Jet engine

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Jet engine
F100 F-15 engine.JPG
Classification Internal combustion engine
Industry Aerospace
Application Aviation
Fuel source Jet fuel
Components Dynamic compressor, Fan, Combustor, Turbine, Propelling nozzle
Inventor John Barber, Frank Whittle, Hans von Ohain
Invented1791, 1928, 1935
Jet engine during take-off showing visible hot exhaust (Germanwings Airbus A319) 20140308-Jet engine airflow during take-off.jpg
Jet engine during take-off showing visible hot exhaust (Germanwings Airbus A319)

A jet engine is a type of reaction engine, discharging a fast-moving jet of heated gas (usually air) that generates thrust by jet propulsion. While this broad definition may include rocket, water jet, and hybrid propulsion, the term jet engine typically refers to an internal combustion air-breathing jet engine such as a turbojet, turbofan, ramjet, pulse jet, or scramjet. In general, jet engines are internal combustion engines.


Air-breathing jet engines typically feature a rotating air compressor powered by a turbine, with the leftover power providing thrust through the propelling nozzle—this process is known as the Brayton thermodynamic cycle. Jet aircraft use such engines for long-distance travel. Early jet aircraft used turbojet engines that were relatively inefficient for subsonic flight. Most modern subsonic jet aircraft use more complex high-bypass turbofan engines. They give higher speed and greater fuel efficiency than piston and propeller aeroengines over long distances. A few air-breathing engines made for high-speed applications (ramjets and scramjets) use the ram effect of the vehicle's speed instead of a mechanical compressor.

The thrust of a typical jetliner engine went from 5,000 lbf (22,000 N) (de Havilland Ghost turbojet) in the 1950s to 115,000 lbf (510,000 N) (General Electric GE90 turbofan) in the 1990s, and their reliability went from 40 in-flight shutdowns per 100,000 engine flight hours to less than 1 per 100,000 in the late 1990s. This, combined with greatly decreased fuel consumption, permitted routine transatlantic flight by twin-engined airliners by the turn of the century, where previously a similar journey would have required multiple fuel stops. [1]


The principle of the jet engine is not new; however, the technical advances necessary to make the idea work did not come to fruition until the 20th century. A rudimentary demonstration of jet power dates back to the aeolipile, a device described by Hero of Alexandria in 1st-century Egypt. This device directed steam power through two nozzles to cause a sphere to spin rapidly on its axis. It was seen as a curiosity. Meanwhile, practical applications of the turbine can be seen in the water wheel and the windmill.

Historians have further traced the theoretical origin of the principles of jet engines to traditional Chinese firework and rocket propulsion systems. Such devices' use for flight is documented in the story of Ottoman soldier Lagâri Hasan Çelebi, who reportedly achieved flight using a cone-shaped rocket in 1633. [2]

The earliest attempts at airbreathing jet engines were hybrid designs in which an external power source first compressed air, which was then mixed with fuel and burned for jet thrust. The Italian Caproni Campini N.1, and the Japanese Tsu-11 engine intended to power Ohka kamikaze planes towards the end of World War II were unsuccessful.

Even before the start of World War II, engineers were beginning to realize that engines driving propellers were approaching limits due to issues related to propeller efficiency, [3] which declined as blade tips approached the speed of sound. If aircraft performance were to increase beyond such a barrier, a different propulsion mechanism was necessary. This was the motivation behind the development of the gas turbine engine, the most common form of jet engine.

The key to a practical jet engine was the gas turbine, extracting power from the engine itself to drive the compressor. The gas turbine was not a new idea: the patent for a stationary turbine was granted to John Barber in England in 1791. The first gas turbine to successfully run self-sustaining was built in 1903 by Norwegian engineer Ægidius Elling. [4] Such engines did not reach manufacture due to issues of safety, reliability, weight and, especially, sustained operation.

The first patent for using a gas turbine to power an aircraft was filed in 1921 by Maxime Guillaume. [5] [6] His engine was an axial-flow turbojet, but was never constructed, as it would have required considerable advances over the state of the art in compressors. Alan Arnold Griffith published An Aerodynamic Theory of Turbine Design in 1926 leading to experimental work at the RAE.

The Whittle W.2/700 engine flew in the Gloster E.28/39, the first British aircraft to fly with a turbojet engine, and the Gloster Meteor Whittle Jet Engine W2-700.JPG
The Whittle W.2/700 engine flew in the Gloster E.28/39, the first British aircraft to fly with a turbojet engine, and the Gloster Meteor

In 1928, RAF College Cranwell cadet Frank Whittle formally submitted his ideas for a turbojet to his superiors. [7] In October 1929, he developed his ideas further. [8] On 16 January 1930, in England, Whittle submitted his first patent (granted in 1932). [9] The patent showed a two-stage axial compressor feeding a single-sided centrifugal compressor. Practical axial compressors were made possible by ideas from A.A.Griffith in a seminal paper in 1926 ("An Aerodynamic Theory of Turbine Design"). Whittle would later concentrate on the simpler centrifugal compressor only. Whittle was unable to interest the government in his invention, and development continued at a slow pace.

Heinkel He 178, the world's first aircraft to fly purely on turbojet power Ohain USAF He 178 page61.jpg
Heinkel He 178, the world's first aircraft to fly purely on turbojet power

In Spain, pilot and engineer Virgilio Leret Ruiz was granted a patent for a jet engine design in March 1935. Republican president Manuel Azaña arranged for initial construction at the Hispano-Suiza aircraft factory in Madrid in 1936, but Leret was executed months later by Francoist Moroccan troops after unsuccessfully defending his seaplane base on the first days of the Spanish Civil War. His plans, hidden from Francoists, were secretly given to the British embassy in Madrid a few years later by his wife, Carlota O'Neill, upon her release from prison. [10] [11]

In 1935, Hans von Ohain started work on a similar design to Whittle's in Germany, both compressor and turbine being radial, on opposite sides of the same disc, initially unaware of Whittle's work. [12] Von Ohain's first device was strictly experimental and could run only under external power, but he was able to demonstrate the basic concept. Ohain was then introduced to Ernst Heinkel, one of the larger aircraft industrialists of the day, who immediately saw the promise of the design. Heinkel had recently purchased the Hirth engine company, and Ohain and his master machinist Max Hahn were set up there as a new division of the Hirth company. They had their first HeS 1 centrifugal engine running by September 1937. Unlike Whittle's design, Ohain used hydrogen as fuel, supplied under external pressure. Their subsequent designs culminated in the gasoline-fuelled HeS 3 of 5 kN (1,100 lbf), which was fitted to Heinkel's simple and compact He 178 airframe and flown by Erich Warsitz in the early morning of August 27, 1939, from Rostock-Marienehe aerodrome, an impressively short time for development. The He 178 was the world's first jet plane. [13] Heinkel applied for a US patent covering the Aircraft Power Plant by Hans Joachim Pabst von Ohain on May 31, 1939; patent number US2256198, with M Hahn referenced as inventor. Von Ohain´s design, an axial-flow engine, as opposed to Whittle's centrifugal flow engine, was eventually adopted by most manufacturers by the 1950's. [14] [15]

A cutaway of the Junkers Jumo 004 engine Junkers Jumo 004.jpg
A cutaway of the Junkers Jumo 004 engine

Austrian Anselm Franz of Junkers' engine division (Junkers Motoren or "Jumo") introduced the axial-flow compressor in their jet engine. Jumo was assigned the next engine number in the RLM 109-0xx numbering sequence for gas turbine aircraft powerplants, "004", and the result was the Jumo 004 engine. After many lesser technical difficulties were solved, mass production of this engine started in 1944 as a powerplant for the world's first jet-fighter aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 262 (and later the world's first jet-bomber aircraft, the Arado Ar 234). A variety of reasons conspired to delay the engine's availability, causing the fighter to arrive too late to improve Germany's position in World War II, however this was the first jet engine to be used in service.

Gloster Meteor F.3s. The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' only jet aircraft to achieve combat operations during World War II. Gloster Meteor III ExCC.jpg
Gloster Meteor F.3s. The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' only jet aircraft to achieve combat operations during World War II.

Meanwhile, in Britain the Gloster E28/39 had its maiden flight on 15 May 1941 and the Gloster Meteor finally entered service with the RAF in July 1944. These were powered by turbojet engines from Power Jets Ltd., set up by Frank Whittle. The first two operational turbojet aircraft, the Messerschmitt Me 262 and then the Gloster Meteor entered service within three months of each other in 1944; the Me 262 in April and the Gloster Meteor in July. The Meteor only saw around 15 aircraft enter World War II action, while up to 1400 Me 262 were produced, with 300 entering combat, delivering the first ground attacks and air combat victories of jet planes. [16] [17] [18]

Following the end of the war the German jet aircraft and jet engines were extensively studied by the victorious allies and contributed to work on early Soviet and US jet fighters. The legacy of the axial-flow engine is seen in the fact that practically all jet engines on fixed-wing aircraft have had some inspiration from this design.

By the 1950s, the jet engine was almost universal in combat aircraft, with the exception of cargo, liaison and other specialty types. By this point, some of the British designs were already cleared for civilian use, and had appeared on early models like the de Havilland Comet and Avro Canada Jetliner. By the 1960s, all large civilian aircraft were also jet powered, leaving the piston engine in low-cost niche roles such as cargo flights.

The efficiency of turbojet engines was still rather worse than piston engines, but by the 1970s, with the advent of high-bypass turbofan jet engines (an innovation not foreseen by the early commentators such as Edgar Buckingham, at high speeds and high altitudes that seemed absurd to them), fuel efficiency was about the same as the best piston and propeller engines. [19]


A JT9D turbofan jet engine installed on a Boeing 747 aircraft. JT9D on 747.JPG
A JT9D turbofan jet engine installed on a Boeing 747 aircraft.

Jet engines power jet aircraft, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. In the form of rocket engines they power model rocketry, spaceflight, and military missiles.

Jet engines have propelled high speed cars, particularly drag racers, with the all-time record held by a rocket car. A turbofan powered car, ThrustSSC, currently holds the land speed record.

Jet engine designs are frequently modified for non-aircraft applications, as industrial gas turbines or marine powerplants. These are used in electrical power generation, for powering water, natural gas, or oil pumps, and providing propulsion for ships and locomotives. Industrial gas turbines can create up to 50,000 shaft horsepower. Many of these engines are derived from older military turbojets such as the Pratt & Whitney J57 and J75 models. There is also a derivative of the P&W JT8D low-bypass turbofan that creates up to 35,000 horsepower (HP) .

Jet engines are also sometimes developed into, or share certain components such as engine cores, with turboshaft and turboprop engines, which are forms of gas turbine engines that are typically used to power helicopters and some propeller-driven aircraft.

Types of jet engine

There are a large number of different types of jet engines, all of which achieve forward thrust from the principle of jet propulsion.


Commonly aircraft are propelled by airbreathing jet engines. Most airbreathing jet engines that are in use are turbofan jet engines, which give good efficiency at speeds just below the speed of sound.


Turbojet engine Jet engine.svg
Turbojet engine

A turbojet engine is a gas turbine engine that works by compressing air with an inlet and a compressor (axial, centrifugal, or both), mixing fuel with the compressed air, burning the mixture in the combustor, and then passing the hot, high pressure air through a turbine and a nozzle. The compressor is powered by the turbine, which extracts energy from the expanding gas passing through it. The engine converts internal energy in the fuel to increased momentum of the gas flowing through the engine, producing thrust. All the air entering the compressor is passed through the combustor, and turbine, unlike the turbofan engine described below. [20]


Schematic diagram illustrating the operation of a low-bypass turbofan engine. Turbofan operation lbp.svg
Schematic diagram illustrating the operation of a low-bypass turbofan engine.

Turbofans differ from turbojets in that they have an additional fan at the front of the engine, which accelerates air in a duct bypassing the core gas turbine engine. Turbofans are the dominant engine type for medium and long-range airliners.

Turbofans are usually more efficient than turbojets at subsonic speeds, but at high speeds their large frontal area generates more drag. [21] Therefore, in supersonic flight, and in military and other aircraft where other considerations have a higher priority than fuel efficiency, fans tend to be smaller or absent.

Because of these distinctions, turbofan engine designs are often categorized as low-bypass or high-bypass, depending upon the amount of air which bypasses the core of the engine. Low-bypass turbofans have a bypass ratio of around 2:1 or less.

Advanced technology engine

The term Advanced technology engine refers to the modern generation of jet engines. [22] The principle is that a turbine engine will function more efficiently if the various sets of turbines can revolve at their individual optimum speeds, instead of at the same speed. The true advanced technology engine has a triple spool, meaning that instead of having a single drive shaft, there are three, in order that the three sets of blades may revolve at different speeds. An interim state is a twin-spool engine, allowing only two different speeds for the turbines.

Ram compression

Ram compression jet engines are airbreathing engines similar to gas turbine engines in so far as they both use the Brayton cycle. Gas turbine and ram compression engines differ, however, in how they compress the incoming airflow. Whereas gas turbine engines use axial or centrifugal compressors to compress incoming air, ram engines rely only on air compressed in the inlet or diffuser. [23] A ram engine thus requires a substantial initial forward airspeed before it can function. Ramjets are considered the simplest type of air breathing jet engine because they have no moving parts in the engine proper, only in the accessories. [24]

Scramjets differ mainly in the fact that the air does not slow to subsonic speeds. Rather, they use supersonic combustion. They are efficient at even higher speed. Very few have been built or flown.

Non-continuous combustion

Motorjet Works like a turbojet but a piston engine drives the compressor instead of a turbine.Higher exhaust velocity than a propeller, offering better thrust at high speedHeavy, inefficient and underpowered. Example: Caproni Campini N.1.
Pulsejet Air is compressed and combusted intermittently instead of continuously. Some designs use valves.Very simple design, used for the V-1 flying bomb and more recently on model aircraftNoisy, inefficient (low compression ratio), works poorly on a large scale, valves on valved designs wear out quickly
Pulse detonation engine Similar to a pulsejet, but combustion occurs as a detonation instead of a deflagration, may or may not need valvesMaximum theoretical engine efficiencyExtremely noisy, parts subject to extreme mechanical fatigue, hard to start detonation, not practical for current use

Other types of jet propulsion


Rocket engine propulsion Rocket thrust.svg
Rocket engine propulsion

The rocket engine uses the same basic physical principles of thrust as a form of reaction engine, [25] but is distinct from the jet engine in that it does not require atmospheric air to provide oxygen; the rocket carries all components of the reaction mass. However some definitions treat it as a form of jet propulsion. [26]

Because rockets do not breathe air, this allows them to operate at arbitrary altitudes and in space. [27]

This type of engine is used for launching satellites, space exploration and crewed access, and permitted landing on the Moon in 1969.

Rocket engines are used for high altitude flights, or anywhere where very high accelerations are needed since rocket engines themselves have a very high thrust-to-weight ratio.

However, the high exhaust speed and the heavier, oxidizer-rich propellant results in far more propellant use than turbofans. Even so, at extremely high speeds they become energy-efficient.

An approximate equation for the net thrust of a rocket engine is:

Where is the net thrust, is the specific impulse, is a standard gravity, is the propellant flow in kg/s, is the cross-sectional area at the exit of the exhaust nozzle, and is the atmospheric pressure.

Rocket Carries all propellants and oxidants on board, emits jet for propulsion [28] Very few moving parts. Mach 0 to Mach 25+; efficient at very high speed (> Mach 5.0 or so). Thrust/weight ratio over 100. No complex air inlet. High compression ratio. Very high-speed (hypersonic) exhaust. Good cost/thrust ratio. Fairly easy to test. Works in a vacuum; indeed, works best outside the atmosphere, which is kinder on vehicle structure at high speed. Fairly small surface area to keep cool, and no turbine in hot exhaust stream. Very high-temperature combustion and high expansion-ratio nozzle gives very high efficiency, at very high speeds.Needs lots of propellant. Very low specific impulse – typically 100–450 seconds. Extreme thermal stresses of combustion chamber can make reuse harder. Typically requires carrying oxidizer on-board which increases risks. Extraordinarily noisy.


Combined-cycle engines simultaneously use two or more different principles of jet propulsion.

Turborocket A turbojet where an additional oxidizer such as oxygen is added to the airstream to increase maximum altitudeVery close to existing designs, operates in very high altitude, wide range of altitude and airspeedAirspeed limited to same range as turbojet engine, carrying oxidizer like LOX can be dangerous. Much heavier than simple rockets.
Air-augmented rocket Essentially a ramjet where intake air is compressed and burnt with the exhaust from a rocketMach 0 to Mach 4.5+ (can also run exoatmospheric), good efficiency at Mach 2 to 4Similar efficiency to rockets at low speed or exoatmospheric, inlet difficulties, a relatively undeveloped and unexplored type, cooling difficulties, very noisy, thrust/weight ratio is similar to ramjets.
Precooled jets / LACE Intake air is chilled to very low temperatures at inlet in a heat exchanger before passing through a ramjet and/or turbojet and/or rocket engine.Easily tested on ground. Very high thrust/weight ratios are possible (~14) together with good fuel efficiency over a wide range of airspeeds, Mach 0–5.5+; this combination of efficiencies may permit launching to orbit, single stage, or very rapid, very long distance intercontinental travel.Exists only at the lab prototyping stage. Examples include RB545, Reaction Engines SABRE, ATREX. Requires liquid hydrogen fuel which has very low density and requires heavily insulated tankage.

Water jet

A water jet, or pump-jet, is a marine propulsion system that uses a jet of water. The mechanical arrangement may be a ducted propeller with nozzle, or a centrifugal compressor and nozzle. The pump-jet must be driven by a separate engine such as a Diesel or gas turbine.

A pump jet schematic. Pump jet.PNG
A pump jet schematic.
Water jet For propelling water rockets and jetboats; squirts water out the back through a nozzleIn boats, can run in shallow water, high acceleration, no risk of engine overload (unlike propellers), less noise and vibration, highly maneuverable at all boat speeds, high speed efficiency, less vulnerable to damage from debris, very reliable, more load flexibility, less harmful to wildlifeCan be less efficient than a propeller at low speed, more expensive, higher weight in boat due to entrained water, will not perform well if boat is heavier than the jet is sized for

General physical principles

All jet engines are reaction engines that generate thrust by emitting a jet of fluid rearwards at relatively high speed. The forces on the inside of the engine needed to create this jet give a strong thrust on the engine which pushes the craft forwards.

Jet engines make their jet from propellant stored in tanks that are attached to the engine (as in a 'rocket') as well as in duct engines (those commonly used on aircraft) by ingesting an external fluid (very typically air) and expelling it at higher speed.

Propelling nozzle

A propelling nozzle produces a high velocity exhaust jet. Propelling nozzles turn internal and pressure energy into high velocity kinetic energy. [29] The total pressure and temperature don't change through the nozzle but their static values drop as the gas speeds up.

The velocity of the air entering the nozzle is low, about Mach 0.4, a prerequisite for minimizing pressure losses in the duct leading to the nozzle. The temperature entering the nozzle may be as low as sea level ambient for a fan nozzle in the cold air at cruise altitudes. It may be as high as the 1000K exhaust gas temperature for a supersonic afterburning engine or 2200K with afterburner lit. [30] The pressure entering the nozzle may vary from 1.5 times the pressure outside the nozzle, for a single stage fan, to 30 times for the fastest manned aircraft at Mach 3+. [31]

Convergent nozzles are only able to accelerate the gas up to local sonic (Mach 1) conditions. To reach high flight speeds, even greater exhaust velocities are required, and so a convergent-divergent nozzle is needed on high-speed aircraft. [32]

The engine thrust is highest if the static pressure of the gas reaches the ambient value as it leaves the nozzle. This only happens if the nozzle exit area is the correct value for the nozzle pressure ratio (npr). Since the npr changes with engine thrust setting and flight speed this is seldom the case. Also at supersonic speeds the divergent area is less than required to give complete internal expansion to ambient pressure as a trade-off with external body drag. Whitford [33] gives the F-16 as an example. Other underexpanded examples were the XB-70 and SR-71.

The nozzle size, together with the area of the turbine nozzles, determines the operating pressure of the compressor. [34]


Energy efficiency relating to aircraft jet engines

This overview highlights where energy losses occur in complete jet aircraft powerplants or engine installations.

A jet engine at rest, as on a test stand, sucks in fuel and generates thrust. How well it does this is judged by how much fuel it uses and what force is required to restrain it. This is a measure of its efficiency. If something deteriorates inside the engine (known as performance deterioration [35] ) it will be less efficient and this will show when the fuel produces less thrust. If a change is made to an internal part which allows the air/combustion gases to flow more smoothly the engine will be more efficient and use less fuel. A standard definition is used to assess how different things change engine efficiency and also to allow comparisons to be made between different engines. This definition is called specific fuel consumption, or how much fuel is needed to produce one unit of thrust. For example, it will be known for a particular engine design that if some bumps in a bypass duct are smoothed out the air will flow more smoothly giving a pressure loss reduction of x% and y% less fuel will be needed to get the take-off thrust, for example. This understanding comes under the engineering discipline Jet engine performance. How efficiency is affected by forward speed and by supplying energy to aircraft systems is mentioned later.

The efficiency of the engine is controlled primarily by the operating conditions inside the engine which are the pressure produced by the compressor and the temperature of the combustion gases at the first set of rotating turbine blades. The pressure is the highest air pressure in the engine. The turbine rotor temperature is not the highest in the engine but is the highest at which energy transfer takes place ( higher temperatures occur in the combustor). The above pressure and temperature are shown on a Thermodynamic cycle diagram.

The efficiency is further modified by how smoothly the air and the combustion gases flow through the engine, how well the flow is aligned (known as incidence angle) with the moving and stationary passages in the compressors and turbines. [36] Non-optimum angles, as well as non-optimum passage and blade shapes can cause thickening and separation of Boundary layers and formation of Shock waves. It is important to slow the flow (lower speed means less pressure losses or Pressure drop) when it travels through ducts connecting the different parts. How well the individual components contribute to turning fuel into thrust is quantified by measures like efficiencies for the compressors, turbines and combustor and pressure losses for the ducts. These are shown as lines on a Thermodynamic cycle diagram.

The engine efficiency, or thermal efficiency, [37] known as . is dependent on the Thermodynamic cycle parameters, maximum pressure and temperature, and on component efficiencies, , and and duct pressure losses.

The engine needs compressed air for itself just to run successfully. This air comes from its own compressor and is called secondary air. It does not contribute to making thrust so makes the engine less efficient. It is used to preserve the mechanical integrity of the engine, to stop parts overheating and to prevent oil escaping from bearings for example. Only some of this air taken from the compressors returns to the turbine flow to contribute to thrust production. Any reduction in the amount needed improves the engine efficiency. Again, it will be known for a particular engine design that a reduced requirement for cooling flow of x% will reduce the specific fuel consumption by y%. In other words, less fuel will be required to give take-off thrust, for example. The engine is more efficient.

All of the above considerations are basic to the engine running on its own and, at the same time, doing nothing useful, i.e. it is not moving an aircraft or supplying energy for the aircraft's electrical, hydraulic and air systems. In the aircraft the engine gives away some of its thrust-producing potential, or fuel, to power these systems. These requirements, which cause installation losses, [38] reduce its efficiency. It is using some fuel that does not contribute to the engine's thrust.

Finally, when the aircraft is flying the propelling jet itself contains wasted kinetic energy after it has left the engine. This is quantified by the term propulsive, or Froude, efficiency and may be reduced by redesigning the engine to give it bypass flow and a lower speed for the propelling jet, for example as a turboprop or turbofan engine. At the same time forward speed increases the by increasing the Overall pressure ratio.

The overall efficiency of the engine at flight speed is defined as . [39]

The at flight speed depends on how well the intake compresses the air before it is handed over to the engine compressors. The intake compression ratio, which can be as high as 32:1 at Mach 3, adds to that of the engine compressor to give the Overall pressure ratio and for the Thermodynamic cycle. How well it does this is defined by its pressure recovery or measure of the losses in the intake. Mach 3 manned flight has provided an interesting illustration of how these losses can increase dramatically in an instant. The North American XB-70 Valkyrie and Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at Mach 3 each had pressure recoveries of about 0.8, [40] [41] due to relatively low losses during the compression process, i.e. through systems of multiple shocks. During an 'unstart' the efficient shock system would be replaced by a very inefficient single shock beyond the inlet and an intake pressure recovery of about 0.3 and a correspondingly low pressure ratio.

The propelling nozzle at speeds above about Mach 2 usually has extra internal thrust losses because the exit area is not big enough as a trade-off with external afterbody drag. [42]

Although a bypass engine improves propulsive efficiency it incurs losses of its own inside the engine itself. Machinery has to be added to transfer energy from the gas generator to a bypass airflow. The low loss from the propelling nozzle of a turbojet is added to with extra losses due to inefficiencies in the added turbine and fan. [43] These may be included in a transmission, or transfer, efficiency . However, these losses are more than made up [44] by the improvement in propulsive efficiency. [45] There are also extra pressure losses in the bypass duct and an extra propelling nozzle.

With the advent of turbofans with their loss-making machinery what goes on inside the engine has been separated by Bennett, [46] for example, between gas generator and transfer machinery giving .

Dependence of propulsion efficiency (e) upon the vehicle speed/exhaust velocity ratio (v/ve) for air-breathing jet and rocket engines. Propulsive efficiency.png
Dependence of propulsion efficiency (η) upon the vehicle speed/exhaust velocity ratio (v/ve) for air-breathing jet and rocket engines.

The energy efficiency () of jet engines installed in vehicles has two main components:

Even though overall energy efficiency is:

for all jet engines the propulsive efficiency is highest as the exhaust jet velocity gets closer to the vehicle speed as this gives the smallest residual kinetic energy. [lower-alpha 1] For an airbreathing engine an exhaust velocity equal to the vehicle velocity, or a equal to one, gives zero thrust with no net momentum change. [47] The formula for air-breathing engines moving at speed with an exhaust velocity , and neglecting fuel flow, is: [48]

And for a rocket: [49]

In addition to propulsive efficiency, another factor is cycle efficiency; a jet engine is a form of heat engine. Heat engine efficiency is determined by the ratio of temperatures reached in the engine to that exhausted at the nozzle. This has improved constantly over time as new materials have been introduced to allow higher maximum cycle temperatures. For example, composite materials, combining metals with ceramics, have been developed for HP turbine blades, which run at the maximum cycle temperature. [50] The efficiency is also limited by the overall pressure ratio that can be achieved. Cycle efficiency is highest in rocket engines (~60+%), as they can achieve extremely high combustion temperatures. Cycle efficiency in turbojet and similar is nearer to 30%, due to much lower peak cycle temperatures.

Typical combustion efficiency of an aircraft gas turbine over the operational range. Combustion efficiency of aircraft gas turbines.svg
Typical combustion efficiency of an aircraft gas turbine over the operational range.
Typical combustion stability limits of an aircraft gas turbine. Combustion stability limits of aircraft gas turbine.svg
Typical combustion stability limits of an aircraft gas turbine.

The combustion efficiency of most aircraft gas turbine engines at sea level takeoff conditions is almost 100%. It decreases nonlinearly to 98% at altitude cruise conditions. Air-fuel ratio ranges from 50:1 to 130:1. For any type of combustion chamber there is a rich and weak limit to the air-fuel ratio, beyond which the flame is extinguished. The range of air-fuel ratio between the rich and weak limits is reduced with an increase of air velocity. If the increasing air mass flow reduces the fuel ratio below certain value, flame extinction occurs. [51]

Specific impulse as a function of speed for different jet types with kerosene fuel (hydrogen Isp would be about twice as high). Although efficiency plummets with speed, greater distances are covered. Efficiency per unit distance (per km or mile) is roughly independent of speed for jet engines as a group; however, airframes become inefficient at supersonic speeds. Specific-impulse-kk-20090105.png
Specific impulse as a function of speed for different jet types with kerosene fuel (hydrogen Isp would be about twice as high). Although efficiency plummets with speed, greater distances are covered. Efficiency per unit distance (per km or mile) is roughly independent of speed for jet engines as a group; however, airframes become inefficient at supersonic speeds.

Consumption of fuel or propellant

A closely related (but different) concept to energy efficiency is the rate of consumption of propellant mass. Propellant consumption in jet engines is measured by specific fuel consumption , specific impulse , or effective exhaust velocity . They all measure the same thing. Specific impulse and effective exhaust velocity are strictly proportional, whereas specific fuel consumption is inversely proportional to the others.

For air-breathing engines such as turbojets, energy efficiency and propellant (fuel) efficiency are much the same thing, since the propellant is a fuel and the source of energy. In rocketry, the propellant is also the exhaust, and this means that a high energy propellant gives better propellant efficiency but can in some cases actually give lower energy efficiency.

It can be seen in the table (just below) that the subsonic turbofans such as General Electric's CF6 turbofan use a lot less fuel to generate thrust for a second than did the Concorde's Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 turbojet. However, since energy is force times distance and the distance per second was greater for the Concorde, the actual power generated by the engine for the same amount of fuel was higher for the Concorde at Mach 2 than the CF6. Thus, the Concorde's engines were more efficient in terms of energy per mile.

Rocket engines in vacuum
Application TSFC Isp (by weight)Isp(by weight)
Merlin 1D liquid fuel 2013 Falcon 9 123303103000
Avio P80 solid fuel 2006 Vega stage 1133602802700
Avio Zefiro 23 solid fuel2006 Vega stage 212.52354.7287.52819
Avio Zefiro 9A solid fuel2008 Vega stage 312.20345.4295.22895
RD-843 liquid fuel Vega upper stage11.41323.2315.53094
Kuznetsov NK-33 liquid fuel1970s N-1F, Soyuz-2-1v stage 110.9308331 [52] 3250
NPO Energomash RD-171M liquid fuel Zenit-2M, -3SL, -3SLB, -3F stage 110.73033373300
LE-7A cryogenic H-IIA, H-IIB stage 18.222334384300
Snecma HM-7B cryogenic Ariane 2, 3, 4, 5 ECA upper stage8.097229.4444.64360
LE-5B-2 cryogenic H-IIA, H-IIB upper stage8.052284474380
Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 cryogenic1981 Space Shuttle, SLS stage 17.95225453 [53] 4440
Aerojet Rocketdyne RL-10B-2 cryogenic Delta III, Delta IV, SLS upper stage7.734219.1465.54565
NERVA NRX A6 nuclear 1967869
Jet engines with Reheat, static, sea level
Application TSFC Isp (by weight)Isp(by weight)
Turbo-Union RB.199 turbofan Tornado 2.5 [54] 70.8144014120
GE F101-GE-102 turbofan1970s B-1B 2.4670146014400
Tumansky R-25-300 turbojet MIG-21bis 2.206 [54] 62.5163216000
GE J85-GE-21 turbojet F-5E/F 2.13 [54] 60.3169016570
GE F110-GE-132 turbofan F-16E/F2.09 [54] 59.2172216890
Honeywell/ITEC F125 turbofan F-CK-1 2.06 [54] 58.4174817140
Snecma M53-P2 turbofan Mirage 2000C/D/N2.05 [54] 58.1175617220
Snecma Atar 09C turbojet Mirage III 2.03 [54] 57.5177017400
Snecma Atar 09K-50 turbojet Mirage IV, 50, F1 1.991 [54] 56.4180817730
GE J79-GE-15 turbojet F-4E/EJ/F/G, RF-4E 1.96555.7183217970
Saturn AL-31F turbofan Su-27/P/K 1.96 [55] 55.5183718010
GE F110-GE-129 turbofan F-16C/D, F-15EX1.9 [54] 53.8189518580
Soloviev D-30F6 turbofan MiG-31, S-37/Su-47 1.863 [54] 52.8193218950
Lyulka AL-21F-3 turbojet Su-17, Su-221.86 [54] 52.7193518980
Klimov RD-33 turbofan1974 MiG-29 1.8552.4194619080
Saturn AL-41F-1S turbofan Su-35S/T-10BM 1.81951.5197919410
Volvo RM12 turbofan1978 Gripen A/B/C/D 1.78 [54] 50.4202219830
GE F404-GE-402 turbofan F/A-18C/D 1.74 [54] 49207020300
Kuznetsov NK-32 turbofan1980 Tu-144LL, Tu-160 1.748210021000
Snecma M88-2 turbofan1989 Rafale 1.66347.11216521230
Eurojet EJ200 turbofan1991 Eurofighter 1.66–1.7347–49 [56] 2080–217020400–21300
Dry jet engines, static, sea level
Application TSFC Isp (by weight)Isp(by weight)
GE J85-GE-21 turbojet F-5E/F 1.24 [54] 35.1290028500
Snecma Atar 09C turbojet Mirage III 1.01 [54] 28.6356035000
Snecma Atar 09K-50 turbojet Mirage IV, 50, F1 0.981 [54] 27.8367036000
Snecma Atar 08K-50 turbojet Super Étendard 0.971 [54] 27.5371036400
Tumansky R-25-300 turbojet MIG-21bis 0.961 [54] 27.2375036700
Lyulka AL-21F-3 turbojet Su-17, Su-220.8624.4419041100
GE J79-GE-15 turbojet F-4E/EJ/F/G, RF-4E 0.8524.1424041500
Snecma M53-P2 turbofan Mirage 2000C/D/N0.85 [54] 24.1424041500
Volvo RM12 turbofan1978 Gripen A/B/C/D 0.824 [54] 23.3437042800
RR Turbomeca Adour turbofan1999 Jaguar retrofit 0.8123440044000
Honeywell/ITEC F124 turbofan1979 L-159, X-45 0.81 [54] 22.9444043600
Honeywell/ITEC F125 turbofan F-CK-1 0.8 [54] 22.7450044100
PW J52-P-408 turbojet A-4M/N, TA-4KU, EA-6B 0.7922.4456044700
Saturn AL-41F-1S turbofan Su-35S/T-10BM 0.7922.4456044700
Snecma M88-2 turbofan1989 Rafale 0.78222.14460045100
Klimov RD-33 turbofan1974 MiG-29 0.7721.8468045800
RR Pegasus 11-61 turbofan AV-8B+ 0.7621.5474046500
Eurojet EJ200 turbofan1991 Eurofighter 0.74–0.8121–23 [56] 4400–490044000–48000
GE F414-GE-400 turbofan1993 F/A-18E/F 0.724 [57] 20.5497048800
Kuznetsov NK-32 turbofan1980 Tu-144LL, Tu-160 0.72-0.7320–214900–500048000–49000
Soloviev D-30F6 turbofan MiG-31, S-37/Su-47 0.716 [54] 20.3503049300
Snecma Larzac turbofan1972 Alpha Jet 0.71620.3503049300
IHI F3 turbofan1981 Kawasaki T-4 0.719.8514050400
Saturn AL-31F turbofan Su-27 /P/K0.666-0.78 [55] [57] 18.9–22.14620–541045300–53000
RR Spey RB.168 turbofan AMX 0.66 [54] 18.7545053500
GE F110-GE-129 turbofan F-16C/D, F-15 0.64 [57] 18560055000
GE F110-GE-132 turbofan F-16E/F0.64 [57] 18560055000
Turbo-Union RB.199 turbofan Tornado ECR 0.637 [54] 18.0565055400
PW F119-PW-100 turbofan1992 F-22 0.61 [57] 17.3590057900
Turbo-Union RB.199 turbofan Tornado 0.598 [54] 16.9602059000
GE F101-GE-102 turbofan1970s B-1B 0.56215.9641062800
PW TF33-P-3 turbofan B-52H, NB-52H 0.52 [54] 14.7692067900
RR AE 3007H turbofan RQ-4, MQ-4C 0.39 [54] 11.0920091000
GE F118-GE-100 turbofan1980s B-2 0.375 [54] 10.6960094000
GE F118-GE-101 turbofan1980s U-2S 0.375 [54] 10.6960094000
General Electric CF6-50C2 turbofan A300, DC-10-300.371 [54] 10.5970095000
GE TF34-GE-100 turbofan A-10 0.37 [54] 10.5970095000
CFM CFM56-2B1 turbofan C-135, RC-135 0.36 [58] 101000098000
Progress D-18T turbofan1980 An-124, An-225 0.3459.810400102000
PW F117-PW-100 turbofan C-17 0.34 [59] 9.610600104000
PW PW2040 turbofan Boeing 757 0.33 [59] 9.310900107000
CFM CFM56-3C1 turbofan 737 Classic 0.339.311000110000
GE CF6-80C2 turbofan 744, 767, MD-11, A300/310, C-5M 0.307-0.3448.7–9.710500–11700103000–115000
EA GP7270 turbofan A380-8610.299 [57] 8.512000118000
GE GE90-85B turbofan 777-200/200ER/3000.298 [57] 8.4412080118500
GE GE90-94B turbofan 777-200/200ER/3000.2974 [57] 8.4212100118700
RR Trent 970-84 turbofan2003 A380-8410.295 [57] 8.3612200119700
GE GEnx-1B70 turbofan 787-8 0.2845 [57] 8.0612650124100
RR Trent 1000C turbofan2006 787-9 0.273 [57] 7.713200129000
Jet engines, cruise
Application TSFC Isp (by weight)Isp(by weight)
Ramjet Mach 14.51308007800
J-58 turbojet1958 SR-71 at Mach 3.2 (Reheat)1.9 [54] 53.8189518580
RR/Snecma Olympus turbojet1966 Concorde at Mach 21.195 [60] 33.8301029500
PW JT8D-9 turbofan 737 Original 0.8 [61] 22.7450044100
Honeywell ALF502R-5 GTF BAe 146 0.72 [59] 20.4500049000
Soloviev D-30KP-2 turbofan Il-76, Il-78 0.71520.3503049400
Soloviev D-30KU-154 turbofan Tu-154M 0.70520.0511050100
RR Tay RB.183 turbofan1984 Fokker 70, Fokker 100 0.6919.5522051200
GE CF34-3 turbofan1982 Challenger, CRJ100/200 0.6919.5522051200
GE CF34-8E turbofan E170/175 0.6819.3529051900
Honeywell TFE731-60 GTF Falcon 900 0.679 [62] 19.2530052000
CFM CFM56-2C1 turbofan DC-8 Super 70 0.671 [59] 19.0537052600
GE CF34-8C turbofan CRJ700/900/1000 0.67-0.6819–195300–540052000–53000
CFM CFM56-3C1 turbofan 737 Classic 0.66718.9540052900
CFM CFM56-2A2 turbofan1974 E-3, E-6 0.66 [58] 18.7545053500
RR BR725 turbofan2008 G650/ER 0.65718.6548053700
CFM CFM56-2B1 turbofan C-135, RC-135 0.65 [58] 18.4554054300
GE CF34-10A turbofan ARJ21 0.6518.4554054300
CFE CFE738-1-1B turbofan1990 Falcon 2000 0.645 [59] 18.3558054700
RR BR710 turbofan1995 G. V/G550, Global Express 0.6418560055000
GE CF34-10E turbofan E190/195 0.6418560055000
General Electric CF6-50C2 turbofan A300B2/B4/C4/F4, DC-10-300.63 [59] 17.8571056000
PowerJet SaM146 turbofan Superjet LR 0.62917.8572056100
CFM CFM56-7B24 turbofan 737 NG 0.627 [59] 17.8574056300
RR BR715 turbofan1997 717 0.6217.6581056900
GE CF6-80C2-B1F turbofan 747-400 0.605 [60] 17.1595058400
CFM CFM56-5A1 turbofan A320 0.59616.9604059200
Aviadvigatel PS-90A1 turbofan Il-96-4000.59516.9605059300
PW PW2040 turbofan 757-2000.582 [59] 16.5619060700
PW PW4098 turbofan 777-300 0.581 [59] 16.5620060800
GE CF6-80C2-B2 turbofan 767 0.576 [59] 16.3625061300
IAE V2525-D5 turbofan MD-90 0.574 [63] 16.3627061500
IAE V2533-A5 turbofan A321-231 0.574 [63] 16.3627061500
RR Trent 700 turbofan1992 A330 0.562 [64] 15.9641062800
RR Trent 800 turbofan1993 777-200/200ER/300 0.560 [64] 15.9643063000
Progress D-18T turbofan1980 An-124, An-225 0.54615.5659064700
CFM CFM56-5B4 turbofan A320-214 0.54515.4661064800
CFM CFM56-5C2 turbofan A340-211 0.54515.4661064800
RR Trent 500 turbofan1999 A340-500/600 0.542 [64] 15.4664065100
CFM LEAP-1B turbofan2014 737 MAX 0.53-0.5615–166400–680063000–67000
Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofan2014 MC-21-310 0.52614.9684067100
RR Trent 900 turbofan2003 A380 0.522 [64] 14.8690067600
GE GE90-85B turbofan 777-200/200ER 0.52 [59] [65] 14.7692067900
GE GEnx-1B76 turbofan2006 787-10 0.512 [61] 14.5703069000
PW PW1400G GTF MC-21 0.51 [66] 14.4710069000
CFM LEAP-1C turbofan2013 C919 0.5114.4710069000
CFM LEAP-1A turbofan2013 A320neo family 0.51 [66] 14.4710069000
RR Trent 7000 turbofan2015 A330neo 0.506 [lower-alpha 2] 14.3711069800
RR Trent 1000 turbofan2006 787 0.506 [lower-alpha 3] 14.3711069800
RR Trent XWB-97 turbofan2014 A350-1000 0.478 [lower-alpha 4] 13.5753073900
PW 1127G GTF2012 A320neo 0.463 [61] 13.1778076300

Thrust-to-weight ratio

The thrust-to-weight ratio of jet engines with similar configurations varies with scale, but is mostly a function of engine construction technology. For a given engine, the lighter the engine, the better the thrust-to-weight is, the less fuel is used to compensate for drag due to the lift needed to carry the engine weight, or to accelerate the mass of the engine.

As can be seen in the following table, rocket engines generally achieve much higher thrust-to-weight ratios than duct engines such as turbojet and turbofan engines. This is primarily because rockets almost universally use dense liquid or solid reaction mass which gives a much smaller volume and hence the pressurization system that supplies the nozzle is much smaller and lighter for the same performance. Duct engines have to deal with air which is two to three orders of magnitude less dense and this gives pressures over much larger areas, which in turn results in more engineering materials being needed to hold the engine together and for the air compressor.

Jet or rocket engine MassThrust Thrust-to-
weight ratio
RD-0410 nuclear rocket engine [67] [68] 2,0004,40035.27,9001.8
J58 jet engine (SR-71 Blackbird) [69] [70] 2,7226,00115034,0005.2
Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593
turbojet with reheat (Concorde) [71]
Pratt & Whitney F119 [72] 1,8003,9009120,5007.95
RD-0750 rocket engine, three-propellant mode [73] 4,62110,1881,413318,00031.2
RD-0146 rocket engine [74] 2605709822,00038.4
Rocketdyne RS-25 rocket engine [75] 3,1777,0042,278512,00073.1
RD-180 rocket engine [76] 5,39311,8904,152933,00078.5
RD-170 rocket engine 9,75021,5007,8871,773,00082.5
F-1 (Saturn V first stage) [77] 8,39118,4997,740.51,740,10094.1
NK-33 rocket engine [78] 1,2222,6941,638368,000136.7
Merlin 1D rocket engine, full-thrust version 4671,030825185,000180.1

Comparison of types

Propulsive efficiency comparison for various gas turbine engine configurations Gas turbine efficiency.png
Propulsive efficiency comparison for various gas turbine engine configurations

Propeller engines handle larger air mass flows, and give them smaller acceleration, than jet engines. Since the increase in air speed is small, at high flight speeds the thrust available to propeller-driven aeroplanes is small. However, at low speeds, these engines benefit from relatively high propulsive efficiency.

On the other hand, turbojets accelerate a much smaller mass flow of intake air and burned fuel, but they then reject it at very high speed. When a de Laval nozzle is used to accelerate a hot engine exhaust, the outlet velocity may be locally supersonic. Turbojets are particularly suitable for aircraft travelling at very high speeds.

Turbofans have a mixed exhaust consisting of the bypass air and the hot combustion product gas from the core engine. The amount of air that bypasses the core engine compared to the amount flowing into the engine determines what is called a turbofan's bypass ratio (BPR).

While a turbojet engine uses all of the engine's output to produce thrust in the form of a hot high-velocity exhaust gas jet, a turbofan's cool low-velocity bypass air yields between 30% and 70% of the total thrust produced by a turbofan system. [79]

The net thrust (FN) generated by a turbofan can also be expanded as: [80]


e= the mass rate of hot combustion exhaust flow from the core engine
o= the mass rate of total air flow entering the turbofan = c + f
c= the mass rate of intake air that flows to the core engine
f= the mass rate of intake air that bypasses the core engine
vf= the velocity of the air flow bypassed around the core engine
vhe= the velocity of the hot exhaust gas from the core engine
vo= the velocity of the total air intake = the true airspeed of the aircraft
BPR= Bypass Ratio

Rocket engines have extremely high exhaust velocity and thus are best suited for high speeds (hypersonic) and great altitudes. At any given throttle, the thrust and efficiency of a rocket motor improves slightly with increasing altitude (because the back-pressure falls thus increasing net thrust at the nozzle exit plane), whereas with a turbojet (or turbofan) the falling density of the air entering the intake (and the hot gases leaving the nozzle) causes the net thrust to decrease with increasing altitude. Rocket engines are more efficient than even scramjets above roughly Mach 15. [81]

Altitude and speed

With the exception of scramjets, jet engines, deprived of their inlet systems can only accept air at around half the speed of sound. The inlet system's job for transonic and supersonic aircraft is to slow the air and perform some of the compression.

The limit on maximum altitude for engines is set by flammability – at very high altitudes the air becomes too thin to burn, or after compression, too hot. For turbojet engines altitudes of about 40 km appear to be possible, whereas for ramjet engines 55 km may be achievable. Scramjets may theoretically manage 75 km. [82] Rocket engines of course have no upper limit.

At more modest altitudes, flying faster compresses the air at the front of the engine, and this greatly heats the air. The upper limit is usually thought to be about Mach 5–8, as above about Mach 5.5, the atmospheric nitrogen tends to react due to the high temperatures at the inlet and this consumes significant energy. The exception to this is scramjets which may be able to achieve about Mach 15 or more,[ citation needed ] as they avoid slowing the air, and rockets again have no particular speed limit.


The noise emitted by a jet engine has many sources. These include, in the case of gas turbine engines, the fan, compressor, combustor, turbine and propelling jet/s. [83]

The propelling jet produces jet noise which is caused by the violent mixing action of the high speed jet with the surrounding air. In the subsonic case the noise is produced by eddies and in the supersonic case by Mach waves. [84] The sound power radiated from a jet varies with the jet velocity raised to the eighth power for velocities up to 2,000 ft/sec and varies with the velocity cubed above 2,000 ft/sec. [85] Thus, the lower speed exhaust jets emitted from engines such as high bypass turbofans are the quietest, whereas the fastest jets, such as rockets, turbojets, and ramjets, are the loudest. For commercial jet aircraft the jet noise has reduced from the turbojet through bypass engines to turbofans as a result of a progressive reduction in propelling jet velocities. For example, the JT8D, a bypass engine, has a jet velocity of 1450 ft/sec whereas the JT9D, a turbofan, has jet velocities of 885 ft/sec (cold) and 1190 ft/sec (hot). [86]

The advent of the turbofan replaced the very distinctive jet noise with another sound known as "buzz saw" noise. The origin is the shockwaves originating at the supersonic fan blades at takeoff thrust. [87]


Adequate heat transfer away from the working parts of the jet engine is critical to maintaining strength of engine materials and ensuring long life for the engine.

After 2016, research is ongoing in the development of transpiration cooling techniques to jet engine components. [88]


Airbus A340-300 Electronic centralised aircraft monitor (ECAM) Display ECAM.jpg
Airbus A340-300 Electronic centralised aircraft monitor (ECAM) Display

In a jet engine, each major rotating section usually has a separate gauge devoted to monitoring its speed of rotation. Depending on the make and model, a jet engine may have an N1 gauge that monitors the low-pressure compressor section and/or fan speed in turbofan engines. The gas generator section may be monitored by an N2 gauge, while triple spool engines may have an N3 gauge as well. Each engine section rotates at many thousands RPM. Their gauges therefore are calibrated in percent of a nominal speed rather than actual RPM, for ease of display and interpretation. [89]

See also


  1. Note: In Newtonian mechanics kinetic energy is frame dependent. The kinetic energy is easiest to calculate when the speed is measured in the center of mass frame of the vehicle and (less obviously) its reaction mass/air (i.e., the stationary frame before takeoff begins.
  2. 10% better than Trent 700
  3. 10% better than Trent 700
  4. 15 per cent fuel consumption advantage over the original Trent engine

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ramjet</span> Supersonic atmospheric jet engine

A ramjet is a form of airbreathing jet engine that requires forward motion of the engine to provide air for combustion. Ramjets work most efficiently at supersonic speeds around Mach 3 and can operate up to Mach 6.

Specific impulse is a measure of how efficiently a reaction mass engine, such as a rocket using propellant or a jet engine using fuel, generates thrust. For engines like cold gas thrusters whose reaction mass is only the fuel they carry, specific impulse is exactly proportional to the effective exhaust gas velocity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turbofan</span> Airbreathing jet engine designed to provide thrust by driving a fan

A turbofan or fanjet is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used in aircraft propulsion. The word "turbofan" is a combination of the preceding generation engine technology of the turbojet, and a reference to the additional fan stage added. It consists of a gas turbine engine which achieves mechanical energy from combustion, and a ducted fan that uses the mechanical energy from the gas turbine to force air rearwards. Thus, whereas all the air taken in by a turbojet passes through the combustion chamber and turbines, in a turbofan some of that air bypasses these components. A turbofan thus can be thought of as a turbojet being used to drive a ducted fan, with both of these contributing to the thrust.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Aircraft engine</span> Engine designed for use in powered aircraft

An aircraft engine, often referred to as an aero engine, is the power component of an aircraft propulsion system. Aircraft using power components are referred to as powered flight. Most aircraft engines are either piston engines or gas turbines, although a few have been rocket powered and in recent years many small UAVs have used electric motors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jet aircraft</span> Aircraft class powered by jet propulsion engines

A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by one or more jet engines.

Thrust-specific fuel consumption (TSFC) is the fuel efficiency of an engine design with respect to thrust output. TSFC may also be thought of as fuel consumption (grams/second) per unit of thrust, hence thrust-specific. This figure is inversely proportional to specific impulse, which is the amount of thrust produced per unit fuel consumed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Turbojet</span> Airbreathing jet engine which is typically used in aircraft

The turbojet is an airbreathing jet engine which is typically used in aircraft. It consists of a gas turbine with a propelling nozzle. The gas turbine has an air inlet which includes inlet guide vanes, a compressor, a combustion chamber, and a turbine. The compressed air from the compressor is heated by burning fuel in the combustion chamber and then allowed to expand through the turbine. The turbine exhaust is then expanded in the propelling nozzle where it is accelerated to high speed to provide thrust. Two engineers, Frank Whittle in the United Kingdom and Hans von Ohain in Germany, developed the concept independently into practical engines during the late 1930s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Scramjet</span> Jet engine where combustion takes place in supersonic airflow

A scramjet is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow. As in ramjets, a scramjet relies on high vehicle speed to compress the incoming air forcefully before combustion, but whereas a ramjet decelerates the air to subsonic velocities before combustion using shock cones, a scramjet has no shock cone and slows the airflow using shockwaves produced by its ignition source in place of a shock cone. This allows the scramjet to operate efficiently at extremely high speeds.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Afterburner</span> Turbojet engine component

An afterburner is an additional combustion component used on some jet engines, mostly those on military supersonic aircraft. Its purpose is to increase thrust, usually for supersonic flight, takeoff, and combat. The afterburning process injects additional fuel into a combustor in the jet pipe behind the turbine, "reheating" the exhaust gas. Afterburning significantly increases thrust as an alternative to using a bigger engine with its attendant weight penalty, but at the cost of increased fuel consumption which limits its use to short periods. This aircraft application of "reheat" contrasts with the meaning and implementation of "reheat" applicable to gas turbines driving electrical generators and which reduces fuel consumption.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bypass ratio</span> Proportion of ducted compared to combusted air in a turbofan engine

The bypass ratio (BPR) of a turbofan engine is the ratio between the mass flow rate of the bypass stream to the mass flow rate entering the core. A 10:1 bypass ratio, for example, means that 10 kg of air passes through the bypass duct for every 1 kg of air passing through the core.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pratt & Whitney J58</span> High-speed jet engine by Pratt & Whitney

The Pratt & Whitney J58 is an American jet engine that powered the Lockheed A-12, and subsequently the YF-12 and the SR-71 aircraft. It was an afterburning turbojet engine with a unique compressor bleed to the afterburner that gave increased thrust at high speeds. Because of the wide speed range of the aircraft, the engine needed two modes of operation to take it from stationary on the ground to 2,000 mph (3,200 km/h) at altitude. It was a conventional afterburning turbojet for take-off and acceleration to Mach 2 and then used permanent compressor bleed to the afterburner above Mach 2. The way the engine worked at cruise led it to be described as "acting like a turboramjet". It has also been described as a turboramjet based on incorrect statements describing the turbomachinery as being completely bypassed.

A propelling nozzle is a nozzle that converts the internal energy of a working gas into propulsive force; it is the nozzle, which forms a jet, that separates a gas turbine, or gas generator, from a jet engine.

A compressor map is a chart which shows the performance of a turbomachinery compressor. This type of compressor is used in gas turbine engines, for supercharging reciprocating engines and for industrial processes, where it is known as a dynamic compressor. A map is created from compressor rig test results or predicted by a special computer program. Alternatively the map of a similar compressor can be suitably scaled. This article is an overview of compressor maps and their different applications and also has detailed explanations of maps for a fan and intermediate and high-pressure compressors from a three-shaft aero-engine as specific examples.

A jet engine performs by converting fuel into thrust. How well it performs is an indication of what proportion of its fuel goes to waste. It transfers heat from burning fuel to air passing through the engine. In doing so it produces thrust work when propelling a vehicle but a lot of the fuel is wasted and only appears as heat. Propulsion engineers aim to minimize the degradation of fuel energy into unusable thermal energy. Increased emphasis on performance improvements for commercial airliners came in the 1970s from the rising cost of fuel.

In aerospace engineering, concerning aircraft, rocket and spacecraft design, overall propulsion system efficiency is the efficiency with which the energy contained in a vehicle's fuel is converted into kinetic energy of the vehicle, to accelerate it, or to replace losses due to aerodynamic drag or gravity. Mathematically, it is represented as , where is the cycle efficiency and is the propulsive efficiency.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Variable cycle engine</span> Aircraft propulsion system efficient at a range of speeds higher and lower than sounds

A variable cycle engine (VCE), also referred to as adaptive cycle engine (ACE), is an aircraft jet engine that is designed to operate efficiently under mixed flight conditions, such as subsonic, transonic and supersonic.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Air turborocket</span>

The air turborocket is a form of combined-cycle jet engine. The basic layout includes a gas generator, which produces high pressure gas, that drives a turbine/compressor assembly which compresses atmospheric air into a combustion chamber. This mixture is then combusted before leaving the device through a nozzle and creating thrust.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Components of jet engines</span> Brief description of components needed for jet engines

This article briefly describes the components and systems found in jet engines.

An airbreathing jet engine is a jet engine in which the exhaust gas which supplies jet propulsion is atmospheric air, which is taken in, compressed, heated, and expanded back to atmospheric pressure through a propelling nozzle. Compression may be provided by a gas turbine, as in the original turbojet and newer turbofan, or arise solely from the ram pressure of the vehicle's velocity, as with the ramjet and pulsejet.

The familiar study of jet aircraft treats jet thrust with a "black box" description which only looks at what goes into the jet engine, air and fuel, and what comes out, exhaust gas and an unbalanced force. This force, called thrust, is the sum of the momentum difference between entry and exit and any unbalanced pressure force between entry and exit, as explained in "Thrust calculation".


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