000 rpm the KJ 66 produces a thrust of 7'5 tremendous performance is possible hy some changes,
Newrons, and at the same time the weight of the engine
is very low thanks to its use of thin sheet materials. The The cast lurbi"e wheel riftl1eJF-series.
KJ 66 weighs around 95U g, depending on version, and

A KJ 66 built i",o afuselage.

32 ModelIef EI/~il/es
Jet Cat P120 IIIoullted on a Kanaroo trainer

KKK turhocharger compressor is used, combined with a

Jesus Artes with one of hisJF-50 Bee.... cast axial turbine.
The combustion chamber is equipped with six sticks
especially by uSing larger compressor and turbine wheels. in which the kerosene is pre-vaporised . Propane gas is
The new combustion chamber has 12 sticks and the com- usnl for ignition , fired hy an electric glow-plug. Initially
pn:ssor wheel has 16 blades with aggressive , almost the two ceramic hearings were luhricated hy a separate
upright ending blades. At full throttle it reaches a rota- oil feed system, and the engine was supplied complete
tional spet"d of 1:\2.000 rpm ami a pressure ratio of 3.4. with an oil metering pump. hut since then the manufac-
The st"rit"s version, now called JF-120 Super Eagle is turers have changed to a maintenance-free fuel luhrica-
produced in collaboration with Felipe Nieto in Mexico. tion system . The front hearing is pre-loaded in the
The thrust is slightly lower and now reaches 135 Newton. forward direction, as in the AMT engines. In purdy visual
The caSing of the turbine is made of aluminium. Many terms the turbine is very neat and uncluttered, and makes
details have been improvnl. Jt"sus spc:nds much time in an excellent impression.
development and continues to experiment with fit:W The output power is quoted at SO Newtons, which is a
thrust cones, bearings, guide vanes and othc::r pans. very high level, and ample for powering models with a
Apart from the JF-120 other similar engines have been take-off weight of 12 kg or more. The engine weighs just
devdopt"d. One engine, called JF-1OU Falcon , has a small- over 1.3 kg complete with all accessories. However, the
er casing uf unly 98 mm diameter hut still delivers a real highlight of the system is the integral starter. Once
thrust of 100 Newtons. A lot of time has heen invested in the model'S fuel tank has been tilled and all batteries
huilding much smaller engines. The latest result, the ]F-50 charged. all you have to do to start the engine is operate a
Bee is descrihed at the end of the chapter. Beside the switch on the transmitter the electronic circuit does the
engines, Jesus ddivers a lot of parts. Cast turbine wheds, rest. First the starter is switched on ; this engages with the
nozzle guide vanes and shafts are available. comprc::ssor hub automatically and sets the rotor spin-

1.5 . The Jet Cat TJ'Pical is the electric starter oftheJet Cat.
model turbine
This mudel engine is
an interesting unit ,
which incorporates sev-
eral real innovations .
The feature that immedi-
ately catches the eye is
the electric starter
motor which is integrat-
ed into the turbine ' s
inkt opening . The
essential control compo-
nents are hidden away
discreetly in the immedi-
ate vicinity of the inlet
h e ll mouth. Everything
is conceakd. and the
engine is very compact
overall . In tnms of tur-
bine technology the
JetCat P80 is very close-
ly hase d on existing
home-huilt engines: the
proven 66 mm diameter

Modelje/ Engines 33
The JF-50 sectioned. the small engine is compact
Jusllike toys. Parts ofJesus' Nano Bee. and stable.

ning. At the samt" timt: the gas valve opens, and tht: glow- the entirt: starting proct:dure can be carrit:d out with t:ase
plug is switched on. A thermo-element reports ignition in and convt:nienct: from tilt: transmittt:r.
the combustion chamber by detecting tht: rise in exhaust Also the original JetCat P80 got bigger brothers. A
gas tt:mperature. The electronic circuit responds by start- more powerful version P120, later a P160 and evt:n P200
ing up the fuel pump, and tht: t:ngine runs up to speed. with 200 Newtons continuous thrust is availahle now. All
The electric startt"r switches itself off, and the gas flow engines look alike and tht:y all carry the characteristic
required for ignition is cut off auwmatically. From this electric startt:r at thdr front .
point on the turbint: is rt:gulatt:d using the functions now
common to most modt:rn engines. Maximum rotational 1.6. The smallest engines
speed and t:xhaust gas tt:mpt:raturt: are automatically Dt:spite the treme ndous inflation of thrust figurt:s in
limitt:d. recent years, much smaller engines havt: ht:en devel-
Tht: J<::tCat model tumine has .drt:ady provt"d itself in
oped. Fifty or sixty Nt:wtons of thrust is more than
many model aircraft: it is a vt:ry efficit:nt and lightweight
enough to propel small airframt:s . New turbochargt:r
power plant, its compact t:xternal dimt:nsions allow the developments from tht: car industry also help to enablt:
t:ngine to bt" fittt:d t:asily into most model jet aircraft. The
new dimensions in small gas turbines. The car industry
set includes compreht:nsivt: instructions and mOllnting produces smaller and smaller cars with turbocharged
materials. Tht" jt"tCat has been the first model turbine that
t"ngint:s. These turbochargers are so small. that they st:em
has been distributt:d in regular model shops by bt: almost toys. The smallest compressor wheels have
This fact must not imply that this power plant is somt:- diame.ters of only 35 mm . The blades are cast with a
thing for a beginnt:r. You also mu~t be an expt:rit:nct:dthicknt:ss of just 0.4 mm. You could merely cnlsh them
modellt:r to operate tht: system correctly, but, this pre-
with your fingers . Generally the number of blades are
condition fulfill e d and the system corrt:ctly installed,
only H or 10 and they are greatly retro-curved. The effi-
the model is simply carrit:d to tht: take-off strip, where
ciency of these wheels is almost as high as that of their
bigger brothers. Wheels
Relation betU'eell rotatio,uII speed tl1ld compressor diameter. of 50 mm reach almost
80%. The availability of
rpm Rotational speed at 400 metres I sec blade tip speed these parts makes vt:ry
small and powerful
240'000 engines possible.
The number of rt:vo-
220'000 t----------'.....----=-----., lutions reach es new
dimensions as well. Up
200'000 I------i-.....:.:.::..=~~ to IBO,OOO rpm are nec-
essary . This means no
180'000 +-----r::.=-~:_==__-...., less then 3 ,000 revolu-
tions per second . If
160'000 +------1 perfectly balanced, you
lost: tht: ft:t:l i ng for
140'000 thest: rotational spet:ds.
At full throttle you just
120'000 hear a powerful roaring
and the rpm just
100'000 h eco mes a numbe r on
the digital display. Tht:
shafts are fittt:d with
hybrid bt:arings without
84 80 76 72 68 64 60 56 52 48 44 40 36 32
cagt:s. Tht:y are gent:ral-
Turbine wheel diameter [mm] Iy luhricated with fuel.

34 ModclJd Enp,ines
The MW 54 and its smaller brother the MW 44.
The Bee on the test bench. You don't realise the
extreme rotational speed. dimensions the thrust reaches S4 Newton at about
160,000 rpm. later developments led to an MW54 MK3
As with the maximum revolutions , idle speed also with an augmented thrust of 64 Newtons. With this nor-
increases. It is typically around SO.OOO rpm for the small- mal sized models can be flown without any problems.
est engines. The small electric starters have to spin up The construction is also ideal for models with two or
extremely high to get the engine to run safely. three engines. Also the fuel consumption is relatively low.
A typical example for a very small engine is Jesus' JF- The construction of the combustion chamber is worth
SO lice. The overall design is similar to that of its larger mentioning. Especially in small engines the complete
brothers. The outer diameter has been reduu:d to only RO comhustion of the fud is a serious problem . The combus-
mm, the length is 173 mm. The JF-50 Bee reaches full tor of the MW 54 has a length of only 4 7 mm. Within this
throttk at HIO,OOO rpm and a thrust of 60 Newtons. If distance combustion and mixing of secondary air must
you hold this machine in your hands you realise that it is take place. John and Mike are using the proven sticks, but
really only as big as a coffee-cup, but at the test bench it here they are formed like an 'S' and end at the inner diam-
certainly earns high respect bn:ause of the really high der of the combustion chamher. Additionally small noz-
performance. The Bee has an electri(' starter and is entire- zles lead air into the chamber. That the concept works is
ly digitally controlled . The weight is ROO g. Jesus has proven by the low exhaust gas temperature of 37 0 °C
already developed an even much smaller engine. This without the exhaust nozzle . With the thrust nozzle
Nano Bee is already working but is. at time of writing, stillmounted about 575 "C is reached.
in an experimental stage . The Nano Bee has a wheel Mike and John have also produced an even smaller ver-
diameter of only 35 mm . The external diameter is only S8 sion. The MW 44 is a fully developed series engine with a
mm. It fits into a beverage can. wheel diameter of only -'1 .:1 mm . Its potential is about ~2
Another small nlrbine
has been developed in The MlV 44 built i"to a trailler. With the hlllld close to it you Cllll imagille the
England , John G. Wright extremely smail size.
and Mike Murphy have
designed the MW 54, a
small engine based on a
turbocharger compres-
sor. The name is also
derived from the names
of the builders and the
diameter of the com-
pressor. The engine uses
a 54 mm Garret com-
pressor wheeL The tur-
bine wheel is exactly
one millimetre larger. It
is, as well as the NGV, a
cast part made of the
heat resistant material
Inconel 713.
The MW S4 is very
small and light. Its outer
diameftT is only 87 mm
and the length is about
150 mm . The engine
weighs just 650 g and
although of such small

M od el Jet EIlP.i Iles 35

is by far easier then to couple the gears directly to the
core engine 's main shaft. The engint:"s C\J1 be used to
drive a propeller (turboprop) or to drivt:" the rotor of a
helicopter (shaft power engine).
Very small turbines ;Ire especially interesting for turbo-
prop applications. Their power is generally sufficient for
most applkations and the fuel consumption is low.
Building a shaft power engine, based on an AMT Olympus
could theoretically deliver about 50 kW and therefore::
power a small car - too much for any model application.
One popular constmction is base::d on the MW '54 core
e::ngine. This small turbine is used as core gas generator
for the turboprop assembly. With a much bigger second
nlrbine whe::c1 insu:ad of the thmst nozzle, up to 5 kW
shaft power are reached. lllis assembly powered a model
Tbe MW 54 in turboprop cOIifiguratioll drilling a helicopter reliably already in 1999. In this shaft power
big propeller. version. the turbine is mounted against flight direction .
The hot exhaust gases stream to the front, where the
Newtons and the weight is only 470 g. The rotor spins LIp power turbine is located. A big propeller is then driven
to an amazing 190.000 rpm. The MW 4-1 and MW '54 are via a gearbox. The power can get so high, that some pro-
sold through WREN Turbines Ltd. Parts and complete kits pellers can break at full throttle. The engine is available
focthe MW'54 are also available. from WREN ready built as a kit.
Some turboprops have in the meantime become com-
1.7. Turboprop and shaft power engines mercially available, but they can also be huilt from a plan.
Apart from dire::ct jet. other means can also be used to Here you can add a second turbine stage to an existing
propel airframes . The:: gas jet of the engine dclivers gas turbine or build a specially designed construction.
enough energy [() produce plenty of shaft power. The Certainly the:: eff()rt is hight::r than if you only try to build a
most popular way is to use:: the exhaust gas jet to drive a normal jet engine. Kurt Schreckling did a lot of develop-
secondary turbine stage. This de::sign has important advan- ment in this field . Hb building instructions are also avail-
tages. The second turbine stage acts as a clutch . The pro- able in a Traplet Publications book. The title is: "The
peller can even be held stopped, while the core engine is Model Turbo·Prop Engine".
spooling up. The:: se::coml rurbine stage has also got much
lower rotational speeds. Constmcting s uitable gearboxes

Homellllilt turboprop ill twill sbaft cOllfiguratioll based on tl very! small core engille.

36 Mode/Jet Ellgilles
Chapter I

The Component Parts

of a ModelJet Engine
his section presents the most important compo- components of the engine. Although it has no moving
nents of a model jet engine - the compressor, parts and its only task is to heat air by means of the
combustion chamber and turbine - one by one. combustion of fuel. there are considerable problems
Detail~ are provided on the principles and method of involved in optimising the design. The reason for these
working of the parts, and also the methods of calculat- difficulties is the extremely short period which the air
ing the data for designing these essential components. spends in the combustion chamber. On average this is
The basic theory required is explained gradually and only about 1/500 of a second. In this period the fuel and
illustrated with the help of examples. The underlying air have to be mixed. burned. and secondary air added to
formulae relating to each part are stated at the beginning the mixture.
of each section and discussed briefly where necessary. In this respect chemistry presents the modeller with
Only a small number of formulae are required overall to serious problems. In fact the expansion speed of the
calculate the essential data for a jet engine, and you will flame front is severely limited. It is therefore essential to
also find that everything turns up again when we discuss slow down the flow inside the combustion chamber to a
the turbine . I would like to point out to you here that, huge extent, so that the gas speed in the combustion area
although the theory presented in this book can certainly (known as the primary zone) is very low. At high rotation-
be used for the calculations relating to a model jet engine, al speeds gas flow speeds up markedly, and the efficiency
the mathematics has naturally been simplified somewhat. of combustion falls otf quickly, i.e. fuel leaves the engine
Don't be concerned - the complete calculations concern- unburned. This can reach the extent that unburned fuel
ing all the flow processes inside a model jet engine would forms a plume of white smoke as it leaves the exhaust. At
fill several volumes, if it were possible at all. All this its worst the flame is simply blown out. However, the
means is that there is plenty of scope for experimental rate of flow in the combustion chamber can only be
work on the completed engine, using the modeller' s slowed down if its cross-sectional area is correspondingly
favourite method uf determining the best possible design large. Liquid fuels present a particular problem here. as
and construction of the components. We shall start with combustion cannot take place until a combustible mix-
the compressor, as all the other components are designed ture is formed - a complex process in itself. The length of
and adjusted to suit this part. The reason for this the combustion chamber plays an important role here. If
sequence of operations is that in this area the modeller the chamber is too short only a proportion of the fuel
can use a ready-made compressor wheel as used in tur- burns in the combustion chamber. and the flames then
bochargers. As a result, selecting a particular compressor continue into the turbine stage. Even if the engine runs at
wheel determine~ the overall characteristics of the engine all in such a state, this problem will always result in ineffi-
at a stroke. cient exploitation of fuel. Streams of hot gas, still burning,
then produce local overheating in the turbine - what are
Specialfeatures q.f small gas turbines known as hot s pot s. Poor combu s tion abo has an
unfavourable effect on the efficiency of the turbine .
Model jet engines are not simply reduced-scale models Exhaust temperatures rise to excessive levels although
of full-size engines. The basic method of working is the the compressor and turbine stages may actually be work-
same, but there are special considerations which demand ing efficiently. Viewed overall , it is clear that an efficient
a different and usually simpler design. Any comparison combustion chamber is a fundamentally essential feature
between a real aircraft engine and a model jet engine ini- of any practical model jet engine . Many industrial
tially throws up few similarities. Most modern gas tur- miniature gas turbines side-step the problem of miniatur-
bines include features such as multi-stage compressors ising the combustion chamber. This is done by arrang-
and turbines, blade cooling, complex regulatory and con- ing a separate , large-volume combustion chamber
trol machinery and so on. and these are simply not pre- adjacent to the rotor. A central fuel injection vaporiser
sent in the model version. In our case everything depends jet in the middle of the flame pipe is then all that is
on simplicity and functionality. required. Unfortunately this solution is very bulky, and
cannot be used in a jet engine designed to propel model
Combustion aircraft.
The combustion chamber is one of the most critical

JIodelJet Ellgines 37
Rotor design the centrifugal forces rise further. The only force which
Turhine e ngin es only produce high power at very counters this effect is the shaft's natural rt:silience . As
high peripheral speeds . This applies w full -size jet long as thb is greater than the centrifugal force , the be nd-
engines and also to small ones, i.e. model jet e ngines. ing stays within relativc\y narrow limits. However, if rota·
This inevitahly means very high rotational speeds to take tional speed continues (0 rise we reach a point where the
inro account the ~maller whcds. Our small engines often rotational frequency of the rotor is the same as the reso-
run at speeds in excess of IOO ,()()() rpm , depending on nant frequency. At this point resonance sets in and any
the diameter of the rotor. T hese very high rotational minute imbalance cause~ the rotor to bend and oscillate.
speed~ make particular demands on the modeller, as The deformation in the shaft increases uncontrollahly and
they require thaI the rotor system be made to extremely the shaft is destroyed. However, before this happens. ix.
high levels of precision . Even very s light imhalance well below the critical rotational speed, the shaft may he
results in substantial centrifugal forces , which in turn so seriously distorted that it is permanently bent, and the
lead to a slight elastic deformation (bending) of the hend may even be visihle to the naked eye. If this occurs
shaft. The distortion in turn increases the imhalance, and in a model jet engine the result is sudden, intense vihra-
tion at full throttle. As the engine runs down the damage
will be ohvious by the compressor shaft running out of
F true.
When you are running the gas turbine it is therefore
essential to ensure that the rotational speed of the shaft:
remains significantly below the critical speed. The critical
rotational frequency varies according to the shaft materi-
al, the mass and geometry of the rotor and the arrange-
ment of the hearings.
As a basic rule we Gill state that, the longer the shaft,
the lower the maximum permissible rotational speed. At
model sizcs, for example, lengthening the shaft by a sin-
gle centimetre reduces the rotational speed strength b y
up to about lO'!" ). For the same reason there are limits on
F F the length of the comhustion chamber, as it has to fit
between the compressor and the turhine.
Diagram of dJ"lamic belldi1lg ~if the ellgille's sbaft The actual rotor hearings take the form of ballraces
as it approaches the critical rotati01lal speed. and, curiollsly enough, they generally present no prob-
lems. The only essential stricture here is that the hearings
must he lubricated and cooled adequately. Provided that
this is the case. then you can safely exceed the nominal
maximum speed stated by the bearing manufacturer by
up to three times. Heat-resistant steels such as basic stain-
less steel are extraordinarily poor. conductors of heat. and
it is only this circumstance which enables us to keep tur-
bine bearings at a low temperature. Although the temper-
ature of the turhine blades reaches more than 600 0 C, the
hearings, located only a few centimetres away, stay rela-
tively cool. However, thi:. is only true if the correct
amount of air is ducted to the hearings for cooling. If very
high rotational speeds are required we recommend that
the bearings be pre-loaded usually to a minimum value.
Specialist literature from bearing manufacturers should be
~Uidied on this point.

Gap losses
There must be a slight gap between the compressor
and turbine wheels and their housing to provide..' clear-
ance for the moving parts. Naturally it is essential to keep
this "escape route" as small as possible, otherwise gas will
now past the blades instead of through them . The width
of the gap is primarily dictated by the potential thennal
loading. When the engine is started up from cold the tur-
bine blades almost instantaneously reach the same tem-
perature as the gas. but the surrounding housing takes a
little time to warm up. The clearance must therefore he
great enough to avoid the turbine blades touching the
housing as they expand more qUickly. The reverse case
must also be considered: when the engine stops running
the housing cools quickly, and could foul the spinning
rotor blades which are still hot.
Rotor of a model jet ellg;lle (Milli-Turbille). In industrial gas turbines the gap is 2 to 3 thousands

38 :Hode/./et Ellg ines

of the rotor diameter. For example, the turbine clearance Conclusions relating to the model jet engine
of the Turbomeca Anouste. with ;t rotor di;tmeter of 220 In designing a model jet engine the aim of the exercise
mm, is only 0.4 mm. This narrow gap dkl occasionally is to exploit the hasie principles of the gas turbine. as
cause the engine to stop when the housing touched the already descrihed, using the simplest possible means .
bl;t(ks and jammed the rotor. This straightforward aim presents plenty of prohlems in
In practical terms such tight clearances are not feasihle itself, which means that the modeller can certainly spare
for model jet engines. Extreme accuracy in the workshop himself any thoughts of technical refinement. It is safe to
might make this possible, hut in any case uneven temper- assume that afterhurners, multi-shaft rotor systems ;tnd
ature disuihmion in the exhaust gas is virtually unavoid- hy-pass engines will not find many advocates in the
ahle, and this would tend to cause heat distortion in the model arena . The ohvious choice for the model jet
turhine shrouding system. Fouling of the turbine would engine's compressor is the radial type . With a single stage
then be inevitable. For model jet engines we must there- this sort of wheel c;tn provide an acceptable pressure
fore accept a gap of 5 thousands of the rotor diameter ratio. The axial compressor gener;tlly used in full-size jet
and learn to live with the inevitahle losses. The distance engines unfortunately prcSt::nts a multitude of prohlems at
between the rotor hlades and the housing of a model jet model scale. Calculations show th;tt ;t gas tumine could
engine will typically lie in the range 0 .3 - 0 .5 mm . function with ;t single-stage axial compressor, hm in prac-
depending on the nlmine diameter. These values are easi- tice such an engine would only develop as much thrust as
ly within the scope of the amateur. However, any further a good-quality heat gun . The low pressure ratio would
widening of the gap will result in a significant drop in effi- give a very low efflux speed . and fuel consumption
ciency . With a gap of one millimetre the engine will not would he unacceptahly high.
run at all. ~imilar rules apply to the compressor area, To oht;tin a pressure similar to that of a single stage
although our experience shows that a small radial com- radial compressor an axial compressor would require at
pressor with a gap of 0.4 mm is still quite efficient. Gap least three stages, and the construction of a multi-stage
losses can he avoided almost completely hy using what compressor is enormOUSly complicated . The stator h(ms-
are known as enclosed rotor wheels. These wheels fea- ing would have to he made in two halves with an exactly
ture a plate which covers the compressor hlades to form circular internal cross-St::ction . It would no longer he pos-
enclosed ducts. The disadvantage is the slightly lower sible to support the rotor on only two bearings, as this
rotational speed strength of these wheels. would dictate a very low critical rotation;tl speed .

18.0% Gap loss of a lu,.bi,1e stage, acco,.ding In Dieyzel (blade height 10 mm)










0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 O.B 0.9 1

Gap width (m",)

Gap losses at the turbine stage of a model jet (mgine.

Model Jet Engines 39

Engine FD3 Micro-Turbine T 2,)OP Macboce CF6-MC
Firm/Constmctor Schreckling Kamps JPX Turbomeca GE, MTlJ, SNECMA
First Run 1990 1993 1995 1')')2 1983
Fouga eM 170 Airbus A :BO
"Magister" Boeing 747

Thmst (Newtons) 30 50 59 3 ,900 262,,)00

Mass (Kg) 0.75 1.14 1.55 146 '"i,066
Pressun: Ratio 15 2 2.1') 4.1 32
Intake temperature ( 0C) ca.700 ca.650 ca.740 780 1.2M
Specific Thmst (N/kg) 40 44 38 27 6')
Consumption (kg/min.) 0 . 16 0.160 0 . 177 7.6 IS8
Specific Con~umption (kg/N/h) 0 .32 0 .2 O. IS 0 . 117 (W36

Nevertheless, in theory this type of compressor might at all like their full-size cousins from the outside. In fact,
have possible applications in the model scene. the relative proportions are more or less reversed. In a
Once the type of compressor has been selected. the full-size jet engine the combustion cham her constitutes a
layout of the turbine stage is already fixed to some extent. short section between compressor and turbine, but it is
A single-stage turbine is quite adequate, and both axial usually the largest component in the model version .
and radial turbines are feasible. There are further differences in terms of specific power.
Single-stage compressors and turbines take up little Model-size compressors and turbines are less efficient
space, hut the same does not apply to the combustion than industrial aircraft engines. If the engine is to mn at
chamber, and that is why model jet engines do not look all, the turbine must extract most of the available energy

180 (Itllet temperature 20°C efficietlcy 75%)



~ 120

.:;: 100

~ 80
S. 60


1 1,2 1,4 1,6 1,8 2 2,2 2.4 2.6 2.8 3
Pressure ralio
Temperature rise in tile turbine compressor.

40 ;Hodeljel Ellgines
from the exhaust flow. As a result only a relatively small comprt:ssor. In the model sphere it varies within the
rt:sidut: of energy is left to produce thrust. This fact. cou- range 0.65 to 0.78.
pled with the low pressure ratios which can be achieved
in model jet engines, has the effect that only :\ to H per The lown the coefficient. tht: more energy is converted
cent of the energy contained in the fuel is turned into uselessly into heat, and the greater the temperaturt:
thmst. Nevertheless, since these small engines are low in increase ~T in the compressor.
mass tht:y achieve thrust:weight ratios comparable to
those of their full-size friends. The drawback is fuel con-
sumption: the model pilot who wishes to use this type of
engine in a model must allow for the installation of a very
largt: fuel tank . One of the most important equations used in calculating
the compressor - and in fact the entire engine - is what is
The compressor known as the continuity equation. It can be used virtually
everywhere and fortunately it is extremely simple. It
Tht: purpose of the compressor is to compress the air states that the volumt: of gas which flows in one second
drawn into the engine. The hasic principle of all compres- through a known cross-sectional area A at a known speed
sors is the same: it converts kinetic energy into pressure c is the product of A and c . Logically the volume which
energy. To achieve this the air drawn into the compressor flows doubles if we double the cross-sectional area or the
is first accelerated to high speed and then dt:cdt:ratt:d; speed. One value which is always of interest is the
this action converts the speed of the gas into pressure. [f throughput, i.e. the mass of gas which flows per second,
a radial compressor is used, centrifugal force provides a and to calculate this we multiply the volumetric flow by
furthn im:reast: in air pressure. During this process the the density of the gas.
temperature of the medium rist:s at tht: same time as the This gives us the classic continuity equation :
gas prt:ssure rises. This efkct will he familiar to anybody
who has pumped up a tyre with an ordinary hand-operat- ill cxA x p
ed pump. m Throughput (kg/s)
The work dont: is stored in the gas It:aving the com- c Speed (m/s)
pressor. In technical terms this is an increase in the A Flow cross-section (m 2
enthalpy (""heat content of a substance pt:r unit mass") of P (;as density in the cross-section (kg/m.\)
the air. [n theory tht: rist: in enthalpy corresponds to the
specific powt:r of the compn:ssor. although in practice When using this equation it is important [0 keep [0 the
wt: have to make allowanct: for the inevitahlt: losses. correct units of measurement. We can exploit the fact
that the throughput in a model jet engine is virtually con-
stant at all points. We can ignure:: the mass of the fuel sup-
~h = T x c p (1t - I) plied to the engine since it represents only about 1.7% of
~h Enthalpy increase Olkg) the air throughput.
T Inlet tt:mpt:raturt: in ° Kelvin We can now find the flow speed for any cross-section
cp Specific thermal capacity of air, lOOO (J/kg/K) provided that we know the throughput and the gas state.
1t Pressure ratio of the compressor, i.e. To calculate gas density we only nt:t:d the pressure and
final pressure/inlet pressure temperature of the gas.
p pieR x T)
The exponent in the formula (0.286) is derived from the p Absolute pressure of the gas in Pascal (N/m2)
polytropic coefficient n . In the case of an uncooled com- (l bar = 100,000 Pa)
prt:ssor (known as adia-
batic compression) n = Inlet air Compressed air Combustion gas Exhaust gas
1.4. The exponent used 288K(15°C) 377 K(98°C) 973 K (7OO°C) 843 K (570°C)
in the formula is (n-l)/n 1.013 bar 2 bar 1.92 bar 1.013 bar
= 0 .28571 , or 0 . 286 p = 1.225 kglm3 p = 1.88 kg/ mJ p= 0.69 kg/m) p = 0.42 kg/m)
when rounded up. This Jh=O/if/ kg Jh= 67kJl kg Jh = 166 kj/kg Jh = O/ifl kg
value (or its rt:ciprocal c = 300 m/ s (1,080 kill/ h)
3.5) crops up again, and

E-=--~ ~
again in all thermal cal-
The input power
which the compressor
requires for its work can
be calculated as follows:
~ -- 1-
P=ill x ~h / 11

01 is the compressor
tnroughput in kg air per
Gas states in a
model jet engine.
11 is the effiCiency of the

Model Jet EI1Rilles 41

The radial compressor
For a model jet engine this type of compressor
appears to he "made to measure". The radial compressor
is extremc::Iy rubust and straightforward in construction.
Because of these advantages it is still used today where it
would be possible to replace it with the more effective
axial compressor.
The radial compressor can he huilt in various configu-
ratiuns which exhihit widely varying characteristics.
although the two main categories are those with a cover
plate, and those withoUT. The former type features a plate
covering the hlades, designed to avoid gap losses. The
resultant compressor is an "enclosed wheel " type. A sec-
ond important feature is the curvature of the hlades.
whereby the crucial point is the angle of the blades at the
wheel exit . We have £0 differemiate between wheels
with radial blades and those with retro-curved hlades.
Practical experiments have shown that all these
wheel forms are suitahle for model jet engines.
Regardless of the precise type of radial wheel, the air
drawn in flows in the direction of the rotational axis.
Once inside the whec::I the gas follows the hlade ducts
and is pushed outwards in the radial direction under the
influence of centrifugal force . Finally the air leaves the
wheel amI flows at high speed into the adjacent compres-
sor diffuser system. Here the gas is slowed in the widen-
ing ducts and the residual kinetic energy is converted
into pressure. The overall pressure rise in the stage is dis-
trihuted over the whed and the diffuser syskm . The
reaction level r of the compressor stage can he defined in
general terms as follows:

Types of radial compressor (top to bottom):

wheel with radially tipped blades; wheel with
slighl(V relro-curved blades; enclosed wheel YWheel and Y ~Ia!!e are the values for the work which is
with greatly retro-curl'ed blades. done on the air in the wheel and in the overall stage
respectively. The unit of measurement here is J/kg.
The distribution of the two components is determined
T Absolute gas temperarure in 0 Kelvin hy the type of hlade form used in the wheel. Radially
R = Gas constant for air and for comhustion tipped blades supply a reaction value of 0 .5. With suh-
products produced in the engine (287 U/kgIK]) stantial retro-curvature this value is much higher, which
p Gas density in kg/m~ means that most of the energy conversion takes place
inside the wheel.
Compressor wheels of95 mm and 66 mm diameter. Theformer is already The increase in pres-
slightly too large for normal model use. sure in a radial compres·
sor varies according to
the ddlection of the
gases in the direction of
the peripheral motion.
Peripheral speed is not a
constant in a radial com-
pressor, and this is the
crucial advantage of this
type of unit. At the air
inlet the whed diameter
is small , and the peri-
pheral speed therefore
correspondingly low. In
contrast , maximum
peripheral speed is
reached at the wheel
outlet. The overall
deflection is therefore
considerabk. The wurk
done can be calculated

42 Mod e/Jet Ellp,ines

Y th = 112 x C lu - 111 X C lu component. In the wheel we obtain the absolute speed
UI = Peripheral speed at the wheel inlet by vn:tor addition of relative and peripheral speed. A fur-
u 2 = Peripheral speed at the wheel outlet ther important speed component is what is known as the
c 2u ' c h , =Gas speed in the peripheral direction al the radial component c m . The radial speed is the component
wheel inlet and outlet of the absolute speed in a direction perpendicular to the
peripheral direction . The magnitude of c m determines the
For Ollr purposes we Gill simplify the formula even fur- throughpul of the compressor.
ther. [f the compressor consists of a single radial stage, The work done is determined by the components u 2
then the gas flows into the compressor without any twist- and c lu ' If we assume a constant rotational speed and
ing motion. This means that the airtlow is perpendicular thus a given peripheral speed the rise in pressure varies
to the periphtTal direction at the wheel inlet. As a result only according to c 2u ' The steeper the blade angle ~b the
the inflow speed has no component in the rotational larger this component becomes. Wheels with radially
dire<"tion. The expression u l x C lu becomes equal to zero, tipped blades - [i2 = 90° - therefore provide the highest
and the following formula applies: pressure. In this special case c l u is always the same as u b
which means that the work done is:

The net result is that we only need to consider the flow

conditions at the wheel outlet. At this point we use a For certain special applications compressor wheels with
velocity diagram to clarify matters. [n a velOCity diagram forward curved blades are used, but they are of no inter-
the individual flow components are drawn as vectors. est to us here. The conclusion that wheels with radially
The vector arrow shows the direction of flow , while the tipped blades are the best solution for model jet engines
length of the arrow shows the magnitude of the speed. [n because of their high pressure is not correct. The velo-
the resultant velOCity diagram you can use trigonometry city dhlgram shows that the absolute speed c 2 , i.e. the
to ohtain the values you want. This gives you an alterna- speed at which the air leaves the wheel , is still very
tive method of determining all the vital flow angles: high .
either by calcul:ltion or by consulting graphs. A large proportion of the pres..<;ure gain takes place in
All the speeds at the wheel inlet and outlet are given the diffuser system of the compressor, where the residual
the suffix numbers 1 or 2 in order to differentiate them kinetic energy in the gas is reduced. Unfortunately the
clearly. We will consider the absolute speed of the gas c , compressor diffuser system inevitahly involves significant
the relative speed wand the peripherdl speed u. The losses at model scale.
absolute speed is the gas speed at a particular, fixed point In contrast, wheels with retro-curved blades convert a
of observation . In contrast , the term relative speed larger proportion of the energy within the wheel itself,
applies to those components which relate to the blades i.e. the reaction level is greater than 0.';. The speed at
which are in motion. [f we could hitch a ride on the com- which the gases flow into the diffuser system is slightly
pressor wheel, the measured flow would be the relative lower because the curvature of the blades is opposed to

Flow conditions in tbe rotor of a radial compressor_

ModelJet Engilles 43
the peripheral direction. In our experience the compres- A is the cross-sectional area of the compressor outlet. It is
sor b more efficient overall if the wheel is fitted with calculated from the expres~ion d 2 x :n: x b 2. where d 2 is the
retro-curved hlades. wheel diameter and b 2 the hlade height at the outlet.
In practice the pressure ratios which these compres- p is the density of the air immediately it leaves the
sors achieve is not as high as the theoretically possihle wheel. A sample calculation for the supply value is
levels. There are two reasons for this: when air is tlowing included in the section on ditIusers.
through the compressor losses occur which reduce the
work performed. In addition, the gas does not follow Typical calculation for a radial compressor
accurately the path dictated hy the hlades. The deflection From all this theory it is possihle to derive a few sim-
in the air in the peripheral direction is lower than predict- ple formulae which are genuinely helpful at the design
ed by theoretical calculations. This effect is known as stage of a model jet engine project. The actual work done
blade slip. If we wish to move away from the theoretical is assumed to he equal to the gain in enthalpy. Using this
situation and find out exactly how much air is moved and information the pressure value for a particular wheel can
with what level of efficiency, we have to take into be calculated as follows:
account the reduced performance factor f1 and the inter-
nal efficiency Il 2xc"xTx(:n:"'" '' -I)
Determining the parameters f1 and 11 is very difficult, 1J! = -----:---
and they are usually found experimentally. For this reason
a different method is used to calculate the basi<: data for a
model jet engine compressor. Let us assume that a model jet engine, running at a mea-
The calculations relating to a radial compressor are sured rotational speed of 56 ,000 rpm, achieves an excess
carried out using non-dimensional values. These allow us pressure in the housing of 0 .24 har. The wheel diameter
to establish all the important data relatively simply hy is 66 mm , the air temperature 17 ° C and air pressure
observing easily measurable magnitudes. The parameters 1000 mbar.
which define the characteristics of a compressor are its The pressure value can now be calculated from this
throughput and pressure gain. For compressor pressure data is as follows:
we define a pressure value ljJ as follows :
2x 1000] I kg I Kx290Kx(l.24o.2H6) - 1
1J!= -------------------------------
(0.066 m x 3, 146 x %000. 1 I min I 60s I min)"

The peripheral component c 2 u of the absolute speed is The units cancel each other out O]=kg.m 2/s2). This calcu-
not included in the definition. The compressor's pressure lated value is typical for model jet engines with slightly
value remains largely constant over a broad range of rota- retro-curved blades. Another home-built engine with a
tional speeds. turbocharger compressor and radially tipped blades pro-
Provided that we know the pressure value, we can duces a pressure value of around 1.16. Large compressors
determine the work done, and from it the pressure ratio in jet engines achieve better values due to the numher of
relative to the peripheral speed u 2 . The peripheral speed blades (usually higher) and the consequent improvement
in tum can he calculated from the rotational speed. in the reduced performance factor. For example , the
For ordinary day-to-day operation of a model jet engine Turhomeca Marhore achieves a pressure value of 1.35 in
the reverse of this procedure is also u seful : instead of its hasic form .
measuring rotational speed hy some complex method, all If the compressor hlades feature greater retro-curva-
we do is measure the pressure, which can be done using ture, the specific pumping performance is lower; in the
simple means. case of Kurt Schreckling's FD 3 the value of ljJ is around
The second non-dimensional value relates to the 0.86, although it varies according to wheel design and
throughput of the radial compressor. The supply value or construction.
throughflow value defines the radial component c m ' from When a model jet engine is running the pressure value
which we can calculate the throughput with reference to only varies within narrow limits. It is certainly permissi-
the peripheral speed u z. For our purposes the supply hle to calculate rotational speed from the measured pres-
value <I> can he defined as follows: sure ratio , and vice versa. The pressure ratio can be
calculated from the formula:

Definitions of the supply value vary across the specialist

literature; it may he defined as the gas flow at the inlet
or outlet of the wheel. In this hook we relate it deliher- According to this formula the pressure ratio of the engine
ately to the compressor wheel outlet. We should also amounts to about 1.044 when running at an idle speed of
note that the radial speed at the wheel outlet is not dis- 25.000 rpm (corresponding to a peripheral speed of 86
tributed evenly, and hence c m should be considered as m/s) .
an average speed. The throughput achieved by the com- This corresponds to a water column of 44 cm and
pressor can he found from the continuity equation as agrees very closely with the actual values.
follows: Working the other way round, we can determine the
peripheral speed and from that the rotational speed from
the pressure value and the pressure ratio.

44 JludelJet Eng ines

work at reasonahle efficiency in a narrowly de::finnl r.l.I1ge
2xc xTx(JtUtI<, - I) of throughputs . If the engine connected to the tur-
u= (" )
II' bocharger requires more air, the compressor's effective-
ness diminishes significantly. For a model jet engine:: this
The engine we are using as an example produces a thrust narrow operating range is not n e cessarily disastrous ,
of 30 Newtons on the test bench. The pressure above since the throughput of the turhine stage is also limited
atmospheric in the engine is then 0 .91 bar. Normal condi- to a relatively narrow range. In fact . many full -size jet
tions apply, i.e. an air temperature of 1,) ° C = 288 K and engines use wheels with radially tipped blades. The provi-
an air pressure of 1.01:3 hPa. The pressure ratio is there- so with this type of hlade is that the throughput of the::
fore equal to (1 .013 + 0 .91)/1.013 = 1.898. model jet engine has to be matche::d ve::ry accurately to the
compressor, otherwise good re::sults will never he
obtained . The charactc::ristics of the compressor wheel
2 x 1000] / kg / ()Kx 288Kx (1.89S0 286 - I)
u= must be:: horne in mind whe::n you are operating a model
( 0.98 je::t e::ngine. Whe::n the throttle is opened the throughput of
the turbine stage falls for a moment, with the result that
the:: compressor simply goes on strike if you advance the
throttle too quickly.
The rotational speed can be calculated from the stated Nowadays compressor wheels with retro-curved
pe::riphe::ral spe::e::d as follows:
Turbocharger compressor from a diesel engine.
60s/minxu 60s/minx34 4m/s 99495 Large wheels such as the one shoum are often
n= = = , rpm machinedfrom solid.
d 2 xlr 0.066mx3. 14159

Turbocharger compressors
For the moddler the:: compressors incorporate::d in tur-
bocharge rs are an ide::al starting point for the construc-
tion of a modd je::t e::ngine::. They take the form of small
radial wheds which have been refined to a high level
through innumerahle experiments carried out hy
experts. The strength of these wheds is so great that we
need not worry ahout it even at very high rotational
speeds. The specifications quote failure speeds of more
than 600 m/s at the periphery, which are wdl heyond
any model application. Other components in the model
jet engine, such as the:: shaft and the turbine wheel, have
much lower rotational speed limits . Neverthe::kss the
high spee::ds necessarily involve certain hazards. There is
no place for carelessness when the mOOeller is working
with such high-speed rotating parts. The wheels must not
he modified in any way, and especially not weakened in
the huh area. They must be securely auached. For this
reason a left-hand thread fixing is essential for a right- Smallturbochargerfrom a lorry diesel engine. The
hand rotation wheel. The compressor wheels of tur- wheel has a diameter of 76 mm and features
bochargers are usually cast in aluminium alloy using a radially Upped blades. Wheels of this type were the
high-quality casting process; a technique which allows starting point for several experiments. The model
the production of extraordinarily complex curves and jet engine based on it evelltually produced a thrust
twists. The design of this type of wheel could never be of40N at 81,000 rpm.
calculated using amateur means, far less actually made.
Modern turbocharger wheels achieve efficiency kvels
which approach to within a few percentage:: points those
of the radial compressors in industrially produced full-
size gas turbines. Overall the~ components offer by far
the most promising start for building a really powerful
model jet engine.
As supplie::d turhocharger compressors are accurately
dynamically halanced and can he installed directly in the
model jet engine. Bear in mind the usual rule on size: the
higger, the better. Good wheels of around 60 mm diame-
ter achieve efficiencies betwe::en 70 and 75%, while larger
versions approach 80%.
In rece::nl decades turbocharger compressors have
been the subject of considerahle development. Early
exampks virtually without exception featured radially
tipped blades. since these types are easy to manufacture
and supply high pressure levels . However, they only

.Uodel j et Engilles 45
a) Wol
Col ..
.-< \ t~, •
." \\' , Col

''--:A""',! \ ~2
~\:;~ ~ /1\

"~)':-~j ~! I
/ .t~~
\\" ~'
'~ >/

Behaviour of a radial compressor at a) loU! throughput alld b) high throughput.

blades have superseded all others. These wheels are large relative to the throughput, the compressor supplies
manufactured in large numbers and in numerous variants. more air at low pressure . If on the other hand the
Usually the blade tip angle 132 is between 60 and 75° . This throughput of the turbine stage is too small, the pressure
type of compressor has the advantage that the flow rises, and the volume of air moved falls. The overall result
through the blade ducts possesses a component opposite is that, within certain limits, this type of compressor
to the peripher.t1 direction. Thus the specific work done adjusts itself auwmatically to a given turbine stage. If it is
varies according to the rotational speed and the through- your aim to build a successful jet engine you will have
put of the wheel. much better prospects if you use a wheel with retro-
When small volumes of air are moved, the relative curved blades. In practice this type of engine offers the
speed W z in the blade ducts is low. The component of the extra advantage that it can be accelerated extraordinarily
absolute speed c 211 in the peripheral direction is then quickly, as the compressor works efficiently over a wide
almost as great as the peripheral speed liz. In this situa- range of rotational speeds. This effect is particularly
tion the specific work done Yth = U x c lu is of a similar marked if the compressor blades feature significant retro-
order to that of a compressor with radially tipped blades. curvature, as used in Kurt Schreckling's FD :;, where the
As throughput rises, and the gas speed in the blade blade angle is only 4:;°. As a result the engine responds to
ducts becomes high, the component c lu becomes smaller the throttle almost as fast as a well adjusted piston
since the air between the blades flows in a slightly back- engine.
wards direction, opposite to the direction of rotation. As Turbochargers of a lIseful size for model jet engines
a result the pressure supplied by the compressor is now are used with a bladdess annular diffuser system.
lower. If the turbine stage in the mode l jet engine is too As throughput varies , the flow direction in the

46 ModelJet EI/gilles
diffuser system also
changes. The effect is
not dramatic with a Pressure ratio
bladeless annular dif-
fuser provided thaI the
angles are not too shal- 2.4
low. In contrast, the ini-
tial direction of flow is
crucial with the bladed
diffuser system used in
a model jet engine . In
consequence the operat-
ing range of the com-
pressor in the model
jet engine is slightly Z.O
restricted compared
to that of the tur-
The compressor
characteristic graph
The data for a com-
pressor are usually pre- 120000 rpm
sented in the form of a 1.6
diagram: the characteris-
tic graph , from which
the essential data for
the wheel can be read 1.4
directly. A characteristic 100000
graph is a valuahle hut
not ahsolutely essential
tool when designing a 1.2
model jet engine.
Usually the air
throughput and/or the
compressor flow are dif-
ferentiated on the x-axis
of the diagram . The 0_05 0.1 0,15 0.2 025
pressure ratio is stated ",ass flow
on the y-axis. Typical compressor characteristic graph Of a turbocharger
The characteristic compressor with retro-curved blades_ Other characteristic graphs are
lines in the diagram give ilhlstrated ilt Gert Hack's book "Turbo cars, turbo-e1lgilles n from
the potential pressure Motorbuch'Jerlag, Stuttgart (Gennalt).
and throughput for the
Slated cons tam rotation-
al speeds. These curves always have a negative gradient,
i.e. the more air the compressor supplies, the lower the
This hasic fact also applies to wheels with radially
tipped blades. The work done and thus the possible final
pressure are exclusively dependent on peripheral speed,
but in practice the reduced performance factor diminish-
es as throughput increases. When the pressure is great,
the gas follows the path dictatnl hy the blades less and
less accurately, i.e. the actual specific work done is slight-
ly lower.
"Island" traces on the graph indicate efficiency. Note
that optimum efficiency is usually possible only within a
narrow range. In designing a turhocharger the aim is to
match the compressor's characteristics accurately to the
piston engine to which the unit is attached, hut the "hest
efficiency" position on the diagram is also a useful indica-
tor for a model jet engine.
The compressor characteristic graph always applies to
a particular atmospheric pressure and temperature. In Air path througl:J a bladeless altltular space_
different conditions - for example a high-pressure

Modeljet Engines 47
Turbocharger diJJuser system. The height oftheflow duct is reduced immediately behind the rotor

weather situation with very low temperatures - through- Diffuser wheels

put and pressure rise significantly. In the compressor diffuser systcm the residual s(X"ed
In the same way the characteristic diagram only energy in the flow is converted into pressure energy. In
applies in conjunction with a given diffuse r system. If the this case the energy in the gas is proportional to the
compressor wheel is used with a different diffuser system square of its speed . Therefore if we can halve the gas
important parameters may alter. The compressor charac- speed in the diffuser system we have already converted
teristic graph of a turhocharger is not the same as the three-quarters of its energy. A particularly critical point
graph which would result if the same wheel were here is th e area immediately hehind the rotor wheel,
installed in a jet engine. The most significant changes where flow speeds are still high. The diffuser system in
would be in the optimum efficiency level and the posi- this area must be matched very accurately to the rotor
tion of what is known as the surge line. wheel. If a bladed diffuser system is used the diffuser
blades must he designed in such a way that they start
exactly in the direction of the flow . A variation in the
flow angle of only a few degrees may mean that the
model jet engine refuses to filll . It goes without saying
that obstacles to the gas, such as pipes and retaining
bolts. must he kept away from this area.
/ The compre ssor diffuser, also known as the stator, can
he huilt in any of several variants. In principle we can dif-
ferentiate between hladed amI non-hladed diffuser sys-
/ tems. In the specialist literature the latter is generally

I termed a bladdess annular space. This type is very easy

to make amI is efficient if designed carefully. The greatest
advantage of the bladeless annular space is thaI the com-
pressor as a whole has outstanding regulatory characteris-
tics. Since there are no blades it is not possible for an
incorrect choice of blade angle to result in flow break-
The hest solution for a model jet engine is a hladed dif-
fuser system . However. the diffuser hlades should not
c start immediately adjacent to the rotor. as at this point
the flow speed is still very unevenly distributed . It is hest
if the flow has a chance to even itself out between the
rotor whed and the diffuser hlades. If the angle of the gas
flow from the rotor wheel is shallow. the diffuser blades
can begin closer to the rotor wheel. as the air then
Types of compressor diffuser system: follows a longer path to the diffuser blades. In the model
a) Straight diffuser blades, jet e ngine the diffuser blades should start after a gap 011
b) Forward curved blades, 1.15- 1.2 times the wheel diameter.
c) Wedge-shaped blade diffuser. It clearly makes sense to place a small annular space
in front of the diffuser hlades. Although there are no

48 ,'I,Iodel./el En/!) lies

hladts at this point to force the air in a particular direc- ed sensiblt: dlicitnq- levels. An extra problt:m is that this
tion, as the diameter increases the gas tlow slows down , type;: of diffuser cannot <::Iiminatt tht: twisting motion of
and with this comes a rise in pre:.:.urt:. TIle cause of thb tht gases. When the air tlows towards tht ct:ntre of tht
is not, as you might imagine, the widening cross-section engine in tht dirtction of the combustion chamht:r, the
of the annular space as the diameter increases, hut the spiral law again dictatts that the pt:ripheral compontnt of
effect of centrifugal force , directing the gas outward. The the flow ell would incrtast as the radius falls. In const-
effect of this force is to increase the pressure of the medi- quence gas prtssurt would then diminish again. To
um as the diameter rises. However. according tu counttr this efftct diffuser hlades would certainly be
Bernoulli's law the total energy in the flow is always con- nteded at tht: ptriphery of the diffuser system to tlimi-
stant. Where pressure rises, speed must fall, because no nate the rt:sidual spiral motion.
new energy is added in the diffuser system. The spiral law In a hladed ditli.lstr system the situation is difft:rent.
derived from this states that tht product of the radius in The diffuser hlades form individual flow ducts, widening
tht' diffuser systt'm and tht spe::ed in the:: ptripht:J'al direc- towards tht periphery. Tht ptripheral components of
tion is constant. the gas and the twisting motion no longer have to he
taken into ;\cCOUIU , and the IInly thing that imertsts us is
Spiral law. or VorttX law r x c ll = Constant tht: flow within tht: individual channels. The crucial
point htre is tht expansion angle of the bladts.
This physical fact of lift' plays an important rolt' in ordi- llnfortunatdy wt: are restricttd in our choice of angle. as
nary daily lift: as wdl as in tht' modd jt't t'ngint. Tht spi- there is a dangtr of flow hrtakdown. 'fhe sptcialiM Iittra-
ral law is obvious if, for t'xamplt', we stir a cup of tea, ture rtcommends expansion anglts hetwttn 8 and 10 0
wht'rt' the spt't'd is hight~t close to the centrt'. In con- where the flow is slow. For our application, howevtr, the
trast, the prt'ssurt is highest at tht t(\ge, as we can tell angles can ht slightly largtr to take into account tht
from tht hdght of the fluid. txtrtmely small dimt:nsions of our engint. The reason for
The speed is invtrsely proportional to the diamtter uf this is the influtnct of the houndary layer which
the diffuser system . This indicatt's tht' disadvantage of the ht:comts narroWt:f as the width of the hladt ducts rises.
hladelt'ss annular space. If we are aiming at efficient pres- Howevtr, if we choose an expansion anglt: significantly
sure co nversion Wt nttd a large diamtte::r diffustr. above these values, the flow tends to hreak away from
Widening the flow duct does not hdp. Quitt the oppo- tht hladts. with resultant severe lossts. In contr.tst, small-
site: this would rt'sult in flow hreakdown in tht diffuser, er angles produce prtssure convtrsion at too Iowa rate,
which would involvt substantial losst:s. with the rtsult that the gas flows through tht channds
Tht: air flowing through the diffuser descrihes a spiral for a long time at high sptt:ll, producing severe friction
path from tht' tnd of the rotor whed to tht tnd of tht: lossts.
diffuser. The anglt' of the gas flow at an imaginary tangent You can give your imagination free rein in the matter
is constant at every point on tht: path , and follows tht: of the blade configuration in the difhlstr. Some typtS of
outflow anglt: uf the rotor wht:d. In mathtmatical ttrms guidt' vant: are curved in tht dirtction of rotation of tht
the flow path descrihes a logarithmic spiral, whereby the comprtssor, others in the opposite dirt'ctiun . Anothtr
outflow anglt' of tht gas from the rotor whtd dttermines popular design is tht wtdge blade difflJ~er. The blades
the It:ngth of tht path. The grtater this anglt, the fasttr grow wkkr towards the periphery to form thick wedges.
the gas rtachts a large diamtter and a high pressure. Tht thick tnough to accommodatt fixing bolts. This alont is
friction losSt:s which arise in this process art also propor- an excellent reason for the practical modeller to opt for a
tional to the length of the path. If we comhine a compres- bladtd diffuser whtd, as tht bolts required to retain tht
sor wheel with a very shallow o utflow angk and a compressor covt:r can he faired into the ditfustr bladts
hladeless diffuser, we ohtain a very long flow path and without spoiling tht gas flow.
correspondingly low tffickncy. If we select hladts of constant thicknt:ss thtn tht:
For this reason modtrn compressors, tsptcially in tur- expansion angle httween two adjactnt bladts is calculat-
hochargtrs. utiIist hladeless diffustr systems whose chan- td as follows :
nd btcomts narrowtr away from the centre. This mtans
that the cross-stctional area does not hecomt largtr, and E 360 o /z
the air is forced to a largtr diameter hy a short route , E Expansion anglt
incurring low lossts. ll nfortunately this trick dots not z Number of blades
hdp us reduce the external dimensions of tht diffuser
system. Thus for a modd jet engine a bladdess diffuser If we aim tilr an expansion angle of 1'; -' tlltn wt havt to
alont: appears [() ht an unpromising solution. One of our construct a diffuser systt:m with 24 bladt:s. For smaller
primary considerations in dt:signing il modd jet tngint expansion anglt's even mort bladt:s would ht rtquired.
must be the diamt:ttr of tht unit. If wt: are to keep the Howt:ver, more hladts also mt:an mort friction and thus
frontal area of tht engint: as compact as possihlt'. tht dif- greater losses.
fuser apparatus must he as small as possihlt. The air can For this rta:.on it is bttter to use hladt:s which art
only bt ddlt:cted towards tht combustion cham her with- curvt:d slightly furwards. forming gt:ntly widening ducts.
out incurring stvtre losses once it has given up most of In gtneral ttrms the pressurt conversion takt:s plact
its energy. Htre again the spiral law plays a rolt:: tht: ctn- much fastt:r than in tht bladeless annular spact alrtady
trifugal forces which <lrist in tht defltction process ttm.l descrihed. If tht compressor is <.\t:signtd cardully it is
to accelerate tht flow on tht inside of tht curvt, produc- now possihlt: to build a modd jtt tngillt of rdatively
ing new los..o;(::s. small ovt:fall diamett:r. Nevertheltss Wt should not he
If we were to use a hladdess annular spact: alont we too parsimonious with tht ovt:rdll diameter of the diffuser
would havt: to makt: the diameter of the engine at least systt:m ; a good starring point is a housing diameter
twict the diamettr of the compressor wheel if we want- at It:ast ] .6 times tht diameter of the compressor rotor.

.VaddJet EIlf!,illes 49
The gigaJltic diffuser sJ'stem of the AllisonJ33-A -35features 14 very low-profile diffuser ducts. Note t1:Je
bladeless space arranged betwe en the rotor wheel and the diffuser blades.

50 !HodelJet E Ilp,illes
Forll'artl-CZlrl'eel compre:',sor diffuser blades ill
The blade:free annular sp€Ice was used CO",IJi,Ullioll with turbocharger rotor wheels hal'e
successfull)' ill tbefirst bOllle-built gas turbines. All produced tbe best results to d€Ite.
axial diffuser system is fitted al Ibe periplJery_
cantly. Tn fact the compressor gives good results even
Any smaller than this, and the efficielK1' of the system suf- when the model jet engine i!> idling.
fers directly, usually in the form of excessive exhaust gas
nxd, Xlf 100000 X 1/ minxO.066mx3 .14 ~ '(, /
U = -
60 60s / min = . -Ilm s
Example of calculating the diffuser system
We will assume that the core of the compressor is a
typical turbocharger wheel with retro-curvt:ll hlades. The The peripheral speeds may sound astronomically high .
calculation is based on geometrical data, hut also takes At its p eri phery the rotor is turning at a speed of almost
into account our own experimental findings. In my expe- 1.2'50 km/hr. Howevt:r. it would still not bt: <.'orrect to
rience these values can h e carried over to other tur- state that the air in the comprt:ssor is flowing at superson-
bocharger rotors of similar design. ic speed . Wht:n tht: gas rt:aches the end of the rotor
This means that the prospectivt: t:ngint: huilder can wheel it has already heen compressed to half its volume.
calculatt: tht: valut:s for a compressor for his jet engint: i.t:. pressure and temperature are already much higher. As
with rt:asonahk accuracy evt:n if he does not havt: acct:ss a result the spet:d of sound in the medium itself rist:s.
to the charactt:ristic graph of tht: turbochargt:r. Even at a peripheral speed of more than 4'50 m/s the
The roror wheel we will consider here is 66 mill in sound barrier cannot he exceeded within the modd jt:t
diameter and has 12 bladt:s, t:nding at an angle of ahout engine.
6;". The blade hdght is '5 mm at tht: wheel outlet. The From the compressor characteristic graph we can see
nominal rotational speed of the compressor has hcen that the compressor runs at maximum efficiency at the
chosen to keep the stresses arising in the model jet engine' s nominal rotational speed if the throughput is
engine wit hin reason -
ahle limits . In this Here the diffuser blades are elil.ided i"to el rillg of radial blades {lIld a ri71g of
respect the maximum axial blades.
rotation;\1 spt"ed primari-
ly depends on the tur-
bine wheel , which is
suhject to severe thermal
load s . If a suitable
hlade form is used in
comhination with high-
aHoy nickel·chromium
steels peripheral rotor
!>peeds of more than 300
m/s are au:eptable, t:vt:n
with amateur means. If
high-tt:mpnaturt: materi-
als are used this value
can he pushed further.
The nominal rotational
speed is therefore as-
sumed to he 100,000
rpm . This corresponds to
a peripheral speed of:
If the value for this panl-
meter turns out to he
higher or lower than
ass umed . efficiency
should not suffer signifi-

0 .135 to 0.175 kg/s. Since the thrust of the model jet As a by-product of this calculation we can find the supply
engine rises in proportion to the throughput. it makes value at the nominal point: c n /u 2 = 104/346 = 0 .3. This
sense for us to aim at the highest possihle value here. value is typical for turbocharger wheels, as shown hy the
Against this requirement we have to set the need for characteristic graphs for similar rotors. If you possess a
the engine to possess a hroad operating range and good, retro-curved compressor rotor hut lack the characteristic
docile control characteristics. We therefore aim to set up graph, you can assume this value. Wheels with mdially
the diffuser system for a throughput of 0.16 kg/so Finally tipped hlades generally produce lower supply values. In
we extract the pressure ratio from the characteristic the author'S experience you can assume a value in the
graph. At 100,000 rpm and a throughput of 0.16 kg/s this range 0.25 to 0 .27.
is around 1.88. Standard temperature and pressure pre- Once we know the peripheral speed u b the known
vail, i.e. a temperature of 15° C. and atmospheric pressure radial speed cm and tile blade tip angle Bb we can calcu-
of 1,013 hPa. late the overall speed vector as follows:
Now the purpose of our calculations is to obtain an
overall view of the flow conditions at the wheel outlet
c 2u =u 2 -(c 2m I tan({32» = 346-(104 I tan(65°»
and the diffuser inlet. Because of the high pressure ratio : 298m I s
the effect of air compressibility must also be taken into
account. We will assume half of the possible pressure rise The final calculation is to define the outflow angle a ,
has already taken p\;lce in the compressor wheel. tound from the equation tan (a) : cm/c zu = 104/298 :
Admittedly this assumption is a simplification , hut my 0.349 . Thus at the periphery of the wheel the gas leaves
experimental findings to date show that this is reasonably the rotor at an angle a of 19.24° to an imaginary tan-
accurate. We can now calculate the pressure ratio after gent. This angle is a constant - even after the gas has
the rotor wheel as folluws: flowed through a hladeless annular space of constant
width . This indicates that the adjacent diffuser blades
should he set at an angle of about 19°. Depending on the
~1.88 = 1.37
thickness of the blades up to 2° may be added to this fig-
ure to take into account the effective reduction in cross-
If we assume an efficiency of 74% and an inlet tempera- section.
ture of 288 K (15· C) the air temperature rises hy: For compressor wheels with radially tipped blades cal-
culating the guide vane angle is a simpler matter: the
equation is tan (132) = $ 0) . For optimum efficiency the gas
~T = 288K .(1.37°286 -1) = 37K flow should be at a much shallower angle. The calculated
value is 1S°. which should again be corrected to 17° to
to 325 K or 52° C At the same time gas density rises to: allow for the narrowing of the blades. One of the author's
model jet engines has a guide vane angit:: of 20° and radi-
ally tipped compressor blades, and it actually tends to
= l. 37 x 101300Pa = 1. 488 k 1m3 surge at full throttle.
p 325K. 2B7] I Kg I K g
The surge limit
With the help of the continuity equation we can calculate The "surge limit" of a compressur refers to a te ndency
the radial speed c m . The cross-sectional area A is the to supply the working medium cyclically instead of con-
annular cross-section at the periphery of the rotor. stantly. TIlis may sound innocuous, but in the world of full-
size engines it is viewed with great alann, since the usual
result is more or less severe damage to the engine. In the
Ox 16kgl s
COl = = 104m Is case of model engines the results are not so dramatiC, hut
1.488kg / m' x3.14xO.066mxO.005m even so the thoughtless experimenter could damage the
compressor of his engine by needlessly exceeding the
surge limit.
C.ompressor surge has
a very simple cause.
Consider a compressor
running at constant rota-
tional speed in a jet
engine and conveying a
particular quantity of air.
If we restrict the through-
put of the engine , per-
haps by using too small a
turhine wheel (due to
mistakes in the calcula-
tions), then the compres-
sor will push less air
through , hut at higher
CZu - 298 pressure. The compressor
can therefore compensate
The vector diagramfor the calculated eXflmple. for minor inaccuracies in

52 il1odel]e/ Ellgines





1.4 90000 rpm


0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3
Explcmation of compressor surging when the engine is accelerated. if the throttle is
suddenly opened, e.g. startitlgfrom point A, throughput falls initially, and point B is reached Only
after a slight delay do rotational speed and throughput rise, alld we reach the suction lille C. if
acceleratioll is el'enfaster, pOint B could extelld illto the surge ZOlle.

However, if the throughput is excessively restricted, as surge cycles. The frequency of the cycles varies
the results an: fatal. The outflow angle of the gas from according to the volume of the engine housing: the larger
the compressor wheel becomes too shallow. As a result the engine's internal volume, the lower the frequency.
the gas flows onto the blades of the diffuser system at In a model jet engine the surge cycles follow on so
such an angle that the airflow hreaks away. If the com- quickly that all you hear is a loud. unmistakahle growling
pressor is fitted with a hladeless annular space the flow sound. If this should happen it is essential to close the
paths grow longer and the friction losses rise substantial- throttle immediately, since the engine will usually never
ly . Overall the pressure in the compressor collapses. clear the condition hy itself. If you do not close the throt-
Suddenly the pressure supplied by the compressor is tle the turbine wheel will overheat.
lower than the pressure of the gases which are already In full-size jet engines the oscillations resulting from
inside the engine, and the direction of flow reverses. This the surge phenomenon usually cause damage to the
reverse flow continues until the housing pressure has blades, so the situation has to be avoided at all costs.
heen reduced, and the compressor starts to supply air Some axial compressors are fitted with variable compres-
again. sor diffuser blades which adjust themselves in a fraction
This process repeats itself at regular intervals, known of a section to suit the prevailing flow angle. It is also

1110delJet Engines 53
possihk to vent com-
pre::ssed air which c;\Ust:s
the throughput to rist:
again . and keeps the
e::ngine:: a safe distance
from the:: surge limit.
However. compressor
surge can eve::n occur
under certain circum-
stances even if the tur-
hine stage is designed to
ensure:: that its through-
put lies in the re::gion of
optimum compressor
efficiency. Whe::11 the
throttle is opened from a
particular rotational
speed . the comhustion
gas temperature:: immedi-
ately rises. Howe::ver. the
ine::rtia of the rotor cam...
es the rotational speed
of the engine to remain
constant for a moment.
All example of a turlm sl:Jc!fi etl~itle witb a small axial compressor: ISOtOl' GTD The density of the gases,
350_ b"ill ill 1960. USSR. air tbroughpllt_- 2_19 kg/so pressure rCltio_- 5-9, mass_- 135 which are now at a high-
kg, speed 45,000 rpm, 295 kW sbaft power_ e r temperature, falls. and
the consequence is
reduced mass throughput at the turhine stage:: . For a
mome::nt the turhine s(;tge is suddenly working much clos-
er to the compre::ssor surge limit. Only then does the
engine::'s rotor accelerate. Throughput rises. the:: comhus-
tion gas temperature falb and stahilise::s again close to
the starting value::. However, if we open the throttk too
quickly , the throughput may momentarily fall to the::
point whe::re the compressor starts to surge . If this
should happen , it is essential to reduce the throttle St:t-
ting immediately. The compressor surge limit is more
critical in a model jet engine if the bladt: tip angk of tht:
compressor rotor hlades is large. Model jet engines with
retro-curved blades art: extrt:mdy resistant to surge. In
contrast, types with r.ldially tipped hlades are very sus-
ceptihk to surge when the throttk is opened . In this
case the:: surge limit varies primarily according to the
de::sign of the diffuser system. If the blade angle is e::xce::s-
sive. this type of comprt:ssor tends to surgt: t:ve::11 at full-

The axial compressor

To date I have:: not ht:ard of any model jet engine with
an axial comprt:ssor.
Nt:ve::rthde::ss tht: axial compre::ssor deserves atte::ntion.
and I will lkal with it hridly. I have ddiht:rately simpli-
finl the theory, and conct:ntrated on tht: most commonly
uSt:d type::. The::re is 110 reason why an axial comprt:ssor
should not he used for a model jet engint:, dtht:r alone or
in comhination with a radial compre::ssor. Industrially pro-
duced small gas turbint:s otkn featurt: one or more:: axial
stages in front of the:: radial compre::ssor, and even at very
small dimensions tht:st: compre::ssors exhibit adequate:: effi-
ciency kvels. The smallest axial wheels have:: a diameter
of around ')0 mm and art: fitted in front of radial compres-
Vie,,' (ifthefirst tbree a.1(ial compressor stages ill sors.
tbe [sotOl' GTD 350. After tbe axial compressor The:: advantage of the axial compressor is its grt:at
comes olle radial stage. Tbe diameter oftbe Wheels throughput comhined with small frontal are::a.
is 011/1' abouI130 mm. The pre::ssure rise in an axial stage is usually distrih-

54 ,'vlodelJet EI/p,illes
uted in equal parts between the rotor blades ,\Ild the dif-
fuser blades, i.e. half of the work done is carried out in I/o/or bltu/e-"
the rotor wht:e1 ihdf. The so-called reaction Ievd then
can be defined as follows:

= Y "''heel : Y Swge = 0.5

= Rt:action level of the stage
= Work done by the rotor blades O/kg)
= Work done by the stage overall O/kg)
From this it follows that the rotor array and the diffuser
array should lIlilist: gt:ometrically similar blade forms.
The air tJows to the compn:ssor rotor amI strikes the
rotor blades which are moving at a high peripheral speed.
The blades are profiled in such a way that the flow is easi-
ly diverted in the direction of the shaft axis. The effective
flow cross-section at tht: rotor inlet is smallcr than at the
rotor outlet hecause of the more acute angle of the tlow
rdative to the periphery. In consequence the airflow F/o II , CtJlulilioll-" ill {III (Ixju/ .,,'uge.
slows down within the blades, and speed is converted
into pressure in the now familiar way. This slight deflec-
tion in the direction of tht: pt:riphery is responsible on its
own for the pressure rise in the rotor wheel. If blades Da = 90 min
with a greater curvature were used th e flow would
int:vitably break down , and a significant reduction in
efficiency would result.
Tht: flow deflection which constitutes the work done Di = 70 Inm ~I
is the vectorial difference between the speed WI of the
gas relative to the diffuser blades at the wheel inlet and
w l at the wheel outlet . If we consider the absolute
speeds of the gas, the difference in speed is naturally the
same. In the compressor diffuser systt:m a further. mirror-
image speed change then takes place. The absolute speed
at the rotor wheel outlet also represents the relative
speed at the guide vane inlet. If we assume a reaction
level of O. '; the deviation in the rotor system and the
guide system is of the same magnitude.
If we consider the speed vectors WI and w 2 it is obvi-
ous that w 1 is smaller, i.e. its vector arrow is shorter than
that of w 2 • The reduction in speed energy which this
represents has been converted into pressure e nergy. The
theoretical specific work done by tht: axial stage is:

To move from theoretical calculations to the actual work

done, we multiply V,h by the reduced performance factor
f.l and the internal efficiency 11- The reduced performance
factor takes into account the fact th ,1I the gas
does not keep exactly to the path dictated by the blades,
as with the radial compressor, and that the deflection of Diagralll of an axial stclge as calclIlated.
the airflow within the blades is lower than calculated .
The internal efficiency lJ reduces the specific work done
by the magnitude of the losses which occur in the We will assume a compn:ssor with a rotor diameter of
blades. 90 mm and a hub diameter of 70 mm. TIle blade profile
might be such that the deviation /1w is one third of the
periplleral speed. The strength of the rotor allows a maxi-
mum rotation:11 speed of 60,000 rpm . Efficiency and
Example calculation: axial compressor stage reduced performance factor are both assumed to be 0 .7 -
Now we wiJI calculate the essential characteristic data on the optimistic side.
for an axial compressor at model scale. To simplify mat- All calculations are based on the average stage dia-
ters we will assume a number of typical figures relating to meterdm.
full-size compressors. If you like your mathematics a little
more accurate, I recommend that you read the books by d = da+d j =O. 09 m +O. 07ffi=O. 08m
Dietzel and RollI. m 2 2

Mudeljel Ellgilles '5"')

The average peripheral speed is then:

u = n x d Ol x Jr = 60000 x I / min x O.0~m . 3 , 14 = 2';Om / s

60 6os/ min
From these figure~ the deviation in the peripheral direc-
tion can he calculated to he 2'50/3 = 83 m/s with the
hlade profile we have assumed. The theoretical specific
work done is thus:

Y,h L\x L',w=207';O m 2/s 2

207'50 Jlkg O=kg x m 2/s2)

From the actual specific work done:

we can <.\(:termine the pressure ratio of the stage. To this Afuelfeed ringfm- propane gas prOl'ed adequate
end we equate the work to the gain in enthalpy and for ;Il;lial ellg;Ile e.-..:periments.
resolve the formula according to the pressure ratio.
If the inlet temperature is 1 '; ~ C (288 K) the pressure In2
n = - -- = 5,7
ratio works out at 1.129. The excess pressure after the In 1, 129
compressor is therefore no better than 0 .129 har. This
indicates that several compressor s tages would be or () stages. to obtain a pressure ratio of 2.
require d in order to ohtain an acce ptahle pres.o;ure ratiu The notable feature here is the very high throughput of
for a powerful model jet tumine. In each stage the pres- the axial compressor. like the potential specific work
sure would riSt" by approximately 1.129 times. done, this varies greatly according to the blade form .
The overaU pressure ratio after n stages is thus: The steeper the blade angle. the greater the meridian
component of the airflow. In this case the term means
the speed component in the direction of the shaft axis.
This spenl component remain~ largely constant when
Therefore we would need air is flowing through the compressor. A typical value

Typical e:lCample of unel'en combustion: some nozzle guide "tllles are glowing briglJtly. otl:Jers are almost

56 .llodelJet Engines
might be C Ol = 0.6 x u. Based on this assumed value the extend into the turbine area the gases continue to be
compressor throughput can be estimated using the conti- heated. This is not desirabk, as it causes the overall
nuityequation : exhaust gas temperature to rise to the point where the
turbine overheats.
ri1= r x c m x A = 1.22'5kg / m ' x 0 .6 x 2'50m/s x O.OO2'5m' For these reasons we have to strive to keep combus-
= 0.46kg/s tion of the fuel as far as possihle completely confined
within the engine. It is an unfortunate fact that model jet
engines trailing a long wake of fire are fit only for the
In spite of the hlade height we have assumed of just 10 showcase. BUilding a model jet engine combustion cham-
mm the throughput is clearly very substantial. The real ber that works really well is the work of Sisyphus (King
question is whether this type of compressor could be of Corinth, condemned to roll a huge rock ceaselessly up
made using amateur means. Naturally the crucial point is a hill). Many parameters have an important intluence on
whether the efficiency that could he achieved is sufficient combustion. amongst them the fuel in use. the injection
to allow the gas turbine to work. The other critical point method and the air throughput. I have even come across
is the matching of the compressor to the turhine. a case where an engine was re-assemhled after being dis-
According to the specialist literature the airflow in the: mantled, only to find that the tlame configuration in the
axial compressor breaks down immediately if the compo- combustion chamher was completely different despite
nents are not accurately matched to each other. the fact that no deliberate changes had been made to the
The combustion chamber Unfonunately it can he very difficult to pin down the
cause of problems which arise with the combustion
Modellers do not generally give the combustion cham- chamber. The only solution to this dilemma is to carry
her the attention it deserves; if you believe that the main out systematic experiments and test different designs.
prohlems for a model-sized jt:t engine are the compressor, However, an extremely usahle combustion chamber has
ntrbine and bearings, you are wrong. The real problem now been developed after many experiments and with
area is the combustion chambc:r. Optimising the perfor- the help of much expert advice. The design exploits the
mance of the combustion chamber is not simply a matter technique of vaporisation which was developed in the
of pushing fuel consumption down as low as possihle, or early '50s by Armstrong-Siddeley antl is still in widespread
of preventing flames roaring out of the turbine. No, a use today in small jet engines.
good combustion cham her is the basic pre-condition if
your jt:t engine is to function at all. These are the main Design and function of the combustion chamber
reasons: In the combustion chamber the air supplied by the
If combustion is uneven the intlowing air is not heated compressor is mixed with fuel and hurned. Stable com-
to full temperature in certain areas of the combus- bustion can only he achieved if an approximately stoi-
tion chamber. The enthalpy of this portion of the air chiometric mixture ratio is present. This means that the
only rises slightly, and in consequence does littk work fuel - air mixture must contain sufficient oxygen that
when flowing through the turbine stage. To compen- complete combustion takes place. If a stoichiometric
sate for this deficit the rest of the air must hecome that mixture is present we speak of an air surplus A of one.
much hotter when it flows through the turbine. This As with model piston engines we have a rich mixture
uneven temperature distribution results in uneven speed when A is less than one, and a lean mixture when A is
distrihution in the turhine nozzle guide vanes and thus greater ;:!'>an one. If the mixture is too lean there is a risk
poor overall efficiency. In the worst case this simply that combUStion will simply cease - the flame goes out.
means that the model jet
engine will not run at
all. Fuel
Even if comhustion is
consistent there can he
prohlems . The task of ' ..
the comhustion cham-
ber is to heat the pres-
surised air. The hot air
can then perform more
work when it is decom- To the
pressed than was
required to compress it. <%-.
However , if the air is ~J
heated during the
decompression process
the effect is largely nulli-
fied . This means that
combustion must be
restricted to the con- . . . ._--.. . .,.---""j
. '-.-.._---...-------/
fines of the combustion Primary ZOlle Secolldary Zone
chamber to the greatest
possible extent. If the Diagram of the COllstruction of a combustioll chamber_
flames are too long and

Mude/Jet En[<ines 57
In the model jet engine this situation can occur if the internally by means of fine cooling air holes about 1-1 .5
throttle is closed suddenly. The compressor is still supply- mm in diameter. The air which flows into the combustion
ing a large quantity of air which then burns with little fuel chamber through these small holes only penetrates to a
present. The flame in the combustion chamber is then depth of a few millimetres, and this tends to cause the
simply blown out. formation of a cooling film which lines the combustion
The opposite problem - too rich a mixture - occurs chamber walls.
when there is a lack of air in the combustion area. When On the other hand it is desirable that injected air
the engine is running this fault manifests itself as a yellow should penetrate further into the secondary zone of the
flame visible through the turbine blades. The yellow combustion chamber. Within certain limits the gas mix-
flame consists of glowing carbon particles which cannot ing can be influenced by varying the hole geometry. If a
be oxidised to carbon dioxide because the necessary oxy- given area of opening is required for the combustion
gen is absent. The usual result is a layer of soot deposited chamber, that opening can be divided up into many small
on the combustion chamber walls. holes or a few large ones, and the choice has its effect on
When burning kerosene or dksel stoichiometric com- the temperature profile at the outlet of the combustion
hustion occurs with an air - fuel ratio of 14 .7 to one chamher. For example, if we opt for a large numher of
Stoichiometric mixtures hum at very high temperatures - small holes, then we obtain a low temperature at the
even in model engines this may be up to 2 ,000 - C , edges of the flow , and a hot central core.
depending on the final compressor temperature. If we are The aim of every model jet engine designer - and this
to reduce this high value to the desired combustion gas applies to all gas turhines too - is perfectly even tempera-
temperature (around 650° C at idle and up to 850° C at ture distribution. Lower temperatures are desirable at the
full throttle) we have to introduce supplementary cool air base of the turbine blades, as the stresses in this area are
into the hot gases after they have left the combustion so high . Thus a secondary aim is to restrict the heat flow
zone. to the centre of the turbine disc, in the direction of the
To achkve this we have to divide the combustion shaft and bearings.
chamber into two areas : primary and secondary . The
major part of the fuel combustion process occurs in the The question of fuel
primary zone, and the air supply has to be adjusted to In principle the jet engine is not confined to a partiClI-
ensure that an approximately stoichiometric mixture is lar type of fuel. The main requirement is that the maxi-
present at that point. In the secondary zone the hot com- mum quantity of energy is released during combustion. In
bustion gases are mixed with the supplementary air sup- practice most je::t engines are designed to run on one of
ply, and the result should be a temperature which the the many mineral oil products which are commercially
turbine stage can withstand. In overall terms the air sur- available.
plus A in the model jet engine lies within the range four Methanol is widely used for other types of model
to five . engine, but it and other forms of alcohol are of limited
Temperatures of lip to 2 ,0000 C can occur in the pri- use as jet fuel because of their low energy density .
mary combustion zone of full-size jet engines, and this although one of the author's engines has run successfully
presents immense problems. Glowing carbon particles on methylated spirits, or ethanol. Two calorific values are
radiak heat, raising the kmperature of the combustion quokd for fuels - an upper and a lower value. The upper
chamber walls to 900' C in spite of the enveloping flow value can only be exploited if th~ water vapour produced
of fresh air ductnl from the compressor. In this environ- by combustion is condensed. [n Cl)nsequence only the
ment only extreme high-temperature resistant materials lower calorific value of fuels is of relevance to model jet
can survive. Nickel-based alloys are the usual solution, engines.
such as certain sorts of Nimonic or Inconel. The most promising route to instant SUCCe"" is to use
In contrast, combustion chamber cooling is not a gaseous fuels such as propane or butane. No fuel pump i~
problem in the model jet engine. The low pressure ratio required as the pressurised gas flows into the model je::t
means that air is only heated slightly in the compressor, engine naturally. Mixing the gas with air is also relatively
so the overall temperature level is lower and the cooling straightforward; usually all that is required is a few injec-
effect of the air supplied by the compre~~or is consider- tion openings distributed around the combustion cham-
able. As a result ordinary 316 sheet stainless steel is an ber. The flow of pressurised gas draws sutlicient air in
adequate material. The combustion chamber is cooled with it to produce a combustible mixture.


Diesel Petrol JPll.Jet A JP4 Propane Methanol
Density [kg/I) 0.85 0.76 0 .804 0.76 O.'~ (l) 0.79
HUll [MJ/kg) 4 2.8 4 2.5 4 3.3 >42.6 ,i6.3 19.5
Boiling Range ( OC) 190-334 80-130 160-260 60-240 -42 65
Fuel tank Capacity (ml) 880 990 920 990 1,380 2 ,080
(5 Minutes, 30 N Thrust)<2)
Flammability/Fire Hazard Low High Low High Very High High
Price (Ell) 0 .8 1.05 1.2 0 .7 0.6

(1) Liquid Under Pressure

(2) Sufficient for 5 minutes of powered flight at a thrust of 30 Newtons. (Specific Consumption = 0 .3 kg/Nih)

58 .'I{odelJet Ellg i lies

Propane ~as is flammahk when mixed with air in any
concentration in the range 2.1 to ').'5 per cent hy volume.
This hroad ignition range offers clear advantages in the
combustion chamber, hut it also presents major draw-
Fuel in ~

backs in terms of handling the fud . Propane gas is a seri-
ous fire hazard and re:ldily mixes with air to form a n
explosive mixture. As a result it is essentia l to be very
careful when working with the~e materials. Liquid gas is
particularly dangerous to handle. You should not attempt ,,
to use liquid gas unkss you possess appropriate instnI- Direct injection with spray "ozzle
mentation and hose equipment . An espec ially dangerous
practice is to supply liquid gas to an experimental jet
engine hy inverting the gas hottle. If a hose becomes dis-
connected the result wiII he an uncontrollahle gas
The hoiling point of liquid propane gas is -42 " C at
normal amhient pressure. Escaping liqUid gas immediate-
ly cools to this temperanlre and in so doing draws a high
level of thermal energy from its environment. If that envi-
ronment is your skin you will very quickly suffer cold
burns. Fueillaporisation in sticks
Liquid fuels such as petrol, diesel and kerosene are
generally easier to handk. All these materials are mineral
oil distillates, differing primarily in their hoiling point.
The density and energy contt:nt of fuels represent aver-
age values and are liabIt:: to vary from batch to hatch .
Special fuels for jet engines include the JFl to JPS vari-

eties of kerose ne (jet petrol), although in fa ct only JP 1 or
Jet A used in civilian aviation and JP4 military jet fuel are
of real interest to us.
Petrol and type JP4 kerosene contain the highest con-
centration of volatile h ydro-Glrbons. They have a low
hoiling poin t and therefore represent a very ~e.-ious fire VaporisCltioll in tubular coil
hazard. JP4 kerosene is primarily used in th(" military
sphere. This materiars low boiling point and low flash Means offuel i1ljectioll ill model jet e1lgilws.
point (the te mperature at which sufficient liquid evapo-
rates to fo rm a mixnlre which can still just he ignited h y
sparks) mean that they
can be ignited in a com- TI:Je AllisollJ33-A-35features a total of 14 individual combustioll chamb.?rs with
bustion chamber under one atomiser jet each The itlter-connectirms at the primary zOlle areCl e1lsure
extreme circumstances. that the flame burns evellly_
JP4 vaporises well ,
which means that it can
he expec t e d to mix
well with ai r and pro-
duce a stable flame .
Unfortunately it is diffi-
cult to procure JPoi in
small quantities, which
means that this fuel will
probably never he
widely u sed hy mod-
Pure petrol has simi-
lar properties to JP4 but
the hoiling range is
more narrowly defined,
which results in a kss
stahk flame in the com-
bustion c hamher. For
this reason it makes
sense to u se a mixture
of petrol and other k~s
volatile fuel s such as
JP I or di ese l. For
exa mple . the engines

ModelJet Ellgilles 59
The combustioll chamber of the Turbomeca Marbore. Thefuel is i'yected througl:J the tubular shaft.

made by Kurt Schreckling run on a mixture of I S% petrol which m ea n s that it is not possible to ignite spilt fuel
and ~5 % diesel. The petrol should be of the unleaded with a match . Even so, please don 't umlerestimate their
type. The octane rating. which i!> so important for car abilit:)' to get a fire going. Balsa wood soakt:d in fuel burns
engines, is of no interest to the model jet engine. Anti- rather well.
pinking fuels such as Super or Super·Plus possess a Overall we have found that JPI kerosene is the best
greater proportion of highly toxic aromatics such as ben- fuel for model je t engines. Its wide boiling range provides
zene and toluene, and they gener;"I), do not have a higher good vaporisation and a stable flame , and in these
calorific value. respects it is far superior to diesel and petroleum. The
For model jet engines diesel, petroleum and JPI are a model je t engine presented in the following section is
very good choice, and these fuels are generally easy (0 designed to run on petroleum and kerosene , but fuel
obtain . Kerosene is best purchased at s mall airfields combustion is better with JPI. One further positive point
which are equipped to refuel helicopters. Note that air- is that JPI has a more pleasant smell than diesel oil when
field refuelling equipment is invariably fitted with a huge burned. In fact the fragrance of the exhaust gas suggests
nozzle , so take a container with a large opening. All the that you must be in the vicinity of an airport.
fuels mentioned above have a relatively high flash point,
Mixture formation
Vaporiser combustion chamber with tubular As with model piston engines good combustion Gin
coil-Schrecklillg Ope. only be achieved if the fuel is thoroughly mixed with the
combustion air. In a model jet engine this process h;IS to
be completed in a very shorr time to ensure that as much
as possible of the fuel supplinl is burned, and does not
simply leave the combustion chamber unused.
With the lise of liqUid fuels there are two possihle
methods of forming the mixture: atomisation and vapori-
sation. Most full-size aircraft engines employ fuel atomisa-
tion, whereby complex injection pumps force the fuel
into special injector jets under high pressure. The quality
of combustion is very largely determined by the droplet
size of the atomised kerosene: the smaller the individual
droplets the faster they vaporise and burn. In practice
atomisarion only works effectively if the injection pres-
sure is high, as the throughput of an atomiser jet rises
with the square rout of the injector pressure.

60 ,11udel.1et Ell!!, i lies

A realistic requirement for a model jet engine would might lead us to believe. As a rule part of the fuel remains
be a fuel metering range of one to five and an atomiser in liquid form and only turns into gas in the primary zone
pressure of around 2 bar, and this would call for an of the comhustion chamber.
injector pump capable of prOllucing at least 2 x 52 = 50 Kurt Schreckling's engines exploit this technology.
bar at full throttle. Standard swirl jets could be borrowed The fuel enters the combustion chamber through a coil
from a domestic oil-fired central heating system, but this umsisting of one to one and a half metres of stainless
calls for a high level of understanding of complex pump steel tubing. TIle hot gases of combustion wash around
technology. Industrial aircraft engines usually use what the coil of tuhing, vaporising part of the fuel which flows
are known as double jets with one opening for the idle into the primary zone under high pressure. In developing
range and additional injector cross-sectional area for full this technology Schreckling confronted many and various
throttle. problems. hut his experimental work certainly produced
Nevertheless, direct fuel injection appears to be feasi- a workable system .
ble for small engines. Because of the high temperatures to which the l:oil of
In small professionally-made gas turbines a simple tuhing is suhjected, it is not possible to solder injector
but very effective solution has been adopted : fuel is jets to the tubing, which means that the entire injection
injected into the combustion chamber through the hol- process must take plal:e hy means of accurately cut
low rotor shaft. The fuel is pumped through the com- holes alone. The length and arrangement of the vapori-
pressor under low pressure , then into the engine ' s ser are crucial, and must be "just so". If the coil is too
revolving shaft. At the appropriate point it passes in a short, or located in the cold area, too much fuel leaves
finely atomised form into the combustion chamber the vaporiser in liqUid form , with poor combustion and
through small openings, whereby the spinning shaft a wake of fire streaming hehind the engine the net
works as a centrifugal
pump. The advantage of
this technology is its
simplicity. TIle atomiser
cone is exactly circular,
which promotes even
temperature distribu -
tion . Even at luw rota-
tional speeds the
process results in fine
atomisation of the fuel.
The cmcial drawback
of shaft injection is
the complex air path
through the engine. The
combustion cham her
must be immediately
adjacent to the shaft ,
and this arrangement
closes off the air supply
to the inside of the com-
hustion chamber. It also
makes it impossible tu
lise a shaft tunnel to Fuel i'~iectioll by mealls of hooked tubes.
strengthen the engine.
The Turhomeca Mar-
hore exploits this injec-
tion technology, and in
this case air tlows into
the internal space of the
engine through hollow
guide blades. This is an
interesting solution , hut
rather complex for our
purposes. In the model
sphere fuel vaporisation
systems are generally
used . In principle these
systems are simple heat
exchangers which feed
part of the heat of com-
bustion to the fuel.
However, these systems
are not as efficient as
the term "vaporisor -

,HodelJet Engilles 61
has to be built in. which itself raises the injector pres~ure
to about 2 bar. The vaporisation itself has no effect on
the injection process, so oscillations in the column of liq-
uid fuel in the system do not occur. The technique of
pre-vaporisation is primarily utilised in small gas turbines
and jet engines . It was developed in England by
Armstrong-Siddeley and used successfully in the Viper
series of engines. This type of engine used two sets of
twelve vaporiser tubes, but we can manage with far
fewer for a model engine. Only six tubes are required to
obtain satisfactory temperature dbtribution .
The fuel injector tubes must be constmcted with par-
ticular care, as their quality is cmcial to the temperature
distribution within the cngine. As with atomiser jets, the
quantity of injected filel is proportional to the slju;lre root
of the injector pressure.
Frmltpari of the combustion chamIJeJ' with six As a result the fuel pump must provide a very wide
hooked tubes_ range of pressures if the engine is to be fully controllable.
At idle the injector pressure is so low that even the hydro-
result. If the vaporiser is too long the temperature tends static pressure difference in the ring of distrihutors in the
to rise uncomfortably high , with the following result : comhustion chamber manifests itself. as slightly more tiIcI
when the throttle is closed the fuel heats up to a point flows through the bottom vaporiser tubes than through
above its thermal stability (for JPl and JP2 approx. 260 0 the upper ones.
C). In the wur~t case solid carbon particle~ tend to form . Thb results in slightly stronger combustion in the
which in the course of time block the injector openings. lower part of the combustion chamber when the model
A further problem is that the column of liquid in the jet engine is idling. At full throttle the hydrostatic pres.
vaporiser tube tends to oscillate, in which case the power sure difference is no more than 6 cm of fuel column. TIlis
of the engine rises and falls at intervals of a few seconds. is negligible, and combustion is very even.
The engine is very difficult to control if this happens.
since there is sufficient fuel in the vaporiser for 2-3 sec- The significance of re-circulation zones
onds of running at full throttle even if the fuel pump is An important factor in the development of an efficient
switched off. If the vaporiser system has a tendency to combustion chamber is the design of the primary zone.
oscillate then the engine must not be considered as a Even if the fuel and air are thoroughly mixed the flow
power plant for a model aircraft. The cause of the oscilla- speed in the combustion zone must be kept very low. If
tion is sudden vaporisation of the fuel. When this hap- the tJow speed is higher than the expansion speed of the
pens, only a little fuel reaches the combustion chamber name front , the combustion simply goes out. but even if
since the fuel gas requires a lot of volume. Combustion the gas speed is sufficiently low the results with a small
only resumes properly when the coil of tubing has cooled combustion chamber are inevitably unsatis-
slightly, so that liquid fuel leaves the vaporiSt:T again. The factory . The fuel burns so slowly that the combustion
coil of tubing then heats up again in turn, and the cycle chamber needs to be very long.
continues. For this reason it is important to design the comhus-
The usual remedy for this problem is to run the tion chamber in such a way that hot gas - if possible still
engine on a fuel mixture with a higher boiling range. Kurt hurning - passes through the primary zone again . l 'nless
Schreckling's FD engines run best on diesel with an addi- this reverse tJow (re-circulation) takes place, it is impossi-
tion of 15% petrol. The petrol has a low boiling point, ble to vaporise and ignite that part of the fuel which is
and this ensures that part of the fuel vaporises still liquid. If re-circulation can be achieved a stable core
reliably even when vaporiser temperatures are relatively of hot gas forms in the primary zone. If a back flow area
low, is present , the flame in the primary zone is virtually
The walking stick methud uwe~ its name to the shape anchored in that position . This appears to be the only
of the vaporiser tubes, which are curved round like the way of constructing a small combustion chamber which
handle of an umbrella or walking stick . These hooked works efficiently.
tubes duct air and fuel directly into the primary zone of Re-circulation of the hot combustion gases is an essen-
the combustion chamber. The fuel is actually injected tial fcaturc of the mudel jet engine described in the next
through thin tubes each of which opens into one section. The vaporiser is not capable of vaporising all the
hooked tube. The advantage of this technique is that the fuel in the hooked tubes, and the liquid residuc is Bushed
fuel mixes with the air to some extent even before it onto the front face of the combustion chamber. This fuel
reaches the combustion zone. The remainder of the liq- would not vaporise and burn without the heat of the re-
uid fuel is squirted onto the front face of the combustion circulating comhustion gases. In fact the fud undergoes a
chamber. cracking process at the front cover of the combustion
The great advantage of this technique is that vaporisa- chamber. In the course of time this results in the forma-
tion takes place under combustion chamber pressure. In tion of a layer of coke-like material which peels off peri-
the case of the model jet engine presented in this book odically . The model engine then spits out glowing
the actual injector pressure is only about 0,5 bar higher particles of soot like an old-fao;hioned open fin:.
than the combustion chamber pressure. In cun~cljuence There are many possihle methods of achieving re-cir-
the fuel supply system is correspondingly str;lightfor- culation. The usual course is to select a hole gcometry
ward. To avoid supplying too much kerosene a throttle which promotes gas now towards the front face of the

62 ,HoddJel Ellf!,illes
Diagram of the re,Jersefloll' in the primary zone of a combustion
chamber witb !;;ticks from rear.

.--; r,.-----~~~ ' ~,.-----....\

- '"
To tbe

combustion chamber. It is also possible ro inject the fuel

in the opposite direction to the main flow . This tends to
suck hot gas out of the rear part of the combustion
chamber and feed it back to the combustion area .
Baffles are also widely used , especially in the after-
burners of aircraft engines , together with rings of
V-shaped cross-section which produce are-circulation
area. However, where these methods are used in model
je t engines the result can be harmful cracking of the com-
bustion chamber. I have to admit that practical experi-
mentation is the model builder's most useful aid when it
comes ro designing a combustion chamber. Since the tur-
bine nozzle guide vane system allows us to observe the
flame in the combustion chamber when the engine is run-
ning, it is at least possible to draw useful inferences
regarding possible deficiencies simply by watching the
engine. V-shaped sheet metal guides anchor theflmne ill
Ibe combustion chamber of a ramjet ellgi"e. The
Turbine stage and exhaust cone fuels i'ljecled agaillst the directioll offlow through
Ilumerous jets.
How the turbine stage works
this type in the following section. The specialist litera-
The turbine stage, also known simply as the turbine, ture refers to excess pressure turbines or reaction tur-
extracts from the hot combustion gas the work required bines. The method of calculating the parameters of a
to drive the compressor. Its method of working is there- turbine with a different reaction level is analogous in
fore the exact opposite of the compressor. The turbine principle. The overall fall in the stage Gill be found from
reduces pressure and converts it into kinetic energy. The the formula :
gases are deflected in the turbine blades and thereby sub-
ject the blades to a peripheral force which manifests itself
as torque.
The lUrbine stage itself consists of a nozzle guide vane when the hot gas is expanded with a friction-fret: flow. a
system and a rotor. The overall effect of the stage is ro speed of
process the heat fall . The proportion of thc work carricd
out by the rotor blades in the stage as a whole is c =..j(2 x !1h)
expressed, as is the case with the compressor, by the
reaction level r. is achieved. However, in practice losses occur which
reduce the maximum possible speed hy about S '){,. This
means an actual energy loss of about 10%, since kinetic
energy rises in proportion to the square of the speed. In
general terms these values are much better than the effi-
~hlll.d... ~h".~e are the fall in enthalpy in the roror and in ciency of rhe compressor stage. 11 is also true that the gas
the overall stage respectively, in J/kg. flow in the turbine 's accekration ducts is more stable,
In practice gas turbine stages are almost always which means that much greater gas dctlections can
designed with a rGlction level of r = O.S. This means that be achieved overdll. giving substantial levels of energy
the heat fall ~hslal'e is divided equally between the noz- conversion. That is why a single turbine stage is ample
zk and the roror. For this reason we will only discuss for a model jet engine . A two-stage turbine would

,"'lode/Jet Ellgilies 63
provide no improvement in the engine's running charac- total peripheral force is the sum of the thrust forces
teristics. working in the direction of rotation.
The combustion gas flows first into the turbine 's noz- In the final analysis of turbine power we are only inter-
zle guide vane system , where the blade ducts work like ested in those speed components which are in the
small jets, accelerating the gases in the direction of rota- peripheral direction, since work can only be performed
tion of the rotor. At the same time the gas expands. As in the direction of rotation. The peripheral force is calcu-
pressure and temperature fall , speed rises rapidly, reach- lated using the same rules which apply to the engine's
ing values of around 450 m/s (l ,620 km/hr) even in thrust:
model engines,
At this point the gases strike the turbine blades. Since F u =ril.Llw u; Llwu =W1-W 1
the turbine wheel is already spinning at very high speed,
we must differentiate very clearly between absolute and Fu Peripheral force (N)
relative speeds. If we could travel on the revolving rotor LlW lI= Speed difference in the peripheral direction
we would be subjected to a gas flow not from the direc- between the inflowing and outtlowing gas
tion of the nozzle guide vanes, hut to a greater or lesser (mJs)
extent from the front . It is therefore a mistake to imagine WI ' WI = relative speed at the rotor inlet (1) and the
that the turbine hlades should be set at right-angles to the rotor outlet (2) (m/s)
diffuser blades. The idea that the g;\S would strike the
hroad side of the blades at right-angles is correct - but
only when the turbine is at rest. Once it is in motion the Finally the power of the turbine is calculated as follows:
situation is diffe rent.
The torque produced by the turbine is the result of a P = F u x U = ril x Llw u x U
peripheral force which acts upon the turbine blades.
Thb force can be explained as follows: the gases are P Theoretical turbine power (Watts)
accelerated again in the rotor blades, and are forced out u Average peripheral speed (m/s)
at high speed in the direction opposite to rotation ,
Thereby each flow duct virtually forms a small jet pro- The gas which leaves the turbine has virtually no resi-
ducing a thrust which acts upon the turbine blades, The dual swirl. When the gas flows through the stage it

Nozzle guide valles Rotor blades

Combustion chamber

Nozzle guide vanes

, Turbitle blades






Diagram of all axial turbille stage.

64 Mudeljel EIlRil/es
Radial turbine of a turbocharger (Garrett). The
diameter of the wheel is only 52 mm.

Not much effort is required to produce a small

[urlJine wheel with a good tel'el efficiency.

expands, and the total surplus pressure huilt up hy the

compressor is reduced. In consequence the volume of
the gas rises, and this effect must be taken into account
when the turhine stage is designed. The same reduction
in enthalpy has to take place in the nozzle guide vane and
the rotor blades. This means that the speed of the gas is
the same in hoth areas. The continuity equation now tells
us that the free cross·sectional area for gas flow in the
nozzle guide vanes must he smaller than in the rotor,
where the gas has already heen expanded fully , and
therefore takes up much more space.
In multi-stage gas turhines this effect is taken into
account hy increasing the rotor diameter from stage to
stage . Howevcr. even with a single-stage turhine this
must he allowed for if it exceeds a certain pressure ratio.
The essential enlargement in cross-section varies accord-
ing to the engine's pressure ratio. At low pressures, as for
example in Kurt Schreckling's FO series, it is feasible to
ignore compn:ssihility altogether.
At higher pressure ratios a constant cross-section tur-
hine would result in a rise in the reaction level and a A sllail housillg is used as the turbine entry system
slight fall in efficiency. For this reason it is hest to make of a raclial turbine. No nozzle guide I'anes are
the free cross-sectional area of the turhine in a model jet required with this type (if entry' system.
engine ahout 1'; to 2';% larger than the nozzle guide vane
cross-section, the actual figure depending on the pressure the rotor might weigh anything up to 0.4 kg. That means
ratio achieved . In practice this means increasing the a high moment of inertia and a correspondingly poor ahil-
height ofthe blade or increasing the hlade angle. ity to accelerate.
The turhine wheel is attached to the shaft using a spe-
Axial turbine or radial turbine? cial welding process: friction welding. This technology
In theory hoth types of turhine are possihle con- keeps to a low level the heat transfer from the hot wheel
tenders. In full-size aircraft engines the axial turhine has to the shaft and the bearings. Attempting to attach the
hecome the standard choice almost without exception, wheel to a different shaft does not seem sensible, and is
since it achieves significantly better efficiency levels at unlikely to succeed in technical terms. On no account is
that scale. At model scale the situation is very different, it permissible to drill through the wheel. The severe tan-
and radial turhines are certainly a sensible proposition. gential stresses which would act upon the bored area
Radial turhines of a size suitable for model engines are would result in the wheel failing catastrophically at quite
used in turbochargers, and they have heen developed a moderate rotational speed.
over many years to the stage where they represent So there lies the ruh: the main problem besetting the
sophisticated high-tech products. They are manufactured use of a radial turhine in a model jet engine is of a
in special heat-resistant alloy (such as Inconel 713C) mechanical natSoure, and not thermo-dynamic at all. The
using a precision casting process, and are capable of design of the rotor shaft means that the comhustion
withstanding extremely severe stresses. As already men- chamher must he very small or external, as demonstrated
tioned, one advantage of using such a turhine is that the by the PAL system. Moreover the thick shaft necessitates
unit is exactly matched to the corresponding compressor the lise of large hearings which are generally less ahle to
wheel in terms of throughput. To use the turhine in a withstand high rotational speeds.
model jet engine all we lack is a nozzle guide vane sys-
tem. Design and vector diagrams of an axial turbine
However, for quite different reasons the use of a radial In principle tilt: starting point for calculating the tur-
turhine appears to he a poor choice for the amateur. bine is the compressor, a~ this dictates the engine ' s
One reason is the mass of the rotor. Even at model sizes throughput and rotational speed. The turhine should be

MudelJet EIl/!,illes 65
designed to h;lrmonise well with the existing compres- fore around 1.9 x 0 .96 = 1.824. Remember also that the
sor. Of course. there is no reason why we should nO[ start specific heat of the air rises at high temperdture. With the
with a given turbine and build a suitahle compressor. gas temper-ttun: T3 one can assume a Cp of 1, 100 J/kg/K.
However, Si nce we wish to make usc of a ready-made The heat fall can then be calculated from the following
compressor wheel from a turbocharger. everything in formula:
terms of pressure, rotational speed and throughput is
already determined , so the method described here
appears to be the most sensible _
Although much of the data is already lixed there is In our example the heat fall amounts to 160,350 J/kg,
still some scope for variation in the (!t:sign of the tur- which is significantly greater than the heat fall required to
bine. For example, within certain limits it is possible to drive the compressor. The hot gas still contains a very
vary the diameter of the turbine wheel and the blade tip large amount of energy which is exploited to produce a
angle. although there are certain points which have to high efflux velocity and thus plenty of thrust . In the
be borne in mind . The gas which leaves the turbine model jet engine it is practicable to allow all the
shollid now out of the engine as straight as possible enthalpy to expand in the turbine stage. This means
(minimum swirl motion). We also have to take into that the turbine wheel processes a higher fall than would
account the wheel's strength and efficiency when con- be required to drive the compressor alone. With thb con-
sidering its design. To achieve low gap losses it is desir- sideration in mind, we can arrange the geometry of the
able to keep the turbine blades long, as this achieves a turbine wheel to exploit this advantage. Thc rotor blades
fa\'ourable relationship hetween gap length and blade are arranged at such an angle that the exhaust gas has a
length . On the other hand the strength of the turbine large component in the direction of the thmst axis. This
wheel increases if the blades are shorter and lighter. The allows us to use short blades, which are advantageous in
little matter of the designer's experience also plays a not terms of mechanical strength. In this way a large propor-
inconsiderable role in the linal design . A turbine with the tion of the thrust is already present in the turbine. This
same diameter as the compressor has proved tu be a means that a proportion of the heat fall which can be
good solution, with a blade tip ang!t: a in the range 30 exploited for thrust production is alrt:ady present as
to 35 °. At the low end of the range the gas deflection in efflux velocity at the tumine wheel . Finally only a rela-
the peripheral direction is more pronounced. The net tively small residual fall takes place in the actual thrust
result is that a larger proportion of the overall fall in nozzle.
enthalpy is converted into shaft work to drive the com- We start from the heat fall and gas temperatures
pressor. This in turn means that less remains for thnlst already found. If we aim at a reaction level of 0.'5, half the
production. With such a configuration the exhaust gas fall , i.e. =0. ';x 160 ,.~';0= 80,17'; )lkg, is processed in the
temperature will be low, and the model jet engine will diffuser wheel, and half in the rotor wheel. When the
nm very reliably but give less thrust. If the blade tip angle gases are accelerated in the blades a speed c is reached in
is steeper the situation is different: the gas deflection in each wheel. Only 95'.\(, of the velocity can he converted
the peripheral direction is reduced, and in order to drive due to wall friction and flow losses.
the compressor wheel and keep the engine running, a
higher level of enthalpy must be present overall. This C = O.95x ~2 x 80.175.1 I kg = 380m I s
means that the exhaust gas temperdture will inevitably be
higher. If our aim is to produce a model jet engine which
runs reliahly, it is clearly better to select a turbine wheel Now comes the calculation of the free cross-sectional
blade tip angle at the lower end of the range, at least ini- area of thc tumine stage, which is defined by the continu-
tially. Later on you can always adjust the angle of the ity equation. However, before we do this we have to cal-
blades or fit a new wheel to discover if the modification is culate the density of the gas at the outlet of the nozzle
worthwhile. guide vane system and at the end of the turbine wheel. At
the end of the turbine nozzle guide vanes the enthalpy
Typical calculation: turbine design for a model jet fall has been reduced by half. The pressure ratio is then
engine approximately:
The following example presents the steps in calculat-
ing the design of a turhine stage based on the engine ~l. 824 = 1.35
described in these building instructions. In the case of the
~1icro-Turbine we aim for a combustion chamher dis- As the gases expand the temperdture also falls slightly.
charge gas temperature of 923 K (650 0 C) . This value Here again the turbine works like a compressor in
must not be confused with the exhaust gas temperature. reverse. The fall in temperature can be calculated as fol-
As the hOI gases expand, the temperature in the turhine lows:
falls by a good 100 K. These temperatures are well within
the range of standard nickel-chromium steels, and a satis-
factory useful life can he expected . We assume a nominal llT = 1JTurbine x -
rotational speed of 100,000 rpm and a corresponding cp
pressure ratio of 1.9. Measurements and calculations con-
cerning the compressor show that an air mass of 0 . 18 If we assume turbine efficiency to be 75% the tempera-
kg/s tlows through the engine in this state. ture difference is:
A further factor to be considered is the loss of gas pres-
sure in the comhustion chamber. A realistk value for
pressure loss in a model turbine is around 4% at full throt-
tle. The pressure ratio before the turhine stage is there- As a result the temperature between the diffuser blades

66 :lfodelJet £I/[!.ines
/ ~
/ 35 0

1 /
/ em =218
Diagram of the turbine wheel as used in the calculations.

and the rotor blades is 923 - 55 = 868 K (595° C). The now already determined the geometry of the turbine
gas density at this point is as follows: based o n the calculated data and the angles and diameters
we have established . In general terms the free blade
= 1. 35 x 101. 325Pa = O.';Sk 1m 3 cross-sectional area can be calculated as follows:
p 868K x 287J / kg / K g
A = sin( a) x 1r x r x (da 2 - di 2 ) / 4
At the turbine outlet the temperature falls by a further 55
K to the exhaust temperature of 813 K (540° C), at which 1:is what is termed the blade taper factor which takes
point gas pressure corresponds to atmospheric pressure. into account the effective reduction in cross-sectional
The final density of the exhaust gas is: area due to the thickness of the blade. We can reckon on
a figure for"t of 0.95. If we select a turbine diameter of 66
p = 101 ,325 / 813 / 287 = 0.434kg / m 3 mm to match that of the compressor (as in our example),
then the inte rnal diameter is found from the following
From this information we can calculate the free blade equation:
cross-sectional area of the turbine as follows. using the
continuity equation. As at the start of the calculation, the di = da 2 _ 4x A
engine's throughput is O. IR kgis: sin(a)x 1rx-r

_ m _
A nRv - - - -
O.18kg / s _ 0 000 ' 6
-. 8 m
4 x 0.00086m 2
c XP 380m / s x O. 55kg / m 3 O.066 l m 2 - = 0.0453m
sin 300 x3.14 x 0.95

A blades =~ = 0.18kg / s = 0 00109 2

. m Thus we find that the blade height should be (66 -
c XP 380m / s x 0. 434 kg / m 3 45.3)/2 = 10.35 mm. If we assume a blade tip angle of 3'5°
and a de nsity of 0.434 Kg/m~ we can calculate for the
These results show that small overall cross-sections are rotor w heel an internal diameter of di = 43 mm and a
correct, at s'6 sq cm and 10.9 sq cm. In fact , this is due to blade height of 11 .5 mm.
the characteristics of the compressor wheel. The model Finally we can plot the overall vector diagram using
jet engine will be fitted with a turbine wheel featuring the data determinnl thus far. The spee::d reache::d in the::
very small blades, and that is why the wheels are able blade ducts is 380 m/s. The average peripheral speed can
effectively to withstand the centrifugal load acting upon be calculated from the average stage diam eter:
the blades. This is the basic reason why the engine can
be run at high rotational speeds without requiring the use
of special high temperature alloys.
These calculations also show that the cross-sectional and the rotational speed.
area of the wheel must be larger than that of the nozzle
guide vane system. In the interests of simplicity, and to Anothe r interesting point to note is the outflow speed
allow us to keep the nozzle guide vane and rotor blades of the gases from the turbine wheel.
the same diameter. the blade tip angle of the nozzle
guide vane wheel is set at 30° and that of the rotor at II = d m x 1r x n / 60= 0.054m x 3.14 x 100.000 / 60 = 283m / s
35 °. In fact, the shallower the blade angle, the smaller
the free flow cross-sectional area . This is the key fact We have de liberately kept this value high , so that the
which allows us to use blades of similar height. We have maximum amount of thrust is developed . The outflow

,Hode/lel EI1[!,ines 67
speed can be found from the equation. Without any sup- blade mass, the material cross-section and the radius of
plementary exhaust cone the engine's thmst is already at the wheel.
least: To simplify matters slightly, we will consider the mass
of a blade as a unit operating at its centre of gravity. The
F = e m X 01 = 21Rm I S x O.18kg ' s = 39N centrifugal force on the blade is then:
With a good thrust nozzle this value rises by a further F = In xu on
20-25%, and at a speed of 105,000 rpm a final thrust of r ill
50 Newtons is achieved.
The design of the turbine would nOI be complete F Centrifugal force in Newtons
without some mention of the optimum number of blades. lim Average peripheral speed in mls
Here again there can be no definite an~wer . rm d m/2 = average radius in m
The important point is that the number of blades of m blade mass in kg
the nozzle gUide vane system and the rotor should not
have a common divisoI". otherwise the engine may tend If we assume all the data found in the preceding sample
to suffer oscillations because of in-phase gas flow through calculation , with an actual hlade mass of around 0.6
the blade ducts. A good system has proved to be eleven grammes , the average radius is 0 .027 m , the average
blades in the nozzle guide vane system, and 19, 21 or 23 peripheral speed 21:13 mis, then the calculated centrifugal
blades in the rotor. load is 1,71:10 Newtons. This means that the etkctive mass
of the blade is 181 kg.
Centrifugal loads on the rotor wheel The tensile stress at the hase of each blade varies
The turbine wheel is undoubtedly the most highly according to the cross-sectional area of the material at
stressed component in a modd jet engine , as it has to that point. Naturally, this depends to a considerable
withstand high temperatures as well as centrifugal forces extent on the actual construction of the turbine wheel.
of exotically high values . The weakest point of the The cross-sectional area will vary depending on the blade
wheel is usually the blade roots since they are subject to geometry and the thickness of the disc . However, it is
high temperature and must also withstand the total cen- easy to maintain a cross-sectional area of twelve square
trifugal force acting upon the turbine blades. Inevitably millimetres, which results in a tensile stress of around
the resultant stresses rise with the square of the rotational 1';0 N/mml . If the temperature of the material is 6'500 C
speed. we can still get hy with nickel-chrome steds such as
For these reasons il is essential to ensure that the maxi- stainless steel, V4A, INOX or similar grades. If rotational
mum permissible rotational speed for the engine is never speeds are substantially higher, then only special high-
exceeded . However, the temperature of the gas inside temperature materials should be considered.
the engine plays a very important role here, for at high The centre of the turbine wheel is also subject to very
temper;lture~ the steds we are using lose much of their severe stresses, although the load varies according to the
strength. This applies in extra measure to the mooeller, design of the wheel. A plain turbine disc (without a
who generally does not have access to super-quality heat- mounting hole) is at least twice as strong as a wheel of
resistant alloys. the same size with a central bore. This applies even if the
The strt:sses on the wheel material in the turbine hole is microscopically small. The reason for this is ran-
blade region are intluenced by the peripheral speed, the gential tension which occurs along the hole.The practical
results of a bored turbine are as follows: as the turbine
EI'e" tbis sbort exhaust cOile produces an increase runs up to full speed the hole expands and suddenly
h, tbrust of 15-20%. there is play where it meets the shaft. In ;10 extreme case
the turbine wheel mounting hole may grow by several
tenths of a millimetre. The damage generally goes unno-
ticed until you stop the engine, or when serious vibration
sets in when the engine is mn up to speed. Calculating
the tensile forces at the centre of the wheel is a very com-
plex procedure since the formliia has to take into
account the precise wheel form and the influence of the
However, if we assume a disc of constant thickness
and a small hole relative to the turbine diameter, we can
approximate the maximum stress in the centre of the
wheel as follows:

o 0 .825 x u m2 xp
o Maximum tangential tension in N/m2
urn Average peripheral speed in mls
p Material density (generally around 8000 kg/m.l)

If we consider the turbine discllssed here we can calcu-

late a tensile stress of:
o = 0.825 x 283 2 x HOOO = 528MN /m l =528N/mm 2
This means that the load in the centre of the wheel is
more than three times higher than that acting upon the

68 Modelfel Ell!!, i lies

blade bases. Although relatively low temperatures pre-
vail in the cemre - around 2'iO° C - the material is not
usually capable of withstanding these forces. 1bis means
that the turbine wheel must be thicker in the cemre than
at the blade position. This applies even if heat-resistant
materials are used . The profile of the wheel can be
designed to achieve an even load distribution through the

The exhaust cone

The thrust of our jet engine is simply the product of
throughput and efflux speed.
Therefore the space immediately aft of the tumine is
very important in terms of the actual thrust produced. Various styles of exhaust cone.
It is normal practice:: to
arrange an exhaust cone
immediately adjacent
to the turbine wheel ,
whose purpose is to
re::duce:: any remaining
enthalpy and accelerate
the exhaust stream fur-
ther. In a model jet
engine this classic
arrangeme::nt doe::s pre-
sent certain problems. In
general terms overall
efficiency is relatively
low , so only a small
amount of e::nthalpy
remains which can be
added to the engine ' s
thrust. It therefore
makes sense to reduce
all the e::nthalpy in the::
turbine stage and design
the blades in such a way The flozzle of this drone engine can be modified by adjusting tl1e ;,mer allle.
that the outflowing gas
leaves the turbine at high speed.
In this case:: the:: main task of the exhaust cone:: is to The shaft of a model jet engine
direct the gas into the open air whilst incurring the small- The final essential component of the engine is the
est possible losses. The model jet engine presented here shaft, whose task is to transfer the energy in the tumine::
is therefore fitted with a nozzle whose cross-sectional wheel to the compressor. The actual torque concerned is
area is virtually constant. Fitting the exhaust cone increas- very low, but the special characteristic of the system is its
es the engine's thmst by about 20%. Clearly the:: main re::a- extreme rotational speed. which forces us to adopt a very
son for this increase in thmst is the avoidance of vortices special design of shaft. Initially it appeared that hollow
aft of the turbine wheel, which incur high losses. The tubular shafts would offer great advantages, because they
cone also promotes the formation of a boundary layer are light in weight and have a high natural resonant fre-
which produces an effective reduction in cross-sectional quency. In fact, solid shafts have proved to be thoroughly
area , leading to a furthe::r acceleration of the:: exhaust practical. and this section therefore assumes the use of a
gases. solid shaft.
A genuine exhaust cone, known as a convergent cone, The assembly comprising shaft, compressor wheel and
presents unacceptable problems at modd scale. mainly turbine wheel is a system Glpable of vihration. If its n:ltllr-
because the gas leaving the turbine is still extremely tur- al resonant frequency is close:: to the frequency of rota-
bulent and usually still exhibits a slight residual ~;wirl tion, then the:: system will start to oscillate. and if actual
motion. No matter how efficient the turbine, we cannot resonance occurs. the vibration will be so severe that the
eliminate this swirl. shaft hends. In the course of development of this jet
The swirl is unavoidable when you accelerate the engine I have several times encounte red sudden and
engine or close the throttle, and the exhaust flow would severe vibration when the engine was run up to high
have to be straightened before:: it could be accderated fur- spe::ed. Once:: the:: e::ngine had be::en stopped it was possible
ther in the cone. The straightening process requires a to see the eccentricity in the shaft with the naked eye,
smoothing passage for the gas. In industrially produced just by looking a( the compressor.
small jet engine::s fitted with a convergent cone this calm- The only solution to this problem is to design the
ing component is very large in volume, and for our model rotor system in such a war that its natural resonanl fre-
je( engine we can certainly manage without the extra quency is as high as po~sibk . The weakest point in the
complication. system is usually the compressor. The mass of these

Mude/Jet EIl1!illes 69
wheels is relatively high, and their centre of gravity is a Based on the data used in these formulae we arrive at a
long way from the bearings. If high rotational speeds are critical angular velocity of the shaft of WWdl< = 21 . S97 I/s.
to be achieved it is advantageous to use a short shaft, and In the second stage of the calculation, as already men-
to locate the hearings close to the rotating wheels. In tioned, we calculate the critical speed of the rotor as a
practical tenns the solution is simply to make the shafts whole.
for our model jet engines from solid steeL
, _ _____ + +..!.. 4
Calculating the critical rotational speed or (VCc..nllprc ..sor 2 (0 Illrhinl' !. (V ~h.lft
Calculating the critical rotational speed of a model jet
engine is extremely complicated, hut this is very useful This procedure clearly shows that the bending critical
information if you wish to experiment with shafts and speed W is 14,270 lis, corresponding (0 a bending critical
rotors. The following section includes a method of calcu- speed of the whole rotor of 136,270 rpm, which is signifi-
lating the approximate critical speed hased on the Micro- cantly above the maximum design speed of 105,000 rpm.
Turbine. In essence it is hased on the fonnulae stated hy A safety margin of at least 200/.. between nominal speed
Bohl (author - see hihliography). The actual calculation is and aitical speed is certainly advisable in order to shield
a two·stage process. The first step is to calculate the criti- the engine from severe vibration. If an even heavier com-
cal rotational frequency of the compressor, the turhine pressor wheel is used you may well encounter probkm~
and the shaft individually and independently of each in pushing the critical speed to a sufficiently high value,
other. The second step involves combining the three indi- and if you are in any doubt you should use a thicker shaft
vidual values to determine the critical speed of the entire and bearings. On no account is it permissible to attempt
rotor. to turn down the wheel on the lathe in an attempt to save
First we tackle the compressor wheeL We will consid- weight!
er the engine 's shaft to be a zero-mass holder for the
rotor. The cmcial influence on the oscillation frequency
is the distance between the wheel's CG and its bearing.
The wheel'S CG can be found by balancing it on a match-

m x(l +c)xc 2

w is the bending critical angular velocity. To find the rota-

tional speed we multiply by 30/rr=9.55 to give rpm .

= Area moment of the shaft

d·j *rr/64
Centre of Gravity
Shaft diameter, in our case 1 = 1 . R86·10·9m~ (compressor)
modulus of elasticity of the shaft material With
almost all steels it is: d
2 IO*I (}9m';
------------~--------~!Y, 1

Bearing spacing, in our case % mm = 0.0% m

c Distance from the wheel CG to the first bearing,

in our case 16 mm = 0.016 m I

- c -
m Wheel mass, in our case 0.062 g
Centre ofGravit), (turbine)
The value for I.uComprn>or is thus 28.S'i2 lis, which corre- d
sponds to a critical rotational speed of 246,864 rpm.
Now we repeat the procedure for the turbine wheel.
Its mass may well vary. but in our case it is around SO g.
Cast wheels an: slightly heavier at 70 g, or 0.07 kg. The
distance (0 the turbine bearing is only 0.012 m. As a
result we find a much higher critical angular velocity of
wTurbine = 28.U57 lis. Finally we have to calculate the criti-
cal speed of the shaft on its own. The formula for the
solid shaft is:

= Bearing spacing
d = Material thickness Procedure for calculating the bending critical
p = material denSity, in our case 7800 kg/m3 speed of the rotor.

70 Mode/jel Engines
Chapter 2

A Home-made ModelJet
Introduction diffu s er guide vane was s imply broken off during
Building your own jet engine is not as complex an The version presented here - the Micro-Turbine - is
undertaking as you might expect. After all , the design based on a turbocharger compressor wheel with a diame-
presented here, based on a single-stage compressor and ter of 66 mm. The engine's mass lies within the range
turbine. utilises the simplest possible layout. 1100 to 120014, depending on construction. and it repre-
Even so, any reader considering building his own tur- sents a viable power plant for model aircraft of medium
bine should not underestimate the potential problems, as
there are several pitfalls awaiting the unwary. For exam- The small version: the Micro-Turbine.
ple, these power plants have one insidious characteristic:
if the engine should fail to run. it provides no clue of the
cause ; at leas t , not to the inexperienced construc-
What this means is that you must have some technical
understanding of how turbines work right at the outset. If
you want the engine to be capable of flying a model, it
must be capable of running at very high rotational
speeds, and this in turn demands a high level of preci-sion
in the manufacture of the rotor system. The bearing seat-
ings must be accurately machined , and the shaft
must run true to very tight tolerances. Dynamic balancing
also calls for considerable patience . You will certainly
need to work carefully and accurately, and will need
all the tools of the typical fully equipped amateur work-
shop - but that is all you need.
If the engine is to run
well it is crucial that a After numerous modifications the Mini-Turbine produced a thrust qf 40
small number of impor- Newtons.
tant parts should be
made really accurately
and fitted precisely. This
caveat primarily con-
cerns the rotor system,
the angle of the blades
and the combustion
chamber. In other re-
s pects model jet en-
gines will shrug off a
few inaccuracies.
I have heard of home-
made turhines which
run well , even though
the turbine wheel has
poorly formed vanes
with no specific profile,
even [hough the com-
pressor has an excessive-
ly generous clearance ,
and even though one

Jlodeljet Ellgines 71
size. Overall diameter of the engine is 110 mm, length with a little luck perhaps even 60 Newtons, and this is
235 mm. The engine requires Jd Al kerosene as fuel, and adequate for model aircraft with a take-off mass of up (0
it has to be injected into the engine at a pressure of 10 kg. In our expnience most model jets are consider-
around 3 bar at tllll throttle. The bearings are lubricated ably lighter than this, and are overpowered even with 50
by means of the kerosene fuel , which is mixed with ~ (~o Newtons of thrust . If the model is very light and very
two-stroke oil for this purpose, thereby eliminating the sleek, airspeeds can be uncomfortably high ; the pilot
need for a separate oil tank. The design is intentionally must be prepared to concentrate hard on the flying, and
optimised to keep exhaust gas temperatures relatively be prudent and circumspect in handling the model in the
low, as this produces an engine which is fairly straightfor- air.
ward to operate. Certainly the design presented here is capable of even
This emphasis in the engine's overall design means higher levels of thrust. Practical experience shows that
that we can just "get by" without using special high-tem- more power is available simply by increasing the tur-
perature steels. provided that thrust is restricted to 40 bine's rotational speed, but please allow me to warn you
Newtons. However, high-alloy nickel-chrome steels such off this idea right now. The rotational speed of the model
as stainless steel are still the only choice as the turbine jet engine as presented here should be limited to a maxi-
material. If high-temperature materials are used you can mum of 105,000 rpm, as already stated; this speed corre-
safely increase power slightly. Fitted with a turbine wheel sponds to a pressure ratio of 2.0 . The thrust actually
made of Inconel ~ 13, Nimonic 90 or other heat-resistant achieved by the engine varies according to the implemen-
alloys the engine produces more than 50 Newtons of tation of the individual machine. If the quality of the com-
thrust on (he test bench without problem at a rotational bustion chamber, the turbine guide vane system and tIll:
speed of 105,000 rpm. These wheels are produced using turbine wheel vary, so will the engine's power output.
a preCision casting process, usually from lnconel 71~ . However, if you run the engine at a speed higher than
Most of these wheels share a common diameter of 66 recommended . you are eating into the reserves of
mm, are designed for this size of turbine engine, and can strength which are deliberately built into the design . At
be used with om any problems. the same time the useful life of the engine in general, and
Since its introduction the general arrangement pre- of the bearings in particular, is reduced considerably by
sented here has shown itself to be very effective . The excessive speeds, not to mention the additional problem
combination of a turbocharger compressor. "stick" com- of a pronounced rise in noise levels.
bustion chamber and axial working turbine has proved
to offer many advantages. These turbines are powerful What tools will I need?
engines, easy to start, and require little in the way of My aim in preparing the drawings was to provide the
amateur constructor with the means to build the engine
auxiliary equipment. Evidence of the efficacy of this lay-
out b the fact that, since the drawing~ were first pub- as described. and this really is possible. Where welding
lished, several manufacturers have adopted the same is required, I have kept material thicknesses generous, as
basic principle and produced similar designs. The size ofthis makes the process easier. The only parts which have
the compressor and turbine used in this design provide to be purchased are the bearings, the compressor wheel
and a few small items. The turbine wheel can certainly
a level of thrust sufficient for most model jet aircraft of
average size. You can expect 50 Newtons of thrust - be home-made: however. since many professionally pro-
duced turbine wheels
Sheet metal up to O1le millimetre thick can be joined easily using £1 spot-welder of are now available com-
tbis tl'Pe, made by cOnl'ertillg a transformer. mercially , the easy
course is to resort to
one of these . Cast tur-
bine wheels are safe at
higher rotational speeds,
and this makes your
engine potentially more
powerful. The gain in
efficiency over a home-
made wheel is quite
moderate , but you do
spare yourself the ex-
tremely time-consuming
task of making your own
In recent years rapid
progress in manufac-
turing technology has
made modern machine
tools accessible (0 the
amateur constructor ,
and certainly some
components of the tur-
bine can be produced
significantly bener
and lighter using CNC

72 .-II/ode/Jet f :llgilles
No_ Designation Trade Name Strength 600°C 700°C 800°C
2.4816 NiCr IS Fe Inconel600 °IV I.<XKJ HO 40 21
2.4634 NiCo 20 Cr I::; Nimonic 105 °ll/ I.O(JO 853 ·~9() 24S 93
2.4632 NiCr 20 Co IH Ti Nimonic 90 °11/ 1.000 3"73 117 39
2.4964 CoCr 20 W IS Ni L605 , HN 25 °Bfl.lXXJ 216 lIH 59
1.49HI XHCrNiMoNb BOhlerT2SS °ll/ l.000 290 140 55
UH41 X IS CrNiSi Ferrotherm 414H °8/10.000 130 44 20
1.4300 X 12 CrNi Stainless steel °1l/HXJ.lKJO 100 40

011/ = Failure after ... hours

milling machines and TIG welding equipment. To cater ahout 3-4 Volts. The actual welding electrodes consist of
for this possibility I have included a second, more profes- brass points, although copper points are even hetter.
sional version of certain components in the present edi- Wire up a foot-switch which actuates the primary side of
tion. the transfonne r. I recomme nd that you connect a 60 Watt
Huilding a jet engine re qUires no more than a work- filament hulh across this switch as a hridge; when the
shop equipped with the usual tools for metal working. switch contacts are open, the hulb acts as a dropping
One ahsolute essential is a robust lathe with a length resistor. When the welder is not on load. the bulb glows
hetween centres of 200 mm and a centre height of at dimly . When the electrodes make contact , the bulb
least 120 mm. The facility to cut left-hand threads is very immediately lights up brightly, and the welding process
useful , as this saves having to huy special left-hand dies. can begin.
Other requirements include a n accurate pillar drill, a cut- Ple-dse rememher that mains voltages are lethal and the
off tool and a small grinde r, and you will need facilities constmction of the spot welder should he checked for
for silver-soldering as well as some form of electric weld- safety by an electrically competent person before the
ing apparatus. A Metal Inert Gas (MIG/MAG) welding welder is connected to the 240 volt mains electricity sup-
machine or even a TIG welder are valuahle tools. hut not ply.
indispensahle. Other essential equipment includes mea- To produce a welded joint, press the electrodes onto
suring tools such as a vernier caliper, screw micrometer both sides of the metal and operate the foot switch for a
and dial gauge . For basic shaping of shet:t me tal a nihbler moment to switch on the primary side of the transformer.
or similar device is very helpful. It is important that the electrodes are exactly opposed to
Many parts of a jet engine are fahricated from thin each other at the moment of welding. Please rememher
sheet metal ; this material is used for the engine casing, to wear protective goggles for welding. It is a good idea
the combustion cham her and the thrust nozzle. Sheet to install one electrode in a fixed position on the welding
metal is also used for clips and straps. the thrust pipe and device, with the second electrode hand-held. You can use
other parts required to install the turbine in the model . a handle made of wood or heat-proof pla<;tic for the hand-
lJ nfortunately it is difficult to produce sound electric- held one.
welded joints in sheet metal if the material is less than This simple machine provides an effective means of
one millimetre thick. This applies in particular to stainless joining thin stainless steel sheet reliahly and with little
steel and other thin heat-resistant metal sheet. In such effort. You will find that you are ahle to spot-weld sheet
cases spot-welding offers many advantages, and it is little metal reliably after only a short period of practice. For
trouble to make your own device for this task. Indeed, it very thin sheet material you will have to reduce the cur-
is worthwhile procuring or making a spot welder for rent slightly ; this applies to combustion cham hers and
home-huilding a model jet engine, if you do not already thrust pipes, for example. The simplest method is to
have access to a TIG wdder. clamp a second length of jump-start cable h etween trans-
The simple design descrihe d here has proved to he former and electrode to act as a series resistance.
very effective ; a ll that is required is a tr,\I1sfonner with a
capacity of at least 300 Watts. Such items can he found as Selecting materials
isolating transformers; alternatively you may be ahle to Apart from the parts which come into contact with
cannihalise an old welding machine. The esse ntial factor hot gases the engine is assemhled from standard materials
is that the primary 240 Volt winding should he intact, as which you should find straightforward to obtain. Only the
any secondary winding is removed in any case. If you metal for the turhine. the turbine nozzle guide vane sys-
work carefully you can cut away the wires ne atly, which te m , the comhustion chamber and the thmst nozzle have
avoids the need to dismantle the metal core. to be able to withstand high temperatures.
The next step is to ohtain some thick wire with the The steel industry has developed hundreds of alloys
largest possihle cross-sectional area; jump-start cable for which are many times supe rior to normal steel in terms
cars is a good source. Wind a few turns of the wire onto of heat resistance. Most of these materials possess materi-
the core with the aim of producing a no-load voltage of al numhers which hegin with 1.4 or 2.4. It is very diffi-

Modeljet Engines 73
cult for the amateur to obtain extreme heat-resistant and eventually foul the casing. A further important item
steels in small quantities, and working these alloys is not of information is the scaling resistance of the material,
simple, although in my experience cutting alloys based which should be at least 800 C. This applies in particular

on nickel and cobalt is quite possible using amateur tools to the turbine nozzle guide vane system where the high-
provided that you are aware of a few "wrinkles" (special est temperatures are encountered. Scaling results in a
techniques). It is very important that you take your time constant wearing away of material which can eventually
over sawing and drilling. If you work too quickly both the lead to fracture.
tool and the workpiece heat up. The turning tool or saw As a nIle standard nickel-chromium steels are relatively
hlade soon loses its strength, but the workpiece usually easy to obtain. Thin sheet material can even be bought
survives the ordeal unscathed. This just means that you from huilders' merchants. A good source of the thicker
must always work patiently and use copious quantities of material which is required for the turhine wheel is a
cutting fluid . scrap merchant, as the stainless sheet material is usually
In the engine itself the material is suhjected to high collected separately because of it s higher value .
temperatures and tensile stress, and if certain loads are Externally these materials can be recognised by their rust-
exceeded the material slowly begins to change shape . free condition. When you are on the hunt for these mate-
Elastic deformation, which disappears again when the rials, a magnet is an important ally. If you are lucky you
engine s(Ops, is acceptahle , hut if the material goes may find a piece with the material numher printed on it,
beyond this point a permanent distortion sets in which and you can then check its sUitahility for your engine by
gradually worsens with time. The magnitude of this effect conSUlting a materials list. The standard alloy constituents
varies according to the strength of the material. This in of these steels are 18% chromium and 8% nickel. but if
turn varies very greatly according to temperature . they also include molybdenum, manganese, niobium or
Stainless steel and other commonly used nickel-chrome titanium, so much the better. Another likely source is any
steels exhibit a clear decline in terms of strength over company which manufactures equipment for the chemi-
time at a temperature of 6So" C. That is why it is essential cal industry. These companies use high-alloy steels for
to ensurt: low exhaust gas temperatures when these making acid- and heat-resistant valves. pumps and instru-
materials, with their limited heat-resistance, are used. ments. Certain stainless steels are resistant to inter-crys-
Tables of material strength include the value oB/1000 talline corrosion and as such are used in shipbuilding, and
which is important to constnictors of engines. This value these have also proved suitahle for engine construction. A
states the load and temperature at which the material will much used steel in this area is Nitronic SO (1.3964). I
fail after 1000 hours. have made several turbine wheels from this material
However, the actual fracture is preceded by a linear which to date have withstood the stresses without com-
expansion of the material by a few per cent. What this plaint.
means in practice is that overloading a model jet engine
The cOlllpressor wheel
will not usually cause the blade bases to fail. It is usually
the case that excessive speed stops the engine in an The compressor whet:! required for our model jet
engine is manufactured for use in KKK turbochargers,
utterly unspectacular fashion : the turhine hlades twist
and can he purchased as
A loU' exhaust gas temperature is very important if the engine is to operate a spare part. It is sup-
reliably. plied very accurately
dynamically halanced .
and is therefore ab -
solutely ready to usc.
These wheels are
availahle exclusively via
authorised service
points, and not from the
turbocharger manufac-
turing company itself;
supply sources are listed
in the appendix. No
work of any kind needs
to be carried out on the
compressor wheel. The
wheel (S326 123 2(37)
has a diameter of 66
mm , a 42 mm 0 inlet
and a blade height of S
mm. In addition to the
wheel specified in this
design. two further mod-
els from the same range
of compressors are also
available and usahle for
our purpose. All three
wheels are produced
from the same basic

74 J.fodellet Ellgilles
casting, and diffc::r only in the contour machined into it.
This results in differences in potential throughput. albeit
only at fairly high rotational speeds. The two other types
have an inlet diameter of 46 mm and offer slightly superi-
or performance at very high speeds, but are a little more
expensive to buy. [n any case, the differences are negligi-
ble when the turbine is used normally, Le. up to the
engine's maximum design thmst. The alternative wheels
(5326 123 2038 and <;326 123 2022) can therefore be
used as straight alternatives. If you do use one, note that
you will need to increase the vane height of the compres-
sor diffuser vane system to 6 mm. If you opt for the latter
wheel you only need to adjust the shape of the compres-
sor cover to match it; all the other engine components
can be usted unchanged. The combustioll chamber of the Micro-Turbi"e_
View from rear.
Constructing the engine
For best results use turning tools with a tungsten carhide
Making the shaft cutting tip. All fits should be left clearly ovtTsize. As a
Heat-treated steel should be used to make the shaft. A lead-in to the sections which are later to be threaded you
proven method is to make the shaft components from should turn the shaft down to a diameter of 6 mm for a
large machine screws with a strength rating of 12.9. This few miJIimetres (turbine end) and 4.S mm (compressor
type of screw - typically M16 x 180 or M20 x 180 - is end), to ensure that the threads start straight.
available from specialist dealers. If you have to use other Centre up the shaft blank and bore a centre hole aI
materials the steel must he really tough. Hydraulic cylin- both ends. Now is the time to machine the cylindrical
der pllshroos have also proved to be a source of excellent sections to final size, turning between centres. If rOll
material. These are generally alloy steels such as 42 CrMo have a grinding attachment on your lathe, that 's what
4 . The pushrods are often case hardened (nitrided) , you should lise. The hearing seatings and the shoulders
which means that the thin hardened layer must he for the compressor and turbine must be machined to
removed before turning, using a grinder. The shaft materi- an accuracy of one hundredth of a millimetre . Check
al must be very tough, hut not brittle; the shaft simply the concentricity of the shaft at the centre and the
must nO( break. The modulus of elasticity of various types shoulders using a dial gauge. The maximum permis-
of steel varies very little, and as a result the bending criti- sible deviation should he less than two hundredths of a
cal speed for all shafts is about the same . Stainless steel is millimetre.
not a suitable material for turbine shafts. As a conductor Cut a left-hand thread in both ends of the shaft. Please
of heat, standard commercial stainless steel is around four do not consider any other form of attachment at this
times worse than low alloy steel, and therefore the heat point - nothing else wiJI do. Please don 't attempt to save ·
from the hot turbine wheel is not dissipated quickly the £20 for a suitable tap and die.
enough. Neither are titanium and its alloys good shaft The spacer discs should be considered pan of the
materials. The threaded shanks of titanium shafts tend to shaft. Two are required: one at the compressor, the other
degenenlte with the fluctuating mechanical and thermal at the turbine wheeL Great precision is required when
loads, and safety considerations therefore dictate that this forming the inner sleeves; they must have no hacklash on
material should not be used. If the joint hetween the tur- the shaft, and the inner bore must he finished using a
bine wheel and the shaft comes loose, the result could be reamer. The two end surfaces must he exactly parallel to
that the entire thrt::aded spigot is torn off. [n any case, tita- each other. I recommend that YOll check this accurately
nium has a low modulus of elasticity, and therefore offers lIsing a screw micrometer. Any inaccuracy will result in a
no advantage in terms of bending critical speed with this shaft which does not nm tme, and many imbalance proh-
shaft deSign. Iems can he traced hack to this area.
The first step is to rough-turn the shaft on the lathe.
The cooli1lg cha1l1lels a1ld lubricatioll tube at the
Gri"di1lg the rotor blades_ rear side of the difftlser system.

;o.1(Jdeljet Engines 75
Pari 6
07.00 08,00
M6Left 012
, 012 (!j]4 08,00
! M8Left

8 '
l l
~ j l !
. j

40 ~ 1O -

Part 1 7
Part 4 012 Part 13 013
019 Should produce a tension
of 15N when assembled
5,5 Widtb should be adapted
to the used turbine wheel

040 ~_ _ __ __ _ _ __ __ _ Part 7

. 7 (!j]8 022,01
, ~~r~~~--------~~=---~'~~
Lf ----~\

M4 106

Part 14.3
Mountings, Part 14.5
(2 pieces)
068 Part 14.2
- . -......,.r---__
",,+ ,

.... 044 ,
Part 14.4 ~


The shaft tunnel and bearings slightly tight when cold, this is no cause for anxkty. The
The shaft tunnd (7) is made of aluminium. The ball- thermal expansion of aluminium is greater than that of
race at the compressor end should be a good press-fit in steel, su the correct clearance will develop when the
the bearing seating. and the bearing should end e::xactly parts reach running temperature.
flush with the tlange. In contrast, the turbine e::nd hear- A compone::nt pan of the shaft tunnel is the thrust
ing housing must be oversize in order to allow for the dif- spring for the bearing at the turbine end. This spring pro-
ferential expansion of shaft and tunnel. Since the hear- vides the essential pre-load in the hearing. The correct
ing's operating temperature is high, the play should he force for this spring has proved to be 15 Newtons, and
one hundredth of a millimetre . If the rear hearing is this value:: should not he exceeded by a significant

76 ModelJet Engines

Compn:ssor cover Aluminium Turned

2 ( :ompres-"nr wheel AI-Si allo), Ready made (KKK 5326 1232037)
3 Compressor diffuser syMem Aluminium Compound component
:\.1 18 Guide vane Aluminium Imm thick sheet
4 Spacer disc Steel Precision turned
5 2 Ballrace ISO 60S "C3" hall race without shields;
hybrid ceramic bearings hetttT
6 Engim: ~haft Screw steel 12.9. Tumcd from large machine screw
Shaft tunnel Aluminium Turned
I:! Comhustion chamber jacket Stainless sted Spot·welded
8.1 Combustion chamber sleeve Stainless sted Sheet. 0 .3-0.'5 mm thick
8.2 Rear section Stainless sted Sheet. n .5mm thick
8.5 End piece Stainless steel Sheet. U. '5mm thick
8.4 6 Stick Stainless steel. Inconel 601 X" tube; alternativelr 6 mm
9 Comhustion chamher inner section Stainless sted Welded
9.1 Inner tube Stainless steel Sheet. 0 .3-0. '5mm thick
9.2 Front section Stainless steel. Sheet. O. '5mm thick , pressed
10 Injector ring Brass Soldered
10.1 Injector ring Brass 40xO.'5mm
10.2 6 Injector needle Syringe needle Size 2. O.S 0 x 4\) mm (pharmacist)
10.3 Guide M4 socket-head cap screw Drilled out
II Turbine nozzle guide vane Stainless steel. Inconel 601 Compound component
11.1 Inner ring Stainless steel Turned
11.2 11 Tunnel guide Stainless steel Turned
11.3 II Blade Stainless steel. Inconel 601 Sheet . 0 .7-1 mm
11.4 Turbine jacket Stainless sted Sheet . 1.'5 mm
11.'5 Flange Stainless steel Sheet 1.'5mm
12 Turbine wheel As heat-resistant as possiblr As instnlctions. or ready made
13 Spacer disc Stainless steel Precision-turned
14 Thnlst nozzle Stainless steel Spot-welded
14.1 Outer cone Stainless steel Sheet. 0 .3 - 0.'5 mm
14.2 1 Inner cone Stainless sted Sheet. 0.3 - 0.'5 mm
14.3 3 Lug Stainless steel Sheet. 0.'5 mm
14.4 Spacer Stainless steel Sheet. 0.3 mm
14 .'5 1 Mounting ring Stainless sted Sheet. 0.5 mm
15 Casing Stainless sted Spot-welded. soldered
15.1 Housing jacket Stainless sted Sheet, 0 .3 mm
1".2 Rear section Stainless sted Sheet, 0.'5 mm, pressed
I'H 3 Hole reinforcement Stainless sted Sheet. O. 'j nun
15.4 Guide Steel Tube. 'j 0 x 12 mm
16 Lubrication tube Brass 3 0xO.3 mm
17 Pre-load spring Sted TholM pressure: 1'j Newtons
II:! 2 Pressure rake-off nipple Brass From 6 mm 0 rod
19 T-piece B....tss. steel Injector needle soldered in
20 Auxiliary gas injector Brass. steel Injector needle soldered in

Various other small parts such as screws. nuts and clips not listtd individually.

amount. The pre-load spring itself can consist of a series flanged races are used the spring force mllst be consider-
of spring washers. The spring tension can be adjusted hy ably higher. In any case you can expect good results
means of a sleeve between the spring and the hearing if with perfectly standard hearings. If you keep to moder-
necessary. For initial test running it is not necessary to ate rotational speeds - say, lip to 100,000 rpm - YOll
pre-load the hearings. The hearing configuration used in can expect a useful life of more than 20 flights. The ball
this design assumes the use of standard ballraces. If cages should be made of steel or plastic. and the bear-

Modeljet EI1Rines 77
5 6 7 8 9 15 10 11 5


, ~


o 0
o 00 0
o 0
00 0

Cross-section of the Micro-Turbine.

ings should certainly be inspected regularly. Bearings see right through the vanes except towards their tips.
with rolled brass cages are not suitable. Hybrid bearings The angIe of the vanes can certainly be allowed to
with silicon nitrite balls offer a virtually unlimited life, decline by one to two degrees towards the outside .
and suitable types can be obtained in small quantities. Finally weld the blades in place from the inside using an
The final part of the shaft tunnel is the lubrication sys- electric welder. Fit the shaft tunnel seating (11.2) and
tem. The oil pipe (16) is made from thin brass tubing, attach it, again using the electric welder. The nozzle
bent to the shape shown. The oil pipe is clamped in place guide vane blades can now be turned down to size as
in one of the three air ducts when you screw the shaft shown in the drawing. This is easiest if you have a grind-
tunnel to the compressor diffuser vane system. The shaft ing attachment on your lathe. The last step is to grind the
tunnel should be held in place using high-strength blades to a rounded profile at the inlet and a point at the
screws, preferably socket-head types, and thread-lock outlet.
fluid. The other end of the tube exits the engine through The next step is to machine the flange and weId the
a hole in the compressor cover. The lubrication tube can turbine jacket (11.4) in place. In this state the inside of
then be connected to a T-piece in the fuel supply line the component should be machined on the lathe to guar-
using a short length of flexible tubing. antee an exactly circular cross-section. Insert the inner
section, mark the position of the slots for the edge of the
The turbine nozzle guide vane system nozzle guide vane blades and saw them about 3 mm deep
The nozzle guide vane system for the turbine (II) is in the turbine shroud. The gap between the blades and
one of the most complex parts of the engine. It has two the turbine jacket (one tenth mm) disappears when the
primary functions : feeding the gases to the turbine engine is at running temperature. Each nozzle guide vane
wheel and providing a location for the shaft tunnel. The is fixed to the turbine shroud with a single spot-weld. At
mounting flange to the housing (11 . '5) also serves as a this stage the vane system should be mounted in the lathe
burst shield (containment). The first step is to make the again; when you are confident that it runs dead true, you
inner ring (11.1). It can either be turned from a suitable can safely machine out the central seating for the shaft
piece of tube or bent to shape from sheet metal. Mark tunnel to its final diameter.
the eleven blade slots as shown in the drawing and saw
them ou[ using a piercing saw. You may need (0 shorten The turbine wheel
the saw blade (hard metal grade) to prevent it fouling. If [n technical terms the turbine wheel (12) is not as dif-
you have any choice, select a good heat-resistant material ficult to make as you might expect. The actual wheel is
for the nozzle guide vane blades , but otherwise use made of 6 mm thick sheet metal. Cut out a suitable blank
stainless steel. Cut out the blades (11.3) leaving them and bore the central hole for the shaft. Heat-resistant steel
well oversize, bend them to approximate shape, then should be bored out in stages using a low rotational
place them in the inner ring. If you look at the guide speed and cutting fluid. lise a reamer to open up the hole
vane system from the front , the vanes should overlap to the exact size.
each other as far as possible: it should not be possible to The blank can now be turned down to size on the

78 .HodelJet EIlp,illes
lathe, again using a low rotational speed. Tungsten car- a 7.8 mm 0 holt:. A reamer can then be used to finish
bide tipped cutting tools have proved a good choice for off the bore to final diameter. The final stage is to turn
this task. Leave the wheel diameter about I mm oversize. down the turbine wheel to its final diameter. Tungsten
The next step is to saw the I') blades down to a diameter carbide tipped turning tools (wear goggles!) arc best for
of '16 mm . An ordinary hacksaw fitted with an HSS blade this. If you have a grinder. usc it to reduce the whed to
has proved suitable for this job. Saw slowly but use plen- final size. The clearance of the cast turbine whed must
ty of pressme; you will find that a generous supply of cut- be very close; certainly not more than 0 .2 mm on each
ting oil makes the work easier. If you are using extreme side.
heat-resistant material such as Incond 625 or Nimonic ')U Whec1s produced using the investment casting
you should feel pleased with yourself if you manage a 5 method are extraordinarily strong, and therefore offer
cm linear cut per saw blade. great reserves of strength , but please don't let this fact
Heat the turbine blades to red heat using a gas torch , tempt you into fimning the engine at higher speed than is
then twist them in the clockwise direction through 30 to permissible. The turbine wheel manufacturer's instruc-
35 · using a pair of pliers or a home-made claw tool. The tions and recommendations must be observed.
final blade angle is e stablished when the turbine blades
are ground to shape. This is done using a disc cutter Balancing
clamped in a drill press. The first step is to continue the To balance the turbine whed it is necessary to mount
saw cuts down to the final dimension of 44 mm: hold the it on the turbine shaft. The fit must be accurate, i.e. the
tmbine wheel at an angle of about 35° to the disc cutter wheel should require slight force to install it on the shaft.
and grind through to the final dimension. Fit two new ball races (22 mm diameter ISO 60R) when
Now the profiling of the individual blades can begin. assembling the shafe The ball races are supplied grease-
Grind material away using a coarse epoxy abrasive wheel, filled , and the grease should first be rinsed out with
cutting mainly on the side facing the combustion cham- kerosene or petrol. In this state the bearings arc very free-
ber and aiming at the approximate profile shown in the running. Hybrid ceramic bearings are ideal for this appli-
drawing. Minor variations in this respect are not critical, cation . Naturally it b essential to keep everything
but each blade must be slightly cambered. The mean line spotlessly clean, as even a tiny quantity of dust will falsify
of the profile should follow a radius of about 15 mm. To the results of the balancing process. We recommend that
ensure sufficient strength at the blade base the profIle you keep one set of bearings especially for this purpose,
thickness of the blades s hould increase constantly and protect them very carefully from dust. Install the
towards the centre of the wheel. The blade tips should be shaft. bearings and turbine wheel in a metal tube with an
no more than 0 .7 mm thick. The blades taper towards the internal diameter of 22 mm.
rear edge and arc rounded off at the front . The next step is to lay the tube, complete with shaft,
Finally check the tip angle of each turbine blade: it on a flat surface, and cautiously and continuously roll it a
should be 34° . Any blades deviating from this value can lJuarter turn to and fro. This action will cause the shaft to
be adjusted using a pair of pliers. Clamp the wheel on a align itself with the heavier skit: at the buttom. Mark this
mandrd to check that it fims true, then carefully turn it point on the turbine whed using a fdt-tip pen . Material
down to final size. The final stage of finishing the turbine now has to be removed from the heavier side by carefully
blades consists of sanding them carefully using the abra- thinning the blade profile using a grinder. Apply tape
sive whed mentioned earlier. over the turbine bearing to protect it when using the
Polishing the blades to improve the surface finish docs grinder. Do not remove any extra material from the inside
not provide any measurable increase in power. If you of the whed, and never be tempted to drill or scrape the
have used special heat-resistant material it is important to whed, or work it in any uneven pattern, in an attempt to
anneal the turbine wheel to free it from internal stresses. balance it. If you are using a cast wheel. as far as possiblt:
The annealing temperature and time for the material in grind material from the cast-in balance ring only. On no
question should be found by referring to the appropriate account do anything which might weaken or disturb the
material lists. ring of blades.
A cast turbine whed is an equally good choice for With a Iittlt: practice you lJuickly obtain a "feel'" for the
this engine. The blade angle and profile of these wheels amount of material which needs to be ground away , and
are usually designed with high thmst as top priority. The you will soon have a smooth-filllning shaft. The method
best results arc obtained b y producing a turbine nozzle described here is quite accurate enough, and when the
guide vane system which lines up as well as possiblt: assembly shows no imbalance with perfectly clean bear-
with the turbine whed blades. If you usc a cast wheel, ings, the shaft is sufficiently well balanced, and is ready
the nozzle guide vanes can be flattened slightly towards for usc.
the outer diameter. The wheel attachment takes the form
of an R mm 0 bored hole . The cast blank should be The compressor system
bored out in stages at low speed, starting with a small The compressor cover (1) is made first : the part is
pilot-hole. This task should always be carried out on the turned from solid as shown in the drawing. The critical
lathe . The whed can be held in the lathe chuck by area here is the part which covers the compressor
clamping it from the inside, against the ring of vanes. wheel , as it needs to exhibit a constant gap 0.3 mm wide
Alternatively you can fit a slotted aluminium ring over to the blades of the rotor wheel. Turn the blank to an
the whed to protect it, then clamp it from the outside . It internal diameter of 42 .6 mm and clamp the inlet side in
is important that the turbine wheel should mn as tme as the chuck so that you can machine the correct profile. If
possible. The best method of cutting the main bore is to you are using a compressor whed other than the one pre-
use an R mm 0 tungsten carbide masonry drill , modified sented here, obviously the diameter of the cover wiII
as follows: sharpen the tip of the drill , at the same time have to be adjusted to suit. At this point YOll can start
grinding down the diameter slightly in order to achieve turning the required profile. Offer up the compressor

JIodeljet Engilles 79
Insen the shaft and
the compressor wheel.
centre up the cover and
mark the position of the
retaining bolts. Remove
the thrc::ads from the
bolts where they pass
through the blade ducts,
and screw them into the
diffuser vane bearer .
The three remaining dif-
fustr blades can now be
installed: cut each one
in two and fair them
into the bolts with a fil-
let of epoxy resin .
The alternative is to
machine the diffuser
vanes from the solid .
This is only feasible
if you have access
to a high-precision CNC
automatic milling
machine . Here again ,
TlJe shcift is balanced on a perfectly flat surface. the vanes start with an
angle of 21 degrees.
wheel repeatedly to check where more material has to be The radial and axial vanes are arranged in two rings. An
removed. When you are satisfied. the rest of the part can 1\12 thread Gill be cut in the 1'5 radial vanes to accept
be machined to the shape shown in the drawing. Don't the cover mounting screws, and the compressor cover
drill the mounting holes until funher components have then has to be modified to suit. The initial diameter of the
been completed. axial vanes is 98 mm, and the vane height is a constant
The diffuser vane holder (3) can now be made up as 6mm.
shown on the plan. Note that air ducts for cooling the
bearings must be machined in at the point where the The combustion chamber
:.haft tunnel meets the holder. Each duct is C; mm wide This is made of thin stainkss sheet steel. The ideal
and is located hetween a pair of adjacent mounting material tor this component is 0 .3 mm thick sheet , and
screws. The ducts should be one millimetn:: deep - this is this should be ustd if ;lvaiJable; otherwise you can lise the
quite adequate. more widely available O.'5 mm thick sheet. Carefully weld
A smaU proportion of compressed air from the compres- all the individual pit:ces of metal together. The from part
sor enters these ducts, and at the same time some of the fuel- (9.2) is pressed to shape on the lathe over a former made
oil mixture is blown in with it. TIle air flows through both of hardwood or aluminium, which should duplicate the
bearings and Ie-dves the shaft tunnel at the rcar. approximate shape of the front section . The minimum
The three retaining bolts for the:: compressor cover are requiremem is that the part should be cleanly cambered.
located on a diameter of 84 mm. Drill and tap (M4) these The curvature of the combustion chamber cover pro-
holes first. Mark the slots for the diffuser blades on the duces a smooth. rounded geometry in the primary zone,
smface and saw them out using an electric piercing saw. and this helps to eliminate dead areas in the airtlow, and
The standard saw blades produce a slot I mm wide . unburned fuel is re-turbulated more quickly. The outer
Three of the slOb shuuld mn exactly through the centre jacket (8) and combustion chamber inner section (9)
of the threaded holes. Cut out the diffuser blades (3. I) should fit together with little play. It is importam that
from 1 mm thick sheet metal, leaving them slightly over- there should be no gaps through which suppkmentary
size . To improve the strength of the glued joints drill air could penetrate. The combustion chamber as a whole
countersunk holes along the joint lines befOl"e gluing 1'5 should not be too tight a fit in the nozzk guide vane
of the:: IH hlades in place:: llsing e::poxy resin. For the:: time system . Normally the combustion chamher com -
heing don't glue the hlades in the slots which coincide ponents form a really rigid assembly when fitted together.
with the retaining bolts. Nevertheless. you can weld the pans together later if
When the resin has cured the diffuser blades have to you prefer. Three sheet metal lugs can now be spot-weld-
be trimmed to match the profile of the compressor cover. ed to the combustion chamber jacket in order to provide
Screw the diffuser vane bearer to the shaft tunnel and additional centring for the combustion chamber in the
clamp the whole assembly in the lathe so that you can cut casing.
back the blades lIsing a file 01" a sharp turning tool. The It is up to you whether you bore the holes first then
region immediately behind the compressor wheel is weld the parts together or vice versa. In either case all
important, and a blade height of exactly '5 mm must be the holes which are larger than .J mm diameter should
maintained at this point. Any gap on the axial side be opened up slightly using a die and punch . This
between blades and casing which occurs after the point results in a nozzk-shaped hole and at the same time
where the gases are deflected is not of cnlcial impor- removes the sharp edge. For a given size of hole this
tance. allows the jets of cooling air to penetrate to a greater

80 .HoclelJet EIlJ!,illes
Port 11
'~tlrl II. 5
Part 11.3
Pm'( 11.4

Pm"( 11,1 Parlll,2

f)42 3 ~ ~ 066
046 22

19 .. 068

28 f'J 80

Sal«' cut

--_ ...
Blade profile
III tlJe inner
ring (11.1) .3


- 65.8

1<:-. - --_._-- 68

P(ll't 20

To lulJria.llioll As jJm"1 1~. 011{)' l(·itl:1

Part 18 syrillge ueedle 10 illjeL'{
5.l'rillge "eedle (EII/m-ged)
slarlillg gm.' (Iirec1fJ' hllo
0,45 * 30, ol/e slick
soldered .'

~:=ng ,~~
fltelPlllllP _ _ _.J
- Drillillg
02 mm
SJII'illge lIeedle,
size 2.

To the engille ~

l'ltrbi"e IIozzle guide l 'alle system,

.1Iode/Jc/ E llg IIlL'S 81

The ;,mer ring of the turbi"e NGV system. Blades and stabilisers welded together.

depth. The recessed holes should be pilot-drilled using a The housing

bit one millimetre smaller than final size, then opening up The hest material for the:: jacke::t is thin stainless steel
to the stated diameter. All the other holes in the sheet sheet , which should be soldered or spot-we lded.
metal just nenl to he urilled with a normal amount of Ordinary sted sheet is also adequate for the jacket, hut
care. the result is not so elegant. Only the tail end (I '; .2)
The vaporise::r H1hes (8 .4) consist of 6 .3'; mm l1(::eds to be made uf stainless steel sheet, and this part
0 .0./5.55 mm LO. stainless steel tubing (i.e. X" tube). can be spun out of one piece on the lathe. The outcome
Each stick is made from a 70 mm length of tube::, which is is a very good-looking, smoothly rounded casing which is
first belled uut at one:: end to 8 mm 0. This is best done:: extremely rigid. The easiest method of forming the part is
by clamping the tuoc in the lathe chuck and pressing a to make an aluminium former for it; it does not need to
fixed centre punch into the end at mode::rate spt:ed. Angle conform to a particular shape or radius. The tail end
the e::nd of the tubes slightly as shown in the constmction should be as tight a fit as possible in the jack<::t, as this
drawing. The tube::s are fixed in place as shown in the ensures that the spot-welded or soldered joints are easy
dr,lwing: brazing i~ Quite adequate::. to produce. It is hdpful to anneal the metal during the
The last part to make:: is the injector ring (10). The spinning process. The obvious alternative is to make the
injector tubes are made from size 2 syringe needles . component from three parts. each of truncated conical
These are fitte::d into the injector ring tip-first, and silver- shape.
solde::rnl in place. You can check that the inje::ctors work Initially it is advisable to make the casing two milli-
evenly with a test hurn using propane:: gas. Use a length of metres longer than stated, to give you scope for correct-
the same tuhing as the fuel fe::e::d pipe (10.3). Braze the ing any inaccuracies. The casing jacket (15.1) should not
guide (lO.4) in one e::nd. Finally the fuel line connecting be too tight a fit on the compressor cover (t). Cut a suit-
piece runs through the casing and out of the engine. A able hole in the rear part of the casing to accept the fuel
suitable hose nipple is then fitted to the end, sealed with feed line, and install a pressure take-off nipple (lR) in the
teflon tape. The injector ring is tied in place using Inox tail end. Unused nipples do not need to oc sealed when
wire (from huilders' merchants). You will ne::e::d to drill the engine is running, as their cross-sectional area is
holes in the rear section of the combustion chamber to smalL The supply line for auxiliary gas should also be
take the wire::. The injector ne::e::dles should be bent in
such a way that the fud flows on tu the wall of the:: vapor- The rear of the engine with the shaft removed. The
iser tuocs. shaft tunnel locator is clearly "isible.

Tbe shaft is made from a hig/) strength socket-

bead car screu'. M 16 x 180.

82 J-/{)tie/Jl'/ Ell/!, i ill'S

A halffi"ished turbine wheeL The version with 21
blades also worked well, but failed owing to my
carelessness. The rotor of the Micro-Turbi"e.

Part 12


d = 4 mm ------...

d = 2 mm ------...


a) Views of blades enlarged



ModelJet Engines 83
Part 3.1 14
Part 3

0 84
0 96
6 0 94
~ 3.5
0 64 II 74 066,6 0 91
@ '. I

Q @- _--L.. 0 15
0 17

@ 4 0 40, to centre
the shaft tmmel

Alterllative dlffusor bladi1lg 5
DetaiL' cooling air cballnel-- - r-~ Cooling ail"
(view from the back side) channel
R63 ~~ --;# - depth I mm
- M2
0 17
t R90

DetaiL' axial blades
.... (30 blades among
RO,2 - , " R7,3


7° ' ~" RO.2
Axial Blade
'> "-

The dlfflfsor sJ1stem.

titted at this stage. When you assemhle the engine the finish it with heat-resistant paint onee assemhled ,
nt:t:dk should projt:l:t exactly into one of the six sticks. If and cure the p ;lint according to the manufacturer 's
YOli have made the casing of ordinary steel, you should instntctions.

84 Mode/Jet Eil,l!,illes
Tile diffuser flallge at all early stage. Tile completed compressor diffuser system.

Assembling the components

The individual components are assembled as shown
in the construction drawings. The shaft tunnel, compres-
sor diffuser system. rotor and cover form one sub-
assembly. The compressor cover is attached using three
sett: locking nuts which should be tightened no more
than hand-tight. It is important that the compressor rotor
should be exactly central when you have tightened
these nuts. The shaft can be withdrawn from the rear
together with the turbine wheel and bearing, leaving the
compressor wlleel, spacer disc and front bearing in the
The nozzle guide vane system and the engine housing
are also permanent fixtures. When assembling the engine
you should seal the flange with several layers of alumini- Combustioll cl.Jamber compollellts alldfuel
um foil folded together. Tighten the ten screws carefully, mallifold.
working alternately from side to opposite side, like the
valve cover bolts on a car engine. Insert the comhustion When you dismantle the engine , the first stage is ro
chamber in the housing and secure the fuel pipe by remove the shaft towards the rear. The engine is now
screwing a hose nipple in place. This method of retention ready for its first run , without its thrust nozzle and bear-
is very simple but quite adequate, since the combustion ing loading spring.
chamber itself is located by the nozzle guide vane system.
When assembling the parts it is important to ensure that Running the engine for the first time
the auxiliary gas feed tube projects correctly into one of
the vaporiser tubes. Initial test runs of your new model jet engine should
You can now fit the compressor in the housing com- be made using propane gas. Propane is ideal for testing
plete with the shaft tunneL Twist a length of tetlon tape since it burns well in the combustion chamber and is
to form a cord , and lay the cord in the channel easy to meter. If possible use a S kg propane bottle in
machined in the compressor cover. However. a good conjunction with the matching solder gun attachment.
alternative is to use a small rubber band. When placed in Smaller bottles and gas cartridges will give you problems
oil the rubber swells slightly and provides a reliable seal. starting your turbine; the system must be capable of sup-
Wrap a layer of insulating tape over the outside . plying full gas pressure. Fittings for camping apparatus
Insulating tape is quite sufficient for initial experiments at are just not up to the job. Run the gas to the kerosene
low pressure. feed connection. To start the engine you will also need a
The next step is to fit the shaft/turbine wheel assem- starter fan or compressed air. In fact you can set the
bly into the engine from the rear. I ;se a feeler gauge to rotor spinning just by blowing into it. but this does take
check that the running clearance is an even 0. 2S mm. a little practice. The more powerful the airtlow, the more
Screw the compressor on the shaft , but leave it only likely it is that your first attempt at starting will be suc-
hand-tight for the moment. You will find that you quickly cessfuL Vacuum cleaner fans have proved excellent
get used to the left-hand thread. The last stage is to install starters. Other equipment you will need includes a U-
the thrust nozzle. Two or three screws in the flange of tube filled with water to measure compressor pressure.
the nozzle guide vane system are sufficient to hold the This should be connected to an unused pressure nipple
nozzle in place. The screws or studs should be fitted in in the housing. One centimetre of water column corre-
such a way that plenty of thread projects at the rear. sponds to one millibar. Le. O.OOt bar. Obviously an oil

lIIudelje/ EIlf!,i lles 85

12* 0 5 Part 8
24*03 , (countersunk) 12 holes 0 6.5

ParI 9 24* 0 2,5 12* f2!.3,5 ,- , countersunk

Part 8.1 , , Spot-welded
. Part9.2 ~-' _l.........: ~tr-. -=-l"-,---,- -
Part8.4 _ Part 10.1
- Spot-welded
12* 0 3,5 (countersunk
24*01,5 } andwithoffset) -. - - - 68 --_._-

, !..-l ,
24* 0 2 1 r 24* 0 6.5
' \'rcountersunk:) '.
____--. -
--- 73 -----.-+;.,
.- - - . - 93 - - - -., --;-- . -
-- 50 - - - ---.,
-,..1 0 -4 ! ,
- 36 - ----?-: I

ii- 17..- 37 ---7l

44 -----;-'
'-12* 0
25 -=----:;>j
~ ,

10 .
;E-~---- 63 ---

o 0 o
o '0
0 0
o o

o 0 0 0
0 40 0 0

Part 9.1
0 0 0
- 0 100 <:::> 0
78 ')

Part 10.1 Top view 0/ Part 8

- Spot-welded
Clips to Part 8.2
centre the
1 combustor
c ---':>- B (3 times
around the
0 80

Part 10.2 - Fuel line, leaves
the engine
through the
cover or the

Cross-section A-B (enlarged)

Open up
Bend the slick the inlet

Part 8.4
30° ~~k:' --45 --'- ~:,! 1. 8
Half o/the needle is pushed into - ~- ~------------
the ring (10.1) ~ 68 -----~--~~~

Combustion chamber.

86 ModelJet Engines
supply must he provided to the bearings. Pour about 20 obvious that the temperature distribution is very uneven
ml of hicycle oil or sewing machine oil into a ~mall pres- just by looking at the engine, or if flames are visible, then
sure tank with a dip pipe. This in turn is connected to the you should check over the combustion chamber in gener-
engine's housing pressure via a second connection, so al, paying particular attention to the injector ring. Don't
that oil is automatically pumped into the luhrication sys- attempt to run the engine on kerosene until the engine
tem. A plastic hottle with a screw cap makes a good oil runs satisfactorily on propane gas.
tank. This temporary oil system will he dispensed when
the engine is run on kerosene. Bench running stand for kerosene
Mount the engine on a base in the open air using two
mounting straps made of thin sheet steel. You don't need
a thrust gauge at this stage . Connect everything to the You will need a stable test stand to run up the engine
engine: oil, pressure gauge and finally the propane. Ask to maximum rotational speed. This should be designed
your assistant to stand behind the engine so that he can for running the engine on kerosene, i.e. it must be fitted
observe the turhine wheel. During the starting procedure with a suitable fuel metering system. Please read the
it should not glow brighter than cherry-red. chapter on safety before you carry out any test nms with
The actual starting procedure is simple : use the kerosene. In particular, ensure that nobody is standing in
starter's airflow to set the rotor spinning, then take the the rotational plane of the rotating parts before the
fan away , open the
throttle slightly and light
the gas mixture at the Part 15 Part 20 Part 15.2
exhaust with a match .
The flame should run Pm-t 15.1 Spun, without
back into the comhus- specialformer or
tion chamher with a radius
charactc::ristic .. plop "
sound, at which point When assembled
you should immediately the Ileedle should Pari 15.4
open the throttle a little lie illS ide of a stick
further and switch the C lIO 05 !0 8~90 0 4.1
fan on again . You will ,---,,' .
b.....:......-. ...
clearly see and hear
rotational speed and Part 15.4
pressure rise . If every-
thing is in order and the 0 4 Part 15.3
housing pressure pro- Part 18
D (6 times Part 15.3
duces at least a 30 cm
m-ound the
column of water , you
~ 04 ~ ~
4 periphery)
can safely switch off the 12
fan. The engine should
now run with a quiet "8 ~
whistle , the tips of the 18
turbine wheel blades M4,7deep6 130
glowing dull red. If 0 110
- 7- times
vibration occurs or one 0 117
of the wheels is audibly 3 -~cTfp--. • '~
fouling the casing , cut ~' I

off the gas supply 1'7l 4 ~ R8
immediately in order to
avoid damage. You JU . 0 71
now have to estahlish
- fZ( 66
the cause of the problem
and eliminate it. If the tSl
shaft runs freely and
2-3 mm ....
without vibration but the ~
engine still does not
work, there are a num-

ber of points to check. - 42 RI6,7

The blade profile in the
nozzle guide vane system
and on the turbine
wheel must be reason- For sealillg
ably accurate , and this
should be checked.
\' 't,m
. - 12 - aflddeep .~ "'" 0 2,5
Another possible prob-
lem area is the combus-
tion chamber. If it is

.Hudeljet Engines 87
Tile illjector rillg being tested 011 proptme gtls.

engine is first run up to spenl. The safe places to stand Tbe engi#le call easily be dismalltled illto a small
are in front of and behind the engine. 1lumber of compollents.

Pumps, tanks and other equipment known as a plasticiser. but in the course of time the
The test stand should be fitted with a fuel tank of gen- kerosene washes it out of the material. As a result the
erous size. i.e. a capacity of about one litre of liquid. It hose hardens after a few months, but this only seems to
must also be resistant to petrol, diesel fuel and kerosene. make the material stronger, if anything.
A plastic lawn mower tank works very well for our pur- Kitchen scales mounted on the test stand are the e;lsy
poses. Fit a fuel filter between the tank and the pump. way to measun: the engine's thrust. and you will need a
Car petrol filters and the larger types of model engine fil- pressure gauge. The pressure gauge is connected to the
ter are equally suitahle. The fuel pump should be of the vacant pressure nipple on the engine housing. It nenls ;1
geared variety. Various examples are available commer- measurement range of up to 1 . " bar, and since its
cially . but unfortunately not all pumps ;Ire resistant to accuracy has implications for the safe running of the
kerosene. As a general nIle we recommend brass-geared engine, WI: recommend that you chl:ck that it gives a real-
pumps. and the Kavan version in particular has proved to istk reading. The model jet engine itself should be
be a good choice. This is only available with a 12-Volt mounted on a carriage fitted with worn-our ball races as
motor. but even with seven cells it provides plenty of wheels. The other hose connections to the engine will
injector pressure. To control the pump we use an electric make hardly any difference to thmst readings. As soon as
flight speed controller or an adjustable regulated voltage the enginl: is producing substantial levels of thrust the
power supply. carriage should be secured to the test stand with a chain,
There must be a fuel valve between the fuel pump
and the engine. and the valve must provide reliahle and T1:Jis starter was ",acle from tlJe remaills of a car
fine control . Air valves designed for aquarium use are l'aCUUIII cleaner. it is ,wt very' poweiful, alld has to
very good, and you will be able to obtain suitahle hose be plclCet/ directly agaillst the ellgi1le ill order to
material from the same supplier. A cheap and simple solu- start it.
tion to the fuel hose problem is PVC tubing, which
resists jet fuel well . This type of hose incorporates what is

A cOlIl'erted vacuum cleaner IIulke . . an excellellt

starter fa".

88 .Hodel Jet Ellg i nes

Pump Filter



7 to 121'

Diagram of the engine connections on the test stand.

as we don't particularly want to su' the engine cartwheel- valve to the point where the housing pressure rises to at
ing across the meadow . least 0.1 bar. This pressure corresponds to a rotati(lnal
speed of slightly more than 3'; ,000 rpm . The idle speed of
Running the engine on kerosene the engine should be set to this value.
When a jet engine is running on kero~ene you should The engine can now he slowly run up to speed. As
he aware that its rotational speed is solely dependent on with the initial test nllls it is important at this stage to
the metering of the fuel. There is simply no such thing as observe the turbine wheel using a mirror. Normally the
a jet engine ' s maximum rotational speed. What this
means is that it is quite easy to exceed the maximum The test stalld after a test nltl. Friendly relatiolls
permissible speed by being careless. If the power rises with the Oll'tler cifthefield are essellticlL
to this extent the usual result from the engine is that the
turbine blades distort and foul the casing. It is vital that
you monitor the housing pressure by keeping one eye
on the pressure gauge , or, if you have one , the rev
counter. Later on, when the engine is installed in a model
aircraft , the power of the injector pump has to be
restricted to exclude the possibility of the engine
"nmning away".
The next step is to fill the fuel tank with Jet Al
kerosene . To lubricate the bearings add 30 ml of two-
stroke oil to each litre of kerosene. If you cannot obtain
kerosene, diesel fuel can also be used. The lubrication
feed is completed using a T-piece connected with trans-
parent tubing, so that you can see directly whether the
system is working properly. A good material is the PVC
hose used to actuate retractable undercarriages. Once
everything is wired up as shown in the diagram, you can
start the turbine. The first step is to connect the propane
to the appropriate nipple on the casing . Switch on
the starter fan and ignite the engine as previously. As
soon as the flame is alight in the combustion chamber,
start the fuel pump and carefully open the metering
valve. The turhine's speed will now rise rapidly. At the
same time the pressure gauge starts to deflect, and the
carriage runs against the thrust gauge. The fan and the
starting gas are now no longer needed. Open the fuel

Mode/jet Engines 89
model jet engine is just as
simple as starting a good
model piston engine.

instructions for
The desire for power
and then more power is
omni-present amongst
modellers. If you want to
increase the engine ' s
thrust there are two pos-
sible approaches:
Making the existing
engine more powerful ,
or simply building a larg-
er version. In my opin-
ion the:: latter route
probably offers the bet-
ter prospect. At least in
theory we could sqm:eze
a little more power out
of the engine presented
The Micro-Turbille ,..,,,ming almost atfull tbrotlle on the test stand. here - by raising the gas
temperature:: and the
exhaust temperature falls as rotational speed rises, and rotational speed - but this would undoubtedly require
eventually no glow will be visible. Engine speed can now more complex technology which would take the engine
be increased succeSSively over the course of several nlflS, well out of the scope of the amateur workshop.
remembering to check the engine briefly every time you The following section gives details of the esse ntial
start it, and to listen for unusual noises. If your turbine is dimensions and cross-sectional areas relating to model jet
made of stainless steel, the maximum housing pressure engines. This information should enable the modeller
should not exceed 0 .: bar. With other special heat-resis- with prior experience of jet engines to build a model jet
tant mate rials YOll should call a halt at a maximum of 1 engine based on any turbocharger rotor. This approach
bar to presl:rve the bearings. as thb figure corresponds to exploits the fact that most compressor wheels of this
around )05 ,000 rpm at standard temperature and pres- type:: usually exhibit similar geometry, and the::refore their
sllre . characteristic values are also similar. Of course, the for-
Once YOll have completed a few test nms, starting the mulae stated here cannot be expected to coincide exactly
engine becomes purely a matter of routine. The impor- with the throughputs and pressures produced by differ-
tant point is to acquire a feeling for when the fan is e nt wheels. For this reason I cannot guarantee that the
needed, and when the turhine is able to run lip to speed gas nlmine you make will necessarily work. That is why I
under its own power. With a little practice starting a added the caveat "With prior experience"' when I men-
tioned the possibility of building a larger engine, so that
EI'e1l at a compressor pressure of 0.85 bar tbe the constructor has a fighting chance:: of correcting any
t/]ru.<;t gauge is almost at its maximum. mismatches. If you are lucky enough to have access to a
performance graph relating to the turbocharger compres-
sor in question you should naturally base your calcula-
tions on this valuable information.
Turbocharger wheels of suitable size:: are:: lIse::d in lorry
engine turbochargers, and individual components may be
obtained from engine repairers or lorry, and
Gill e::ven be purchased as replacement parts for tur-
bochargers. Wheels with retro-curved blades are always
preferable. The crucial dimensions are the:: blade:: height h
at the wheel outlet and the wheel diameter d2. The high-
er these figures, the higher the throughput and the higher
the:: thrust.
We strongly recommend that the modeller should base
his design on all the dimensions s hown in the
drawings, including those declared to b e critical. For
example, if you use a 9U mm diameter wheel you would
lise a scale factor of 90/66 = 1.364. The diameter of the
holes in the combustion chamber should be increased

90 ModelJet Ellp,ines
Table of critical diameters and angles

Compressor type:
Retro-curved rotor blades Radially tipped rotor blades
Given : dbh Given: d b h
d ~ = 1.12 X d , d 3 = 1.1 x d z
d> 1.67 xd;
a = 21 0
d 4 =1.7 x d z
a = I!:l°
No. of blades = I R No. of blalles = IS

Combustion challlber. scaling factors

For holes For holes
f = ~(3030 x d2 x h) f = (2600 xdz x h)
No. of hooked tubes [18,200 xdl xhl No. of hooked tubt:s = [16000 x d z x hI

Turbine NGV system

da=dz da=d l
d , = ~'
( d- - 2---6-.S- x- d- - x-h-) d ; = ~'(d-z-2---S-.3- x-d-z-x-h-)
l 2

a ng\" =.~O O anl"= 30"

No. of blades II or 13 No. of blades 1 I. 13 or 17

Turbine Wheel
d,,=d2 - 2 x Gap - 0 ,99xd d,,=d! - 2 x Gap = 0 ,99 x d z

d; = ~(d/ -7.2xd 2 xh) d ; =~(d / -5.S x d2x h)

aWheel = ~4°

No. of blades 19 or 21 No. of blades 21 or 23

by the factor stated in the formula. although the numher a correspondingly thick shaft and bearings. 1Tnder no cir-
of holes can be left unchanged . Only the number of cumstances is it permissible to make modifications to the
"walking sticks" and air jets needs to be calculated sepa- wheel itself, as this would have a serious effect on its abil-
rately, using the stated formula. The geometry of the ity to withstand high rotational speeds.
hooked pipes and the air jets can be left unchanged. You
can expect a rise in thmst of at least 13642 = I .S6 times The Micro-Turbine at moderate rotational speed.
provided that the compressor wheel is of similar geome- You can see that there is 1l0thillg to see. The
try . Since the efficiency of larger wheels is significantly exhaw.t gas temperature is 550°C - so lOll' that the
higher you might expect a thrust of more than 60 turbille wheel is 1l0t glowillg alld 110 flames are
Newtons. If you can achieve a reduction in exhaust gas visible.
tempt:rature you can even use a convergent exhaust
All data should he stated in the same units, i.e. metric
units. The formulae listed here are based on an engine
with a nominal peripheral speed of 300 m/s.
Tht: maximum rotational speed will be lower, again by
the scale factor we have calculatt:d. [n our example, if a
special heat-resistant steel is used for the turbine, it will
be 104,000/1 .364 = 77,000 rpm , and correspondingly
less if the turbine material is of lower quality. If you mn
the t:ngine at a higher speed it is essential to re-calculate
the shaft 's bending critical speed . Many compressor
wheels feature reinforcements on their rear face . As a
result they are high in mass and their centre of gravity is
in an unfavourable position. To achieve a sufficiently high
bending critical speed it would then he nect:ssary to use

:l1odelJet Engines 91
Compressor wheel Turbine wheel
--- r----

- II ~; - ----


Compressor diffuser system Turbine diffuser system

1- - --- d J - - - --

1-- - - - - - - d 4 - - - - - - - _ 1

Geometrical data related to formulae taken from general instructions.

manage to reduce the gas tempc::r.tture to helow 600 C, 0

Optimising the peiformance of model you can exploit this to produce thrust hy narrowing tIlt:
jet engines exhaust cone. This raises the tempt:rature again slightly.
In this section we will consider all the techniques we hut the engine's eftlux speed rises, and the result is more
can try in order to make a small gas turbine even more thmst.
powerful. All this information is basl:"d un thl:" assumption In our experience you can expect the greatest
that the system already works, and you have already improvement in the running characteristics of a mooel jet
gained some experience in handling the jl:"t engine. engine by optimising the comhustion chamber. The Hot
There are two hasic methods of increasing a jet Spots, which manifest themselvl:"s as small areas of the
engine's thmst - at least in principle: increasing the maxi- housing glowing ominously, should he systematically
mum rutational speed and raising overall effickncy , so eradicated. For tht: same rt:ason you should use a ther-
that more enth;Ilpy is availahle to produce thrust. mometer to attempt to pin-point areas which are partiClI-
Increasing engine speed presents prohlems. For a brief larly cold, i.e. where the gas is doing almost nothing to
period any model jct engine will certainly cope with high- push the turhine rOllnd, and make efforts to eliminate
er speeds, but the inevitahle result is a considerable short- them. The hest method here is to adjust the curvature of
ening of its useful life. Usually it is the hearing~ and the the hooked pipes using a pair of pliers, and then re-test
turhine wheel which are affected in this way. Therdore it the system. A test run with propane gas is usually ade-
makes sense to limit ourselves to improvements in effi- quate for this purpose.
ciency. How the hooked tubes should be curved, and in
The best indicator of the overall dficiency of the rotor which direction, depends on the circumstances in your
system, including that of the compressor and the turbint: particular engine. and the only way to find out is to
and mechanical losses, is the exhaust gas temperature. experiment. If YOll lise a comhustion chamber with a
Any Improvements in the engine can be monitored tubular vaporiser coil, as shown in Kurt Schreckling's
simply hy measuring the exhaust temperature . If you drawings, you can lise his method of combatin~ hot

92 M()c/e/Jel Ellg illes

The Mi,,;-Turbh,e nfter optimisillg tbe exiJallsl
cOile. It prOl'ed possible to i"creclses tbe e"gille's
Tbe ellgille If'ilb €I short exllnusl cOile. Tile sligbl(, thrust by aboul 10% ".iJislllwilltai"b'g €Ill
Inrger cross-seL"liolwl nren men1ls tlml tlJe efflllx npproxi",nte(J' COllstl",t exl1nust gas tempernture.
...peed ntfllilibrottle W€lS Oll{J' nbout 230 ",/~...
cates (00 great a reaction level. Narrowing the cross-sec-
spots, ix. adjusting the air inlets in the com oust ion cham- tion of the turhine nozzlt:: guide vane system whilst
oer and narrowing the injector openings with wire. You enlarging the rotor cross-section should then remedy tht"
can congratulate yourself on ouilding a good comoustion situation . Both effl:cts can he achieved by modifying the
chamoer if the maximum variation in tht" average exhaust hlade height or the blade angle. If there is a residual swirl
gas temperature is less than IOOOK. You cannot improve in the direction of rotation the opposite remedy is appro-
the quality of a combustion chamber by drilling additional priate. Minor expe limental corrections can be Glrried out
holes at random points. Quite the contrary: comoustion by bending the blades with pliers. Usually just a few
chambers with roo large an opening area usually refuse to degrees makes all the difference. If you wish to obtain an
work at all. overall idea of the now conditions inskk your engine it
Another method of improving efficiency is to work as may be ht::lpful to plot the vector diagram of each stage.
accurately as you possibly can when constructing the If you complete the optimisation procedures outlined
engine. Thb applies in particular to those areas of the abovc and thereby succeed in reducing the exhaust gas
engine where gas flows at high speed. The compressor temperature significantly, you can exploit tht" engine 's
diffuser system is especially critical in this respect. The extra potential by fitting a slightly narrower exhaust
transition from the compressor to the fixed diffuser vane cone . This increases the outflow speed and thrust ,
bearer shOUld be as smooth and even as pOSSible. Tht" dif- although you have to take into account the inevitable
fuser blades should taper to a point front and rear and residual ~wirl of the gases and the turhulence behind the
should all begin at the stated angle. Polishing the com- turhine whed.
pressor does not help matters. On the one hand the sur- If at all possiblt::, it is best not to reduce the outside
face soon loses its shine due to sucknl-in oil residues and diameter of the exhaust cone to avoid the gases acct::lerat-
dust. and on the other a healthy degree of roughness ing in the direction of the swirl. as the result would be an
hdps to prevent the airtlow hecoming detached. effective narrowing of the cross-sectional area due to the
In the turbine area a further significant improvement non-axial throughflow of the cone, and a resultant rise in
in efficiency can be gained by reducing the running gap gas temperature. A more sensible option is to narrow the
of the turbine. However. if the gap width is less than 0.2<; nozzle by enlarging the inner cone. Once again you will
mm you have really done all you can. In fact the tumine have to resort to experimentation. and in any case you
whed itself offers greater potential, and the turbine should not allow the maximum exhaust gas temperature
expert can aim at an improvement in airtlow deflection to rise above 6'50 0 C at filII throttle.
by making the base of the turbine blades thicker.
However, making such a whed is not for the faint-heart-
Ol\:cking the match be[ween the turbine and tht" com-
pressor is a sensibk aim, but it is difficult to do accuratdy
and in any case is only possible within certain limits using
amateur equipment. The aim is to discover whether the
rotor wheels are operating close to their optimum effi-
ciency . This generally requires the use of sophisticated
test stands to record the characteristic curves of the COIll-
pressor and turbine. However. gross errors in matching
the wheds in a modd jet engine can he picked up easily
once you have gained a little experience. A small sht"{:" t
Illetal tlag can he usnl [0 check the direction of the gas
flowing out hehind the turbine wheel. A minor swirl
angle of up to I '5 0 in the direction opposite to turbine
rotation is normal. A greater reverse swirl usually indi-

.I1udeIJet Ellg illes

Chapter 3

The Engine in Practice

safety: the First Commandment You, the moddler. must he aware of this fact, and
operate the power controller with a corresponding
In principle model jet engines are safe power plants degree of caution at all times. The fud supply system
which can he considered as general-purpose modd should be deSigned in such a way that it is impossihle to
engint:s. A piston engine has an integral haz;lrd in the feed a significant excess of fuel to the engine . When
shape of a whirling propeller, but all the rotating parts of installed in a model the engine must be limited reliably
a jet engine are safely hidden inside the housing. This to its maximum safe rotational speed. The voltage
eliminates one very typical modelling injury at the outset. of the fuel pump battery should be no higher than is
Nevertheless, the engine's revolving parts do represent a necessary.
hazard , and a number of hasic rules must he horne in Om: prohlem in this regard is the process used to start
mind when you are huilding and operating this type of jet engines. Any fud which is not immediately ignited
power plam. Every engine fitted with an airscrew is sup- tends to collect in the housing, and when the engine first
plied with a dire warning ahout standing in the rotational fims up to speed the excess fuel hums, and the engine
plane of the revolving parts, and every propeller comes "runs away". For this reason a flooded jet engine must he
packed with a similar note of caution. It is simply very tipped "on its nose hefore any further attempt at start-
dangerous to stand in that position under any circum- ing, so that residual fuel can run out. Care is also called
stances, and the same applies to the model jet engine. for when you ~"Witch types of fuel. Geared pumps operate
Any particle sucked into the engine, or - worse still - a at much higher pressures with viscous diesel oil than they
fractured turhine blade always flies off to one side of the do with petrol or kerosene.
engine. You should therefore never hend over the run- The following points should also be taken into
ning engine or allow spectators to stand in the hazardous account if you are running your own , home-built
zone - especially if the engine is an experimental unit. If engine: the rotor wheels must be fixed securely on the
this is not possihle, then the model jet engine must not shaft; there must he no danger at all of tbem coming
he fim at high rotational speed. The safest places are in loose. The only way of ensuring this with a right-hand
front of the engine and behind it. rotation engine is to use left-hand threads. Self-locking
Another important point is that model jet engines nuts and/or locknuts are just not up to the job! AS soon as
must be firmly mounted when they are heing fim. Keep the rotor system starts vibrating the solid connection
the immediate environment in front of the intake opening between compressor and drive shaft will tend to loosen.
free of dirt, tools and other small items at all times, as If the compressor wheel comes adrift , the immediate
these engines develop considerahle suction power and reduction in load causes the turbine and shaft to acceler-
happily suck in all possihle ruhhish, with blade damage ate, and in a fraction of a second they are spinning at a
the usual result. dangerously high speed.
Jet engines should only he run in the open air. It is The turhine wheel itself should always be made from
tme that kerosene is very difficult to ignite with a flame, a perfect, unhlemished sample of sheet steel, which
but on the other hand fuel-soaked halsa wood hums won- should have the highest possible resistance to high tem-
derfully well. It is essential to keep a fire extinguisher or peratures . This should guarantee that you are using
at least a fire blanket to hand at all times. Carbon dioxide fault-free material. If you art:: using a cast wheel. you can
extinguishers have proved a good choice in practice only enjoy this sense of security if the casting material
since they usually cause no damage to the model. If there has been approved specifically for gas turbines, and if
is a fire risk in hot. ~Iry Summer conditions - don 't fly the wheel itself has been checked. If you are not Sllre,
your jet model. under no circumstances should you use the component.
The most dangerous characteristic common to all jet Cavities , hubhles and casting faults can result in the
engines is their tendency to "run away", or run out of whole wheel bursting, which could easily be the cause
control up to an excessive speed. In principle these of a fatal accident. Nickel-based alloys in sheet form and
engine; have no natural maximum rotational speed. If the high-alloy nickel-chrome steels are outstandingly tough
throttle is opened without restraint any gas turbine will materials , and before the material actually fails it
accelerate until some component or other cannot with- expands considerahly. This means that over-revving the
stand the stress and fails. In model jet engines the weak- turbine causes the whole wheel to expand , at which
est component is generally the turbine wheel. If the point the hlades foul the housing and jam the rotor. As a
engine is already mnning close to its maximum speed it result rotor wheels made of these tough steds have,
does not even matter in what form the fuel reaches the within certain limits, a built-in safety margin . In my
nlrbine. Even liquid kerosene sucked into the compressor experience to date any blade fractures that have
will be burned. occurred have heen a result of mechanical prohlems,

94 MaddIel Enf!,illes
and are completely unspectacular in nature . Indivi- without expensive special equipment, in which case you
dual broken blades have no chance of breaking through have to be satisfied with measuring engine pressure. It is
the turbine casing. although this only applies if you also possible to record the rotational frequency acousti-
ensure that the turbine 's rotational plane coincides exact- cally with the help of video or audio recording equip-
ly with the mounting flange which acts as containment. ment. The whistle of the engine is the result of oscillation
This is your responsibility when you are building the at the frequency of the rotor's rotation . Using an oscillo-
engine. scope or a reference tone from your home computer it is
possible to determine the engine's rotational speed with
Measuring the engine's peiformance great accuracy.
data Measurements for the advanced operator
If you wish to optimise the performance of a gas tur- If you require more information about your engine
bine it is essential that you gather its basic thermo- you have to disentangle the web of data by measuring
dynamic data. You cannot hope to carry out sensible other values and calculating derived parameters .
modifications until you have an accurate idea of what is Accurate nleasurement of a model jet engine's exhaust
actually happening in the model jet engine . Thus the gas temperature is much more complicated than any-
systematic recording of all operational data acts both as thing discussed so far. When we were building the first
an aid to you and as a means of monitoring progress. jet engines this value was estimated simply from the
The main problem for the amateur when trying to keep colour of the glowing turbine blades . However, this
track of this ever-changing data is the limited equipment method is imprecise and. of course, limited to wheels
in his workshop. Even so, if you are as accurate as you which are actually glowing. A low-cost hand-held
can be when measuring pressure, temperature and thnlst thermometer can be used to measure temperatures up to
you can make reasonable deductions regarding the 1000 ° C and more , but you should be aware of a
actual gas flow inside your engine. Some of the thermo· number of snares lurking for the unwary. Secondary air
dynamic data , such as pressure ratio and exhaust quickly penetrates the exhaust gas stream and cools it
temperature, can be measured directly; others - such down, and in daylight the result can be falsified by flames
as efflux speed and mass throughput - can only be which are impossible to see in bright conditions. The
calculated. best method is to take measurements at various points
immediately aft of the thmst nozzk and then calculate
Rotational speed, pressure and thrust the arithmetic average value.
These are the fundamental data for a model jet engine, It would he extremely interesting to be able to mea-
and they can all be measured directly. A set of scales for
measuring thnlst and a pressure gauge to check housing For complex measurements. in tbis case
pressure should be available on the engine test stand at combustion clJamber pressure loss, up to sel'en
all times, and they should be monitored constantly in connectiolls are IIulde to tbe ellgille.
order to nip in the bud any tendency for the engine to
over-rev. For pressure measurements please note that the
pressure take-off nipple should be located in such a posi-
tion that it opens into an area of the housing where the
gas flow speed is low. Measuring pressure in the com-
r .-
pressor area can give deceptive results since the gas
speed and pressure are not uniformly distributed immedi-
ately aft of the compressor diffuser system. For low pres-
sure monitoring you can certainly use a water-filled
U-tube, but you will otherwise require a pressure gauge
with a measurement range of around 1. '5 bar. Gauges
designed for use in heating systems have proved to be a
good choice. The reading is generally stated in metres of
water column, whereby ten metres of water column cor-
respond to one bar. The unit of thmst is the Newton, and
one Newton corresponds to the weight force of a bar of
chocolate (IOU g chocolate and 2 g packing). If you use
kitchen scales as a thmst meter and would like to obtain
a tme result, take the displayed figure in kilogrammes
and multiply by a factor of 9 .81.
Measuring the engine ' s rotational speed is a little
more difficult. BaSically a simple optical rev-counter
designed for piston engine propellers Gill be used. with
the front balance mark on the compressor rotor wheel
serving as the sensor marker. For the rev-counter to
work well this marker must be lit by a concentrated
beam of light, and shrouded from any disturbing stray
light. You will have to multiply the reading by the num-
ber of blades, bearing in mind that some rev-counters
include modes for two- or three-bladed propellers. In
bright sunlight it is very difficult to take measurements

M odel.Jet Engines 95
sure temperatures inside the engine itself, and indeed this
information would he necessary if you wanted to estah-
lish the dficiency of individual stages. However, the heat The cross-sectional area of the exhaust cone to he used
radiated hy the glowing combustion chamber walls should be reduced by IO'!'-. to allow for the influence of
would lead to suhsmmial errors in the measurt:ment rt::ad- the boundary layer and the residual swirling motion of
ings. Investigations on much larger engines than ours give the gas. The ave::rage outflow speed can now be found
inaccurate results even when radiation -shielded ther- from the values for throughput and thrust. At this puint
mometlTs are usn\. the continuity e::(juation allows us to calculate the:: flow
With industrial gas turbines calihrated venturi nozzles spenl for any cross-sectional area. The::se formulae are::
are used to measure engine throughput. In tl1(: model particularly useful in so far as the::)' allow us to che::ck the
arena sueh eomplexity is not appropriate; the eominuity cOll1pre::ssor's supply value.
equation which states that: It can also he productive:: and worthwhile to e::stablish
the engine's filel consumption. All you ne::ed to do is set
ril=A x p x C up a calibrated cylinder as a fuel tank, then you Gill use a
stopwatch to measure consumption ve::ry accurately
applies at the outlet of the exhaust cone, and the gas den- under diffe::re::nt operating conditions.
sity ean he calcuJatnl from the measured exhaust temper- To find the:: actual consumption figure for model flying
ature. \Ve abo know that the engine 's thrust is found we just have:: to multiply the fuel volume:: by the COITe::-
from sponding fluid de::nsity. lllis gives ;1 gmx.l idea of the size
of fuel tank you will need in your model.
F=lil x C Another interesting value:: is specific fud consumption,
which tells us how many kilogrammes of fuel art: con-
Kurt Sehreekling states that a simple formula can be sumed pe::r hour and per Newton of thrust. This value
deriyed from these equations to give engine throughput: will v;lry widely according to the:: engine 's rotational


Parameter Fonnulae Unit

Peripheral spe::etl: 1I = n x d z x n / 60 m/s

Pressure ratio:
p=J> { T / R
Gas density kg/m.~

til = F / C = ~(A x F x P)
Throughput: kg/s
C=F / ril= ~(F / A / p
Omtlow spent: m/s

Specific fuel consumption : b, = ri1" x 3600/F kg/N .h

.It't powe::r: Watt

Burning efficiency:

Pressun: level (compressor):

Specific thrust: F/Engim: mass N/kj;\

Measured parameters and constants

n = Rotational spe::ed rpm

P,i = Exce::ss hOllsing pressure:: Pascal (N/m!) I Pa= 0.0 I mbar
PII = Atmosphe::fic pre::s~ure Pascal (N/m!) I Pa = 0.0 I mbar
A = Nozzle cro~s-sectional are::a m 1 (See description)
F = Engine:: thrust N

ril = fuel Consumption kg/s

T. = Exhallst gas te::mperature:: Kelvin
Til = Inlet Temperature Kelvin
R = Gas constant for air 2H7J/kg/K
C p = Specific heal of air 1000./lkg/K
hllll = SpeCific heat of fuel .1:).3 MJlkg (for Jet A I kcrosene)

speed, as specific consumption is much lower at higher precise airspeed at which the jet aircraft exhibits superi-
pressure ratios and eftlux speeds. Nevertheless it remains ority d e p ends on the circumstances prevailing at the
true that a model jet engine at full throttle requires two time, and as a result it will probably neve r be possible to
or three times as much kerosene per Newton of thmst as give a n answer which is valid in general terms to the
other engines of comparable size. question of which engine is better. The answer depends
It is even possible to relate the quantity of heat which on what the individual modeller expects from his model.
is fed to the air in the combustion chamber to the calorif- For example, it is not tme that a jet aircraft must be t10wn
ic value of the fuel used. This calculation gives us the effi- fast at all times. If you can keep the wing loading of your
ciency of the fuel burning process in the combustion model down to a sufficiently low level, je t flying can even
chamber, whereby the converted calorific power corre- be recommended for the relative beginner to model fly-
sponds to the sum of the power from exhaust heat and ing. Speaking personally, I made my first ever powered
jet power. The burning efficiency of the Mino-Turbine flights with a turbine aircraft. It was not until several
rises with increasing rotational s peed and reaches just months late r that I first flew a "normal-- piston-engined
over <)0% at full throttle, taking into account measuring model. thanks to a friendly colleague.
inaccuracies . Thus about }(l% of the fuel kaves rhe
engine unused. Industrial miniature gas nlrbines achieve a How jet engines behave in flight
burning efficiency of more than ')9.5%, so there is certain- The thrust of a model jet engine increases slowly as
ly scope for improvement. the model's airspeed rises. In order to produce any form
of forward power the engine must suck air into itself and
Using jet engines in model aircraft give it an impulse in the oppOSite direction to the model's
flight . Since air enters the model at its c urre nt airspeed
Fundamental special features when the model is flying, the engine only produces use-
In comparison with propeller engines and powerful ful thrust if the outflow speed exceeds the airspeed.
impellers (ducted fans) the thrust produced by the Dynamic thrust can be calculated as follows:
model jet engine seems to he on the low side. At take-
off the model jet certainly appears to he inferior to a pro- F=m x(c-v)
peller aircraft . However, static thrust is entirely inap· <: Exhaust speed in m/s
propriate as a means of comparing the effectivent:ss of v = Airspeed in m/s
these different types of engine . Comparing a turbine- m Air throughput in kg/s
driven aircraft in this way would be like measuring the F Thmst in N
pt:rformance of a car which could only run in top gear.
The take-off performance may be no better than moder- Now we only need to understand how the engine itself
ate . but a t high airspeeds the:: jet engine cannot be:: behaves in flight - especially in terms of throughput and
beaten . The performance characteristics of a outflow speed . The kinetic energy of the air flowing in
propeller-equipped model are exactly the opposite. Static can be exploite d if the inlet opening of the engine is
thrust is very high, but it falls off quickly with increasing designed carefully (i.e. the correct size). In this regard it
airspeed. makes no difference whether the engine is mounted
One possible method of comparing different types of inside the fuselage or on top of the aircraft, right in the
engine is flight performance under given conditions. The airflow . Don't imagine that what modellers call dynamic

Molurex 1 i" aclio". 1" spite ofils co"sert'ati,Je la)'out tbe model was "ot always good-natured ill tbe air.
(Photo: Kurt ScbreckU"g).

Mude!Jet Ellgllles 97
throughput increase slightly, they cannot compensate for
the loss of thrust. Even ~O , the speed of the gas flow is
around 100 m/s (360 km/hr) which is extremely high in
model terms, so in theory about 70%. of the static thntst is
still available:: to the model. In this respect jet engines
with characteristically high outflow speeds , such
as the Dutch Pegasus engine or the French JPX T240.
have the advantage.
In full-size jet aircraft there is a well-known phenome·
non of increasing thmst at high speeds, but this cannot be
duplicated in our models. We can also expect diminish-
ing thrust which only rises gradually above the initial
value when airspeeds exceed 300 m/s . The airspeeds
achieved in the modelling world are much too low to
have any significant effect on the engine. At a realistic
17Jree jet-powered models with a tolal offour jet model speed of SO m/s the dynamic pressure of the air
ellgilles. (Photo: Kurt Schreckli1lg). amounts to only about 0.01 S bar. You could only expect
to see a detectable differ-
ence if you placed the
model in a dive with the
engine throttled back .
Gas temperature then
falls off markedly .
although in practice th is
is not evident in any
other way.

Air intake design

You can expect to
improve the model ' s
tlight performance
slightly by optimising
the design of the intake
opening. For best results
careful profiling is nec-
essary in this area, but at
least you must ensure
that the jet engine is fed
sufficient air . If not it
will overheat. like a hair
dryer with a hand held
over the inle::t sidt . For
The powerful Pegasus ellgille moullted on a Heillkel Salamander. The eugine's everyday model flying
thrust sttbsta1lliall)' exceeds the weight of the model, etldowillg the mode/with a all you need to worry
llel)' cOl/llillCillgjlight peifonllallce. (Photo: Pttlse-Jet-Team Helmo1ld). about is making the
opening large enough.
pressure represents a build-up of air in front of tht The air mass which the engine requires is very small
engine. What actually happens is that there is a low pres- compared with a ducted fan system, so small cross-sec-
sure area immediatdy in front of the compressor whed tional areas are usua lly quite adequate . For scale:: jet
under normal circumstances, and this is eliminattd when models the scale:: intakt area is generally sufficknt. If it's
the mood is flying, as the air now flows into the engine big enough for the full-size, ft's likely to bt big enough for
naturally, The net result is an increase in gas density and us.
engine throughput. When the engine is operated statically the suction
What exactly happens next depends on the e ngine process always involves a loss in pressure. After all, the
control system. Some control systems enforce a constant pressurt inside tht aircraft'S fuselage must he lower.
maximum rotational spt:ed or a particular maximum pres- o therwise air would not flow in at all from outside. In the
sure when at full throttle. If we base our considerations worst case, i.e. when the airflow is totally turbulated by
on the simpkst case - a constant fuel supply - we the internal fittings in the fuselage, and the kinetic energy
achieve the maximum effect. Rotational spenl and prts- of the air cannot be exploited, we can estimate the t:ffect
sure ratio rise slightly as airspeed increases, until the as follows:
engine reachts a ~tate of equilibrium between compres-
sor power and turhine power. This equilibrium occurs at ~p p/(2 ,cL )
a slightly lower exhaust gas ttmperamre. p Air Jensity (approx. 1.22S kg/m ')
In overall terms the engine's dynamic thrust falls with c Air inlet speed in m/s
increasing airspeed. ~p Pressure differenct in Pascal (I ()() Pa = 1 mbar)
Calculations show that, although out-How speed and

98 JJo(/eiJet Engilles
This effect is termed inlet pressure loss, and the engine that speed more than 60% of the:: e::ne::rgy has already bee::n
must compensate for it. The compressor has to work converted rinto pressure].
slightly harder, which in the end results in a higher With a se::mi-scale or scale modd you are hound to
exhaust gas temperature. Of course. the exact tempera- the full -size machine 's intake size, but with a sports or
ture variations depend on the engine in use. With a pres- expe::rime::ntal model you can incorporate any type:: and
sure loss of I , OOO Pa (o . U I bar) the exhaust gas size of air ope::ning. The ideal form of inkt for a model jet
temperature of the Micro-Turbine is approximately 12° K would then be what is known as a ve::nturi. which con-
higher at full throttle when the inflow speed is 40 m/s. sists of a rounded nozzle ope::ning followed by an integral
This value is reasonahle for a modd jet. Now we can cal- diffuser. This form of intake:: gives good results in most
culate the minimum cross-sectional area of the inlet open- flight situations and does not incur a se::rious pressure
ing from the data we already know . The following loss. The airt10w speed at the narrowest point can then
continuity equation applies: be tuned to correspond to the:: modd 's expected maxi-
mum airspeed.
m=c x p x A==>A =m/clp=O.15/40/1.225
=0.00306m' = 30.6cm' Cooling the fuselage
Since modd jet engine::s are 110t usually what we might
call lightweight. they usually have to ht: installed close:: to
m Engine throughput at full throttle in kg/s the model's Centre of Gravity . As a result it is virtually
c Maximum inkt speed (here 40 m/s) inevitable that delicate parts of the model end up close to
p Air density (under normal conditions the hot exhaust gas flow . Good layouts for jet-engined
1.22'; kg/m3) model aircraft therefore include types with the CG a long
way back. and especially flying wings and canards, whe::re::
This cross-sectional area corresponds to an opening of the exhaust flow can leave:: the model quickly without
62.5 mm diameter, but take care - the calculate::d figure having a chance to burn the tail.
assumes a zero-loss airflow. This size of intake will there- However, for initial experiments I advise:: keeping to a
fore only work if the edges of the inlet are carefully model of conventional geometry unless you already
rounded. In contrast, if we are considering a scale jet have experiem.:e with flying wings and canards . It is
with a scale-sized air intake designed for high airspeeds, obviously important that the engine:: should be instalkd
then we have to take into account the tllrhuknce:: which in an open position where it is easily acce::ssible, and as
occurs during static nmning. The easy way to do this is to
correct the cross-sectional area by a value which we will A more docile model' tl:Je autl:Jor's jet-powered
call the contraction factor. If in douht you should certain- Moturex 2. Tl:Je fuselage air intake is 70 mm ill
ly douhle the calculated area, or measure the pressure diameter.
loss using a lJ-tuhe.
If the jet engine is to exploit the airflow to the full the::
airflow due 10 the model's motion must be:: slowed down
in a diffuser. This estahlishes a dynamic pressure:: in
the:: model's fuselage which varies with the:: square of the
model 's airspe::ed. At the:: same time:: the:: e::ne::rgy of the:: flow
is diminished . What this all hoils down to is that
the internal fittings in the:: modd aircraft's fusdage will
have little effect on the engine:: 's powe::r provided that
they do not reduce the cross-se::ctional are::a too much.
In consequence installing an air duct running directly
to the engine is of little value. In any particular case:: you
can me::asure the pressure:: loss easily. Much more impor-
tant is that you lock and secure all movable:: parts ,
screws and nuts, so that there is no chance of them
coming loose . Even a single:: scre::w sucked into the::
intake at full throttle coukl easily wreck the e ngine. For
the same reason it is
obviously essential to
clear away all traces of
soil and dirt from the::
mudd after an out-land-
ing in a fidd .
When designing an
intake diffuser it is
important that it should
open out at an angle of
no more than I 0 °,
otherwise the airflow
will break away , You
should aim at slowing
the airflow down to Flow restriction witl:J a sl:Jarp-edged intake.
about 2'; mis, since at

Mode/Jet ElIgilZes 99
Tbe tail pipe, used to duct tbe exbaust gases out of
tbe fuselage.

MJI latest model with V-tail

Otto Bruh,,'s twill-boom at ,ake off.

Micro-turbine in the tail of a RAe Hau'k.

TlJi.<i constructioll is "ery' easy to handle. The engine

is directlJ' belou' tbe wing.

far distant as possible from intlammable halsa wood. A

good lypical prototype is the Hdnkel Salamander, whose
engine is mounted ahove the wing. You can expect to A Fairchild A -JO will] two bome-built ellgines.
avoid all temperature prohlems with a model of this con-
figuration. exhaust cone. The greatest problem is that of ducting the
Concealing the engine inside the model's fu selage exhaust gas stream outside the model whilst incurring
presents far more prohlems, and GI.I1 therefore only he lowest possihle losses. A thmst pipe is used which works
recommended to the modeller who alread y has plenty of like an injector, drawing cooling air in with it. Such a sys-
experience under his hel t wi th jet engi n es. The main tem has a greater ove rall throughput, since the engine
problem is not caused hy the engine itself. The maxi- moves more air. This can be estimated from the follOWing
mum temperature of the engine's housing will he ahout formula:
120' C in the area of the compressor, and up to 2000 Cat
the tail end. The only parts which become really hot are
the turhine enclosure . the mounting flange and the

lOO Mode/Jet E Il!!,illes

Tbe North American FIOO Super S(lb,'e isjitted ll'ith (lfulI)' enclosed Schneider-Sanchez jet engine, The
poU'eiflilfan of (I c(lr l'(lClilim cielmer sttlrts the ellgille reliabl)" (Model alld photo: Kurt Scbreckling)

ing friendly relations with your model club's groundkeep-

ril,; Total throughput in kg/s er - is the position of the engine rdative to tht: ground.
rilT = Throughput of the engine in kg/s The hot exhaust gast:s hum the t1ying site's grass strip in
TA Exhaust gas tempe::rature:: of tht: engint: in Kelvin an instant. Initially the grass stays green, but a day later it
Ts Temperature at the end of the thmst pipe will start to show a hrown discoloration. Tht: jt:t engine
To = Inlet tt:mpt:raturt: in my Moturex ] experimental model was inclined slight-
ly down towards the strip at take-off. For several days
The new throughput must Ix: takt:n into account wht:n after my initial flights we could see burned areas with
designing the inkt opt::nings. which will n :suh in corre- adjoining hrown stripes, t:nding exactly where the model
spondingly larger cross-sectional areas. Iiftt:d off.
If the engine is concealed inside the fuselage, starting
may present problems. With a light headwind flames Auxiliary equipment
coming out of the engine may damage the model. When
you are starting the:: e::ngine:: the thnlst pipt: also becomes lT nlike piston engines , madd jet engines are not
red hot - in the true senst: of tht: t:xpression. You will completely self-contained, and require a number of addi-
need a very powerful starter fan in ont: hand and a fire tional items of equipmt:nt. The primary auxiliary items
extinguisher in the other. are the fuel supply system and lubrication system. The
As soon as the engine is mnning the turbulence of fud pump and controller of a full-size jet enginl" are
the airflow causes cooling air to he mixed into mountnl dirt:ctly on the engint: , driven by the main
the exhaust gases, and only half a metre '" downstream " shaft, but there seems littk prospt:ct of duplicating this
tht: temperature is low enough not to bum plywood . arrangement on a model jet engine due to the added com-
Theory tells us that the gas flow expands at an angle of plexity. The s imp1t:st method is to supply fud and uil
10' relative to tht: axis of the flow , although secondary air from external sources. For model aircraft ust" it is clearly
entt:rs at a slightly ksst:r angk. Tht: hot core of the jet, vital to have a lightweight, reliable fuel feed system , and
i.e. the area in which the full exhaust gas temperature we have found geared fuel pumps a good solution. When
and speed still prevail , extends to a point aft of the you are selecting a pump it is essential to cht:ck that it
engine about three times the diameter of the exhaust can res ist the fuels we are Iikdy to lise. Metal-geare::d
cone. pumps art: ct:rtainly prt:ferable . If you are capab1t: of
Balsa wood is very susceptihle to hot exhaust gases. accurate work you will be able to convert a standard fuel
Since tht: wood itself contains plenty of oxygen, an pump for ust" with a tumine. This will nect:ssitate reduc-
imperceptihle glow is quickly fanned into life when you ing the width of the gears and installing a more suitable
open the throttlt:, and the glow spreads over the wood motor.
in narrow snaking lines.
A ft:w st:conds al full
throttle , and the glow-
ing tail plane is engulfed --_.. - .- .. -
in flames . Endangered
areas can be protected
by gluing aluminium
foil to the surfaces
using thinned white
glue . Thin aluminium
(0.3 mm thick) is anoth-
er good protective 100 I l l " , ..........
material. A crucial point
- especially if you are Exhaust gasflowfrom behind the mode/jet enRine.
interested in maintain-

ModelJet Engines 101

Moturex 1 just before take-off. A burned area qf Tbe same model with aileroll WillgS.
grass is already l'isible. (Photo: Anita van de
Goor). since this oil is low in viscosity. Consumption should be
about '; ml per minute. However, the engine described
Controlling the quantity of fuel pumped to the engine: here has already survived a number of flights with the oil
is vitally important. The ideal is to have a regulatory sys- supply carelessly disconnected.
tem which varied the How according to exhaust gas tem- Starting a jet engine when installed in a model does
perature and rotational ~pe:ed or pressure . A simpler call for a little practice. There is a danger of the engine
solution , although quite practical for our purposes, is a overheating temporarily at times when the starter is stmg-
standard electronic speed controller. The controller has gling for power and the oil in the bearings has thickened.
to be adjusted can::fully to guarantee a particular idle Onder certain circumstances it is a good idea to keep to
speed, and above all to limit the maximum rotational hand a pipe made of sheet metal. so that you can detlect
speed . I find that variable constant voltage controllers the hot gases or flames away from vulnerable wooden
work well, and they are a reasonable choice since the parts. You can avoid problems by obtaining a powerful
pumping power is so small. With this arrangement a starter fan or. if the engine is easily accessible, a high-
servo operates a potentiometer and an end-point switch. revving electric motor. A motor power of 20 Watts is
Unfortunately this type of ~l'stem is not as neat a solution quite sufficient.
as an ordinary controller. but it offers one crucial advan-
tage: it defines the maximum pump voltage regardless of Particular problems encountered in
the initial Voltage. This on its own eliminates the problem
of freshly charged pump batteries allowing the engine to
jet-powered flight
over-rev. A second pot can be used to set the engine's Thrust delay
maximum rotational speed. An extemally accessible fuel Model jets have a number of characteristics which
valve offering fine adjustment is fitted in the ti.leI circuit mark them out from propeller-driven models. These fea-
between pump and engine. tureS are similar to those of full-size jet aircraft - as you
Thi~ is the ,,-rarting procedure: set the trJ.nsmitter throt- might reasonably expect.
de stick to idle and start the engine on propane. As soon The most immediately ohvious difference to the pilot
as the gas has ignited and the starter is mnning, slowly accustomed to propeller engines is the jet's slight delay in
open the fuel valve. The engine revs up, and will reach its responding to the throttle stick. This phenomenon is due
idle speed when the valve is fully open . llnless you enjoy to the inertia of the rotor. At high rotational speeds a
unwelcome surprises please remember to set the trans- great deal of energy is required to accelerate the rotor
mitte r stick to zero as soon as the engine stops - bearing wheels, and this applics in particular to the jet engine's
in mind that this is not necessary with a piston engine. If lower speed range. The force which is acting upon the
you don't, the fuel pump will continue running and will turbine blades - and which is available to accelerate the
gaily pump the remaining contents of the fuel tank into turbine - is still small . For this reason the time required to
the engine. bring the turbine up to speed varies markedly according
It goes without saying that the ti.le l tank and the rest of to the initial speed. Overall the power uf the turbine is
the fuel system in rhe model must be made of fuel-resis- proportional to the cube of the rotational speed, while
tant materials. The fuel tank should have a capacity of at the work required to accelerate the rotor is proportional
least half a litre, and might even need to be larger if your to the square of the speed.
engine is thirsty or your flying style extravagant. It is not At a rotational speed of 3'; ,000 rpm - corresponding
always easy to find space in the model for such a large to a thrust of four Newtons - the Micro-Turhine mns up
tank, and you may find it better to make up a custom- to full throttle in three or four seconds, perhaps a little
designed version from sheet metal to exploit the available faster. However, bearing in mind the thermal loads
space. I strongly recommend using a clunk weight with involved in the engine, it is a good idea to handle the
an integral fuel filter. throttle stick gently. At the stated speed the work stored
The oil tank can simply be a small chemical bottle in the rotor in the form of rotational energy is around
with a screw·fitting lid. When the engine is in a model I .WOO J, which corresponds roughly to the kinetic energy
recommend using a mixture of equal parts bicycle oil of a bicycle rider at a speed of 2'; km/hr. On average,
and synthetic motor oil. To some extent you can comrol whcn you increase the engine's speed from idle to full
the oil consumption by adding more or less bicycle oil, throttle more than 650 \Vatts is required to accelerate the

1U2 J1odl'/Jel Ell}!) Iles

rotor alone . The net
result is that you have to
make allowanct: for
ddayed throttle rt:s-
ponst: wht:n tht: model
is in the air, and acceler-
ate rather earlier than
usual. However, as soon
as you are tIying at more
than half-throttk you
will find that tht: t:ngint:
rt:sponds to the throttle
stick as quickly as a pis-
ton engine.
Tht: factor which
affects a model jt:t
engint:'s ahility to accel-
<::rate quickly is the
rotor's momt:nt of int:r-
tia , tht: t:xhaust gas
tt:mpt:ratuTt: and the
compressor surgt:. In
this respect engines
with an axial turbine are
clearly superior to those
with the heavy , high-
inertia radial turbine . View of the inside of the fuselage. Un the right eire the fuel pump and oil tank.
Kurt Schreckling's FD
t:ngint:s are particularly sprightly; their very light com- The same forces are at work in the spinning rotor sys-
pressor wht:ds follow the throttk stick virtually like a pis- tt:m of our modd jet t:ngine . Bt:cause the rotational
ton t:ngint:. The major factor in tht: rotor's momt:nt of spet:ds are so high the gyroscopic momt:nts are consider-
inertia is the momt:nts of the rotor wheels; the engine's able. If you hold your jt:t-powt:rt:d model's fuselage in
shaft contrihutes only a ft:w per cent of the rotor's total your hand with tht: engine running and move it (in the
int:rtia. language of physics you are forcing a precession upon it
and you will ckarly fed the gyroscopic moment oppos-
Gyroscopic effects ing your effort. You can try the same t:xperimt:nt with a
In any rotary system mysterious forct:s are at work high-revving electric motor.
which many peopk find hard to understand. These gyro- The systt:m attempts to counteract the original force .
scopic forces, as tht:y art: known , art: omnipresent in our The gyroscopic moment acts in the perpt:ndicular <.lircc-
day-to-day lives, although you havt: to know wht:rt: to tion to what is known as the axis of precession . If we
look to find them. For t:xampk, they ensure that wt: assumt: that you are tlying a model powt:rt:d by a right-
don 't fall off our bicycles, at least so long as the wheels hand rotation jet engine , this means that the modd ' s
are going round. Aircraft and ships find their way home nose will dip Slightly if you fly a kft-hand turn. and will
with the help of gyro-bast:d navigational systems. In rise slightly in a right-hand turn . With a Idt-hand rota-
short: gyroscopic forces have a stabilising dft:ct on rotat- tion engine the effect is exactly the opposite. There is
ing systt:ms. no caust: to be alarmed. In day-to-day modelling the

Arrangement of auxiliary' equipment ;n the Moturex 2 model The fuel supply system ;s installed in the
front part (if the fuselage.

Mode/jet Engines 103

TlJe Micro-Turbille durillg the startillg procedure.
Be"eath the wing is the fuel vall'e which is beillg Fuel ta"ks soldered up from sheet metal
opelled slowly at this momellt. A pressure gauge is
still cOllllected to tI:1e eIlgi"e to monitor the selti1lgs. What the sound of the engine tells you
A common problem is the rotor fouling the casing,
engine's gyroscopic effect is almost imperceptihle, as tIlt: and the sound of the engine always lets you know that
forces are much too small to have any significant influ- this is happening. If you hear a suspicious scratching
ence on the aircraft. noise stop the engine immediately and check the concen-
The moment which occ urs in a turn or loop varies tricity of the rotor. It can also occur that a normally free-
according to the inertia of the engine's rotor, the rotation- running rotor only fouls the caSing at high rotational
al speed and the angular velocity of the model in the turn . speeds. This means that the running clearance is too
In a fast loop at full throttle the maximum gyroscopic small to allow for tht:" dynamiC bending of the shaft. The
moment might he one Newton-metre, and that represents audible n :sult of this is a distinctive high tone mixed in
no hazard to the model. with the usual engine noise, becoming slightly lower in
Under normal circumstances the stabilising effect of pitch as the throttlt: is opened . Usually this type of foul-
the tail surfaces and the moment of inertia of the model ing does not immediately cause the rotor to jam, and tht:"
counteract the gyroscopic moment. Serious problems engine continues to spin apparently without protest.
only arise if the model's layout is unsatisfactory. If the However, you will find traces of fouling on the compres-
engine is mountnl close to the model's Centre of Gravity sor cover or the turbine housing when you dismantlt: the
and the tail panels are too small, you could encounter engine later. You can continue to usc the compressor and
flight conditions - specifically very low airspeeds - in turbine wheels after such an occurrence provided that
which the model is unable to counteract the gyroscopic they have suffered no major damage . Never allow a
forces . For example, if you stall your model in such a model jet engine to continue nl11ning if you suspect foul-
way that the tailplane is no longer subject to an airflow, ing. If you open the throttlt: very gradually it may be pos-
and if one wing stalls first (tip-stalls), the gyroscopiC siblt: to run up the turbine to high speed, hut you then
effects could send the model straight into a sort of gyro- risk wrecking the wheels. You e:ven risk blade fractures if
stabilised spin . For this reason you should avoid a concen- the turbine fouls the casing, as serious and damaging
tration of masses at the Centre of Gravity when designing vibr.ltion could result.
your jet model. A good solution is to arrange the engine Similarly, any major imbalance manifests itself in the
towards the tail and the rest of the equipment in the volume of engine noise . The vibration caused hy the
nose. imbalance is transmitted to the housing, resulting in a
w histling sound at the pitch of the rotational frequency.
Faultfinding The: whistling sound will be distinctly louder to the side
of the engine than immediately in front of or behind it.
Every now and again an ordinary piston engine fails to If you carefully touch the: housing with your hand
start, and many of us modellers have cursed loud and yuu will be able to feel the: vibration . Minor imbalance
long at such times, The usual reasons are incorrect Glmu- effects are quite normal , as is a whistle occurring at
rettOl' settings, wet glowplugs and blockcd fuel lines, and high rotational speeds. Since the shaft and turbine wheel
these little problems have driven many a modeller close are only statically balanced, the possibility of dynamic
to insanity. The most perniciou!'> problems are caused by imbalance cannot be excluded entirely. Since the rorating
the piston engine' s external fuel mixing arrangements parts are rotationally symmetrical, and since the: design of
(the carburettor) and the ignition system , and in a jet the engine makes it very unlikely that there are major dis-
engine both these systems are fundamentally different c repancies in mass distribution, simple static balancing is
and usually cause no problem . If you have a jet engine adequate for model use. If the modd jet engine is very
which usually runs well but one day suddenly will not, well balanced all you will hear under normal circum-
there is normally a mechanical problem which you will stances is the hiss of the exhaust gas flow . Naturally the:
easily be able to recognise. hearings will have: a proportionately longer life if the
The main way in which you can avoid problems is to engine is perfectly balanced. After a few hours of opera-
check the engine regularly - especially the bearings and tion lubricating oil residues may form de:posits on the tur-
the turbine wheel connection - and replace damaged bine wheel, causing slight imbalance , but this is not
parts immediately. critical.

104 M()del jet Ellp,illes

Exceeding the pressure limit (surging) higher the exhaust gas temperature. the more powerful
This phenomenon occurs primarily in model jet the engine. The turbine hlades which are suhjected to
engines fitted with a compressor with radially tipped the highest temperatures are cooled with air ducted from
blades. Under certain circumstances opening the throttle the final compressor stages. so that the temperature of
too suddenly may cause the compressor pressure to hunt the turbine blade material is several hundred degrees
up and down as the throughput of the compressor is Kelvin below the actual gas temperature. [n small gas tur-
reduced momentarily. This effect, known as compressor bines and model jet engines this technology is almost cer-
surge, is immediately obvious because of the characteris- tainly too complex. and if we want t:asy handling the
tically deep growling sound it causes. If this should hap- only solution is to strive for low gas temperatures. Several
pen it is essential to close the throttle without delay to factors affect the gas temperature, but the primary one is
avoid a sudden rise in exhaust gas temperature and conse- the effiCiency of the rotor wheels. although it is also
quent damage. important that the compressor and turhine should he
After a fairly long period l)f operation you may find accurately matched to each other so thaI they hoth work
that the engine's tendency to surge becomes more pro- clost' to their optimum efficiency. Amateur methods and
nounced. ami al tht' sanlt' time the engine no 10ngtT pro- equipment simply do not allow us to diagnose accurately
duces full thmst. This behaviour is usually a sign that the the degree of mismatching between compressor and tur-
turbine material is unable to cope with the stresses it bint:. As we have already discussed, it is possihle to make
encounters in the engine. The result is usually distortion certain deductions about possible faults from the level of
of' the turbine blades due to the high centrifugal forces. residual swirling motion behind the turbine and from any
The angle of the blades usually closes slightly, restricting tendency for the engine to reach its compressor surge
the open flow cross-sectional area. limit. However. the best method of reducing an exces-
This in turn reduces the engine's throughput, and the sively high exhaust gas temperature is to check the over-
compressor will then be working very close to its surge all design using the data which you are able to measure
limit . especially when the engine is running at high accurately. such as rotational speed and throughput. Use
speed . The only remedy in these circumstances is to this data in conjunction with the continuity equation to
make a new turbine wheel, and it makes obvious sense to calculatt: the speeds which are actually occurring. and
select a better grade of material the second time. The plol the vector diagrams for the turbine and compressor.
other, temporary recourse is to reduce the full-throttle TIlis should allow you to detect any significant deviations
setting slightly. from the design goals towards which you have been
A standard problem The combustion cham her has a very important influ-
ence on exhaust gas temperature. Temperature distrihu-
ExceSSively high exhaust gas temperature tion must be reasonably even. Flames from the turbine,
Many home-built turbines suffer from overheated. hot spots and acrid. pungent exhaust fumes are good
glowing. red-hot turbine wheels. Although you can fly a indicaturs of incomplete combustion . In this case the
mode1using such a hot-mnning turbine. you are bound to only remedy is to carry out systematic tests on the com-
encounter certain problems: materials expand consider- hustion chamber. I have already described how the cur-
ably due to the excess heat, and n.g.v. blades may then vature of the "walking sticks" should be adjusted in small
kink and damage the housing. The glowing turbine hous- increments. It is not advisable to drill further air holes in
ing makes il much more difficult to shield the vulnerable the combustion chamber at the hot spots. This seldom
fuselage of the model aircraft. The hot turbine wheel may cures the problem. and more often just wrecks the com-
not be strong enough to withstand the stresses of nmning bustion chamber.
at high speed. and the engine as a whole will be slow to If combustion suddenly worsens. and at the same time
respond to the throttle stick. You will have to be very the exhaust gas temperature rises , one injector tube
careful with the throttle stick to avoid overheating the might ht: blocked. perhaps hy dirt from the fuel-tank or
engine. solder tlux residues hlocking the fint: upenings. A fuel fil-
In general terms. then. a model jet engine with a high ter should always be used - not least to protect the fuel
exhaust gas temperature is a less capable engine. Exactly pump.
the opposite applies to full -size aircraft engines: the

Motllres 2 in acti01l. (Photo: Michael Kamps).

ModelJet Ellgilles 105

Cleaning the engine
Model jet engines arc
generally quite easy to
look after - assuming
that they deign to run at
all . Nevertheless. these
engines should be
opened up now and
then for general exami-
nation and cleaning . In
the t:ourse of time dust
gets sucked in and com-
bined with the lubricat-
ing oil to form a sticky
layer which collects in
the compressor and
housing. This is a good
time to check that all
screws and other parts
art: tight. [ would
rt:commend that you
examine the turbine
wheel more closely ,
preferably using a magni-
fying glass. Any changes
Cleaning urgently required! After an illl'oluniary landing ill afield with the to the blades and ~igns
turbi,w running, afell' lumps of earth have been sucked illside the engine. of cracking are clear
Fortunatel), the compressor wlJeel is virtually undamaged. signs that the material
you have used is not
lUaintenance and repair coping well with the stresses. It goes without saying that
a damaged wheel must not he re-uscd.
Checking the bearings The lubricating system can be an insidious source of
Maintaining the turbine [argely comes down to moni- ope rational problems, as the narrow pipes are readily
toring the ballraces. These components are subjected to hlocked by minute deposits. This is enough to cause the
extraordinary stresses in our model jet engine: up to oil supply system to fail altogether, leading eventually to
three times their nominal maximum rotational speed . b earing damage. The normal functioning of the luhrica-
They can only withstand such maltreatment if the heat tion system can be recognised by tiny explosions behind
produced is dissipated by plenty of air from the compres- the turbine: this is caused hy hurning oil residues. The oil
sor. As a result, heat from the hot turbine can only reach for the front bearing usually makes its way into the open
the bearings once the engine has stopped. This effect air through leaks in the compressor cover. [f thc engine's
results in the inner and outer rings of the turbine bearing oil consumption falls off, he sure to check the oil pipe. If
exhibiting the characteristic "tarnished" colorAtion after a you can obtain special turbine oil such as Aeroshell ~O(),
few test nms, which might make you think that they are do use it. These oils, usually synthetic in nature, produce
mnning too hot. However, this should he considered nor- almost no deposits even at very high temperatures.
mal for the engine and appears to have little if any effect
on the bearings' lIsefullifc.
When the engine is running down you should always
listen carefully for any trace of rumbling sounds, as
these arc usually an indication of worn-out hearings.
The bearings should then be checked for axial play .
Check the condition of the ball cages at the same time.
If clearance and play arc greater than those of a new
hearing , for safety 'S sake you should install a new
The useful life of the bearings varies considerably
according to the conditions of cooling, rotational speed
and lubrication inside the engine . In practice I have
found that standard ball races have survived a whole year
in the engine, i.e. several hours of running. The bearing at
the compressor end of the engine lasts longer, probably
because the rotor's axial thmst exerts an axial load on the
bearing, taking lip any slack in the race. The operating
temperature at the compressor end is also lower. In prac-
tice bearings only fail prematurely if the engine is hadly
Ollt of balance or very dirty.

106 ModelJel Ellg illes

Gas Turbine Engines for Model Aircraft tions without answer)
by Kurt Schreckling.

Published by Traplet Publications limited

Traplet House,
Pendragon Close.
Worcestershire WR14 IGA

Tel: +44 (0) 1684 588500

Fax: +44 (0) 1684 578558

GTBA - Gas Turbine Builders Association

In 1995 a group of mode Hers in England formed an

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sent out to all members in a regular newsletter, which
also includes interesting sources of supply. Once a year a
meeting is held in England where members can discuss
model gas turbines to their heart's content. The GTBA
also maintains its own internet site with numerous links.


High-speed hybrid bearings:

GRW GmbH & Co. KG ,
Postfach 6360,
O-Y7UI3 Wuerzburg,

Compressor wheels:
Struck Turbotechnik GmbH,
Emestinenstrasse 115,
0 -45141 Essen.

Cherry, Mike:
Mike 'sJet Book
A hands un guide to jet modelling.
Wantage, Oxfordshire: Jets Unlimited

Cohen, H. Rogers, G.F.C. , Saravanamuttoo, H.I.H.:

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(this book is very detailed and leaves no technical que~

Mode/Jet Engines 107


108 ,l{odeljet Engines


Model jet Engines 109


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Since it first appeared some years ago, Model Jet Engines, by Thomas
Kamps, has introduced many modellers to what was thought to be a
difficult and complex subject.
However, in recent years the situation has changed thanks to the work of
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ISBN 1-900371-9 1-X

9 781900371919 >