Understanding How A Turbine Engine Works

Understanding How A Turbine Engine WorksWhile plenty of smaller aircraft today are still equipped with the reliable radial engines, it’s turbine engines that have really changed the aircraft industry over the last few decades. These engines have become the standard for most aviation machines, and taking a few minutes to understand more about how they work is always a good idea if you own an aircraft equipped with one.

Essentially, these internal combustion engines run on a process that’s surprisingly similar to the older steam engines. Here’s a look at the basic process:

  • Air is pulled down into a compressor, where pressure builds up to higher levels.
  • Fuel is sprayed into this pressurized air.
  • The fuel and air are ignited within the chamber, creating combustion.
  • The gas is now at a high temperature and a high pressure, and at this point it enters a turbine and expands downwards into another chamber.
  • As it expands down, the combustion produces a shaft work process that drives the turbine and generates the power.

For even more information and for a close up video of how these turbine engines work, check out this video to understand even more. It’s a great demonstration of the engine in action, and should give you a better idea of just what is involved during the process.

It’s a process that is simple in theory and in action, but still relies on very specific amounts of fuel, air, and power. That’s why different types of turbine engines are used in different applications, and why different adjustments must be made in order to maximize the energy and reach just the right level needed for the job at hand.

Turbine engines are used in everything from boats to trains, but in the aviation industry they truly stand out. The massive jet engines that are on commercial aircraft, for example, are a form of turbine engines. But smaller turbines like the ever-popular Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6 are used on smaller and medium sized airplanes and have found their way onto everything from crop dusters to military bombers.

Understanding the basics of these reliable, powerful, and popular engines is the first step to ensuring that your aircraft fleet is operating as it should. With the right team providing maintenance and repairs on your turbine engines, and with just a bit of knowledge about how they work, you can keep your fleet exactly where it belongs – up in the air.

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