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As we know that aircraft is a vehicle that is capable of flying by making use of different aerodynamic forces. Airplanes, helicopters and gliders are the different forms of aircraft. Obviously, every aircraft does need an engine as its propulsion system. The engines are an essential part that is required for the functioning of any aircraft. Different aircraft make use of different kinds of engines like lightweight piston engines or gas turbine engines. In this paper, we are going to discuss the aircraft turbines, their uses and their working. We have made in-depth research in order to have a clear understanding of the topic. (Fielding, 1)
The huge engines are used to power up the aircraft. A large number of aircraft make use of gas turbines. The most common type of gas turbine engines that are widely used are turbofans engines. The gas turbine engines are being widely applied in all kinds of aircraft now. The basic function of the turbine in aircraft is to give power to the compressor and to the other equipment for running. A large amount of energy is required in order to run the compressor. This energy is produced internally by the turbine. After providing the compressor with the desired amount of energy, the turbines are responsible for generating the required thrust. The amount of energy produced is different in different cases. For large aircraft, the turbines are desired to produce large amounts of energy like 100,000 hp. The turbines do produce this energy by burning a mixture of fuel and air. This gives rise to the gas suddenly. These gases are produced with high velocity and are then directed by the turbine wheels. The movement of gas is now converted from the axial motion to rotary motion. This generated power is then used to derive the compressor or propeller. (Aircraft gas turbine engines, 2)
Types of Turbines
Different forms of turbines have been introduced that can be implemented in several types of aircraft. The most suitable form of the turbine is selected for use in aircraft. In the following, we have discussed the main forms of turbines. All these forms of turbines have their own properties. The type of turbine is selected for the different aircraft depending on their characteristics and properties.
- Steam Turbine: These types of turbines make use of fuels such as gas, oil, coal and nuclear reactor and so on in order to generate steam. These kinds of turbines do have multiple stages which are designed very carefully. The steam then flows throughout the turbine to drive the generator or compressor.
- Gas Turbine: The gas turbines are basically known as the extension of the other types of turbines like a wind turbine. The concept of these turbines is still the same as the other turbines. In such turbines, pressurized gases are developed and are then used to drive the compressor. The recent gas turbines produce their own pressurized gases by burning some fuel like gas, propane and kerosene, etc. The generated heat is then used to spin the turbine.
- Axial Flow Turbine: These are the turbines that have much application from the manufacturing industries. There are two main parts of this turbine. These two elements are named as a set of stationary vanes and turbine rotors. Also, two types of turbine blades are available i.e., reaction and impulse. In modern aircraft turbines, the blades are being used that have the features of both the impulse and the reaction. A series of small nozzles are created by making use of the stationary vanes. This is the stationary part of the turbine. The gas is then discharged from these nozzles over the turbine wheel blades.
- Radial Inflow Turbine: The manufacturers are now paying attention to the radial inflow turbines. These turbines are very simple and for this reason, they are easy to manufacture. Also, these turbines have proved to be cost-effective as well. The peripheral nozzles are responsible for spreading the gas over the turbine wheels in the inward radial direction. A force is exerted over the blades of the turbine wheels. This force then allows the air to get exhausted in the air. This kind of turbine is very much suitable for smaller aircraft.
The above are the basic types of aircraft turbines. The aircraft deploy the one that is most suitable for their functioning. (Gas turbine types, 1)
Advantages of Aircraft Turbines
The turbines do have a number of advantages for which these are widely used in aircraft engines. Some of the basic advantages of the turbines are given below:
- The turbines are able to produce a large amount of energy and power even for the aircraft that is small in size and weight.
- All the major parts or components of the turbines have rotational motion due to which the life time of the turbines is long-lasting. Also, the maintenance of these turbines does not cost much. The main reason for this low-cost repair and long-lasting life is that it does not have any reciprocating motion within the engine.
- Some external source is being used to start up the gas turbine. This external source can bring the turbine to peak level in a few minutes. The turbine is started at full load in just a few minutes and very easily as well.
- The gas turbines may also utilize a number of different fuels which is no doubt a very good quality of these turbines. The most commonly used fuels in aircraft turbines are kerosene and natural gas. Some types of oils are also used like diesel oil and other residual oils which are specially treated. Besides these, the gases that are derived from the blast furnaces can be used. The wide variety of fuels has made the use of turbines cheaper and due to this, the turbines are being deployed widely.
- These turbines also make use of atmospheric air as the working fluid which is very beneficial as it is naturally available.
- Another advantage of aircraft turbine is that they do not need any kind of coolant.
These were some of the advantages and because of these advantages the aircraft now widely make use of turbines in their engines. The turbines have no doubt increased the lifetime of the aircraft engines. The turbines also have made the turbine engines cost-effective and reliable. (Langston, 3)
The aircraft turbines have changed the overall scenario of the aircraft. The huge aircraft engines are now widely deploying aircraft turbines in order to improve the functionality of the aircraft while being cost-effective at the same time.
“Air craft gas turbine engines.” (2009) Web.
Fielding, John. “Introduction to aircraft design.” (1999). Web.
“Gas turbine types.” (no date). Web.
Langston, Lee. “Introduction to gas turbines for non engineers.” Global gas turbine news (1997): vol. 37, no. 2, pp 1-9.