You are on page 1of 31

Unit-2 Inlets

• Air intakes form the first component of all air breathing
propulsion systems.
• The word Intake is normally used in the UK and Inlet in the
United States.
• An aircraft may have one or more intakes depending upon
the engine
• Free stream air should arrive at the compressor with the
highest possible total pressure.
• Considerable portion of the cycle pressure ratio can be
achieved in the intake itself at high flight speeds if the free
stream is diffused efficiently.
• Should perform well at high angle of attack as well as yaw
angles without disrupting flow into engine.
• The purpose of inlet is to provide a sufficient air
supply to the compressor with a minimum
pressure loss .
• It also has the purpose of being a diffuser that
reduces the velocity of the entering air as
efficiently as possible.
• Intake must ensure proper operation over the
entire flight regime.
• Modern aircraft intakes also contain noise-
absorbing materials.

The performance of inlet is related to the following
1.High total pressure ratio
2.Controllable flow matching requirements.
3.Good uniformity of flow.
4.Low installation drag.
5.Good starting and stability.
6.Low signatures (acoustic , radar) an minimum
7.Low cost while meeting life and reliability goals.

Inlet efficiency can be represented as
1.Isentropic efficiency (defined in terms of
pressure rise)
2.Ram efficiency(defined in terms of pressure

Types of inlet(Based on geometry)
1. The most common type of a subsonic intake is the
Pitot intake.

2. Pitot intakes make the best use of the ram effect
due to forward motion.

3. These intakes also suffers the minimum loss of
ram pressure during changes in altitude.

4. However these intakes are primarily for subsonic

• This types of inlet is essentially a bell shaped funnel
having carefully rounded shoulders which offer
practically no air resistance.
• A bell mounted inlet is usually installed on the engine
being calibrated in a ground test stand to find the
outside static air to the face of the fan and compressor.
• This type of inlet is easily attached and removed.
• Its only objective is to obtain very high aerodynamic
efficiency ,engine performance data , such as rated
thrust, TSFC are obtain while using protective screens.

• The singe entrance duct is the most common and
the simplest type of can also be the most
effective if the duct is located directly ahead of
engine in such a position that it scoops
undisturbed air form the front of the plane.
• The single entrance duct is standard for all multi
engines , subsonic aircraft. such ducts are
relatively short which results in minimum
pressure loss.

• The requirements of high speed , single
engine aircraft in which the pilot sits low in
the fuselage an close to the nose , render it
difficult to use the single entrance duct.
• Some form of divided duct, which intakes air
from either side of the fuselage may be
required. This divided duct can be either a
wing root inlet or scoop at each side of the

1. At high supersonic speeds , the pitot type of
inlet is unsuitable due to the severity of the
shock wave that forms and progressively
reduces in the intake efficiency as speed
2. A more suitable type of intake for these speeds
is known as the external /internal compression
inlet . this type of inlet produces a series of mild
shock waves without excessively reducing the
intake efficiency.
• In a supersonic aircraft flying at speeds above mach no 1.0 the inlet duct is
designed to slow incoming air to subsonic velocity before it reaches the
compressor, some times this is accomplished in part by giving the inlet
duct the shape of a combine supersonic and subsonic diffuser.
• The forward supersonic part of the duct slows the velocity of the incoming
air to the mach no 1.0 after which subsonic part further decrease the
velocity and increase the pressure of an air before it enters the engine.
• For very high speed aircraft , the inside area or configuration of the duct is
often changed by mechanical device the speed of the aircraft increase or
decreases. A duct of this type is known as variable geometry.
• Two types of methods are commonly used to diffuse the inlet air and slow
the inlet airflow at supersonic flight speed.
• One is to vary the area or geometry of the inlet duct either by using a
movable spike within the duct itself, or by using some form of movable
restriction , such as ramp or wedge, inside the duct ,variable geometry
systems may also included scoops to increase airflow and spill valves to
prevent turbulence at the face of the engines.
• The nose inlet is the most satisfactory from the
viewpoint of external is free of
effects of obstructions an boundary layer
interference and staggering the lip decreases its
sensitivity to angle of attack.
• Its installation in the fuselage necessitates
widening the fuselage and moves the cockpit to
an aft location where the vision of the pilot
becomes restricted . This is the main
disadvantage of this inlet.
• The annular inlet comprises a cowl with a
stationary “spinner” in which the equipment
may be installed. The annular inlet has good
aerodynamic characteristics.
• It achieves a good ram recovery ratio , is little
affected by boundary layer phenomena and
does not impede the vision of the pilot.
• Scoop inlets have received considerable
experimental study. In applying them to
aircraft of missile they may be located in a
region where the boundary layer has
thickened or they may project into the free
• Flush inlets were developed with the object o
retaining the low weight and installation
simplicity of the scoop and decreasing its large
form drag. In general the flush inlet is istalled
in a region where the boundary layer has
thickened and does not yield a good pressure
• The wing fillet inlet has good aerodynamic
characteristics when properly installed is form
drag is low and it has no adverse effects on
the critical Mach number of the aircraft.
• Intakes used in transport aircraft are quite different from
the military air intakes.

• All operational transport aircraft are subsonic.

• Subsonic intakes consist of surfaces with smooth
continuous curves.

• Usually such intakes have a thick leading edge: lip.

• Intakes of turboprops are slightly more complicated due to
the presence of the propeller and the gearbox.
Transport Vs military Aircraft intake
Serpentine intakes for next generation
military aircraft