Compressors

Axial compressors

Compressor stage GE J79 Axial compressors rely on spinning blades that have aerofoil sections, similar to aeroplane wings. As with aeroplane wings in some conditions the blades can stall. If this happens, the airflow around the stalled compressor can reverse direction violently. Each design of a compressor has an associated operating map of airflow versus rotational speed for characteristics peculiar to that type (see compressor map). At a given throttle condition, the compressor operates somewhere along the steady state running line. Unfortunately, this operating line is displaced during transients. Many compressors are fitted with anti-stall systems in the form of bleed bands or variable geometry stators to decrease the

likelihood of surge. Another method is to split the compressor into two or more units, operating on separate concentric shafts. Another design consideration is the average stage loading. This can be kept at a sensible level either by increasing the number of compression stages (more weight/cost) or the mean blade speed (more blade/disc stress). Although large flow compressors are usually all-axial, the rear stages on smaller units are too small to be robust. Consequently, these stages are often replaced by a single centrifugal unit. Very small flow compressors often employ two centrifugal compressors, connected in series. Although in isolation centrifugal compressors are capable of running at quite high pressure ratios (e.g. 10:1), impeller stress considerations limit the pressure ratio that can be employed in high overall pressure ratio engine cycles. Increasing overall pressure ratio implies raising the high pressure compressor exit temperature. This implies a higher high pressure shaft speed, to maintain the datum blade tip Mach number on the rear compressor stage. Stress considerations, however, may limit the shaft speed increase, causing the original compressor to throttle-back aerodynamically to a lower pressure ratio than datum. Combustors Main article: Combustor

Combustion chamber GE J79 Flame fronts generally travel at just Mach 0.05, whereas airflows through jet engines are considerably faster than this. Combustors typically employ structures to give a sheltered combustion zone called a flame holder. Combustor configurations include can, annular, and can-annular. Great care must be taken to keep the flame burning in a moderately fast moving airstream, at all throttle conditions, as efficiently as possible. Since the turbine cannot withstand stoichiometric temperatures (a mixture ratio of around 15:1), some of the compressor air is used to quench the exit temperature of the combustor to an acceptable level (an overall mixture ratio of between 45:1 and 130:1 is used[1]). Air used for combustion is considered to be primary airflow, while excess air used for cooling is called secondary airflow. The secondary airflow is ported through many small holes in the burner cans to create a blanket of cooler air to insulate the metal surfaces of the combustion can from the flame. If the metal were subjected to the direct flame for any length of time, it would eventually burn through.

Rocket engines, being a non 'duct engine' have quite different combustor systems, and the mixture ratio is usually much closer to being stochiometric in the main chamber. These engines generally lack flame holders and combustion occurs at much higher temperatures, there being no turbine downstream. However, liquid rocket engines frequently employ separate burners to power turbopumps, and these burners usually run far off stochiometric so as to lower turbine temperatures in the pump. Turbines

Turbine Stage GE J79 Because a turbine expands from high to low pressure, there is no such thing as turbine surge or stall. The turbine needs fewer stages than the compressor, mainly because the higher inlet temperature reduces the deltaT/T (and thereby the pressure ratio) of the expansion process. The blades have more curvature and the gas stream velocities are higher.

Designers must, however, prevent the turbine blades and vanes from melting in a very high temperature and stress environment. Consequently bleed air extracted from the compression system is often used to cool the turbine blades/vanes internally. Other solutions are improved materials and/or special insulating coatings. The discs must be specially shaped to withstand the huge stresses imposed by the rotating blades. They take the form of impulse, reaction, or combination impulse-reaction shapes. Improved materials help to keep disc weight down. Afterburners (reheat) Main article: afterburner

Turbofan fitted with afterburner Due to temperature limitations with the gas turbines, jet engines do not consume all the oxygen in the air ('run stoichiometric'). Afterburners burn the remaining oxygen after exiting the turbines, but usually do so inefficiently due to the low pressures typically found at this part of the jet engine make the subsequent nozzle inefficient at extracting the heat energy; however afterburners still gain significant thrust, which can be useful. Engines intended for extended use with afterburners often have variable nozzles and other details. Nozzles

Afterburner GE J79 Main article: Propelling nozzle The primary objective of a nozzle is to use the heat and pressure of the exhaust gas to accelerate the jet to high speed so as to efficiently propel the vehicle. For air-breathing engines, if the fully expanded jet has a higher speed than the aircraft's airspeed, then there is a net rearward momentum gain to the air and there will be a forward thrust on the airframe. Simple convergent nozzles are used on many jet engines. This forms a restricted opening which raises the pressure in the rest of the engine and increases the speed of the jet. However, if the nozzle pressure ratio is above the critical value (about 1.8:1) a convergent nozzle will 'choke', resulting in the jet being emitted at the speed of sound, higher pressure differences then gives much lower improvement in performance- although much of the gross thrust produced will still be from the jet momentum, some additional (pressure) thrust will come from the imbalance between the throat static pressure and atmospheric pressure.

Many military combat engines incorporate an afterburner (or reheat) in the engine exhaust system. When the system is lit, the nozzle throat area must be increased, to accommodate the extra exhaust volume flow, so that the turbo machinery is unaware that the afterburner is lit. A variable throat area is achieved by moving a series of overlapping petals, which approximate the circular nozzle cross-section. At high nozzle pressure ratios, the exit pressure is often above ambient and much of the expansion will take place downstream of a convergent nozzle, which is inefficient. Consequently, some jet engines (notably rockets) incorporate a convergent-divergent nozzle, to allow most of the expansion to take place against the inside of a nozzle to maximize thrust. However, unlike the fixed con-div nozzle used on a conventional rocket motor, when such a device is used on a turbojet engine it has to be a complex variable geometry device, to cope with the wide variation in nozzle pressure ratio encountered in flight and engine throttling. This further increases the weight and cost of such an installation.

Variable Exhaust Nozzle, on the GE F404-400 low-bypass turbofan installed on a Boeing F/A-18 Hornet The simpler of the two is the ejector nozzle, which creates an effective nozzle through a secondary airflow and spring-loaded

petals. At subsonic speeds, the airflow constricts the exhaust to a convergent shape. As the aircraft speeds up, the two nozzles dilate, which allows the exhaust to form a convergent-divergent shape, speeding the exhaust gasses past Mach 1. More complex engines can actually use a tertiary airflow to reduce exit area at very low speeds. Advantages of the ejector nozzle are relative simplicity and reliability. Disadvantages are average performance (compared to the other nozzle type) and relatively high drag due to the secondary airflow. Notable aircraft to have utilized this type of nozzle include the SR-71, Concorde, F-111, and Saab Viggen For higher performance, it is necessary to use an iris nozzle. This type uses overlapping, hydraulically adjustable "petals". Although more complex than the ejector nozzle, it has significantly higher performance and smoother airflow. As such, it is employed primarily on high-performance fighters such as the F-14, F-15, F-16, though is also used in high-speed bombers such as the B-1B. Some modern iris nozzles additionally have the ability to change the angle of the thrust (see thrust vectoring).

Iris vectored thrust nozzle

Rocket motors also employ convergent-divergent nozzles, but these are usually of fixed geometry, to minimize weight. Because of the much higher nozzle pressure ratios experienced, rocket motor con-di nozzles have a much greater area ratio (exit/throat) than those fitted to jet engines. The Convair F-106 Delta Dart has used such a nozzle design, as part of its overall design specification as an aerospace interceptor for high-altitude bomber interception, where conventional nozzle design would prove ineffective. At the other extreme, some high bypass ratio civil turbofans use an extremely low area ratio (less than 1.01 area ratio), convergent-divergent, nozzle on the bypass (or mixed exhaust) stream, to control the fan working line. The nozzle acts as if it has variable geometry. At low flight speeds the nozzle is unchoked (less than a Mach number of unity), so the exhaust gas speeds up as it approaches the throat and then slows down slightly as it reaches the divergent section. Consequently, the nozzle exit area controls the fan match and, being larger than the throat, pulls the fan working line slightly away from surge. At higher flight speeds, the ram rise in the intake increases nozzle pressure ratio to the point where the throat becomes choked (M=1.0). Under these circumstances, the throat area dictates the fan match and being smaller than the exit pushes the fan working line slightly towards surge. This is not a problem, since fan surge margin is much better at high flight speeds. Exhaust Nozzle: The purpose of the exhaust nozzle is to increase the velocity of the exhaust gas before it discharge. For large values of thrust, the kinetic energy of the exhaust gas must be high, which

implies a high exhaust velocity. The pressure ratio across the nozzle controls the expansion process and the maximum uninstalled thrust for a given engine is obtained when the exit pressure (Pe) equals the ambient pressure (P0) which is called as an optimum expansion. The basic functions of the nozzles are:

 

  

1) Accelerate the flow to a high velocity with minimum total pressure loss. 2) Match exit and atmospheric pressure as closely as desired. 3) Permit afterburner operation without affecting main engine operation (requires variable throat area nozzle). 4) Facilitate cooling of walls. 5) Mix core and bypass streams of turbofan to reduce the infrared signature if necessary in case of fighter aircraft.. 6) Allow for thrust reversing to insure proper landing. 7) Suppress jet noise, radar reflection. 8) Thrust vectoring.

Nozzle Types The basic types of nozzles used in jet engines are:
 

1. convergent-divergent (C-D) nozzle 2. Convergent nozzle.

The convergent nozzle is a simple convergent duct. When the nozzle pressure ratio (Pte/Po) is low (less than about 4), the convergent nozzle is used. The convergent nozzle has generally been used in engines for subsonic aircraft. Convergent-divergent (C-D) nozzle.

The convergent-divergent nozzle is a convergent duct followed by a divergent duct. Where the cross-sectional area of the duct is at a minimum, the nozzle is said to have a throat. Most convergent-divergent nozzles used in aircraft are not simple ducts, but incorporate variable geometry and other aerodynamic features. The convergent-divergent nozzle is used if the nozzle pressure ratio is high (greater than about four). Highperformance engines in supersonic aircraft generally have some form of a convergent divergent nozzle. If the engine incorporates an afterburner, the nozzle throat is usually scheduled to leave the operating conditions of the engine upstream of the afterburner unchanged. Also, the exit area must be varied to match the internal and external static pressures at exit for different flow conditions in order to produce the maximum available uninstalled thrust. For the modem highperformance afterburning turbofan engines, simple convergentdivergent nozzles are used without secondary air. Nozzle Functions The nozzle serves as a back-pressure control for the engine and an acceleration device converting gas thermal energy into kinetic energy. A secondary function of the nozzle is providing required thrust reversing and/or thrust vectoring. The nozzle design can also reduce the infrared signature of the engine. Large changes in exhaust nozzle throat area are required for after burning engines to compensate for the large changes in total temperature leaving the afterburner. The variable-area nozzle required for an after burning engine can also be used for back-pressure control at its non-after burning settings. One

advantage of the variable-area exhaust nozzle is that it improves the starting of the engine. Opening the nozzle throat area to its maximum value reduces the back-pressure on the turbine and increases its expansion ratio. Thus, the necessary turbine power for starting operation may be produced at a lower turbine inlet temperature. Also, since the back-pressure on the gas generator is reduced, the compressor may be started at a lower engine speed, which reduces the required size of the engine starter. Gross thrust coefficient: The gross thrust coefficient (Cfg) is defined as the ratio of the actual gross thrust (Fgactual) to the ideal gross thrust (Fg ideal). C f g = Fg actual/ Fg ideal Discharge flow coefficient: The ratio of the actual mass flow (m8 ) to the ideal mass flow (m8i) is called the discharge coefficient (CD)