What is a Jet Engine?
A jet engine is as a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet that generates forward thrust by jet propulsion according to Newton’s laws of motion. Examples of jet engines include turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, and pulse jets. Generally, jet engines are combustion engines. However, non-combusting forms also exist.
In common parlance, the term jet engine refers to an internal combustion airbreathing jet engine called a duct engine. This typically consists of a rotating air compressor engine powered by a turbine known as “Brayton cycle”, with the leftover power providing a forward thrust through a propelling nozzle. For long-distance travel, jet aircraft uses these types of engines.Early jet aircraft used turbojet engines which were said to be relatively inefficient for subsonic flight. Modern subsonic jet aircraft usually uses high-bypass turbofan engines. These engines are offering high speed and have greater fuel efficiency than piston and propeller aircraft engines over long distance flights.
- Turbojet – This is Whittle’s original design and it’s still widely used in airplanes nowadays. Turbojets are basic and oldest kind of general-purpose jet engines.
- Turboprop – Turboprop engines have a propeller mounted on the front and are also popular in smaller, more economical both aircraft and helicopters. The propeller is driven by a jet engine located directly behind it.
- Turbofan – Turbofan engines are quieter than turbojets. These are typically used in large airliners. A turbofan engine has a large fan located at the front which sucks air.Some of the air is blown into the compressor while the rest of the air is blown on the outside of the combustor and straight out of the back. The “bypass” arrangement allows to cool the engine and makes it much quieter. It also produces more thrust at both takeoff and landing.
- Ramjets and Scramjets – Ramjets are most basic, simple and compact jet engines—little more than gas-burning pipes. These are typically used to make powered rockets and guided missiles. Scramjets are supersonic combustion ramjet, the ones in which air travels through the engine faster than the speed of sound.
- Jet engine designs are always modified for non-aircraft applications like industrial gas turbines or marine powerplants. Important uses of these are, electrical power generation, for powering water, natural gas or oil pumps, and to provide propulsion for ships and locomotives. These industrial gas turbines create up to 50,000 shaft horsepower. Many of these engines came from older military turbojets like the Pratt & Whitney J57 &J75 aviation models. There is also a derivative of the P&W JT8D low-bypass turbofan creating up to 35,000 HP.
- Jet engines are sometimes developed into or share certain components such as engine cores. Gas turbine engines such as turboshaft and turboprop engines are typically used to power helicopters and some propeller-driven aircraft.
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