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Publication Title | PIONEERING THE POWER THAT MATTERS RR 2018 Gas turbine technology Introduction

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2 Gas turbine technology Introduction to a jet engine
Jet propulsion
Power through the ages
The forces associated with fluid movement are well known; we are all familiar with the power of strong winds, or waves crashing onto rocky shorelines. However, the ingenuity of mankind has enabled air and water flow, wind and wave energy to be successfully harnessed, to provide beneficial movement and power through the ages.
Newton’s third law states that any action has an equal and opposite reaction. A garden sprinkler can be used to illustrate this; it rotates in reaction to the jets of water being forced through the nozzles. With a jet engine, the action of accelerating air through the engine, has the reaction of forcing
the engine forwards. We can use Newton’s laws of motion to calculate the amount of thrust the engine will generate.
Accelerating air through the engine gives the air a change of momentum. Newton’s second law states that thrust is proportional to the rate of change of momentum, so:
Thrust = mass of air sucked into the engine multiplied by its change in speed.
The jet engine is an internal combustion engine which produces power by the controlled burning of fuel. In both the gas turbine and the motor car engine, air is compressed, fuel is added and the
Gas turbine technology 3 Introduction to a jet engine
mixture is ignited. The resulting hot gas expands rapidly and is used to produce the power.
In the motor car engines, the burning is intermittent and the expanding gas moves a piston and crank to produce rotary or shaft power which is transmitted to the road wheels.
In the gas turbine, the burning is continuous and the expanding gas is ejected from the engine. This is the action applied in Newton’s third law, to generate thrust as the reaction.
On modern jet engines the power is used to drive a large fan on the front of the engine that draws air backwards and so produces thrust.
The gas turbine has been adapted for power generation, marine propulsion and gas and oil pumping, all benefiting from its high power and small size.
The gas turbine is a machine that burns fuel to provide energy to create a moving flow of air,
and to extract valuable power or generate useful thrust from that movement. The jet engine has revolutionised air transport over the last 50 years, and Rolls-Royce has been at the cutting edge, pioneering many of the key advanced technologies of the jet age.
A jet engine employs Newton’s laws of motion to generate force, or thrust as it is normally called in aircraft applications. It does this by sucking in air slowly at the front, and then blowing it out quickly at the back.
Core technologies and capabilities are used in all Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, Defence and Power Systems.

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