Jet engines are powerful structures that propel massive aircraft forward. How do they work and why do they require air to produce thrust? Let’s find out in this article.
Into the Structure of Jet Engines
Keep in mind that we’ll be discussing turbofan jet engines because they are commonly in use of commercial operations. Other types of jet engines might work differently. However, engines in general all rely on Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that whenever a force is exerted on an object (equal reaction), there is always an opposite reaction where another force of the same strength is applied on the opposite direction.
Air coming through the jet engine will first pass through the turbofan, then the compressor and the combustion chamber, and finally into the turbine and out through the nozzle. The sophisticated system of parts accelerates ambient air to a speed as fast as possible, capable of pushing the aircraft while maintaining the engine’s efficiency.
How Each Part of the Engine Works
Now let’s take a more detailed look at the engine. First, the air entering the engine passes through the turbofan and either become bypass air (air that passes through the engine casing) or enters the powerplant. Although the idea of bypass air might seem stupid at first because that patch of air may seem useless for the engine at first glance, bypass air turns out to be an integral element in optimizing the efficiency of an engine. The engine’s core also accelerates the bypass air, increasing the power output that the powerplant produces.
After that, the air will enter the compressor, which increases the air pressure inside the engine and accelerates the particles. The compressing is gradual as the aisle for air to get through becomes narrower and narrower. This prepares the air inside the engine for further processing inside the combustion chamber.
Inside the combustion chamber, fuel is dropped into the dense stream of particles, and the mixture is then subject to combustion. This heats the gases to temperatures up to more than 1700 degrees Celsius. The particles also enter the turbine that keeps spinning by the inflow of air, powering the compressor and the turbofan and allowing more air to be processed. Finally, the particles exit the engine at tremendous speeds through the nozzle at the end of the engine.
In this short article, we’ve briefly discussed how a jet engine propel payload using air. Remember that this is not the whole story, as manufacturers need to evaluate the shape of the engine and choose material cautiously to improve efficiency and keep the engine working and prevent it from structural damage from the immense amount of aerodynamic force getting through the engine. If you want to learn more about how jet engines work, please visit the websites in the references below.
References and Credits
- Safran. (2014, January 28). How does a jet engine work ? | Safran. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz5kv0RfeUc
- Animagraffs. (2019, November 4). How Jet Engines Work. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L24Wf0VlTE0
- (n.d.). How The Jet Engine Works. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/courses/ww2/projects/jet-airplanes/how.html
- Charlie Feigenoff. (2018, November 1). Generating Current as Well as Thrust from Jet Engines. Retrieved May 31, 2022, from https://engineering.virginia.edu/news/2018/11/generating-current-well-thrust-jet-engines-0