Engines

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Jet Propulsion Turbojet Engines Turbofans or Bypass Engines Turboprop Engines Ramjets Pulse Jets Scramjet

Jet Propulsion A thrust imparts forward motion to an object, as a reaction to the rearward expulsion of a high-velocity liquid or gaseous stream. A simple example of jet propulsion is the motion of an inflated balloon when the air is suddenly discharged. While the opening is held closed, the air pressure within the balloon is equal in all directions; when the stem is released, the internal pressure is less at the open end than at the opposite end, causing the balloon to dart forward. Not the pressure of the escaping air pushing against the outside atmosphere but the difference between high and low pressures inside the balloon propels it. An actual jet engine does not operate quite as simply as a balloon, although the basic principle is the same. More important than pressure imbalance is the acceleration to high velocities of the jet leaving the engine. This is achieved by forces in the engine that enable the gas to flow backward forming the jet. Newton's second law shows that these forces are proportional to the rate at which the momentum of the gas is increased. For a jet engine, this is related to the rate of mass flow multiplied by the rearward-leaving jet velocity. Newton's third law, which states that every force must have an equal and opposite reaction, shows that the rearward force is balanced by a forward reaction, known as thrust. This thrusting action is

similar to the recoil of a gun, which increases as both the mass of the projectile and its muzzle velocity are increased. High-thrust engines, therefore, require both large rates of mass flow and high jet-exit velocities, which can only be achieved by increasing internal engine pressures and by increasing the volume of the gas by means of combustion. Jet-propulsion devices are used primarily in high-speed, high-altitude aircraft, in missiles, and in spacecraft. the source of power is a high-energy fuel that is burned at intense pressures to produce the large gas volume needed for high jet-exit velocities. The oxidizer required for the combustion may be the oxygen in the air that is drawn into the engine and compressed, or the oxidizer may be carried in the vehicle, so that the engine is independent of a surrounding atmosphere. Turbojet Engines

The most widely used atmospheric engines are turbojets. After air has been drawn into the engine through an inlet, the air pressure is increased by a compressor before it enters the combustion chamber. The power required to drive the compressor is provided by a turbine that is placed between the combustion chamber and the nozzle. Practically all airborne jet engines use an axial-flow compressor, in which the air flows generally in the direction of the shaft axis through alternate rows of stationary and rotating blades, called stators and rotors. The blades are arranged so that the air enters each row at a high velocity. As it flows through the blade passage the air is decelerated to a lower velocity, thereby increasing the pressure. Modern axial-flow compressors can increase the pressure 24 times in 15 stages, with each set of stators and rotors making up a stage. The compressed air then enters the combustion chamber where it is mixed with fuel vapor and then burned. For best performance, the combustion temperature should be the maximum obtainable from the complete combustion of the oxygen and the fuel. This temperature, however, would make the turbine too hot; turbine inlet temperatures, which currently limit turbojet performance, cannot exceed about 1100° C (about 2000° F) because of the thermal limitations of the materials. To reduce the temperature of the turbine inlet, only part of the compressed air is burned. This is achieved by dividing the air as it enters the combustion chamber. Part of the air is mixed with the fuel and ignited; the remainder is used to cool the turbine.

In the turbine, which acts in opposite fashion to the compressor, the gases are partially expanded through alternate stator and rotor passages. At the entry to each blade row, the velocity is low, allowing the gas to expand and speed up in the passage while it turns the rotor. The turbine provides the power to drive the compressor, to which it is connected by a shaft through the center of the engine, and it also provides the power for the fuel pump, generator, and other accessories. The gases, which are now at an intermediate pressure, are finally expanded through the rearward-facing nozzle to reach the desired high jet-exit velocity. The greatest thrust would be obtained if the nozzle expanded the gases to the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere. In practice, however, such nozzles would be too large and too heavy. Actual nozzles are made shorter in order to provide higher exit pressures and a somewhat reduced engine performance. A turbojet engine cannot start directly from rest; the engine must first be induced to spin by an external starting motor. The fuel is then ignited by a heated plug. Once the engine is running, however, combustion is maintained without spark plugs. The thrust delivered by a turbojet decreases as the surrounding air temperature increases because the decreased density of the hot air reduces the mass flow through the engine. On hot days, takeoff thrust can be increased by injecting water at the compressor inlet and allowing the evaporating water to cool the air. In military engines, bursts of speed or additional thrust for takeoff and climb can be provided by a second burner, or afterburner, installed between the turbine and the nozzle. In the afterburner, more fuel is added to burn the oxygen in the air that is not used in the combustion chamber; this process increases both the air volume and the jet velocity. The low efficiency of an afterburner, however, restricts its use to situations requiring a great burst of speed.

Turbofans or Bypass Engines The turbofan engine is an improvement on the basic turbojet. Part of the incoming air is only partially compressed and then bypassed in an outer shell beyond the turbine. This air is then mixed with the hot turbine-exhaust gases before they reach the nozzle. A bypass engine has greater thrust for takeoff and climb, and increased efficiency; the bypass cools the engine and reduces noise level. In some fan engines the bypass air is not remixed in the engine but exhausted directly. In this type of bypass engine, only about one-sixth of the incoming air goes through the whole engine; the remaining five-sixths is compressed only in the first compressor or fan stage and then exhausted. Different rotational speeds are required for the high- and low-pressure portions of the engine. This difference is achieved by having two separate turbine-compressor combinations running on two concentric shafts or twin spools. Two high-pressure turbine stages drive the 11 high-pressure compressor stages mounted on the outer shaft, and 4 turbine stages provide power for the fan and 4 lowpressure compressor stages on the inner shaft. Current research in turbojet and turbofan engines is largely directed to achieving more efficient operation of the compressors and turbines, to devising special turbine-blade cooling systems to permit higher turbine-inlet temperatures, and to reducing jet noise. Turboprop Engines In a turboprop engine a propeller mounted in front of the jet engine is driven either by a second, or free, turbine or by additional stages from the turbine that supplies power to the compressor. About 90 percent of the energy of the expanding gases is absorbed in the turbine portion that drives the propeller, leaving only about 10 percent to accelerate the exhaust jet. The exhaust jet, therefore, contributes only a small fraction to the overall propulsive thrust. Turboprops have certain advantages for small and medium-sized planes at speeds of up to about 480 to 640 km/hr (about 300 to 400 mph). They cannot compete, however, with turbojets or fanjets for very large planes and for higher speeds. Ramjets The air rushing toward the inlet of an engine flying at high speeds is partially compressed by the so-called ram effect. If the air speed is high enough, this compression can be sufficient to operate an engine without either compressor or turbine. The ramjet has been called a flying stovepipe, because it is open at both ends and has only fuel nozzles in the middle. A straight stovepipe would not work, however; a ramjet must have a properly shaped inlet-diffusion section to produce low-velocity, high-pressure air at the combustion section, and it must also have a properly shaped exhaust nozzle. Ramjets can operate at speeds above 320 km/hr (about 200 mph), although they become practical for military applications only at very high or supersonic speeds. Because the ramjet depends on the compression of the inrushing air for its operation, a vehicle powered by a ramjet must first be accelerated by other means to a sufficiently high speed.

Pulse Jets A pulse jet is similar to a ramjet, except that a series of spring-loaded shutter-type valves is located ahead of the combustion section. In a pulse jet, combustion is intermittent or pulsing rather than continuous. Air is admitted through the valves, and combustion is initiated, which increases the pressure, closing the valves to prevent backflow through the inlet. The hot gases are expelled through the rear nozzle, producing thrust and lowering the pressure to the point that the valves may open and admit fresh air. Then the cycle is repeated. The most widely known pulse jet was the German V-1 missile, or buzz bomb, used near the end of World War II, which fired at a rate of about 40 cycles per sec. The pulsing effect can also be achieved in a valveless engine, or wave engine, in which the cycling depends on pressure waves traveling back and forth through a properly scaled engine. A pulse-jet engine delivers thrust at zero speed and can be started from rest, but the aximum possible flight speeds are below 960 km/hr (600 mph). Poor efficiency, severe vibration, and high noise limit its use to low-cost, pilotless vehicles. Scramjet In the scramjet the air can be mixed with fuel and ignited while still traveling at supersonic speeds. As a result, temperature increases and pressure losses due to shocks are greatly reduced. Because the scramjet work on the ramjet principle at supersonic speeds, the name scramjet, short for supersonic combustion ramjet, is quite fitting. The scramjet, however, has its own set of problems. One of these is the fact that there is very little time for ignition and combustion to take place, because the fuel-air mixture is moving so fast through the combustion zone. Hydrogen is probably the only fuel that has rapid enough ignition and combustion properties. Even though the idea of the scramjet is quite simple and it essentially does not have any moving parts, it still represents a real technological challenge. Facilities are now available for use in the development of scramjets, at least up to Mach 8. The design and analysis of the scramjet also requires a tremendous amount of computer power, which is now available with the new generation of supercomputers. Like the ramjet, the scramjet is not capable of accelerating from zero velocity. Indeed, the scramjet cannot really start operating before speeds of about Mach 6. Other propulsion devices are needed to get the scramjet up to its operating speed, thus the reason for interest in the combined-cycle engine.

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