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Thermal Engineering Laboratory

Exp#4-Operating Characteristics of a Gas Turbine Engine


The main objective of this experiment is to determine the characteristics of a simple gas turbine engine.
The thermodynamic properties at each point of the Brayton cycle are calculated to permit complete
analysis of the cycle.

Turbine Characteristics:

The engine consists of a single stage radial compressor, a counter-flow annular combustor and a single
stage axial turbine which directs the combustion products into a converging nozzle for further expansion.
The engine produces a maximum trust of 40 lbf (178 N) and has a compression ratio of 2.5:1. The fuel
used to power the engine is kerosene with the lower heating value of 19000 Btu/lbm.


The sensors are routed to a central access panel and interfaced with data acquisition hardware and
software from National Instruments. The manufacturer provides the following description of the sensors
and their location.

The integrated sensor system (Mini-Lab) option includes the following probes: Compressor inlet
static pressure (P1), Compressor stage exit stagnation pressure (P02), Combustion chamber pressure
(P3), Turbine exit stagnation pressure (P04), Thrust nozzle exit stagnation pressure (P05),
Compressor inlet static temperature (T1), Compressor stage exit stagnation temperature (T02),
Turbine stage inlet stagnation temperature (T03), Turbine stage exit stagnation temperature
(T04), an thrust nozzle exit stagnation temperature (T05). Additionally, the system includes fuel
flow sensor and a digital thrust readout measuring real time thrust force based upon a strain gage
thrust yoke system.

Safety Notes:

1. Make sure you are wearing ear protection.

2. The SR-30 engine operates at high rotational speeds. Although there is a protective pane that separates
the engine from the operator, make certain that you do not lean too close to this pane.

3. Make sure the low-oil-pressure light goes off immediately after an engine start. If it stays on or comes
on at any time during the engine operation cut off the fuel flow immediately.

4. There is a vibration sensor whose indicator is to the far right of the operators panel. If this indicator
shows any activity (increase in voltage) shut-off the engine immediately.

5. If at any time you suspect something is wrong shut off the fuel immediately and notify the lab

6. If the engine is hung (starts but does not speed up to idle speed of about
40,000 rpm) turn the air-start back on for a short while until the engine speeds up to about 30,000 rpm.
Then turn off the air-start switch.


Experimental Procedure:

1. Turn on the keyed master switch

2. Verify that the Turbine inlet temperature (TIT), the Exhaust gas temperature (EGT), and the RPM
panel meters are ON.
3. Move the engine power lever to the maximum power, full forward position to verify freedom of
movement throughout the full range of throttle operation
4. With the power lever full forward as in the previous step, verify that the throttle position flag
illuminates on the LCD display
5. The engine power lever may now be returned to the minimum power, full AFT position. This
verifies that the throttle functions correctly throughout the full range of motion. With the power
lever in maximum position, the LCD display should display RDY which indicates that the
MiniLab is ready for engine start.
6. Press the green START button to start the engine.
7. Open the PersonalDaqView software by double clicking on the pDaqView shortcut icon in
MiniLab folder located on the desktop and run the pre-programmed LabView VI for this lab. The
screen should display readings from all sensors. Review the readouts to make sure they are
working properly.
8. Make sure that the air pressure in the compressed-air-start line is at least 100 psia (not exceeding
120 psia).
9. Slowly open the throttle. Start taking data at about 45,000 rpm. Make sure that you allow the
engine time to reach steady state by monitoring the digital engine rpm indicator on panel. The
reading fluctuates somewhat so use your judgment.
10. Take data at three different engine speeds (55000, 70000 and 85000 rpm). You will use the data
to study how cycle and component efficiencies change with speed.
11. To record data, select Arm Trigger for disk recording button. Data will be saved in a file named
PDAQ.BIN located in C:\programFiles\pDaqView\Applications\DATA\PDAQ.BIN
12. After you are done taking data, turn off the fuel flow switch first.
13. Follow the instruction to convert the data from binary format to text file and store it in Excel
14. Measure the barometric pressure (Note: Pabsolute = Patm + Pgage)

Required Calculations:

Perform the following analysis and calculations at the selected point of analysis for
each run (throttle setting)
Part 1-Thermodynamic analysis

a) Find the specific enthalpy at each point of the thermodynamic cycle

b) For compression stage, find the specific work consumed by the compressor (1-2)
c) For combustion stage, find the specific energy added by the fuel
d) For the turbine expansion, find the specific work of the turbine
e) Find the specific work done by the cycle
f) Find the thermodynamic efficiency of the cycle
g) Find the pressure ratio, and the ideal efficiency of the Brayton cycle
h) Draw the P-h diagram for the actual gas turbine cycle
i) Only for the first run, find the compressor and turbine isentropic efficiencies

Part 2- Thrust analysis

The following calculations must be done at point 5 (Nozzle exit)

j) Calculate the air density

Note: =

In this equation both pressure and temperature must have absolute values, pressure in psfa
and Temperature in R
Rair= 53.34 .

k) Calculate the air velocity

Note: V=

P is the gage pressure in psf and is the density of air
gc = 32.174 ft.lbm/lbf s2

l) Calculate the volumetric flow rate of air

Note: Vo = AV

Vo is the volumetric flow rate in ft3/s
A is the nozzle exit area of 3.88 in2
V is the velocity in ft/s

m) Calculate the mass flow rate of air in lbm/s
n) Calculate the mass flow rate of the fuel in lbm/s

Kerosene is the fuel used for this engine with a density of 0.81 g/cm3 or 6.76 lbm/gallon

o) Calculate the air/fule ratio

p) Calculate the Thrust generated

( ) ( )

Note: Thrust (lbf) =

q) Use the following equation to calculate the Mach number of the flow at this operating condition


Where kair = 1.4

Suggestions for Discussions

1. How does the cycle efficiency compare with the ideal Brayton cycle?
2. Why is the calculated value of Thrust using Pitot tube reading different than what is captured
by systems load cell thrust measurement? Which one do you think is more accurate?
3. How do the component efficiencies you calculated based on your test data compare with those
of typical gas turbine engines?

Background Theory:

A gas turbine, also called a combustion turbine, is a rotary engine that extracts energy
from a flow of combustion gas. It has an upstream compressor coupled to a downstream turbine,
and a combustion chamber in-between. (Gas turbine may also refer to just the turbine element.)

Energy is added to the gas stream in the combustor, where air is mixed with fuel and ignited.
Combustion increases the temperature, velocity and volume of the gas flow. This is directed
through a nozzle over the turbine's blades, spinning the turbine and powering the compressor.

Energy is extracted in the form of shaft power, compressed air and thrust, in any combination,
and used to power aircraft, trains, ships, generators, and even tanks.

The basic gas turbine cycle is named for the Boston engineer, George Brayton, who first
proposed the Brayton cycle around 1870. Now, the Brayton cycle is used for gas turbines only
where both the compression and expansion processes take place in rotating machinery. The two
major application areas of gas-turbine engines are aircraft propulsion and electric power generation.
Gas turbines are used as stationary power plants to generate electricity as stand-alone units or in
conjunction with steam power plants on the high-temperature side. In these plants, the exhaust
gases serve as a heat source for the steam. Steam power plants are considered external- combustion
engines, in which the combustion takes place outside the engine. The thermal energy released
during this process is then transferred to the steam as heat. The gas turbine first successfully ran in
1939 at the Swiss National Exhibition at Zurich. The early gas turbines built in the 1940s and
even 1950s had simple-cycle efficiencies of about 17 percent. This was because of low compressor
and turbine efficiencies and low turbine inlet temperature due to metallurgical limitations at the
time. The first gas turbine for an electric utility was installed in 1949 in Oklahoma as part of a
combined-cycle power plant. It was built by General Electric and produced 3.5 MW of power.
In the early 1990s, General Electric offered a gas turbine that featured a pressure ratio of 13.5 and
generated 135.7 MW of net power at a thermal efficiency of
33 percent in simple-cycle operation. A more recent gas turbine manufactured by General Electric
uses a turbine inlet temperature of 1425C (2600F) and produces up to 282 MW while achieving
a thermal efficiency of 39.5 percent in the simple-cycle mode. Current low prices for crude oil
make fuels such as diesel, kerosene, jet-engine fuel, and clean gaseous fuels (such as natural gas)
the most desirable for gas turbines. However, these fuels will become much more expensive and
will eventually run out. Provisions must therefore be made to burn alternative fuels.

Brayton Cycle Components:

Gas turbines usually operate on an open cycle, as shown in Figure 1. Fresh air at ambient
conditions is drawn into the compressor, where its temperature and pressure are raised. The high-
pressure air proceeds into the combustion chamber, where the fuel is burned at constant pressure.
The resulting high- temperature gases then enter the turbine, where they expand to the atmospheric
pressure through a row of nozzle vanes. This expansion causes the turbine blade to spin, which
then turns a shaft inside a magnetic coil. When the shaft is rotating inside the magnetic coil,
electrical current is produced. The exhaust gases leaving the turbine in the open cycle are not re-

Figure 1- An Open Cycle Gas Turbine


The open gas-turbine cycle can be modeled as a closed cycle as shown in Figure 2 by
utilizing the air-standard assumptions. Here the compression and expansion processes remain the
same, but a constant- pressure heat-rejection process to the ambient air replaces the combustion

Figure 2- A Closed Cycle Gas Turbine Engine

The ideal cycle that the working fluid undergoes in this closed loop is called the
Brayton cycle, which is made up of four internally reversible processes:

1-2 Isentropic compression (in a compressor)

2-3 Constant pressure heat addition

3-4 Isentropic expansion (in a turbine)

4-1 Constant pressure heat rejection

The T-s and P-v diagrams of an ideal Brayton cycle are shown in Figure 3

Figure 3- T-s and P-v diagrams of an ideal Brayton cycle

All four processes of the Brayton cycle are executed in steady flow devices so they
should be analyzed as steady-flow processes. When the changes in kinetic and potential energies
are neglected, the energy balance for a steady-flow process can be expressed, on a unit-mass
basis, as

(qinqout)+(winwout)= hexithinlet

Therefore, heat transfers to and from the working fluid are



Then the thermal efficiency of the ideal Brayton cycle under the cold air-standard assumptions

(4 1 )
th,Brayton =
(3 2 )

Processes 1-2 and 3-4 are isentropic, and P2 =P3 and P4=P1. Thus,

Substituting these equations into the thermal efficiency relation and simplifying give




is the pressure ratio and k is the specific heat ratio. Under the cold-air assumptions, the thermal
efficiency of an ideal Brayton cycle depends on the pressure ratio of the gas turbine and the
specific heat ratio of the working fluid (if different from air). The thermal efficiency increases
with both of these parameters, which is also the case for actual gas turbines.

In practice, friction, and turbulence cause:

1. Non-isentropic compression: for a given overall pressure ratio, the compressor delivery
temperature is higher than ideal.
2. Non-isentropic expansion: although the turbine temperature drop necessary to drive the
compressor is unaffected, the associated pressure ratio is greater, which decreases the
expansion available to provide useful work.
3. Pressure losses in the air intake, combustor and exhaust: reduces the expansion available
to provide useful work.

As with all cyclic heat engines, higher combustion temperature means greater efficiency. The
limiting factor is the ability of the steel, nickel, ceramic, or other materials that make up the
engine to withstand heat and pressure. Considerable engineering goes into keeping the turbine
parts cool. Most turbines also try to recover exhaust heat, which otherwise is wasted energy.
Recuperators are heat exchangers that pass exhaust heat to the compressed air, prior to
combustion. Combined cycle designs pass waste heat to steam turbine systems, and combined
heat and power (co-generation) uses waste heat for hot water production.

Mechanically, gas turbines can be considerably less complex than internal combustion piston
engines. Simple turbines might have one moving part: the shaft/compressor/turbine/alternative-
rotor assembly (see image above), not counting the fuel system.