Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jet Propulsion Part 2

Turboprop

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.

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.

Turbofan

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.

17 Comments:

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