Published on Jan 19, 2016
Jet engine is an engine that discharges a fast moving jet of fluid to generate thrust in accordance with Newton's third law of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets and ramjets and water jets, but in common usage, the term generally refers to a gas turbine Brayton cycle engine used to produce a jet of high speed exhaust gases for special propulsive purposes.
In order to work in outer space, rocket engines must carry their own supply of oxygen as well as fuel. The mixture is injected into the combustion chamber where it burns continuously. The high-pressure gas escapes through the nozzle, causing thrust in the opposite direction.The turbojet employs the same principle as the rocket. It burns oxygen from the atmosphere instead of carrying a supply along.Fuel continuously burns inside a combustion chamber just like the rocket. The expanding gasses escape out the nozzle generating thrust in the opposite direction.
On its way out the nozzle, some of the gas pressure is used to drive a turbine. A turbine is a series of rotors or fans connected to a single shaft. Between each pair of rotors is a stator, something like a stationary fan. The stators realign the gas flow to most effectively direct it toward the blades of the next rotor.
At the front of the engine, the turbine shaft drives a compressor. The compressor works a lot like the turbine only in reverse. Its purpose is to draw air into the engine and pressurize it.
The turboprop is similar to the turbojet, except that most of the nozzle gas pressure drives the turbine shaft -- by the time the gas gets past the turbine, there's very little pressure left to create thrust.
Instead, the shaft is geared to a propeller which creates the majority of the thrust. 'Jet' helicopters work the same way, except that their engines are connected to the main rotor shaft instead of a propeller.The turbofan is something like a compromise between a pure turbojet and a turboprop. It works like the turbojet, except that the turbine shaft also drives an external fan, usually located at the front of the engine.
The fan has more blades than a propeller and spins much faster. It also features a shroud around its perimeter, which helps to capture and focus the air flowing through it. These features enable the fan to generate some thrust at high altitudes, where a propeller would be ineffective.
Much of the thrust still comes from the exhaust jet, but the addition of the fan makes the engine more fuel efficient than a pure turbojet. Most modern jetliners now feature turbofan engines.
Turboprops are more fuel efficient than turbojets at low altitudes, where the thicker air gives a propeller a lot more 'traction.' This makes them popular on planes used for short flights, where the time spent at low altitudes represents a greater percentage of the overall flight time.
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