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Student Resource

Module 15a
Gas Turbine Engine

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Study Reference 4
Introduction 5
Fundamentals 15.1-1
Engine Performance 15.2-1
Inlet 15.3-1
Compressors 15.4-1
Combustion Section 15.5-1
Turbine Section 15.6-1
Exhaust 15.7-1
Bearings and Seals 15.8-1

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Jeppesen Sanderson Training Products:
A and P Technician General Textbook
A and P Technician Powerplant Textbook
B1-15a Student Handout

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On completion of the following topics you will be able to:
Explain how gas turbine engine theory is applied to a variety of different
engine designs/types
Explain the purpose, function, and characteristics of the primary sections of
each gas turbine engine and some significant engine components
Explain typical operating characteristics and parameters of gas turbine
Topic 15.1 Fundamentals
Describe Newtons laws of motion.
Describe potential energy, kinetic energy and Brayton cycle.
Describe the relationship between the following:
Describe the constructional arrangement and operation of the following engine
The jet engine family
Topic 15.2 Engine Performance
Describe the following and their relationship to engine operation:
Gross Thrust
Net Thrust
Choked Nozzle Thrust
Thrust Distribution
Resultant Thrust
Thrust Horsepower
Equivalent Shaft Horsepower
Specific Fuel Consumption
Describe engine efficiencies.
Describe by-pass ratio and engine pressure ratio.
Describe the pressure, temperature and velocity of the gas flow through each
section of a gas turbine engine.
Describe the following:
Engine ratings
Static thrust
Influence of speed, altitude and hot climate
Flat rating
Topic 15.3 Inlet
Describe the purpose, construction and principles of operation of compressor inlet
Describe the effects of various inlet configurations.

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Describe the construction and operating principles of engine inlet ice protection.
Topic 15.4 Compressors
Describe the constructional features and applications of:
Centri-axial (axial and centrifugal combinations)
Describe the operating principles and the advantages, disadvantages of:
Centri-axial compressors (axial and centrifugal combinations)
Describe fan balancing.
Describe the causes and effects of compressor stall and surge and its effects.
Describe methods of air flow control using:
Bleed valves
Variable inlet guide vanes
Variable stator vanes
Rotating stator blades
Describe compressor ratio.
Topic 15.5 Combustion Section
Describe combustion sections their constructional features and principles of
Topic 15.6 Turbine Section
Define the characteristics of turbine blades and describe their operation.
Describe methods of turbine blade to disk attachment.
Describe the construction and purpose of nozzle guide vanes.
Describe causes and effects of turbine blade stress and creep.
Topic 15.7 Exhaust
Describe constructional features and principles of operation of engine exhaust
Describe convergent, divergent and variable area nozzles.
Describe the purpose, constructional features and operation of engine noise
Describe the purpose, constructional features and operation of engine thrust
Topic 15.8 Bearings and Seals
Identify types of bearings used in gas turbine engines and describe their
constructional features and principle of operation.
Describe the purpose, construction and principles of operation of typical gas
turbine engine bearing seals.

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The Jet Engine Family .................................................................................................... 3
Heros Aeolipile or, Heros Engine ................................................................................. 3
Chinese Rocket ............................................................................................................ 3
The History of Jet Propulsion ....................................................................................... 4
Four Types of Jet Engines ............................................................................................ 5
The Rocket Engine .................................................................................................... 5
Ramjet ...................................................................................................................... 6
Pulse-jets .................................................................................................................. 7
The Gas Turbine ....................................................................................................... 8
Physics ........................................................................................................................ 8
Power Gas Turbines ............................................................................................... 8
Force ........................................................................................................................ 8
Work ......................................................................................................................... 9
Power........................................................................................................................ 9
Velocity ................................................................................................................... 10
Acceleration ............................................................................................................ 10
Energy .................................................................................................................... 11
Conversion of Energy ................................................................................................. 11
Laws of Thermodynamics ........................................................................................... 12
First Law ................................................................................................................ 12
Second Law ............................................................................................................ 12
Newtons Laws of Motion ............................................................................................ 12
Newtons First Law.................................................................................................. 13
Newtons Second Law.............................................................................................. 13
Newtons Third Law ................................................................................................ 14
Bernoulli's Theorem ................................................................................................... 15
Compression and Expansion Processes .................................................................. 15
Adiabatic ................................................................................................................ 16
Isothermal .............................................................................................................. 16
Polytropic................................................................................................................ 16
Gas Turbine Basic Construction ................................................................................... 16
The Brayton Cycle ...................................................................................................... 17
Constructional Configurations ................................................................................... 20

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Turboshaft ................................................................................................................. 20
Turbo-Propeller ....................................................................................................... 21
Turbojets ................................................................................................................ 22
Turbofan Engines ................................................................................................... 23
Turbofan Configurations ............................................................................................ 24
Low Bypass............................................................................................................. 24
High Bypass ........................................................................................................... 25
Ducted Fan Operation ............................................................................................ 26
Engine Stations ......................................................................................................... 27
Engine Terminology ................................................................................................... 28
Cold Section ........................................................................................................... 28
Hot Section ............................................................................................................. 28
Ambient Air ............................................................................................................ 29
Gas Generator ........................................................................................................ 29
Airflow Characteristics ............................................................................................... 30

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The terms jet engine and gas turbine engine, although sometimes used synonymously to
describe aircraft engines, represent quite different engine designs. Therefore, these terms
are defined very carefully in this book.
The jet engine family includes:
Gas turbine powered jets

Heros Aeolipile or, Heros Engine

Todays modern turbine engine is based on the reaction principle, which was discovered
centuries ago. One of the earliest accounts of the use of the reaction principle describes
an Egyptian mathematician and philosopher named Heron, sometimes referred to as
Hero, who invented a device which converted steam pressure to mechanical power.
Current historians date this between one to two hundred years BC. The designer of the
sketch of Heros invention, the Aeolipile, is not known and the actual device might have
looked quite different.
It is known that by heating water in a closed vessel and by supplying steam to opposing
nozzles mounted on a rotating sphere, Hero was able to successfully demonstrate the
reaction principle. Whether he was able to put his aeolipile to practical use is not
historically clear.

Chinese Rocket
Another early application of the reaction principle can be seen in rocket development as
early as 1200 AD. By utilizing black powder, a mixture of charcoal, sulphur, and
saltpetre, the Chinese were able to perfect a solid fuel rocket. In records available today,
one can see a reference to a battle about 1230 A.D. in which the Chinese chronicled the
use of the rocket as a military weapon.
Solid rockets are still in use today, they are used as booster rockets for lifting heavy
space vehicles such as the Space Shuttle and to power modern military weapons. (Figure

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Figure 1.1

The History of Jet Propulsion

Frank Whittle, while a cadet in the British Royal Air College, wrote a thesis advocating
use of the gas turbine engine for aircraft propulsion. He was aware of developing
industrial uses of ground installation type turbine engines and felt that, if an engine
could be made light enough in weight, the ram effect of the incoming air in flight would
provide sufficient power to make it an effective aircraft power plant.
In 1930, he patented the first turbojet aircraft engine, based on the ideas of his original
thesis. His engine was to use a compressor impeller, driven by a turbine wheel.
During the early thirties, Whittle served as a regular officer in the Royal Air Force where
he was a design engineer and test pilot of reciprocating engine powered aircraft. The
reciprocating engine was in an accelerating developmental stage at that time, and Whittle
was dissatisfied with what he referred to as their obvious limitations of altitude and top
Between 1930 and 1935, Whittle was unsuccessful in obtaining sufficient government or
private support for constructing his turbojet engine.
The engine developed was a pure reaction turbojet. That is, its total thrust came from
reaction to the hot gas stream emitted from a propelling nozzle.
The engine featured an impeller type compressor, a multiple can combustion chamber,
and a single stage turbine wheel. Today, the gas turbine engine receives its name from
this design, wherein flowing gas drives the turbine wheel which is attached to, and
drives, the compressor impeller. (Figure 1.2)

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Figure 1.2

Four Types of Jet Engines

Jet propulsion is defined as the reacting force produced by the acceleration of air, gas, or
liquid through a nozzle. The four common types of jet engines, the rocket jet, the ramjet,
the pulse-jet, and the turbine type jet are all propelled forward by the emission of a
gaseous fluid.

The Rocket Engine

The rocket is a non-air breathing engine. This means it does not use atmospheric air to
support combustion but carries its own oxidizer and fuel in a solid or liquid form.
Combustion transforms solids or liquids of small volume into gases of large volume.
The gases released by combustion of the fuel and oxidizer escape through an exhaust
nozzle at an extremely high velocity. The thrust reaction from the exhaust gases drives
the rocket at very high supersonic speeds and completely out of the earths atmosphere.
(Figure 1.3)

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Figure 1.3


The ramjet or athodyd (aero-thermodynamic duct) is the simplest of all power plants that
use the atmosphere to support combustion. It is a duct with few component parts,
designed to receive inlet air and change its velocity to static pressure.
Fuel, typically of hydrocarbon base, is added to the compressed air with the resultant
combustion and expansion of gases. This combustion causes the mass airflow to quickly
exit the engine. The change in velocity of entering and departing air results in reactive
thrust. The ramjet is seen today in many military pilotless weapons delivery.
There is also a proposed application for a future hypersonic (above Mach 6.0) engine,
which would convert from a turbojet in initial lower speed flight to a type of ramjet in
very high speed flight.
Actually, this new type engine would be called a scram-jet because the airflow would be
allowed to reach supersonic speeds during combustion, hence the term supersonic
combustion-ramjet (scram-jet).
This engine would have to use a more exotic fuel than kerosene, perhaps hydrogen, in
order to support combustion at high airflow velocities. The scram-jet is stated as having
the potential to power future high speed transports at velocities up to Mach 20. (Figure

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Figure 1.4


The pulse-jet is similar to a ramjet except that the pulse-jet inlet is fitted with a system of
air inlet flapper valves. These valves are closed during combustion and provide the device
with a moderate static thrust that the ramjet does not have.
However, this thrust is not sufficient to enable a pulse-jet to take off under its own power
and, therefore, must be rocket boosted for initial flight.
Major development of the pulse-jet seems to have ceased with the German V-1 rocket of
World War II. The German V-I, buzz bomb, was powered by a rocket assisted pulse - jet
engine which could propel the V-1 to approximately 400 mph.
This engine was fitted with inlet shutters (flapper valves) which automatically blew open
and closed approximately 40 times per second. Each time fuel (kerosene) pulsed into the
combustion chamber, the back pressure created from combustion would force the
shutters closed, then between combustion cycles ram inlet air pressure would reopen
This intermittent combustion was, in effect, a series of rapid backfires or pulses of force
which created forward thrust of approximately 600 pounds.
A single electrical spark igniter was used for initial starting. Subsequent ignition
occurred from internal residual heat
Development of the pulse-jet ceased in the late 1940s due to the poor performance of
this engine design. (Figure 1.5)

Figure 1.5

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The Gas Turbine

The aircraft gas turbine is a heat engine using air as a working fluid. In its most basic
form it consists of a compressor for compressing the air, a combustion chamber for
burning the air/fuel mixture and a turbine for extracting energy from the high velocity
exhaust gases.
Some of the energy in the highly heated gases is required to drive the compressor and
accessories, the remainder being available to produce power or thrust. The turbine-type
jet and, more specifically, the gas turbine engine is a name given to a family of engines
based on the Whittle design, which include the turbojet, turboprop, turboshaft, and
turbofan. These four gas turbines are discussed in detail throughout this chapter.

For a clear understanding of jet propulsion principles it is necessary to understand the
applicable principles of physics. These are the physical principles which govern the
action of mass or matter.
The physics described here, however, are not intended to be complete in this regard but
rather to present the basic ideas necessary for an understanding of the physical
relationships of gases and the turbo-machinery within a gas turbine engine.
The mass-flow of gases referred to is atmospheric air which is compressed and
accelerated in the gas turbine engine to create useful work at the turbine wheel and,
ultimately, thrust. The thrust is created from either pure reaction to the flowing gases or
from a propeller or fan driven by a turbine.

Power Gas Turbines

Reciprocating engines measure power in horsepower or kilowatts. Gas turbine engines

are more concerned about thrust, and as such the engine is rated on thrust produced or
a combination of thrust produced and shaft horsepower in turboprop applications.
Thrust is stated as Force (F) when calculating the output of thrust producing gas turbine


Force is defined as the capacity to do work, or the tendency to produce work.

It is also a vector quantity that tends to produce acceleration of a body in the direction of
its application. It can be measured in units of pounds.
Turbojet and turbofan engines are rated in pounds of thrust.
The formula for force is:
Force = Pressure x Area, or F = P x A
Where: F = Force in pounds
P = Pressure in pounds per square inch (psi)
A = Area in square inches

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Example: The pressure across the opening of a jet tailpipe (exhaust nozzle) is 6 psi above
ambient and the opening is 300 square inches. What is the force present in pounds?
F=P x A
F = 6 x 300
F = 1,800 pounds
The force mentioned here is present in addition to reactive thrust in most gas turbine
engine designs. This pressure thrust will be discussed later in this chapter.


Work = Force x Distance

Expressed simply, power is the rate at which work is performed.


Power depends on three factors the:

Force used
Distance the force moves
Time required to move the force
The definition of work makes no mention of time. Whether it takes five seconds to move
an object or five hours, the same amount of work would be accomplished.
Power, by comparison, does take the time into account. To lift a ten pound object 15 feet
off the floor in five seconds requires significantly more power than to lift it in five hours.
Work performed per unit of time is power. Power is measured in units of foot pounds per
second, foot pounds per minute, or mile pounds per hour.
The formula for power is:
Force x Distance/time

P = Power in foot pounds per minute
D = Distance in feet
t = Time in minutes
Example: A 2,500 pound engine is to be hoisted a height of 9 feet in two minutes. How
much power is required?
P = 2,500 x 9 /2
P = 11,250 foot pounds/minute
To accelerate a 1,500kg vehicle over a mile in seven seconds requires significantly
more power than to cover the distance in five minutes.

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Velocity is a vector quantity; it has both speed and direction.

The velocity of the gas flow throughout the gas turbine engine is particularly important
as it not only is responsible for the resultant thrust in line with Newtons third law but is
also critical with regard to controlling engine operating temperatures.
Velocity = Distance /time
Both aircraft are flying at the same speed 200 Knots. (Figure 1.6)
The velocity of the aircraft on the left is 200 knots East.
The velocity of the aircraft on the right is 200 knots West.

Figure 1.6


In physics, acceleration is defined as a change in velocity with respect to time. Observe

that distance travelled is not considered, only loss or gain of velocity with time. The
typical (Imperial) units for acceleration are feet per second/second (fps/s) and miles per
hour/second (mph/s). Feet per second/second are sometimes referred to as feet per
second squared (fps2).
The SI unit metres/second2.
The formula for calculating acceleration is:

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Energy is used to perform useful work. In the gas turbine engine this means producing
motion and heat. The two forms of energy which best describe the propulsive power of
the jet engine are potential and kinetic.
Potential Energy is stored energy stored energy such as water behind a dam;
Kinetic Energy is the energy of motion such as releasing water from a dam.
Recall the law of Conservation of Energy:
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only be changed from one form
to another

Conversion of Energy
The gas turbine engine relies on the 1st law of thermodynamics in that a cycle of energy
conversion is constantly taking place:
In the Inlet:
Kinetic energy in the form of airflow velocity is being converted to potential energy
in the form of pressure by the divergent design of the Inlet
Across the compressor:
Pressure or potential energy is continually being converted to velocity or kinetic
energy across the compressor rotor(s)
Kinetic energy is continually being converted back to potential energy across the
compressor stators
In the combustion area:
Potential energy developed in the compressor is increased by the addition of heat
Kinetic energy developed due to the expansion caused by the application of heat
Across the turbine area:
Due to the velocity of expanding gas, kinetic energy is formed and converted into
mechanical energy by the turbine to drive the compressor. Mechanical energy is the
source of the air pressure increase within the compressor. The loss of kinetic energy
across each stage of turbine is compensated for by utilising velocity stabilisation
methods preparing the airflow for the next stage of turbine:
Velocity is stabilised by blade and/or stator design
To maintain velocity a subsequent drop in potential energy (pressure is effected)
across the turbine pack

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Laws of Thermodynamics
The effects of heat in a jet engine, or any engine, are explained by the laws of
thermodynamics. It is necessary for you to understand what is involved in the process of
the conversion of fuel into mechanical work, as it will give you a better understanding of
the internal operation of gas turbine engines. The two laws of thermodynamics are as

First Law

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed but can be changed in form.
This is also known as the law of conservation of energy.
In a gas turbine engine heat energy is imparted to the air by the compressor, while
additional heat is added when the fuel is burned. The heat energy is changed to thrust
and the gases are cooled as they pass through the turbine section and out the jet nozzle.
With this law in mind, it is reasonable to assume that the total quantity of energy in a
cycle is equal to the amount of energy that can be accounted for in any of the forms in
which it can occur throughout the cycle, i.e. mechanical energy, heat energy, pressure
energy, etc.
To obtain 100% efficiency from a heat engine is a practical impossibility. An engine, as it
converts heat into work, has to lose some heat. This phenomenon is the basis of the
second law of thermodynamics.

Second Law

Temperature differences between systems in contact with each other tend to even out and
that work can be obtained from these differences, but that loss of heat occurs, when work
is done.
In other words, no cyclic process is possible in which heat is absorbed from a reservoir at
a single temperature and converted completely into mechanical work.
Another definition of the same law states that heat cannot flow from a cooler body to a
hotter body. It must flow from hotter toward cooler. The cooling of an engine involves
this principle, in that heat is transferred from hotter bodies or substances to cooler
bodies or substances. If cooling is not introduced the components will continue to get
hotter until they fail.
Another variant explains that mechanical energy can be converted entirely into heat
energy but heat energy cannot be entirely converted to mechanical energy.

Newtons Laws of Motion

Jet engines and propellers develop thrust in accordance with Sir Isaac Newtons laws of
motion. Jet engines, rocket motors, and propellers develop thrust in accordance with
these laws of motion.
Thrust is defined as a forward force that imparts momentum to a mass of air behind it.
In other words, thrust is a reaction to the rearward momentum of a gas. Jet engines
work on the principle of reaction. Therefore, the reaction to the acceleration of the air
through the engine is felt as thrust.

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Knowledge of these laws will help you understand Thrust.
The inertia of the mass air flow.
The momentum of the mass air flow.
The reaction to the mass air flow.

Newtons First Law

Newtons first law of motion states:

A body at rest tends to remain at rest, and a body in motion tends to remain in motion in a
straight line, unless acted upon by an external force.
This law is often termed the Law of Inertia. Inertia is that quantity which depends solely
upon mass. The more mass, the greater the force required to change its motion, the more
inertia it will have when in motion.
The mass air flow through a jet engine or propeller will remain motionless or at a
constant flow until it is moved by an external force, such as increasing or decreasing the
engine rpm.
The inertia of the propeller and/or the engines rotating assembly will resist any change
of motion. More force is required to overcome this inertia more power to increase the
mass air flow, or more drag to reduce mass air flow.

Newtons Second Law

Newtons second law states:

The acceleration of a body is directly proportional to the force causing it and inversely
proportional to the mass of the body.
In simple terms, this means that a body will accelerate in proportion to the force applied
to it.
Acceleration = Final Velocity Initial Velocity/Time
This law deals with acceleration and is the one that explains, to a great extent, the thrust
produced by a turbine engine. The acceleration of a body (air) is directly proportional to
the force causing it (engine or components) and inversely proportional to the mass of the
body. In other words, a change in motion is proportional to the force applied. This may
be expressed by the equation:
Force = Mass x Acceleration (F = M x A)
Mass = Weight / Gravity
This second law relates to aircraft engines and propellers accelerating their mass airflow
to produce thrust.

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The propeller moves a large mass of air rearwards with a relatively small change in
velocity (Figure 1-7), while the exhaust gas stream from a turbojet engine has a relatively
small mass, but the acceleration that has taken place within the engine is large (Figure
1-8). Both types of acceleration produce thrust.

Figure 1-7

Figure 1-8

Newtons Third Law

Newtons third law of motion states:

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
When a jet engine, or an engine turning a propeller, accelerates a mass of air backwards,
an equal amount of force is produced that moves the aircraft forward. This law is best
explained by observing a deflating balloon. Figure 1-9 shows this.
Due to an imbalance of the balloons internal pressure, the air is accelerated out the
neck. An equal and opposite force reacts to the force accelerating the air and causes the
balloon to move.
As with all forms of jet propulsion, the balloon is not propelled forward by the escaping
air pushing on anything outside, but from the reaction force inside the balloon. Both
action and reaction forces occur inside all engines; this concept will be covered in detail
during topic two.
It should be remembered that all three of Newtons laws take place simultaneously and
are inseparable.

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Bernoulli's Theorem
Bernoullis principle finds that if air is passed through a venturi, as the air velocity
increased, the pressure decreased, and as the velocity decreased, the pressure increased.
A venturi is simply a narrowing in a tube, as can be seen in Figure 1-10.

Figure 1-10
Bernoullis theorem states:
The total energy of a particle in motion is constant at all points on its path at a steady
In its simplest form, the theorem means that in a venturi, pressure is inversely
proportional to velocity. Another way of stating this is that if pressure increases, velocity
decreases proportionally or, if pressure decreases, velocity increases proportionally.
The significance of this discovery is that it is one of the basic principles of operation of a
jet engine and will become evident during later topics. Figure 1-11 shows an example of
how varying the size of a tube will affect the velocity and pressure of a fluid however the
total energy always remains constant.

Figure 1-11

Compression and Expansion Processes

Theoretically there are three types of processes relevant to compression and expansion of
a gas flow:

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When all of the energy utilised in the compression and/or expansion is converted
without any losses due to cooling or heat transfer to atmosphere the process is said to be


When there is zero temperature change during the compression and/or expansion the
process is said to be isothermal (one temperature).


The previous processes are perfect world and generally will not prove to be a valid
process. During compression and expansion processes some energy will be lost to the
process through overcoming friction and heat transfer.
When the energy required to produce a designated compression or expansion is greater
than the actual potential of the result, the process is said to be polytropic.


The mechanical layout of the gas turbine engine is simple in that it consists of four basic
Only two of these parts rotate, the compressor and turbine. One or more combustors
direct the mass airflow through the turbine into the dynamically designed exhaust
system. Figure 1-12 shows the layout of a typical modern gas turbine engine.

Figure 1-12
In a gas turbine engine ambient air enters the inlet where it is subjected to changes in
pressure, velocity and temperature.
The air is directed at the optimal angle into the compressor where pressure and
temperature are increased mechanically.

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The air continues to the diffuser where, by the divergent nature of the duct, the pressure
is further increased and velocity is decreased.
As the air enters the combustion section it is mixed with fuel and ignited. The ignition of
the air/mixture increases the temperature and volume which converts the potential
energy of the fuel to kinetic energy.
The hot gases expand through a convergent exhaust nozzle. The expansion of the gases,
caused by the addition of heat energy, creates the necessary action to give the reacting

The Otto Cycle

The working cycle of the gas turbine engine is similar to the four stroke reciprocating
engine. In the gas turbine engine, combustion in the combustion chamber takes place at
a constant pressure and is referred to as the Brayton Cycle, whereas, in the reciprocating
engine, or Otto Cycle, it occurs at a constant volume.
Both engine cycles show that in each instance there is induction, compression,
combustion and exhaust (Figure 1-13). In the case of the reciprocating engine, these
processes are intermittent and occur in the same place. In the gas turbine engine
however, the cycle is continuous and occurs in different places.

Figure 1-13
In the piston engine cycle, only one stroke (combustion) is utilised to produce power, the
others being involved in the inlet, compression and exhausting of the working fluid.
The gas turbine on the other hand disposes of the three idle strokes, which enables the
gas turbine engine to burn more fuel in a shorter time and give a greater power output
for a given size engine.

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Due to the continuous action of the turbine engine and the fact that the combustion
chamber is not a fully enclosed space, the pressure of the air does not rise, like that of a
piston engine, but its volume does increase. This process is known as heating at a
constant pressure.

The Brayton Cycle

The Brayton cycle is also widely known as a constant pressure cycle. The reason for
this is that in the gas turbine engine, pressure is fairly constant across the combustion
chamber section as volume increases and gas velocities increase.
Combustion takes place in the combustion chamber at a relatively constant pressure in
gas turbine engines.

The four continuous events shown on the pressure / volume graph are: Intake,
compression, expansion (power), and exhaust.

Referring to the graph:

A to B indicates air entering the engine at below ambient pressure due to suction
and increasing volume due to the divergent shape of the duct in the direction of
B to C shows air pressure returning to ambient and volume decreasing.

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C to D shows compression occurring as volume is decreasing.
D to E indicates a slight drop in pressure, approximately 3%, through the
combustion section and an increasing volume. This pressure drop occurs as a
result of combustion heat added and is controlled by the carefully sized exhaust
nozzle opening. Recall that there is a basic gas law which states that gas will tend
to flow from a point of high pressure to a point of low pressure. The pressure drop
in the combustor ensures the correct direction of gas flow through the engine from
compressor to combustor. The air rushing in also cools and protects the metal by
centering the flame.
E to F shows a pressure drop resulting from increasing velocity as the gas is
accelerated through the turbine section.
F to G shows the volume (expansion) increase which causes this acceleration. G
completes the cycle as gas pressure returns to ambient, or higher than ambient at
the nozzle if it is choked.


This is the application of Bernoullis Theorem in a typical single-spool axial flow turbo-jet
The diagram shows the changes of pressure, velocity, temperature (turbojet) during
ground run-up.

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Constructional Configurations
All gas turbine engines consist of the same basic components. However, the
nomenclature used to describe each component does vary among manufacturers.
Nomenclature and overhaul differences are reflected in applicable maintenance manuals.
The following discussion uses the terminology that is most commonly used in industry.
There are seven basic sections within every gas turbine engine. They are:
Air inlet
Compressor section
Combustion section
Turbine section
Exhaust section
Accessory section, including systems necessary for:
Fuel supply
Anti- icing
Additional terms you often hear include hot section and cold section. A turbine engines
hot section includes the combustion, turbine, and exhaust sections. The cold section, on
the other hand, includes the air inlet duct and the compressor section.
The gas turbine powered jet is further broken down into:
Turbofan types
These four types of engines are the ones most commonly found in todays aircraft.

The gas turbine engine that delivers power through a shaft to operate something other
than a propeller is referred to as a turboshaft engine.
The turboshaft power take off may be coupled to and driven by the turbine that drives
the compressor, but is more likely to be driven by a turbine of its own. Engines using a
separate turbine for the power take off are called free turbine or free power turbine type
turboshaft engines.
A free turbine turboshaft engine has two major sections, the gas generator and the free
turbine sections.

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Figures 1.14 shows an example of the gas generator section and the free turbine section
of turboshaft engines.

Figure 1-14
The function of the gas generator is to produce the required energy to drive the free
turbine system. The gas generator extracts about two thirds of the energy available from
the combustion process leaving the other third to drive the free power turbine.
These engines are widely used in industrial applications, such as electrical power
generating plants and surface transportation systems (mainly high speed naval vessels),
while in aviation, turboshaft engines are used to drive the rotors of many modern
Aircraft auxiliary power units (APUs) are also often turboshaft engines which are used in
aircraft to drive generators and hydraulic pumps.

Commonly called the turboprop engine, this engine is similar in design to the turbojet
with the exception that it delivers the power produced in the engine to a shaft which
feeds into a reduction gearbox and onward to the propeller.
The reduction gearbox is used to slow the propellers rotational speed and to increase
torque capability.
Most of the power produced in the engine is used to drive the propeller and therefore
little thrust is produced from the engine exhaust.
In Figure 1-15 you will notice the engine is very similar to the basic turbojet. The major
differences will be discussed in later topics.

Figure 1-15

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Turboprop engines are best suited to speeds below approximately 350 MPH. Up to this
speed they are more efficient than turbojet engines but propeller efficiency falls away
rather rapidly at speeds above 350 MPH, due to disturbance of the airflow at the
propeller blade tips.
The advantages of the turboprop have been largely offset by advances in turbofan

Modern turbojets use many variations on this theme but the components are still
basically unchanged. Figure 1-16 illustrates a typical example of a modern turbojet.

Figure 1-16
The turbojet engine uses the acceleration of airflow throughout the engine to produce
thrust. The turbojet is well suited to high speed, high altitude operations due to
enhanced efficiencies under these conditions.
The basic operating principles of a turbojet engine are relatively straight forward; air
enters through an inlet duct and proceeds to the compressor where it is compressed.
Once compressed, the air flows to the combustor section where fuel is added and ignited.
The heat generated by the burning fuel causes the compressed air to expand and flow
toward the rear of the engine. As the air moves rearward, it passes through a set of
turbine wheels that are attached to the same shaft as the compressor blades. The
expanding air spins the turbines, which in turn, drives the compressor. Once past the
turbines, the air proceeds to exit the engine at a much higher velocity than the incoming
air. It is this difference in velocity between the entering and exiting air that produces
From 450 mph on up, the turbofan or turbojet is most widely used. The turbofan is
newer and has become the most popular powerplant for commercial and business jets
because its design affords the most propulsive power at higher subsonic cruising speeds.
The turbofan engine was developed in order to permit the use of higher turbine
temperatures without a corresponding increase in jet velocity, because a high jet velocity
is not efficient for subsonic flight. The turbojet engine is less efficient and has, for all
practical purposes, been replaced by the turbofan.
Today some large turbojets remain in use in military aviation, and they are still used in
the supersonic Concorde aircraft. All current military supersonic aircraft, like the B-1
bomber or F-22 advanced tactical fighter, are powered by low bypass turbofan engines.

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Turbofan Engines
The turbofan engine or, by-pass engine, consists basically of a multi bladed ducted
propeller driven by a gas turbine (Figure 1-17).

Figure 1-17
There are several different configurations of turbofan engines. Some early designs had
the fan driven through a reduction gearbox from the compressor (Figure 1-17) while
others are connected directly to the compressor (Figure 1-18).

Figure 1-18
In a turbofan engine, the fan makes a substantial contribution to the total thrust.
Over and above the thrust developed by the core engine (that portion of the turbofan
engine that resembles a typical turbojet), the fan accelerates the air passing through the
duct similar to the function of the propeller of a turboprop.
The fans of a turbofan engine produce between 30 and 80 percent of the total thrust, the
actual amount depending principally upon the bypass ratio.
Turbofan engines have turbojet-type cruise speed capability, yet retain some of the short-
field take-off capability of a turboprop. Nearly all present day airliners are powered by
turbofan engines for the reasons just mentioned as well as the fact that turbo- fans are
very fuel efficient.

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A turbofan engine may have the fan mounted to either the front or back of the engine.
Engines that have the fan mounted in front of the compressor are called forward-fan
engines, while turbofan engines that have the fan mounted to the turbine section are
called aft-fan engines.
The inlet air that passes through a turbofan engine is usually divided into two separate
streams of air.

Turbofan Configurations
Low Bypass

In the low bypass engine, the airflow is divided approximately into two halves between
the fan and the compressor.
Air that is being discharged by the fan may be ducted overboard from a short duct, or it
may pass down a duct that extends the full length of the core engine is known as the
cold gas stream.
The core engine air is compressed, combusted, and discharged in the normal manner out
the hot exhaust nozzle. The air that passes through the core engine is known as the hot
gas stream.
The turbofan illustrated in Figure 1-19 has a non-mixed exhaust. This means that the
air being discharged from the fan is not mixed with that from the core engine before
reaching the outside air.

Figure 1-19
Figure 1-20 is also a fully ducted fan engine; however the hot gas stream (from the core
engine) is mixed with the cold gas stream (from the fan) in the exhaust before they enter
the atmosphere.
This design offers the advantage of diluting the hot gases in the common exhaust, which
aids in noise suppression, helping to lessen noise pollution.

Figure 1-20

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High Bypass

The high bypass engine has a fan ratio of 4:1 or better (this means that four parts of air
go through the fan for every part that goes to the core engine).
To accomplish this ratio, a large diameter fan is required (Figure 1-21). These engines
are of the type fitted to large aircraft commercial jets and produce the greater percentage
of their thrust from the fan (produces 80%).

Figure 1-21
The turbofan engine is now the most widely used gas turbine engine in the aircraft
industry, both military and commercial. It offers performance in comparison to the
turbojet, low speed efficiencies in the order of the turbo-propeller and the best fuel
economy of them all.
For example, a turbojet may bypass 25% of the airflow around the high pressure
compressor. This would then be classed as a 1:3 or 0.33:1 bypass ratio (low bypass

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Ducted Fan Operation

The ducted fan engine may be regarded as a development of the bypass principle. The
requirement for high bypass ratios of up to 5:1 is largely met by using the front fan in a
twin or triple spool configuration.
The front compressor stage (fan) is housed in an aerodynamic duct or shroud, up to 80%
of the airflow accelerated by the fan rotor blades is ducted past the core engine while the
air from the lower portion of the blades flows into the engine itself. (Figure 1-22)

Figure 1-22
On some front fan engines, the bypass airstream is ducted overboard either directly
behind the fan through short ducts, or at the rear of the engine through longer ducts as
illustrated in Figure 1-23; hence the name ducted fan.

Figure 1-23
Fan tip speed may be allowed to exceed Mach 1 so the compressor can deliver the correct
amount of air. Pressure within the fan duct helps retard airflow separation from the
blades at speeds over Mach 1 so there is an effective transfer of energy to the air at the
required compression ratio.
High bypass engines and ducted fan engines produce more fan thrust than low bypass
engines because they suffer less loss through skin friction with their short ducts as well
as being designed to carry much larger airflow mass.
Another seldom used variation is that of the aft fan, where the fan is arranged either
behind the turbine and powered by shaft from the turbine, or is an extension of the
turbine blades.

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Engine Stations
Although the terms hot and cold sections are useful indicators of engine position, they
are not specific enough when referring to maintenance manuals/tasks. To make it easier
to identify the position (or station) of a component or fitting, a reference system using
engine stations has been developed.
An engine station is a numbered location along the axis line of the engine and refers to
basic locations such as the compressor inlet, compressor outlet, turbine inlet and outlet
etc. Figure 1-24 gives a general indication of the engine stations for a single spool

Figure 1-24
The number of designated stations varies according to engine complexity. It is therefore
possible for the same station number to refer to different positions on different engines.
For example, Figure 1-21 shows a dual spool turbofan engine (an engine with a fan and a
compressor). It can be seen that station 4 indicates turbine inlet in the turbojet (Figure
1-24), and the high pressure compressor outlet on the turbofan (Figure 1-25).
For ease of identification, engine manufacturers number locations, either along the
length of the gas path or along the length of the engine. Station numbers start at either
the flight cowling inlet or the engine inlet. Manufacturers do not always number engine
stations the same way. The purpose of the numbering scheme is always the same.

Figure 1-25
Engine symbols such as Pt and Tt are often used in conjunction with station numbers.
For example: To describe Pressure Total at Station-2 (the engine inlet), Pt2 is used. To
describe Temperature

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Total at Station-7, the turbine outlet on a dual-spool engine, Tt7 is used. From this
discussion it is evident that station numbers, when used as a subscript to an upper case
prefix, help greatly in abbreviating cumbersome terminology in describing locations and
functional data of the engine.
In addition to the station numbers, prefixes are used to show various parameters
occurring at these stations within the engine.
For example, temperature has the prefix T.
The temperature occurring at station 5 is called T5.
Pressure has a prefix P and can be further divided into:
Pt = total pressure
Ps = static pressure
The static pressure at station 3 is known as Ps3.

Engine Terminology
Many different terms are used to describe parts of or positions (stations) on, the engine.
Generally speaking, the terms referred to in this package are universally acceptable.
The engines cold and hot sections are those sections exposed to cold and hot gases

Cold Section

Basically, the front part of the engine which handles the colder airflow is termed the cold
section. Figure 1-26 shows the cold section which consists of the:
Engine inlet

Figure 1-26

Hot Section

The hot section of the engine is that section of the engine that is exposed to hot air and
includes the:
Combustion chamber
Turbine assembly

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The air that flows through the hot section is known as the hot gas stream. Figure 1-27
illustrates the hot section and identifies its component parts.

Figure 1-27

Ambient Air

Ambient air refers to the natural air surrounding the engine. The pressure and
temperature of ambient air is usually required when an aircraft requires a ground run.
This is usually obtained by contacting the base meteorology section.

Gas Generator

The term gas generator is used to describe that part of the gas turbine engine that
produces the basic gas. Basic gas is the gas that travels through the compressor(s) to
the combustion area, and onwards to the turbine.
The gas generator section of a jet engine excludes the engine inlet and exhaust nozzle.
Figure 1-28 illustrates the gas generator portion of an engine.

Figure 1-28

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Airflow Characteristics

Figure 1-29
Figure 1-29 displays the behaviour of airflow through a gas turbine engine in relation to
pressure, temperature and velocity.
In the Compressor Assembly:
Air pressure increases
Temperature increases
Velocity decreases
At the diffuser, just prior to combustion chamber entry, there is a final dramatic increase
in pressure and temperature and decrease in velocity to aid in maintaining flame
In the Combustion Area:
Airflow ignition causes a dramatic increase in temperature but in line with the
Brayton cycle principle, pressure and velocity remain relatively constant. In the
Turbine Assembly:
Velocity of airflow will increase and decrease across the turbine stages. Due to the
energy extraction by the turbine assembly, pressure and temperature gradually will
In the Exhaust Assembly:
Velocity, temperature and temperature will remain relatively constant until the
propelling nozzle where a dramatic increase in velocity will take place

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TOPIC 15.2: Engine Performance .................................................................................... 2
Thrust ............................................................................................................................. 2
Thrust Creation .............................................................................................................. 4
Resultant Thrust ............................................................................................................. 8
Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption ................................................................................ 10
Engine Efficiency .......................................................................................................... 11
Turbofan Engines.......................................................................................................... 12
Engine Pressure Ratio ................................................................................................... 15
The International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) ............................................................... 16
Engine Thrust in Flight ................................................................................................. 17
Engine Ratings .............................................................................................................. 20
Engine Limitations ........................................................................................................ 22
Practice Calculations..................................................................................................... 24

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The terms used to describe the types of thrust produced by aircraft engines are:
Propeller thrust
Jet thrust
Gross (Static) thrust
Net thrust
Choked nozzle thrust
Thrust distribution
Resultant thrust
Fan thrust

Propeller Thrust
Some aircraft rely on engine driven propellers to produce their thrust. An aircrafts
propeller gives small acceleration to a large weight of air. Propeller Thrust is the thrust
developed by the propeller, as illustrated by Figure 2-1.

Figure 2-1

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Jet Thrust
Jet aircraft produce thrust by accelerating air through an engine and ejecting it out a
propelling nozzle. Unlike a turbo-propeller, a turbojet engine gives large acceleration to a
small weight of air. Jet thrust is the thrust developed by a jet, as illustrated by Figure 2-

Figure 2-2

Mass Air Flow and Thrust

The basis of the thrust produced by a turbojet or turbofan engine is the change in
momentum of air flowing through the engine. Anything that increases the mass of air
increases the thrust. Two factors that affect the mass of air are its density and the ram
Air density has a profound effect on the thrust produced. The volume of air flowing
through the engine is relatively fixed for any particular RPM by the size and geometry of
the inlet duct system. But since thrust is determined by mass, not the volume of air, any
increase in its density increases its mass and thus the thrust.
As the temperature of the air increases, its density decreases, and the thrust produced
by the engine decreases. As the air pressure increases, its density increases, causing the
thrust produced by the engine to increase.
Altitude has a double effect on thrust. As altitude increases, the air becomes colder and
denser, up to the beginning of the stratosphere. This causes the thrust to increase. But,
at the same time, an increase in altitude air causes a decrease in pressure, thus a
decrease in density and a corresponding decrease in thrust. Since the loss of thrust
caused by decreasing pressure is greater than the increase caused by decreasing
temperature, the thrust decreases as the aircraft ascends.

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The air discharge and the bullet leaving the gun DO NOT create reactive power by
exerting a pushing force on the outside air. Rather, their acting forces create a reacting
force within the device. In fact, if the air or bullet were to exit into a vacuum as rockets
do in space, the exiting velocities would be greater and the resultant thrust would be
To create the acting force within a turbine engine, a continuous flow cycle is utilised.
Gas turbine engines operate on a principle of continuous combustion or one unit of mass
airflow in and one unit of mass airflow out. Because the unit trying to exit has been
increased in size (volume), it will have to accelerate greatly to leave the exhaust nozzle as
the new unit enters the inlet.
Thrust is transmitted to the aircraft through the engine mounts. All the points of thrust
created within the engine are not easily identifiable, but variations in pressures within
the engine exert forces all along its length, from the airframe inlet to the exhaust. The
acting force is created within a turbine engine. NOT externally by pushing on the
outside air.
A simple explanation of the operation of a gas turbine turbojet is that it is a device which
increases potential energy and then converts it to kinetic energy. Some of this energy
performs work at the turbine, while the remainder exits the engine in the form of thrust.
Newtons 2nd law states force is proportional to the product of mass x acceleration.
Force = Mass x Acceleration or,
F = ma
Mass (m) and weight (W) are different quantities.
However, when an object is in the Earths gravitational field, it is subjected to an
attractive force we call weight. In Earths gravity, mass and weight can be treated as
similar quantities.
An object will fall due to gravity, accelerating at 9.81 m/s/s (meters/second/second) (SI
units) or 32.2 feet/s/s (feet/second/second) (British units).
These constants are known as g, the acceleration due to Earths gravity.
From F = ma, we get W = mg.
Turbojet and turbofan engines burns fuel to accelerate a mass of gas rearwards to create
a forward reaction, called Thrust.

V1 V2

Considering acceleration as then

This formula forms the foundation for calculating the maximum reactive or, thrust of a
gas turbine engine.
Static Thrust is calculated as the maximum thrust developed by an engine on the test
bed, when V1 is zero.

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Gross (static) Thrust
An engine develops its gross (static) thrust when it is operating but not in motion.
An aircrafts gross (static) thrust may be observed immediately prior to releasing the
brakes for take-off.
At this point, aircraft drag, inlet ram air and atmospheric changes do not affect the
amount of thrust produced.
The formula for gross thrust may be stated as:

F g = Gross thrust, in pounds (lbs.).
W a = Weight of airflow in lbs. /sec.
V2 = Exhaust velocity, in ft/sec.
V1 = Inlet velocity, in ft/sec.
g = Gravity acceleration, 32.2 ft./sec2

Net Thrust
Net thrust is the effective thrust developed by the engine during flight. All engine,
aircraft and atmospheric forces must be considered when calculating an engines net
Net thrust may be stated basically as the gross thrust less the aircraft forward airspeed.
Net thrust will initially decrease with aircraft acceleration until the engine inlet begins to
experience ram effect. This effect will tend to actually increase net thrust over and above
a predetermined airspeed. Ram effect will generally commence around 160 MPH.
The formula for net thrust may be stated as:

F n = Net thrust, in lbs.
W a = Weight of airflow in lbs. /sec.
V2 = Exhaust velocity, in ft/sec.
V1 = Inlet velocity, in ft/sec.

g = Gravity acceleration, 32.2 ft./sec2

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Choked Nozzle Thrust
As a jet engines exhaust gases reach the speed of sound (Mach 1) through the propelling
nozzle, the pressure differential across the nozzle is said to become choked.
When a nozzle is choked, the pressure is such that the gases are travelling through it at
the speed of sound and cannot be further accelerated. Any increase in internal engine
pressure will pass out the nozzle still in the form of pressure.
Even though this pressure energy cannot be turned into velocity energy, it is not lost.
The pressure inside the nozzle is pushing in all directions, but when the neck is open,
the air cannot push in the direction of the nozzle.
The pressure in the other direction continues undiminished, and as a result the pressure
of the gases will push the engine forward.
This extra pressure produces what is known as choked nozzle thrust, and is additional to
the thrust produced by the exhaust gas velocity.
The formula for chocked nozzle thrust may be stated as:

F n = Net thrust in lbs
W a = Weight of airflow in lbs. /sec
V2 = Exhaust velocity in fps
V1 = Inlet velocity in fps2
g = Gravity acceleration in fps
A j = Area of jet nozzle in sq. in.
P j = Pressure at jet nozzle in psi
P am = Pressure ambient

Thrust Distribution
Jet thrust is not solely produced at the engine exhaust or propelling nozzle. It is
developed throughout the engine as a reaction to the forces within the engine.
During the passage of the mass airflow through an engine, changes in airflow velocity
and pressures occur. For instance, in the diffuser section of an axial flow engine, airflow
velocity (kinetic energy) is changed to pressure energy by the diffusers divergent shape.
This change produces force in a forward direction. Conversely, at the turbine nozzle
section, pressure energy is converted to velocity and produces force in a rearward
direction. Figure 2-3 illustrates these principles.
Thrust distribution is defined as the forces resulting from the changes in the pressure
and momentum of the gas stream reacting on the engine structures and rotating

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Figure 2-3
Thrust distribution is, in effect, the reaction to the changes in the mass airflow pressure
and velocity throughout the engine. An example of thrust distribution is shown at Figure

Figure 2-4

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In association with thrust distribution produced throughout an engine, it is possible to
calculate the result. This is known as the resultant thrust.
Resultant thrust is the result of thrust forces felt in the rearward direction, deducted
from the thrust forces felt in the forward direction.
The formula for net thrust may be stated as:

F r = Resultant t thrust
A = area of flow section in sq. in.
P = pressure in lb. per sq. in.
W a = weight of airflow in lb. per sec.
V= velocity of flow in feet per sec.
I = initial force in lbs.
g = gravity acceleration 32.2 ft per sec2
Note that in a typical turbo-jet engine, the combustion section produces the greatest
forward thrust component.

Thrust Horsepower
To compare the thrust of a turbojet or turbofan engine with the effective horsepower of a
turbo-propeller, thrust can be expressed as thrust horsepower (THP).
Thrust horsepower is only calculated in flight. The formula to calculate THP reflects the
fact that an engines produced horsepower will increase as airspeed increases.
The conventional formula is:
THP = Fn x Velocity (ft/sec) / 550 ft/lbs./sec
A more relevant version of this formula targets common flight data:
THP = Fn x Velocity (MPH) / 375 MPH

Calculating Thrust Horsepower

When engine thrust is compared to horsepower (HP) in flight, 1 pound (lb.) of thrust
equals 1 HP at 375 MPH (325 knots). The following equations are used to calculate
thrust horsepower:

Net Thrust Airspeed

HP =
375 MPH

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You can also calculate the THP by using:

Calculate the THP of a turbofan engine that produces 5,000 lbs. of net thrust at an
aircraft speed of 600 MPH.

5 000 600
= 8 000 lbs

Equivalent Shaft Horsepower

The power produced by turboprops engines is called equivalent shaft horsepower (ESHP).
ESHP is defined as the combination of the power supplied to the propeller (SHP) added to
the jet thrust produced by the engine.
The formula for ESHP takes into account that a typical propeller produces 2.5 lb. of
thrust for each SHP delivered by the engine at sea level static condition.

ESHP = SHP (at prop) + Fg (gross thrust) / 2.5

Calculating Equivalent Shaft Horsepower

In order to calculate the ESHP of a turbo-propeller, the engines shaft horsepower (SHP)
and net jet thrust (F n ) must be considered. A turbo-propeller produces approximately
2.5 pounds of thrust for each shaft horsepower delivered by the engine under static
conditions at sea level. With this information the ESHP of a turbo-propeller engine can be
calculated using the following equation:

Net Thrust
Calculate the ESHP of a turbo-propeller engine that produces a net thrust of 5 000 lb.
and develops a SHP of 6 250

5 000
ESHP = 6 250 +
= 8 250 ft lbs
Shaft horsepower, (sometimes referred to as thermodynamic horsepower) is defined as
the total available horsepower of a fixed turbine type turbo-propeller or turboshaft
engine as measured on a dynamometer. Figure 2-5 shows a typical fixed turbine turbo-
propeller engine.

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Figure 2-5


SFC is a ratio of fuel consumption to engine thrust by a turbojet or turbofan, or shaft
horsepower produced by a turboprop. This ratio is usually included in any set of engine
specifications and affords a means of comparing the fuel consumption or economy of
operation of one engine to another regardless of its thrust rating. Specifically, it is the
amount of fuel in pounds consumed by an engine.
To move an aircraft through the air, a propulsion system is used to generate thrust. The
amount of thrust an engine generates is important. But the amount of fuel used to
generate that thrust is sometimes more important, because the aircraft has to lift and
carry the fuel throughout the flight. Engineers use an efficiency factor, called thrust
specific fuel consumption, to characterise an engine's fuel efficiency. "Thrust specific fuel
consumption" is quite a mouthful, so engineers usually just call it the engine's TSFC.
The fuel consumption of TSFC is how much fuel the engine burns each hour. The
specific of TSFC is a scientific term meaning divided by mass or weight. In this case,
specific means per pound (Newton) of thrust. The thrust of TSFC is included to indicate
that we are talking about gas turbine engines. There is a corresponding brake specific
fuel consumption (BSFC) for engines that produce shaft power. Gathering all the terms
together, TSFC is the mass of fuel burned by an engine in one hour divided by the thrust
that the engine produces. The units of this efficiency factor are mass per time divided by
force (in English units, pounds mass per hour per pound; in metric units, kilograms per
hour per Newton).
Mathematically, TSFC is a ratio of the engine fuel mass flow rate to the amount of thrust
F produced by burning the fuel:

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Specific Fuel Consumption
SFC is a ratio of fuel consumption to engine thrust by a turbojet or turbofan, or shaft
horsepower produced by a turboprop. This ratio is usually included in any set of engine
specifications and affords a means of comparing the fuel consumption or economy of
operation of one engine to another regardless of its thrust rating. Specifically, it is the
amount of fuel in pounds consumed by an engine.

SFC is directly related to the thermal and propulsive efficiencies; that is, the overall
efficiency of the engine. Theoretically, high thermal efficiency requires high pressures
which in practice also mean high turbine entry temperatures. In a pure turbo-jet engine
this high temperature would result in a high jet velocity and consequently lower the
propulsive efficiency However, by using the by-pass principle, high thermal and
propulsive efficiencies can be effectively combined by bypassing a proportion of the L.P.
compressor or fan delivery air to lower the mean jet temperature and velocity. With
advanced technology engines of high by-pass and overall pressure ratios, a further
pronounced improvement in SFC is obtained.

Engine performance is not solely concerned with engine thrust. The efficient conversion
of the fuel into kinetic energy to produce the thrust is also important.
Engine efficiency is defined as the ratio of work accomplished by an engine to the energy
developed by that engine. Efficiency is usually expressed as a percentage.
Due to mechanical friction, air leakage and other losses throughout an engine, the
overall engine efficiency is always less than 100 %. Many factors are considered when
the efficiency of an engine is calculated. The following terms relate to engine efficiency:
Adiabatic efficiency
Thermal efficiency
Propulsive efficiency
Overall efficiency
Thermal efficiency
The thermal efficiency of an engine is the ratio of net work produced by the engine to the
theoretical heat energy the combustion of fuel in the engine can produce.
A ratio of:
Work capability of fuel
To actual work
Adiabatic efficiency
The adiabatic efficiency of an engine is the ratio of work required to compress a gas,
without gain or loss of heat, to the work actually accomplished by the turbine.

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A ratio of:
Theoretical work
To Actual work
Propulsive efficiency
The propulsive efficiency of an engine is a measure of the effectiveness with which energy
in a powerplant is converted to useful work for propelling the aircraft. In other words, it
is the amount of thrust developed by the propelling nozzle compared with the energy
supplied to it.
A comparison of propulsive efficiencies with aircraft speed is illustrated by Figure 2-6.

Figure 2-6
Propulsive efficiency is the ratio of forward aircraft speed to exhaust gas or propeller
stream speed.

Overall Efficiency
The overall efficiency of an engine is the product of its propulsive efficiency times the
engines thermal efficiency.
This is a measure of an engines ability to use:
The overall efficiency of an engine directly relates to SFC and TSFC.

A turbofan engine consists of a multi-bladed ducted propeller driven by a gas turbine
engine. Turbofans were developed to provide a compromise between the best features of
the turbojet and the turboprop.
Turbofan engines have turbojet-type cruise speed capability, yet retain some of the short-
field take-off capability of a turboprop. Nearly all present day airliners are powered by
turbofan engines for the reasons just mentioned as well as the fact that turbofans are
very fuel efficient.

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When discussing bypass engines there are three terms you must be familiar with.
They are:
Thrust ratio
Bypass ratio
Fan pressure ratio
A turbofan engines thrust ratio is a pressure ratio. A turbofan engines thrust ratio is a
comparison of the thrust produced by the fan to the thrust produced by the engine core
A turbofans bypass ratio refers to the ratio of incoming air that bypasses the core to the
amount of air that passes through the engine core.

Turbofan Thrust Ratio

A turbofan engines thrust ratio is a comparison of the thrust produced by the fan to the
thrust produced by the engine core exhaust.
Thrust calculation of a fan engine can be accomplished in the same way as the turbojet,
except that the hot and cold stream nozzle thrust values are figured separately and then
added together.

Fan Pressure Ratio

Fan pressure ratio is the ratio of air pressure leaving the fan to the air pressure entering
the fan. The fan pressure ratio on a typical low bypass fan is approximately 1.5:1,
whereas for some high bypass fans the fan pressure ratio may be as high as 7:1.

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Bypass Ratio
The path of air through a gas turbine engine varies according to the design of the engine.
In turbojet applications, all the air is taken into the engine and passed through the
compressor, combustion chamber and exits via the exhaust.
The principle of the bypass system involves a division in the airflow.
In early bypass systems the air is taken in and compressed by the low pressure (LP)
compressor. A percentage is ducted to bypass the engine core and the remainder is
delivered to the high pressure (HP) compressor (refer Figure 2-7).
In modern turbofans the bypass ratio refers to the percentage of fan duct air relative to
the airflow through the core engine.
A turbofan engine consists of a multi-bladed ducted propeller driven by a gas turbine
engine. Turbofans were developed to provide a compromise between the best features of
the turbojet and the turboprop.
Turbofans in civil aircraft are generally divided into three classifications based on bypass
Low bypass (1:1)
Medium bypass (2:1 or 3:1)
High bypass (4:1 or greater)
With regard to statement of the ratio, the 1 is always representative of airflow through
the core engine which is the name used to describe the Gas Generator or HP
The bypass ratio is the ratio of cool air that is bypassed through the duct, to the flow of
air passed through the gas generator.

Figure 2-7

Low Bypass Ratio

Generally, airflow mass in the fan section of a low bypass engine is the same as airflow
mass in the compressor. The fan discharge could be slightly higher or lower depending
on the engine model, but bypass ratios are approximately 1:1.
In some engines the bypass air is ducted directly overboard through a short fan duct.
However, in a ducted fan engine, the bypass air is ducted along the entire length of the
engine. For example: JT8 and RR RB183 Spey.
Full fan ducts reduce aerodynamic drag and noise emissions. In either case, the end of
the duct usually has a converging discharge nozzle that increases velocity and produces
reactive thrust.

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Medium Bypass

Medium or intermediate bypass engines have airflow bypass ratios ranging from 2:1 to
3:1. These engines have thrust ratios similar to their bypass ratios. The fans used on
these engines have a larger diameter than the fans used on low bypass engines of
comparable power. Fan diameter determines a fans bypass ratio and thrust ratio.

High Bypass

High bypass turbofan engines have bypass ratios of 4:1 or greater and use the largest
diameter fan of any of the bypass engines. High bypass turbines offer higher propulsive
efficiencies and better fuel economy than low or medium bypass turbines. Consequently,
they are the engines of choice on large airliners used for long flights. Some common large
high bypass turbofan engines include Pratt and Whitneys JT9D and PW4000, the Rolls-
Royce RB- 211, and the General Electric CF6.


Engine Pressure Ratio (EPR) is the ratio between compressor inlet pressure and turbine
discharge pressure. In Figure 2-8, the inlet pressure at the compressor is 10 PSI and the
turbine discharge pressure is 100 PSI. The engine pressure ratio is therefore 10:100 or
more simply put 1:10.

Figure 2-8

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The pressures utilised in calculating engine pressure ratio will always be dynamic
pressures. That is, the pressure is representative of not only the static pressure at the
sample area but also the pressure evident due to the velocity of the airflow.
For example: EPR on a twin spool gas turbine engine is calculated at engine stations 2
and 7 and the pressures sampled are referred to as Pt2 and Pt7 respectively.

P represents pressure
t represents total (or dynamic) pressure
The number refers to engine station number at the zone being sampled


To enable the performance of similar engines to be compared, it is necessary to
standardize in some conventional form the variations of air temperature and pressure
that occur with altitude and climatic conditions.
Of the several different definitions of standard atmospheres, the one in most common
use is the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA). This is based on a temperature lapse
rate of 1.98 degrees Celsius per 1,000ft, resulting in a fall from 288.15 degrees Kelvin.
(15 degrees C) at sea level to 216.65 degrees Kelvin (-56.5 degrees C) at 36,089 ft. (the
tropopause). Above this altitude the temperature is constant up to 65,617 feet.
The I.S.A. standard pressure at sea level is 1,013.2 millibars, 29.92 inches of mercury or
14.69 pounds per square inch. This pressure drops to 0.023 mb or 3.28 pounds per
square inch at the tropopause.
The ICAO standard for measuring altitude is feet and atmospheric pressure may be
either pounds per square inch (psi), inches of mercury (in Hg), or millibars (mb).

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In order to determine an engines net thrust we need to consider inflight variables
Mass airflow
Ram effect
Air temperature
Ram drag
Engine rpm
Engine condition
Air speed

Mass Airflow
Thrust is produced by the reaction to accelerating the mass airflow through an engine.
However, as the density of the air entering the inlet changes, the mass airflow will
change. This is a result of more, or less, molecules per given volume of air being
available to the engine. If the mass airflow through the engine is decreased, the thrust
developed will decrease. In fact, mass airflow and thrust are directly proportional.

As altitude is increased, density decreases. Because air pressure decreases as altitude
increases, the temperature also decreases, but cannot compensate for the loss of density
caused by the increased altitude.
Above 36,000 ft the density decreases more rapidly because the temperature remains
fairly constant above this altitude. For these reasons thrust decreases with increased
altitude. Figure 2-9 shows the effect of altitude on thrust.

Figure 2-9
The altitude effect on thrust can also be discussed as a density and temperature effect.
In this case, an increase in altitude causes a decrease in pressure and temperature.
Since the temperature lapse rate is less than the pressure lapse rate as altitude is
increased, the density is decreased.

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Although the decreased temperature increases thrust, the effect of decreased density
more than offsets the effect of the colder temperature. The net result of increased altitude
is a reduction in the thrust output.

Air Temperature
Variations in the air temperature entering the engine will affect the air density and
therefore engine performance. When the temperature is lowered, the density of the air is
increased. Increased density increases the mass airflow through the engine and thus
increases the thrust produced. Figure 2-10 shows the effect of air temperature on
thrust. An engine operating under standard day conditions may produce 10,000 lbs.
thrust, on an extremely cold day the same engine may produce up to 12,000 lbs. thrust.
Conversely, on an extremely hot day the same engine may produce as low as 8,000 lbs.

Figure 2-10
Thrust output will improve rapidly with a reduction in Outside Air Temperature (OAT) at
constant altitude, rpm and airspeed. This increase occurs partly because the energy
required per pound of airflow to drive the compressor varies directly with the
temperature, thus leaving more energy to develop thrust. In addition, the thrust output
will increase, since the air at reduced temperature has an increased density. The
increase in density causes the mass flow through the engine to increase.

Humidity is described as the percentage of water vapour in a given volume of air.
Because water vapour displaces some of the air, the air is less dense; therefore an
increase in humidity will reduce an engines mass airflow and hence lower engine
performance. In other words, as the humidity increases, the air density decreases with a
corresponding decrease in thrust.

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As an aircrafts forward speed increases, the velocity of the air at the engine Inlet (V1) is
increased. This results in less acceleration of the mass airflow through the engine, i.e.
(V2 V1) and therefore, less thrust. The effect of increased airspeed may be summarised
as; as airspeed increases, thrust decreases until ram effect restores thrust. Figure 2-11
shows the effect of airspeed on thrust.

Figure 2-11
As airspeed is increased from static, the ram drag increases rapidly. The exhaust jet
velocity (V2) remains relatively constant; therefore, the effect of the increase in airspeed
results in decreased specific thrust.
A rise in pressure above existing outside atmospheric pressure at the engine inlet, as a
result of the forward velocity of an aircraft, is referred to as ram. Since any ram effect will
cause an increase in compressor entrance pressure over atmospheric pressure, the
resulting pressure rise will cause an increase in the mass airflow and jet velocity, both of
which tend to increase thrust.
Although ram effect increases the engine thrust, the thrust being produced by the engine
decreases for a given throttle setting as the aircraft gains airspeed. Therefore, two
opposing trends occur when an aircrafts speed is increased. What actually takes place is
the net result of these two different effects. An engines thrust output temporarily
decreases as aircraft speed increases from static, but soon ceases to decrease; toward the
higher speeds, thrust output begins to increase again.

Ram Effect
Thrust will initially decrease as airspeed increases due to a reduction in the acceleration
(V1) of the mass airflow through the engine. However, as an aircrafts airspeed increases,
air is being rammed into the inlet causing an increase in inlet pressure. This in turn
increases the mass airflow into the engine and thrust is restored.

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In Figure 2-12, curve A indicates the initial effect of airspeed, curve B indicates the effect
of Ram pressure and curve C indicates the resultant. Ram effect has the effect of
increasing the thrust as the forward speed of the aircraft increases.

Figure 2-12

Ram Drag
Ram drag, sometimes called inlet momentum drag, is the drag caused by the momentum
of the air passing into the engine relative to the speed of the aircraft. This type of drag
must be considered when determining an aircrafts net thrust. In other words, the
theoretical calculation of net thrust may require a reduction in the figure for forward
airspeed to compensate for any Inlet drag evident.

Engine RPM
For all engines, the thrust increases rapidly as the RPM approaches its maximum design
speed. Figure 2-13 illustrates the effect of engine RPM on performance.

Figure 2-13

Turbine engines, both turbojet and turbofan, are thrust rated in terms of either engine
pressure ratio or fan speed and turboshaft turboprop engines are SHP rated in the
following categories: Take-off, maximum continuous, maximum climb, maximum cruise,
and idle.

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For certification purposes, the manufacturer demonstrates to the regulatory authorities
that the engine will perform at certain thrust or shaft horsepower levels for specified time
intervals and still maintain its airworthiness and service life for the user.
These ratings can usually be found on the engine Type Certificate Data Sheets. The
ratings are classified as follows:
Take-off Wet Thrust/SHP - This rating represents the maximum power available while
in water injection and is time limited. It is used only during take-off operation. Engines
are trimmed to this rating.
Take-off Dry Thrust/SHP - Limits on this rating are the same as take-off wet but
without water injection. Engines are trimmed to this rating.
Maximum Continuous Thrust/SHP - This rating has no time limit but is to be used
only during emergency situations at the discretion of the pilot, for example, during one
engine out cruise operation.
Maximum Climb Thrust/SHP - Maximum climb power settings are not time limited and
are to be used for normal climb, to cruising altitude, or when changing altitudes. This
rating is sometimes the same as maximum continuous.
Maximum Cruise Thrust/SHP - This rating is designed to be used for any time period
during normal cruise at the discretion of the pilot.
Idle Speed - This power setting is not actually a power rating but, rather, the lowest
usable thrust setting for either ground or in fight operations.
Thrust producing turbine engines utilize either the engine pressure ratio trim or the fan
speed trim procedure. If the engine is configured with an engine pressure ratio system,
the pilot will use a cockpit engine pressure ratio gauge to set engine power and the
engine is referred to as an engine pressure ratio rated engine.
If the engine does not have an engine pressure ratio system, it is trimmed in accordance
with fan speed and the pilot in this case uses a tachometer indicator to set engine power
and the engine is referred to as a fan speed rated engine.

Some engines are flat rated to only 15C, others over 30C. This consideration depends
largely on the needs of the aircraft manufacturer. Generally, flat rating is believed to
enable the engine to produce a constant rated thrust over a wide range of ambient
temperatures without working the engine harder than necessary, in the interest of
prolonging engine service life.
For example, an engine rated at 3,500 pounds thrust at 15C might be re-rated to 3,350
pounds thrust at 32C. The aircraft user might not need to utilize 3,500 pounds thrust,
nor the maximum gross weight of the aircraft, and he would like to benefit from
increased engine service life and lower fuel consumption by operating at 3,350 pounds
thrust maximum.

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Flat Rating is an engine manufacturers way of re-rating an engine to a lower rated
thrust than it would have at Standard Day temperatures. The engine will be able to use
that lower rated thrust over a wider ambient temperature range.
Flat-rating is equally applicable to all types of gas turbine engines, both thrust producing
engines and torque producing engines. The aircraft manufacturer will probably use the
following process, or one very similar, when selecting the flat-rating that best suits his
The user decides the take-off power needed for his aircraft configuration, route
requirements, runway lengths, runway altitudes, etc.
The user calculates the highest ambient temperature at which required take-off
power can be obtained
The engine and aircraft manufacturer print all of the flight manuals, operational
instructions, etc., to reflect the selected take-off power as the maximum usable for
normal operation

For a flat rated engine care must be taken when carrying out ground runs on a part
throttle engine to avoid advancing the throttle too far, exceeding take-off power
limitations. On cold days this is especially true. An engine may be de-rated if it is
installed in an aircraft that does not require the engines maximum rated power.

Engine operating limitations are determined by the turbine and nozzle materials used. If
limits are exceeded, borescope inspections may need to be performed.
Engine operating limitations are found in the engine Type Certificate Data Sheet and the
Aircraft Maintenance Manual and will include:
(CF6 High-Bypass Turbofan Engine Series as an example)
Maximum thrust settings for all conditions;
Fuel and oil pressures;
Engine oil temperatures;
Engine operating temperature limitations;

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Engine maximum operating RPM;
For a representative turboprop engine: (Allison 250 Series)
All of the above as well as
Torque; and
Output shaft speed.
For all gas turbine engines, vibration is also a limiting factor.

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1. Calculate the engine thrust produced when;
V i = 0, V j = 1 658 lbs. /sec and W = 172 lbs. /sec.

2. Calculate the choked nozzle thrust produced from an engine when;

A = 376 in2, P = 4 psi and P 0 = 0.
3. Calculate the total engine thrust produced from an engine that develops 8,912 lbs.
from the engine and 1 504 lb from its choked propelling nozzle.
4. Calculate the THP of a turbojet engine that produces 7,200 lbs. of net thrust at an
aircraft speed of 500 kt.

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5. Calculate the ESHP of a turbo-propeller engine that develops 8 000 SHP and
produces a net thrust of 12,000 lbs. in flight.
6. Calculate the Equivalent Specific Fuel Consumption of a turbo-propeller engine
that produces 4,600 ESHP with a fuel flow rate of 2,800 pph.
7. Calculate the Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption of a turbofan engine that
produces a net thrust of 11,000 lbs. with a fuel flow rate of 7,200 pph.

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Inlet Ducts ...................................................................................................................... 2
Inlet Duct Losses .......................................................................................................... 13
Inlet Duct Anti-Ice Systems ........................................................................................... 14

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When a gas turbine engine is installed in an aircraft it usually requires a number of
accessories fitted to it, and connections made to various aircraft systems. The engine, jet
pipe and accessories, and in some installations a thrust reverser, must be suitably
cowled and an air intake must be provided for the compressor, the complete installation
forming the aircraft power plant.
The main requirement of an air intake is that, under all operating conditions, delivery of
the air to the engine is achieved with the minimum loss of energy occurring through the
duct. To enable the compressor to operate satisfactorily, the air must reach the
compressor at a uniform pressure distributed evenly across the whole inlet area. The air
entrance or flight inlet duct is normally considered to be part of the airframe, not part of
the engine. Nevertheless, it is usually identified as Engine Station Number One.
Understanding the function of the inlet and its importance to engine performance makes
it a necessary part of any discussion on gas turbine engine design and construction.
It has been discovered that even a small discontinuity of airflow can cause significant
efficiency loss, as well as many unexplainable engine performance problems. Therefore, it
follows that, if the inlet duct is to retain its function of delivering air with minimum
turbulence, it must be maintained in as close to new condition as possible. If repairs to
this inlet become necessary, expertly installed flush patches are mandatory to prevent
drag. Moreover, the use of an inlet cover is recommended to promote cleanliness and to
prevent corrosion and abrasion.

Inlet Types
Many air inlet ducts have been designed to accommodate new airframe/engine
combinations and variations in engine mounting locations. In addition, air inlets are
designed to meet certain criteria for operation at different airspeeds. Some of the most
common locations where engine inlets are mounted are:
In the wing
On the fuselage
On the engine

In Wing

Some early commercial and military aircraft had engines installed in the wings. In wing
design provided streamlining for the turbojet engines of the era. The Inlet ducts are
constructed from aluminium alloy and built into the wing forming part of the secondary
structure. Since the introduction of high-bypass turbofan engines this design has
become impractical.

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Inlet Construction on Wing

Most multi turbojet and turbofan aircraft have the inlet ducts mounted directly onto the
front of the engine. Some turboprops have engine mounted inlets as part of their
powerplant assembly.
Inlets are constructed from aluminium alloy and/or composites such as carbon fibre and
Kevlar. Typically, turbofan inlets are bolted to the forward flange of the inlet case or fan
case. This allows for short, efficient inlet ducts with minimal internal skin friction.

Inlet Construction on Fuselage

Some multi engine jet aircraft have the engines mounted on the aft fuselage. The inlet
ducts may be mounted directly onto the front of the engine or form part of the fuselage,
engine pylon, or stub wing structure. Inlets are constructed from aluminium alloy
and/or composites such as carbon fibre and Kevlar. Inlets forming part of the aft
fuselage may have a long S shaped duct.

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Inlet Construction in Fuselage

Single engine and some twin engine military aircraft have their engines mounted within
the fuselage. The inlet may form part of the fuselage structure.
Inlet ducts may be mounted in the nose, under or on both sides of the fuselage.

Single Entry (Pitot) Type Duct

The ideal air inlet for a turbo jet engine fitted to an aircraft flying at subsonic or low
supersonic speeds, is a single, short, pitot type circular Inlet, as illustrated in the figure
below. This type of inlet makes full use of ram effect on the air due to forward speed,
and suffers the minimum loss of ram pressure with changes in aircraft attitude.
However, as sonic speed is approached, the efficiency of this type of air Inlet begins to fall
due to the formation of a shock wave at the inlet lip.

Although this short straight duct results in minimum pressure drop, the engine tends to
suffer from inlet turbulence, especially at low airspeed and/or high angles of attack
The pitot type inlet can be used for engines which are mounted in pods, wings, or other
flying surfaces, although the inlet sometimes require a departure from the circular cross
section due to the area of the surface.
For instance the tail inlet of a Boeing 737 is oval, others are squared off, and even the
wing pylon mounted engine inlets of some aircraft are squared due to their proximity to
the ground when the wing is flexed.

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Single engine aircraft sometimes use a pitot type Inlet, but this involves the use of a long
duct ahead of the compressor, with a resultant drop in pressure. However, smooth
airflow into the compressor is achieved.

Subsonic Inlet Ducts

The inlet duct, such as those found on business and commercial jet aircraft, is of fixed
geometry and has a divergent shape. A diverging duct progressively increases in diameter
from front to back. This duct is sometimes referred to as an inlet diffuser because of its
effect on pressure. Air enters the aerodynamically contoured inlet at ambient pressure
and starts to diffuse, arriving at the compressor at a slightly increased static pressure.
Usually, the air is allowed to diffuse (increase in static pressure) in the front portion of
the duct and to progress at a fairly constant pressure past the engine inlet fairing, also
called inlet centre body, to the compressor. The engine, in this manner, receives its air
with minimal turbulence and at a more uniform pressure.

Inlet pressure increases add significantly to the mass airflow as the aircraft reaches its
desired cruising speed. It is here that the compressor reaches its aerodynamic design
point and produces its optimum compression and best fuel economy.

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At this point the flight inlet, compressor, combustor, turbine, and tailpipe are designed
to be in match with each other. If any one section does not match the others, for
whatever reason, damage, contamination, or ambient conditions, engine performance will
be affected.
The turbofan inlet is similar in design to the turbojet except that it discharges only a
portion of its air into the engine, with the remainder passing into the fan.

Ram Pressure Recovery

When the aircraft engine is operated on the ground, there is a negative pressure in the
inlet because of the high velocity of the mass airflow being drawn into the inlet by the
As the aircraft begins to move forward, air is rammed into the inlet and ram recovery
takes place. The resultant increase in inlet pressure cancels the drop in pressure in the
inlet and conditions return to ambient, as shown in the figure.
Ram recovery normally begins to occur at speeds above Mach 0.1 (160 MPH (260 knots)
in most aircraft. As aircraft speed continues to increase, ram compression increases.
The engine can use this effect to increase the compression ratio and thus create more
thrust with less fuel usage.

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Supersonic Inlets

A convergent-divergent inlet duct (fixed or variable) is required on all supersonic aircraft.

A supersonic transport, for example, is configured with an inlet that slows the airflow to
subsonic speed at the face of the engine, regardless of aircraft speed. Subsonic airflow
into the compressor is required if the rotating aerofoils are to remain free of shock wave
accumulation, which would be detrimental to the compression process.
In order to vary the geometry, or shape, of the inlet a movable restrictor is often
employed to form a convergent-divergent (C-D) shape of variable proportion. The C-D
shaped duct becomes necessary in reducing supersonic airflow to subsonic speeds. At
this point, it is important to remember that at subsonic flow rates, air flowing in a duct
acts as an incompressible liquid, but at supersonic flow rates air is compressed to the
point of creating the familiar shock wave phenomenon.

The supersonic diffuser type of inlet provides a means of creating both a shock wave
formation to reduce air velocity and a variable convergent- divergent shape to meet the
various flight conditions from take-off to cruise. Air velocity will drop to approximately
Mach 0.8 in back of the final shock wave and then to Mach 0.5 by diffusion.

The figure below illustrates a movable wedge which provides a similar function of
convergence, divergence, and shock wave formation. It also has a spill valve to dump
unwanted ram air overboard at high speed. Many high performance aircraft have an
excess of mass flow at cruising speeds.
The Concord inlets, shown below, provide a good illustration of how complicated an inlet
may have to be to take full advantage of the energy recovery that is possible. At the speed
of sound, half the pressure needed by the engine for combustion may be provided by ram
effect and the other half by compression through the engine.
At twice the speed of sound, pressure ratios in the vicinity of 30:1 are possible, and at
three times the speed of sound, this may rise to 50:1.

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As aircraft speed increases, the compression provided by the engine becomes relatively
minor and there is no need for complicated anti-surge devices, (devices to stop pressure
fluctuations in the compressor that can lead to damage and engine failure).
The modest pressure rise over each of the compressor stages is such that control of fuel
flow alone provides sufficient safe guard against surge.
Note: in the figure how the wedge has been lowered during supersonic flight to force a
controlled sonic shock wave at the Inlet, this slows air velocity to subsonic. The
divergent area further reduces air velocity, and the open dump valve permits the escape
of excessive pressure.
In subsonic flight the wedge is fully retracted for maximum nozzle area and the dump
valve reversed to act as an air scoop.

Another method used to vary the geometry of an inlet duct utilizes a movable spike, or
plug, which is positioned as necessary to alter the shape of the inlet as aircraft speed
changes. The shape of the spike and surrounding inlet duct combine to form a movable
C-D inlet. During transonic flight (Mach .75 to 1.2), the movable spike is extended
forward to produce a normal shock wave, or bow wave, at the inlet. As airspeed
increases, the spike is repositioned to shift the C-D duct for optimum inlet shape at the
new airspeed. As airspeed increases to supersonic, the bow wave changes to multiple
oblique shock waves, extending from the tip of the spike, and a normal shock wave
develops at the lip of the inlet.

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Bellmouth Inlets

Bellmouth compressor inlets, shown below, are convergent in shape and are commonly
found on helicopters and turbo propeller aircraft. They present a mouth considerably
wider in circumference than the engine compressor inlet, and smoothly converge,
funnelling air down to compressor inlet circumference. You may have seen similar
fittings on car or motorcycle carburettors.
Bellmouths eliminate the necking down effect of an air stream passing through a plain
orifice, and allows the engine to draw all the air it can use. They do however, contribute
a large drag factor.

As the duct losses are very small, bellmouth ducts are often used during ground testing
and calibration, fitted with mesh screens (depicted below) to protect technicians from
ingestion hazards while making trimming adjustments on running engines, screens also
provide FOD protection. Screens have been tried on aircraft during flight however fatigue
and maintenance trouble created as many problems as the FOD they prevented. They
may still be seen however, on some helicopters.

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Inlet Screens

The use of compressor inlet screens is usually limited to rotorcraft, turboprops, and
ground turbine installations. This may appear peculiar to the casual observer who
realizes the appetite of all gas turbines for debris such as nuts, bolts, stones, etc.
Screens have been tried in high subsonic flight engines in the past, but icing and screen
fatigue failure caused so many maintenance problems that the use of inlet screens has
for the most part been avoided.
When aircraft are fitted with inlet screens for protection against foreign object ingestion,
they may be located internally or externally at either the inlet duct or compressor inlet.

One type of separator used on some turboprop aircraft incorporates a movable vane
which extends into the inlet airstream. Once extended, the vane creates a prominent
venturi and a sudden turn in the engine inlet. Combustion air can follow the sharp curve
but sand and ice particles cannot because of their inertia. The movable vane is operated
by the operator through a control handle in the cockpit.
Another type of particle separator uses several individual filter elements that act as a
swirl chamber. With this type of system, as incoming air passes through each element, a
swirling motion is imparted by helical vanes. The swirling motion creates enough
centrifugal force to throw the dirt particles to the outside of the chamber.

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The particles then drop to the bottom of the separator where they are blown overboard by
compressor bleed air through holes on each side of the filter unit. As the foreign particles
are swirled out of the intake air, clean air then passes through the filter into the engine

Divided Inlet

Divided Inlets, as shown in the figure below, are used on single engine aircraft to avoid
using long inlet type ducts. Usually the twin divided inlet ducts merge into the wing
leading edges on each side of the fuselage.

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The airflow may remain divided until it reaches the engine compressor, or merge
smoothly before the engine as shown below.

The disadvantage of the divided type of inlet is that when the aircraft yaws, a loss of ram
pressure occurs on one side of the Inlet as shown in the diagram below causing an
uneven distribution of airflow into the compressor.

Secondary Air Inlet Doors

Some aircraft utilise a system of doors which allow extra air into the inlet duct.
Secondary air inlet doors are designed to react to excess negative pressure within the
inlet. If the pressure within the inlet falls below a predetermined pressure, the suck-in
doors are pushed open by the high external air pressure and allow extra airflow to the

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The tendency for the doors to open is counteracted by spring tension against the door.
Therefore, the pressure that is required to open the door may be altered by adjusting the
tension of the door spring. As with all aircraft maintenance tasks, any adjustments must
be in accordance with the manufacturers directions.


Inlet duct losses can occur if the aircraft or conditions exceed expected flight attitudes
such as very high angles of attack or sideslipping where the smooth inlet airflow into the
inlet duct is disrupted. Sometime these conditions can lead to a compressor stall.
During ground running, cross winds can disrupt the inlet airflow and increase the angle
of attack of the air into the compressor, causing compressor stall. Some aircraft are more
prone than others to this phenomenon which is why it is important to face an aircraft
into the wind before carrying out an engine ground run. B747s are very susceptible to
cross wind induced compressor stall with power settings above idle.

The engine inlet duct must provide a uniform supply of air to the compressor if the
engine is to perform at optimum efficiency. To do this, the duct must create as little
resistance as possible. To aid in the prevention of intake drag or resistance, the duct
should be kept smooth and clean, and any damage in the intake area must be
immediately repaired in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. Curves or
bends must be minimal and carefully blended.

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The design of the intake should be such that it reduces the turbulence to a minimum.
This will ensure that the engine receives its air at a uniform pressure across the face of
the compressor. If a curve is necessary it must be as gentle as possible. The walls of the
duct must have flush rivets or fasteners if fitted. The seal or joint between engine and
duct must be as accurate as possible.
The inlet duct leading edge is susceptible to damage by bird strikes or hail.
Damage to internal acoustic lining may be caused by bird strike, stones and
mishandling, e.g. dropped tools, careless handling of fan blades or failing to use a
protective mat when entering the intake.


Icing of the engine and the leading edges of the intake duct can occur during flight
through clouds containing supercooled water droplets or during ground operation in
freezing fog. Icing conditions however are most prevalent when operating the engine at
high speeds on the ground. Ice can form in the inlet up to 40F ambient temperature in
relatively dry air and up to 45F in visibly moist air, due to the cooling effect of high inlet
airflow velocities.
Protection against ice formation may be required since icing of these regions can
considerably restrict the airflow through the engine, causing a loss in performance and
possible malfunction of the engine. Additionally, damage may result from ice breaking
away and being ingested into the engine or hitting the acoustic material lining the intake
The ambient temperature is well below 5F at all cruise altitudes for a gas turbine
powered aircraft, and ram pressure will not raise inlet temperature sufficiently above
freezing. However, most of the flight time will be above cloud level and anti-icing will not
be required. When required, the usual method of initiating anti-icing is to select one
engine, then watch the engine parameters stabilize, after which the remaining engine(s)
are selected in a similar manner.
On take-off, climb-out, descent, and landing, the pilot will have to carefully assess the
need for anti-icing according to the prevailing weather conditions. To prevent engine
malfunction or damage, the operator will have to make the same assessment when
running the engine on the ground.
Ice chunks, when dislodged, could cause damage to the compressor or fan blades and
the inlet duct itself. (Ice ingestion is a consideration in engine design).

Inlet Anti-ice - Turbofan

Anti-ice air is directed radially inward at the engine inlet case to heat all the surfaces
upon which ice might form. Unlike certain de-ice systems on wing leading edges and
propellers this system does not allow ice to form. If the anti-ice system is inadvertently
used to de-ice the inlet area by being turned on after compressor stalls occur from ice
formation, the impact forces of ice on compressor blades and vanes can severely damage
the engine or even cause the engine to fail completely.

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During flight the anti-icing system is turned on before entering the icing condition. Anti-
icing heat is required when visible moisture is present in the form of clouds or
precipitation and the true air temperature (ambient plus ram effect) in the inlet is
typically between 40F and 5F. Below 5F ambient air is dry, ice is not likely to form,
and anti-ice will be used at the discretion of the pilot.

Inlet Anti-ice - Turboprop

Some smaller turboprop and turboshaft engines use electric heat strip systems classed
as electro-thermal anti-icing systems. They are constructed of electrical resistance wire
embedded in layers of reinforced neoprene materials and located primarily at the lip of
the nacelle flight inlet. Other possible locations are the engine inlet case and the engine
inlet struts.
Like the hot air anti-ice systems, the electro-thermal systems are cycled on and off as
required by ambient conditions. They are designed to operate only when the engine is
running, since operating the strip without air passing over it would tend to overheat the
strip and the part of the engine it is attached to.
One system uses hot engine or reduction gear box oil to anti-ice the engine and inlet.

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Compressor Section ........................................................................................................ 2
Centrifugal Flow Compressors ........................................................................................ 3
Axial Flow Compressors .................................................................................................. 9

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The compressor section houses the compressor rotor and works to supply air in
sufficient quantity to satisfy the needs of the combustor. Compression results when fuel
energy of combustion, and mechanical work of the compressor and turbine, are
converted into potential energy. The compressor is part of the Cold Section of the
Compressors operate on the principle of acceleration of a working fluid followed by
diffusion, to convert the acquired kinetic energy to a pressure rise. The primary purpose
of the compressor is to increase the pressure of the mass of air entering the engine inlet
and discharge it to the diffuser, and then to the combustor section, at the correct
velocity, temperature, and pressure.
Compressor efficiency is based on the principle of maximum compression with the least
temperature rise.
In the compressor, temperature rise is caused by:
The colder the air entering the combustor the greater the temperature rise during
The problems associated with these requirements can be realized if one considers that
some compressors must flow air at a velocity of 120 to 150 metres per second (400 to
500 feet per second) and raise its static pressure perhaps 20 to 30 times in the space of
only a metre or so (a few feet) of engine length.
In early compressors which were less efficient than what we have today, a given amount
of work input produced air at a lower pressure and at a higher temperature. To improve
on laminar air flow over hundreds of small aerofoils at high velocity and pressure,
compressors have been undergoing constant development through the years to achieve
optimum efficiency. Presently, this efficiency is said to be in the 85 to 90% range.
Compressor efficiency is based on the principle of maximum compression with the least
temperature rise. Laminar flow minimizes friction induced heat in the air.
A secondary purpose of the compressor section is to supply engine service bleed air to
cool hot section parts, to pressurize bearing seals, and to supply heated air for inlet anti-
icing and fuel system heat for de-icing. Another secondary purpose is to extract air for
aircraft uses, and this is usually referred to as customer service bleed air. Common uses
for this air include aircraft cabin pressurization, air conditioning systems, pneumatic
starting, and various other incidental functions that require clean pressurized air.
There are two basic types of Compressors:
Centrifugal flow (Figure 1)
Axial flow (Figure 2)
Some engines use both types. - These are referred to as centri-axial flow.

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Figure 1: Two Stage Centrifugal Flow Turboprop

Figure 2: Axial Flow Turbojet


The centrifugal flow compressor is the oldest design and is still in use today. Many
smaller engines, as well as the majority of auxiliary power units (APUs), use this design.
Advantages are:
Light weight
Ease of construction
The centrifugal flow compressor, sometimes referred to as a radial out-flow compressor,
is the oldest design and is still in use today.
A centrifugal flow compressor assembly consists of:
An impeller rotor
A diffuser
A manifold

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The impeller is usually made from aluminium alloy or titanium alloy and can be either
single or dual sided (Figure 3). The diffuser provides a divergent duct in which the air
spreads out, slows down, and increases in static pressure. The compressor manifold
distributes the air in a turbulence free condition to the combustion section. The single
sided impeller benefits from ram effect and less turbulent air entry. It is for this reason
that this type of impeller is well suited to many aircraft installations.
The single stage dual-sided impeller design allows for a narrower overall engine diameter
and high mass airflow. For this reason, it was favoured in many flight engines in the
past. This design does not, however, receive the full benefit from ram effect because the
air has to turn radially inward from a plenum chamber into the centre of the impellers.

Figure 3: Centrifugal Flow Impellers Single Stage (left), Dual-Sided Impellers (right)

Figure 4: Dual-Sided Impeller Centrifugal Flow Turbojet

They provided the same compression ratio and mass air flow with a smaller impeller
diameter. Disadvantage is turbulent side air entry and inefficient ram recovery.

Figure 5: Single-Sided Two Stage, Centrifugal Compressors

They were replaced by single-sided two stage, centrifugal compressors (Figure 5).

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Impellers incorporate inlet guide vanes - called rotating guide vanes or, inducers. They
may be part of, or attached to, the impeller. They induce rotation of the air into the eye of
the impeller.

Figure 6: Impeller Incorporating Rotating Guide Vanes

Inlet guide vanes (inducers or rotating guide vanes) are sometimes formed by inclining
the front sections of the impeller vanes to impart a whirl motion in the direction of
impeller rotation. This is to ease the change of airflow from the axial to the radial
direction. The curved sections may be integral with the radial vanes or formed separately
for easier and more accurate manufacture.
If inlet guide vanes are not utilised, stationary pre-swirl vanes will be situated
immediately prior to compressor entry.

High velocity air from the impeller is slung into divergent ducts within the diffuser. The
purpose of the diffuser is to convert velocity energy into pressure energy (Figure 7).
The diffuser is typically made from either:
Aluminium alloy
Steel alloy

Figure 7: Centrifugal Flow Diffuser

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After exiting the diffuser, the high pressure air enters the manifold (Figure 8). The
purpose of the manifold is to:
Change the airflow direction
Deliver air to the combustion chambers
Turning vanes or, cascade vanes, within the manifold straighten the airflow.
Manufactured using aluminium alloy, magnesium alloy, or steel alloy.

Figure 8: Centrifugal Flow Manifold

The compressor manifold distributes the air in a smooth flow to the combustion section.
The manifold has one outlet port for each combustion chamber so that the air is evenly
divided. A compressor outlet elbow is bolted to each of the outlet ports. The elbows act as
air ducts and are often referred to as outlet ducts, outlet elbows, or combustion chamber
inlet ducts. These outlet ducts change the radial direction of the airflow to an axial
direction. To help the elbows perform this function in an efficient manner, turning vanes
or cascade vanes are sometimes fitted inside the elbows. These vanes reduce air pressure
losses by presenting a smooth, turning surface.

Centrifugal Flow Compressor Operation

Tip speed of centrifugal impellers reaches approximately Mach 1.3. Radial airflow,
however, remains subsonic. The pressure within the compressor casing is capable of
preventing airflow separation at low supersonic rotor speeds and causing a high energy
transfer to the airflow.
Air enters the eye, or the centre, of the fast rotating impeller and is accelerated to a high
velocity as it is slung to the outer edge by centrifugal force. The high velocity air then
flows into the diffuser which fits closely around the periphery of the impeller. There it
flows through divergent ducts where some of the velocity energy is changed into pressure
energy. The air, which has slowed down and has had its pressure increased, flows into
the manifold through a series of turning vanes. From the manifold, the air flows into the
combustion section of the engine.

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The design of the centrifugal compressor is such that the mass airflow and pressure rise
are governed by the rotational speed of the compressor impeller.
The centrifugal compressor is commonly used in conjunction with the axial flow
compressor but seems only to meet the needs of smaller flight engines. All larger engines
today are of the axial flow type.

Figure 9: Mass Airflow and Pressure Rise are Governed by Impeller Rotational Speed
Compression ratios are about the same for single sided and dual sided single stage
impellers. Ratios as high as 10:1 can be obtained from a single stage centrifugal
compressor. Compression can be boosted to about 15:1 by a second compressor stage.
More than two stages of single entry is impractical because of:
Airflow energy loss when making the turns from one impeller to the next
High weight per stage
High drive power extraction
The main consideration in the many design features one sees, such as types of impeller,
shapes of inlets, shapes of outer casings, etc., usually lies in the fact that one design fits
the needs of a particular aircraft better than another design. The most commonly seen
centrifugal compressor is the single sided type in either one or two stages. It is most
often used in small engines, to include turboshaft, turboprop, and turbofan. It is not
found in large gas turbine engines because it would impose a serious limitation on mass
A resurgence of the use of centrifugal compressors can be seen. Recent developments
have produced compression ratios as high as 10:1 from a single centrifugal compressor.
Formerly, only axial flow compressors could attain this level of compression. The
centrifugal compressor is shorter in length than an axial compressor and that is its main

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Figure 10: Dual Spool Centrifugal Flow, Free Turbine Turboprop

Centrifugal Compressor Multi Spool

Some centrifugal flow turboprop engines have two separate rotating assemblies as their
gas generator unit (Figure 10):
NL compressor and turbine
NH compressor and turbine
Referred to as dual spool or two spool engines.
At one time, the word spool was only used when describing an axial flow compressor, but
many manufacturers today also use the word spool when describing a centrifugal flow
compressor. The Pratt and Whitney 100 series turboprop (Figure above), for example, has
two separately rotating centrifugal compressors plus a power turbine and is described as
a three shaft, two spool engine.
NL compressor and turbine = low pressure of low speed. NH compressor and turbine =
high pressure of high speed. The engine above has a free power turbine to drive the
propeller NP.
The advantages of the centrifugal compressor are:
High pressure rise per stage: Up to 10:1 and 15:1 in a dual stage
Good efficiency (compression) from idle to full power
Simplicity of manufacture and low cost, compared to the axial compressor
Low weight overall
Low starting power requirements
A Relatively high FOD tolerance
Disadvantages are:
Large frontal area for a given mass airflow
More than two stages is not practical

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In an axial compressor, airflow and compression occur parallel to the rotational axis.
There are three types of axial flow compressors: single spool, dual spool, and triple spool.

Figure 11: Single Spool Axial Flow Turbojet

Single Spool
The single spool was common in the past for small and large engines, but today it is
typically found only in small turboshaft and turboprop engines. The dual spool is the
most common design currently being used in large turbofan and turboprop engines. The
triple spool, a more recent technological development, is used on some large and medium
size turbofan engines.
In a basic axial flow compressor, the compressor and turbine are connected by a single shaft and
rotate as a single unit
Figure 11).
Since there is only one compressor unit, the compressor is commonly referred to as a single spool
compressor. While single spool compressors are relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture,
they do have a few drawbacks. For example, in a long axial compressor the rear stages operate at
a fraction of their capacity, while the forward stages are typically overloaded. Furthermore, the
large mass of a single spool compressor does not respond quickly to abrupt control input changes.

Dual Spool
The rotors of a dual spool engine are not mechanically connected together. They have two
Low Pressure (LP or, N1) system
High Pressure (HP or, N2) Gas generator system

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Figure 12: Dual Spool Axial Flow Turbofan
LP compressor boosts compression into the HP compressor. As the HP rotor speed
increases, the LP compressor speed increases, but not in direct proportion. The fan is
part of the LP system and supplies the first stage of compression. Dual and triple spool
axial compressors were developed for the operational flexibility they provide to the engine
in the form of high compression ratios, quick acceleration, and better control of stall
characteristics. This operational flexibility is not possible with single spool, axial flow
engines. For any given power lever setting, the high pressure compressor speed is held
fairly constant by a fuel control governor.
Assuming that a fairly constant energy level is available at the turbine, the low pressure
compressor(s) will speed up and slow down with changes in aircraft inlet conditions
resulting from atmospheric changes or flight manoeuvres. The varying low pressure
compressor output, therefore, provides the high pressure compressor with the best inlet
condition within the limits of its design. That is, the N1 compressor tries to supply the
N2 compressor with a fairly constant air pressure for a particular power setting.
To better understand when the low pressure compressor speeds up and slows down,
consider that when ambient temperature increases, the molecular motion of the air
increases. In order to continue to collect air molecules at the same rate as temperature
increases, the compressor would have to change either its blade angles, which it cannot
do, or its speed, which it in fact does.
Additionally, the speed of the low pressure compressor increases with altitude as the
atmosphere rarefies from barometric pressure density loss. Conversely, as the aircraft
descends, the speed of the low pressure compressor will decrease as the air becomes
more dense and easier to compress. As N2 rotor speed increases, N1 increases, but not
in direct proportion. While the rotors are not mechanically connected together, as has
been previously stated, they are linked by an aerodynamic couple.
In high bypass engines the N1 compressor is often referred to as the booster stage
because it supercharges the N2.

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Triple Spool

Figure 13: Triple Spool Axial Flow Turbofan

The rotors of a triple spool engine are not mechanically connected together.
They have two primary units (Figure 13):
Gas generator
The fan is the LP system, driven by its own power turbine. The fan supplies the first
stage of compression into the gas generator. The gas generator contains intermediate-
pressure (IP) compressor and the High Pressure (HP) compressor. As HP (N3) rotor speed
increases, IP (N2) and LP (N1) increase, but not in direct proportion.
Note the fan is a separate assembly with its own power turbine and operationally is
similar to a free turbine turboprop. The fan is still the first stage of compression.
The triple spool, a more recent technological development, is used on some large and
medium size turbofan engines. Some engines, notably the new generation of large Rolls-
Royce turbofans, have three spools. The fan, which is referred to as the low pressure (LP)
compressor, the intermediate pressure (IP) compressor, and the high pressure (HP)
compressor are all driven by separate turbines. The fan, which turns at a relatively low
speed, requires a great deal of torque; therefore its turbine has three stages.

Compressor Stages
All axial flow compressors have two main components:
A rotor followed by a stator, make up a compressor stage (Figure 14). Several stages
make up the complete compressor. The compression ratio per stage can increase from
1:1.1 to as much as 1:1.5 (10% to 50%), but depends on the engine type. An axial flow
compressor will normally have from 10 to 18 stages of compression, increasing the
pressure many times more than the intake pressure.

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Figure 14: An Axial Flow Compressor Stage Consists of a Rotor followed by a Stator
Each rotor consists of a set of blades fitted into a disk (Figure 15), which move air
rearward through each stage. The speed of the rotor determines the velocity present in
each stage and, with increased velocity; kinetic energy is transferred to the air. The
stator vanes are placed to the rear of the rotor blades to receive the air at high velocity
and act as a diffuser, changing kinetic energy to potential energy (pressure). The stators
also have a secondary function of directing airflow to the next stage of compression at
the desired angle.

Figure 15: Compressor Blade Fitment

Each rotor consists of blades and a disk or, drum. Blades are aerofoils fitted into the disc
and move air rearward through each stage.
Rotor rpm determines airflow axial velocity in through each stage.
Blades are normally made from stainless steel alloy or titanium alloy. Discs are made
from nickel steel alloy or titanium alloy.

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Figure 16: One Piece Blade and Rotor Units
Some compressor rotors have one piece blade and rotor units (Figure 16). The blades are
forged as part of the disc. These one piece units, called Blisks, are commonly used in
small turboprop and turboshaft engines. A blisk is a one piece blade and disk unit rather
than an assembly of many separate blades fitted to the rim of a separate disk. Forged
blisk technology is being applied to many smaller fans, compressor rotors and stators,
and to some turbine components. The engine used in the current F/A-18 Hornet
aeroplane has a traditional 3 stage fan, with separate disks and blades. A new design for
its engine, called the EDE (Enhanced Durability Engine), has a two stage fan on the
drawing board utilizing blisk technology.

Compressor Blades

Compressor blades are constructed with a varying angle of incidence, or twist, similar to
that of a propeller. This design feature compensates for the effect on airflow caused by
differences in airflow over the different stations of each blade from the base to the tip.
The blades also reduce in size from the first stage to the last to accommodate the
converging or tapering shape of the compressor housing in which they are rotating. The
need for a converging duct within the compressor is explained in a subsequent
paragraph entitled Compressor Taper Design.
There are several reasons for the shapes of compressor aerofoils. The length, chord,
thickness, and aspect ratio (ratio of length to width) are calculated to suit the
performance factors required for a particular engine and aircraft combination.

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Some design aspects common to both compressor and fan blades are:
A twist is present (called a stagger angle) from base to tip to maintain exit velocity of
airflow at the same value along the blade length (Figure 17)
The base area has more camber than the tip area, again to increase axial velocity of
airflow and maintain base to tip exit velocity
The trailing edge is knife-edge thin to minimize turbulence and provide the best
aerodynamic efficiency

Figure 17: Compressor Blade Twist

The base or root of a rotor blade often fits loosely into the rotor disk. This loose fit allows
for easy assembly and vibration damping. As the compressor rotor rotates, centrifugal
force keeps the blades in their correct position, and the airstream over each blade
provides a shock absorbing or cushioning effect. Rotor blade roots are designed with a
number of different shapes such as a bulb, fir tree, or dovetail. To prevent a blade from
backing out of its slot, most methods of blade attachment use a pin and a lock tab or
locker to secure the coupling.
The tip of a compressor blade is most important. Some blade tips are squared off, and
others have the tip thickness reduced. These tips with reduced thickness are called
profile tips. The thinner tips have a high natural resonant frequency and are therefore
not subject to the vibrations that would affect a blade with a squared tip. The profile tip
also provides a more aerodynamically efficient shape for the high velocity air moved by
the blade. These profile tips often touch the housing and make a squealing noise as the
engine is shut down. For this reason profile tips are often called squealer tips.
Air leakage between profile tips and the compressor housing cause compressor efficiency
loss. Loss is prevented by zero running clearance. Zero clearance is obtained by contact
and wear between either:
The profile tip and abradable compressor casing
Compressor casing and abradable blade tips
Contact is greatest during run-in

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Dale Crane Turbine Engines THEORY AND CONSTRUCTION, Chapter 10 says:
Air leakage around the tips of compressor blades causes a loss of compressor efficiency.
There are several methods used to prevent this loss.
In some engines, the compressor blades have their profile tips so close to the case that they
actually touch an abradable strip in the compressor housing. When the tip touches the
strip, it abrades part of it away and provides a fit that minimizes the air losses. Other
blades have abradable tips that are designed to wear away when they touch the housing,
which provides an extremely close fit.
Jeppesen Powerplants chap 3-16 says:
On some newer engines the profile tipped blades are designed with tight running
clearances and rotate within a shroud strip of abradable material. Since rotor blades are
usually made of a stainless steel alloy, the shroud strip wears away with no loss of blade
length if contact loading takes place. Sometimes after engine shutdown, a high pitched
noise can be heard as the rotor coasts to a stop. The noise is caused by contact between
the blade tip and shroud strip and is the reason why profile tip blades are sometimes
referred to as squealer tips.
Note: Some large turbofan engines have a critical cool down period between shutdown and
restart (for example, early P and W JT9). Severe blade rub and compressor blade damage
can occur if a restart is attempted during this critical period. Blade rub is caused by the
compressor casing cooling quicker than the compressor rotor, and shrinking onto the
compressor blades.
Another blade design that increases compressor efficiency utilizes a localized increase in
blade camber, both at the blade tip and blade root. The purpose of this design is to
compensate for the friction caused by the boundary layer of air near the compressor case.
The increased blade camber helps overcome the friction and makes the blade extremities
appear as if they were bent over at each corner, hence the term end bend.

Figure 18: Shrouded Compressor Stator Vanes

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Stator Vanes

Stator vanes are the stationary blades located between each row of rotating blades in an
axial flow compressor. As discussed earlier, the stator vanes act as diffusers for the air
coming off the rotor, decreasing its velocity and raising its pressure. In addition, the
stators help prevent swirling, and direct the flow of air coming off each stage to the next
stage at the appropriate angle. Like rotor blades, stator vanes have an aerofoil shape. In
addition, the angle of attack of stator vanes can be fixed or variable. Stator vanes are
normally constructed out of stainless steel alloy, nickel steel alloy, steel, or nickel
because these metals have high fatigue strength. However, titanium may also be used for
stator vanes in the low pressure and temperature stages.
Stator vanes may be secured directly to the compressor casing or to a stator vane
retaining ring, which is secured to the compressor case. Most stator vanes are attached
in rows with a dovetail arrangement and project radially toward the rotor axis. Stator
vanes are often shrouded at their tips to minimize vibration tendencies (Figure 18).
The set of stator vanes immediately in front of the first stage rotor blades are called inlet
guide vanes. These vanes direct the airflow into the first stage rotor blades at the best
angle while imparting a swirling motion in the direction of engine rotation. This action
improves the aerodynamics of the compressor by reducing the drag on the first stage
rotor blades. Some axial compressors with high compressor pressure ratios utilize
variable inlet guide vanes plus several stages of variable stator vanes. These variable inlet
guide vanes and stators automatically reposition themselves to maintain proper airflow
through the engine under varying operating conditions.

Inlet Guide Vanes

Air entering the first stage of the compressor is turned by the Inlet Guide Vanes (IGVs).
Inlet guide vanes are similar to the stator vanes. They direct the air at the correct angle
to be picked up by the compressor blades. IGVs have a minimum effect on the velocity or
pressure. IGVs are mostly fixed but may be variable on some engines. Air entering the
first stage of the compressor is turned by the inlet guide vanes so that it flows in the
correct direction to be picked up by the rotor blades.
Inlet guide vanes are similar to the stator vanes, but they are designed to have a
minimum effect on the velocity or pressure of the incoming air.

Axial Flow Compressor Operation

Unlike a centrifugal compressor, which is capable of compressor pressure ratios of 15:1,
a single stage in an axial flow compressor is capable of producing a compressor pressure
ratio of only 1.25:1. Therefore, high compressor pressure ratios are obtained by adding
more compressor stages.
The task of an axial compressor is to raise air pressure rather than air velocity (Figure
19). Therefore, each compressor stage raises the pressure of the incoming air while the
airs velocity is alternately increased then decreased as airflow proceeds through the
The rotor blades slightly accelerate the airflow, the stator vanes then diffuse the air,
slowing it and increasing the pressure. The overall result is increased air pressure and
relatively constant air velocity from compressor inlet to outlet. As air passes from the
front of an axial flow compressor to the rear, the space between the rotor shaft and the
stator casing gradually decreases.

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This shape is necessary to maintain a constant air velocity as air density increases with
each stage of compression. To accomplish the convergent shape, each stage of blades
and vanes is smaller than the one preceding it

Figure 19: Airflow through an Axial Compressor

Compressor Pressure Ratio

Compressor Pressure Ratio of a gas turbine engine is an extremely important design
consideration. In general, the higher the compression, the more remarkable the
advantage to the operating cycle in terms of greater thermal efficiency.
The compressor designer strives to achieve the highest possible compressor pressure
ratio (Cr) and the lowest mass airflow (Ms) and yet obtain the desired engine power
output. This will produce an engine with the least flow area, smallest physical size, and
lowest weight for a given power output. The compressor designer has to make some
trade-offs, however, when considering the optimum Cr and Ms relationship.
In actual practice, the greater the pressure ratio for a given mass airflow and thrust, the
lower the engine fuel consumption. If both pressure ratio and mass increase, thrust will
increase. But engine weight also goes up as strength of materials is increased.
Very high pressure ratios mean considerable expense will be incurred when
manufacturing with exotic construction materials required to produce the desired
compressor strength. Again, a higher pressure ratio benefits the engine most when
turbine inlet temperature is also high. This prompts an additional expense in the use of
higher heat strength super alloys in the engine combustor and turbine areas.
In the modern compressor for business jets, a moderate compression pressure ratio and
an implied lower manufacturing cost can be seen. Very high compression engines, which
are very expensive, will be found in airliners, whose success depends on the lowest
operating expense over many thousands of operating hours.
A gas turbine engine in a business jet has a compression ratio rating in the order of 6:1
in older models, and up to 24:1 in newer designs. By comparison, the engine of a modem
wide body jumbo jet will compress the air up to 40 atmospheres, or 40:1.

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The greater the pressure ratio for a given mass airflow and thrust, the lower the engine
fuel consumption. If both pressure ratio and mass airflow is increased, thrust will
increase. A stronger and heavier engine is needed. Compressor design is a compromise
Pressure ratio
Mass airflow
Engine weight
Construction costs

Figure 20: Compressor Pressure Ratio Graph

Compressor pressure ratio is determined by measuring the total pressure, after the last
stage of compression, and dividing it by compressor inlet total pressure. Assuming no
velocity change between the two points, static pressures could be used to calculate
compressor pressure ratio (Figure 20).
If ambient pressure is 14.7 pounds absolute per square inch (psia) and the inlet has 100
percent duct recovery, compressor inlet pressure total (Pt) will also be 14.7 psia.
Considering an inlet air velocity of 500 feet per second at sea level rated power, static
pressure will be 12.63 psia and ram pressure will be 2.07 psi, giving a total pressure of
14.7 psi.
Observe that when compressor inlet total pressure is 14.7 psia and compressor
discharge total pressure is 97.0 psia, the compressor pressure ratio is expressed as 97
divided by 14.7, or 6.6 to 1, as indicated in the figure above. In this discussion about
compressor pressure ratio the expression compression ratio is not used. This is
because compression ratio, by definition, is a ratio of air density rather than air
The compressor pressure ratio of a compressor is also described in terms of pressure
ratio per stage. For example, a business jet may have a small turbofan with an overall
compression ratio of 6.6:1 over eight stages.
If we calculate the 8th root of 6.6 we would find it to be 1.266 or a 1.266:1 pressure ratio
per stage. The fan, if it is a single stage, would probably have a compression ratio of
between 1.5 and 1.7 to 1.

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Towards the hub where the fan blades become the first stage compressor blades,
compression would be 1.266:1. The twist in the blades accomplishes this compression
ratio change.

6.6 = 1.266
A turbofan engine, also called a bypass engine, has a set of lengthened blades in the first
stage or stages of the low pressure compressor. Most of the air that flows through the fan
section of the engine bypasses, or flows around the outside of the core engine. Depending
upon the bypass ratio, the amount of thrust produced by the fan can be as high as 85%
of the total thrust. The fan supplies the first stage of compression. This boosts the airflow
into the LP system of a dual spool turbofan or into the IP system of a triple spool
Fan compression ratios for single low bypass fans are approximately 1.5:1 and for high
bypass fans as high as 1.7:1.

Figure 21: Rear Blades of the Compressor are Shorter than those at the Front

Compressor Taper

As pressure builds in the rear stages of the compressor, velocity tends to drop, in
accordance with Bernoullis Principle. This is not desirable because, in order to create
thrust, the gas turbine engine operates on a principle of velocity change in airflow.
Velocity rises and falls through the successive stages of the compressor, but maintains
approximately the same inlet and outlet velocity. Even though the pressure is rising
dramatically, the velocity is held relatively constant.
In order to stabilize the velocity, the shape of the compressor gas path converges,
reducing to approximately 25% of the inlet flow area. This tapered shape provides the
proper amount of space for the compressed air to occupy (Figure 21).
If the compressor blades were all the same length, and the air flowed through a constant
area duct, its velocity would decrease as its pressure increased.
To keep the air velocity relatively constant as its pressure is increased, the rear blades of
the compressor are shorter than those at the front, and the passage through which the
air flows become smaller as the pressure increases.

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There are two ways of decreasing the size of the airflow passage: by holding the outside of
the compressor housing constant and increasing the diameter of the drum or disks on
which each stage of rotor blades are mounted, or by keeping the disks or drum the same
diameter and decreasing the outside diameter of the compressor case. Both methods are

Cascade Effect

So, why does the airflow through an axial flow compressor flow from a low pressure to a
higher pressure?

Figure 22 Compressor cascade effect

The axial compressor is described as containing sets of aerofoils in cascade. This means
that the aerofoils are arranged in series, which influences air under low pressure in the
front stages to flow into an area of higher pressure (Figure 22).
The ability of air to flow rearward against an ever increasing pressure is similar to forcing
water to flow uphill.
Pressure must be constantly applied to achieve the correct flow. The idea of the
constantly applied pressure is explained in the following narrative and drawings above.
The figure above shows that if a slight positive angle of attack exists, a relatively high
pressure is present on the bottom of the aerofoil in relation to the pressure on the top of
the aerofoil. These high and low pressure zones apply to both the rotating aerofoils (rotor
blades) and to the stationary aerofoils (stator vanes).
These high and low pressure zones allow the air in one set of aerofoils to come under the
influence of the next set. This is the cascade effect.
The figure depicts high pressure zone air of the first stage blade being pumped into the
low pressure zone of its stator.
Notice that the stators leading edge faces in the opposite direction of the rotor blades
leading edge, thereby causing the pumping action to occur. The high pressure zone of the
first stage stator vane then pumps into the low pressure zone of the second stage rotor
blade. This cascade progress continues through to the last stage of compression.
When observing the figure, it might appear that the rotor blade high and low pressure
zones might cancel each other out as they blend together; but the overall effect of the
divergent shape of the flow path results in a net decrease in velocity and an increase in
static pressure.

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Figure 23: Axial Flow Diffuser Case

Compressor Diffuser Section

The engine section between the compressor and combustor sections is known as the
compressor diffuser because it provides additional space in which air coming from the
compressor spreads out. It is a diverging duct and is usually a separate section that is
bolted to the compressor case (Figure 23).
The diffuser case also contains the HP compressor discharge bleed ports and fuel
The diffuser is known as the point of highest pressure in the gas turbine engine. The
high wall of pressure it provides, in effect, gives the combustion products something to
push against.
The point of highest pressure idea needs some interpretation in reference to pressure
total (Pt) or pressure static (Ps). At the diffuser inlet, for example, if total pressure (Pt) is
200 pounds per square inch absolute, at the exit of the diffuser, Pt is also 200 pounds
per square inch absolute. The diffusing action that takes place as air moves from the
inlet to the exit of the diffuser section creates an increase in static pressure (Ps) at the
expense of velocity.
Static pressure (measured as either absolute pressure or gauge pressure) will be higher
at the diffuser exit, and this is the point of highest static pressure (Ps) in the engine.
If the now familiar (Pt/Ps) formula were used to calculate Ps at the diffuser inlet when
airflow Mach = 0.5 (an average value engine to engine), Ps would be approximately 169
pounds per square inch absolute. The remaining 31 psig would be in the form of ram
pressure. At the diffuser outlet, if airflow drops to Mach = 0.35 (another average value),
Ps would be approximately 184 pounds per square inch absolute, leaving 16 pounds per
square inch absolute as ram pressure. What is evident here is that the total pressure (Pt)
of 200 does not change if mass flow does not change and that only static and ram
pressure values change.

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Low velocities are desirable at the combustor entrance, but if the Mach number is
allowed to drop too low in a divergent duct, there enters a serious aerodynamic problem
as airflow starts to separate from the walls creating turbulence. Therefore, Mach 0.35 is
presently the mean low limit.

Compressor Stall
Angle of attack (AOA) of the compressor blade is the result of:
Inlet air velocity
Compressor rpm
The two forces combine to form a vector, the angle of attack of the aerofoil. Compressor
stall is an imbalance between the two vector quantities. A compressor stall is a condition
all gas turbine engines experience from time to time.
One of the characteristics of a gas turbine engine is its tendency to stall under certain
operating conditions. Compressor stall occurs in many different types of gas turbine
engines. Depending on the operating conditions, stall or surge can occur in various
forms and intensities. Compressor stall or surge, in its most violent stage, can cause
engine damage and a loud audible noise. Surge is the airflow velocity in the rear of the
compressor slowing down to the point of restricting airflow into the compressor.
Compressor stalls can be initiated at both the entrance to and the exit from the
compressor. Careful inlet designs minimize the chance of an intake induced stall.

Figure 24: Compressor Blade Angle of Attack

As Figure 24 above shows, the angle of attack of the compressor blade is the result of
inlet air velocity and the compressor RPM effect on airflow.
The two forces combine to form a vector, which is the actual angle of attack of air
approaching the aerofoil. A compressor stall, a condition all gas turbine engines
experience from time to time, can be described as an imbalance between the two vector
quantities, inlet velocity and compressor RPM.
Compressor stalls cause air flowing through the compressor to slow down, to stagnate
(stop), or to reverse direction, depending on the stall intensity.
Until the fuel flow is correct for the engine condition, the cycle will repeat itself many
times over. A disruption of airflow will cause the air velocity over the blades to slow,
which will cause the blades to stall because of a high angle of attack.
Stall conditions can usually be heard, and range in audibility from an air pulsating, or
fluttering type sound in their mildest form, to a louder pulsating type sound, to a sound
of violent backfire or explosion.

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Quite often the cockpit gauges do not show a mild stall condition, called a transient stall.
These stalls are not usually harmful to the engine and often correct themselves after one
or two pulsations. Severe stalls, called hung stalls, can significantly decay engine
performance, cause loss of power, or can even damage or cause the engine to fail.
Another way to describe stall phenomena in a compressor is by way of a stall or surge
margin curve. A stall is defined as a localized condition whereas a surge occurs across
the whole compressor. Every compressor has a best operating point for a particular
compression ratio (Cr), compressor speed (RPM), and mass airflow (Wa), which is
commonly called the design point.
The surge-stall line is a series of connecting points on the graph that are plotted during
the development stage of the compressor.
This line represents the maximum Cr and Wa that the compressor is capable of
maintaining at a particular RPM. When the three factors are proportionately matched,
the engine operates comfortably on the normal operating line.
This line is well below the surge-stall line to give a margin for changes which occur in the
atmosphere, the aircrafts flight attitude, and the engines fuel schedule during
acceleration and deceleration.
If for any reason Cr increases or decreases, the design point will shift up or down and
out of sync with RPM.
If Ms increases or decreases, the design point will move to the right or left and out of
symmetry with RPM and Wa.
The normal operating line indicates that the engine will perform without surge or stall at
the various compressor pressure ratios, engine speeds, and mass airflow along the length
of the line, the line falling well below the surge-stall zone.
The surge stall margin is the operating zone between the normal operating line and the
surge stall line (Figure 25).
The margin decreases as compressor efficiency deteriorates.
The design point is the point on this line at which the engine will operate during most of
its service life, that is, cruise speed, at altitude.

Figure 25: Surge/Stall Margin

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Stall conditions are generally cyclic and result from many causes, the most common of
which are as follows:
Turbulent or disrupted airflow to the engine inlet (reduces the velocity vector)
Excessive fuel flow caused by abrupt engine acceleration (reduces the velocity
vector by increasing combustor back pressure)
Excessively lean fuel mixture caused by abrupt engine deceleration, (increases the
velocity vector by reducing combustor back pressure)
Contaminated or damaged compressor(s) (increases the velocity vector by reducing
Damaged turbine components, causing loss of power to the compressor and low
compression (increases the velocity vector by reducing compression)
Engine operation above or below designed RPM (increases or decreases the RPM
Note: Flames do not often occur during either a surge or stall flame in the inlet would
most likely happen with a complete reversal of flow.
Exhaust flames may occur when a stall or surge causes a momentary stagnation of mass
airflow followed by an over rich condition in the combustor.
The compressor blades and vanes are aerofoils. If the angle of attack becomes too great
or if the velocity of air flowing over an aerofoil is too low, airflow separation occurs and
the aerofoil stalls. This results in a loss in compressor efficiency, compressor pressure
ratio (CPR), and a reduction in airflow velocity. CPR is the pressure differential between
the inlet pressure and the compressor outlet pressure. Recall that in order to produce
engines with superior fuel consumption it is necessary to operate with as high a
compressor pressure ratio as possible.

Compressor Bleed System

The ability of the compressor to pump air is a function of RPM. At low RPM, the
compressor does not have the same ability to pump air as it does at higher RPM. In order
to keep the angle of attack and air velocity within desired limits, it is necessary to unload
the compressor in some manner during starting and low power operation.
The compressor has less restriction to the flow of air through the use of a compressor
surge/stall bleed air valve system. This air is not used for aircraft systems and is
dumped directly back to the atmosphere.
The pressure within the compressor must be relieved or, unloaded. An anti-stall system
unloads the compressor by dumping the unwanted air or restricting the inlet airflow
during starting, low power operation, and when a pending stall is sensed during any
operating condition.
The compressor anti-stall bleed system, as with the variable vane system, is installed on
some gas turbine engines to minimize compressor acceleration and deceleration stall
problems at low and intermediate speeds. Rather than exclude unwanted air, as is the
case with the variable vane system, the compressor bleed system automatically dumps
away unwanted air.

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Except at cruise rpm and higher, some compressors cannot handle the amount of air
passing through the engine without an air bleed system. For example, in a compressor
with a 30:1 compressor pressure ratio, during the start cycle a compression ratio of only
approximately 2:1 exists. In this condition, the flow outlet area of the compressor would
have to be about 80% of its inlet area in order to move the air without a drastic slowdown
in its velocity. The average outlet area being only about 25% of the inlet area necessitates
the use of a compressor bleed air system.
Another way of describing this situation is that in some engines at low and intermediate
speeds, a relationship between compressor rotor RPM and airflow cannot be maintained
to give the rotating aerofoils the correct effective angle of attack to the oncoming
airstream unless some of the compressor air is being bled away.
At high rotational speeds, the compressor is designed to handle maximum airflow
without aerodynamic disturbance so the bleed system is scheduled closed.

Comparison between Variable Vane System and Compressor Bleed System

At the low end of the compressor speed range the variable vane system allows less air to
enter. This in turn keeps compression low and prevents piling up of air molecules in the
rear stages which tend to block airflow.
At the low end of the compressor speed range the compressor bleed system bleeds away
the excess of air molecules in the rear stages, which in effect accomplishes the very same
results. On larger engines, one or more bleed valves fitted to the compressors outer case
are used to dump unwanted air either into the fan duct or directly overboard.
On smaller engines, it is more convenient to use a sliding band which uncovers bleed
ports to bleed away unwanted air.
On large engines, a combination of bleed valves and variable vanes may be used. The
higher the compressor pressure ratio, the greater need for systems which control the
stall margin.
Generally, stall/surge bleed valves are either fully open or fully closed.
The bleed valve is fully open when the engine is:
At idle to intermediate power
The bleed valve is fully closed when the engine is:
At take-off
At cruise power

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Figure 26: Compressor Bleed Band and Actuator
The bleed band system is incorporated to control the stall margin of the engine (Figure
26). The band is positioned so that it will dump air from a selected rearward stage of
compression that will result in the best operating condition of that engine. At low and
intermediate speeds, the band is fully open. In the cruise to take-off power range, the
band is fully closed. This system does not meter bleed air, it is either fully open or fully

Figure 27: Variable Bleed Valve System (External)

The VBV system lets a part of the LPC discharge air to enter the HPC (Figure 27).
During a fast deceleration the VBVs prevent LPC stall. At low rpm and during reverse the
VBVs open to keep unwanted debris such as water or gravel out of the HPC.

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A VBV system may have up to 12 doors. The doors or, valves are operated by fuel
pressure via piston or rotary type actuators. Piston type actuators operate the valves via
a unison ring and linkage assembly, rotary type actuators drive the valves via a Teleflex
There are two actuators, each driving half the VBVs.
In general, during steady state operation, the VBVs will go more closed as N1 increases.
The VBVs are closed above 80% N1.
The EEC commands the VBV to be more open during:
Rapid deceleration.
Thrust reverser operation
Potential icing conditions
The bleed band system is incorporated to control the stall margin of the engine. The band
is positioned so that it will dump air from a selected rearward stage of compression that
will result in the best operating condition of that engine.
At low and intermediate speeds, the band is fully open. In the cruise to take-off power
range, the band is fully closed. This system does not meter bleed air, it is either fully
open or fully closed.
Operation is controlled by the fuel control unit HMU, EEC or by an airflow sensing
transmitter (Aircraft - F28/Royal Royce Spey).

Figure 28: Variable Bleed Valve System (Internal)

Internal VBVs are modulated open and closed (Figure 28). They open when the engine is:

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At idle to intermediate power the valve will move towards closed as HP (N2) increases, it
will be fully closed at high power.

Figure 29: Combination of IGVs and Bleed Band (Ring)

Airflow Control
Where high pressure ratios are required it becomes necessary to introduce airflow control
into the compressor design. This may take the form of variable inlet guide vanes for the
first stage plus a number of stages incorporating variable stator vanes for the succeeding
As the compressor speed is reduced from its design value these static vanes are
progressively closed in order to maintain an acceptable air angle of attack onto the
following rotor blades.

Figure 30: Variable Compressor Vane System

At the low end of the compressor speed range the variable vane system allows less air to
enter. This in turn keeps compression low and prevents piling up of air molecules in the
rear stages which tend to block airflow.

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The system shown (Figure 30) is typical of many smaller gas turbine engine anti-stall
systems, wherein only the inlet guide vanes have a variable angle capability. The
compressor stator vanes are all of the fixed angle type.
This system is fuel pressure operated by command of the power lever. It is controlled by
fuel signals from the fuel control for its operating schedule in the manner of the large
engine anti-stall system mentioned in the first part of this chapter.
At idle speed, the vanes are scheduled closed, and, to provide a stall free rapid
acceleration of the engine, the vanes move toward their open position as engine speed
increases. This action maintains the correct angle of attack relationship between inlet
airflow and compressor speed.
The variable stator vane actuating system is incorporated on many gas turbine engines,
especially on engines with high compression, or those in which the compressor may have
inherent compressor stall problems during acceleration or deceleration at low or
intermediate speeds. The variable vane system automatically varies the geometry (area
and shape) of the compressor gas path to exclude unwanted air and maintain the proper
relationship between compressor speed and airflow in the front compressor stages. At
low compressor speeds the variable stator vanes are partially closed.
As compressor rotor speed increases, the vanes open to allow more and more air to flow
through the compressor. In effect, varying the vane angle schedules the correct angle of
attack relationship between the angle of airflow approaching the rotor blades and the
rotor blade leading edges. A correct angle of attack allows for smooth and rapid engine
Another way of viewing this situation is that the deflection of airflow imposed on the
airstream by varying vane angles slows the airstreams axial velocity before it reaches the
rotor blades. Thus the low RPM of the rotor blade and the low axial velocity of the
airstream are matched.
To control compressor stall and surge this high bypass fan engine uses (Figure 31):
Variable Bleed Valves (VBV)
Variable Inlet Guide Vanes (IGV)
Variable Stator Vanes VSV
HPC Bleed Valve (TBV Transient Bleed Valve)

Figure 31: Large Turbofan Variable Compressor Vane Systems

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Fan Blades
Low bypass engines have high aspect ratio fan blades, normally without mid-span
shrouds. Made from:
Aluminium alloy
Titanium alloy
Moment weight is not critical.
A turbofan engine produces thrust similar to that produced by a combination of turbojet
and turboprop engines.
Some high bypass engines (those with fan bypass ratios of 4:1 and above) are designed
with high aspect ratio blades. That is, they are long and have a narrow chord. Low aspect
ratio (wide chord) blades are coming into wider use today because of their tolerance to
foreign objects, especially bird strike damage. In the past, low aspect ratio blades have
not been the choice of most designers because of their high weight. Recently, hollow
titanium blades with composite inner reinforcement materials have been developed.
These blades have no stabilizing support shrouds and thus produce more mass airflow
as a result of the greater flow area.
Many blades used on large, high bypass ratio engines are described as high aspect ratio
(long and skinny). Some of these high aspect ratio blades have mid-span shrouds, or
snubbers, that form a ring around the fan at the mid portion of the blade to stiffen it and
prevent flutter. The high bypass ratio fan blade only became a design possibility with the
availability of titanium, conventional designs being machined from solid forgings. A low
weight fan blade is necessary because the front structure of the engine must be able to
withstand the large out of balance forces that would result from a fan blade failure. To
achieve a sufficiently light solid fan blade, even with titanium, required a narrow chord
(high aspect ratio). However, with this design, the special feature of a mid-span support
(snubber or clapper) is required to prevent aerodynamic instability. This design concept
has the disadvantage of the snubber being situated in the supersonic flow where
pressure losses are greatest, resulting in inefficiency and a reduction in airflow.
Latest high bypass engines have low aspect ratio fan blades known as wide chord

Figure 32: Fan Blade Moment Weight Etched on Root Shroud

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Normally without mid-span shrouds, they produce a higher mass airflow. Each blade,
made from titanium with composite cores, has a pre-determined moment weight etched
on the root (Figure 32).
With the introduction of the large fan blade, moment weighing of blades has assumed a
greater significance. This operation takes into account the mass of each blade and also
the position of its centre of gravity relative to the centre line of the disc into which the
blade is assembled.
The mechanical system of blade moment weighing may be integrated with a computer,
which will automatically optimise the blade distribution.
The moment weight of a blade in grams/millimetre, or ounce/inch is identical to the
unbalance effect of the blade when installed into a disc.
The recorded measurement of blade moment weights enables each blade to be
distributed around the disc in order that these unbalances are cancelled.
On fans with even numbers of blades, blades with similar moment weight are replaced
180 degrees apart.
Spare blades are grouped in pairs of similar moment weights. (No more than about 200
centimetre/gram difference).
Blade moment weight of two blades does NOT need to be exactly the same; but must be
within the range set out by the manufacturer, correction of the imbalance is carried out
by adding different weight balance screws to the fan spinner cone.
Trim balance can be determined by calculating the following:
Record the moment weight of the removed blade
Record the moment weight of the blade to be installed
Install the blade
Calculate the difference between the moment weights of both blades. For example: An
old blade moment weight is 162750 cm.g. The new blade moment weight is 163296
163296 162750 = 546 cm.g.
Select balance screws closest to this difference. Refer engine manufactures IPC.
Locate the balance screw location:
Installs screws 180 degrees opposite the new installed blade if it is heavier than
the old blade
Installs screws close to the new installed blade if it is lighter than the old blade
This procedure provides satisfactory correction to return the fan to its initial balance
condition. Other solutions are used from time to time such as computer and manual
vector graph calculations.

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Figure 33: Place Blades 180 Degrees Apart for Even Number of Fan Blades
If a similar moment weight blade is not available, replace the damaged blade and the
blade 180 degrees opposite (Figure 33).
Ground running is necessary to determine if a balance correction will be needed.

Figure 34: Place Blades 120 Degrees Apart for Odd Number of Fan Blades
On fans with odd numbers of blades, blades with similar moment weight are replaced
120 degrees apart (Figure 34). Spare blades are grouped in threes of similar moment
weights. (No more than about 200 cm.g difference). Blade moment weight of the three
blades does NOT need to be exactly the same; but must be within the range set out by
the manufacturer. Correction of the imbalance is carried out by adding different weight
balance screws to the fan spinner cone in a similar procedure to even blade number
Trim balance is a procedure used to reduce the engine vibration level. This procedure
must be performed whenever the engine vibration reaches the level (about 8.0 mils) set-
out in the manufactures aircraft maintenance manual. Usually vibration of this
magnitude can be felt in the aircraft cabin.
High engine vibration can lead to rapid loss of the engines EGT margin and engine

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Engine ground running and fan balance checks are necessary following fan blade
replacement, trim balance procedures may be required if vibration levels approach the
Balance correction is carried out on the spinner. A fan trim balance calculation is
required when engine vibration reaches the manufacturers limit.
This can occur following:
Engine deterioration
Blending of fan blade damage

Fan Blade Replacement

Balance is corrected by installing heavier or lighter weight screws in the fan spinner. The
exact location and weight of the screws must be determined by plotting vector quantities
on a polar graph.

Figure 35: Number One Fan Blade Position Index Mark

Always number fan, compressor or turbine blades counter-clockwise, forward looking aft
(Clockwise, as viewed from the rear), using an approved felt tip maker. Never use a lead
pencil or ball point pen.
Failure to number the fan blades in the correct direction will cause problems when trying
to calculate trim balance.
All fan components are index marked to ensure correct assembly and to maintain
balance (Figure 35).
Never scratch, punch or etch your own index marks, damaging highly stressed
components in this manner will render them unserviceable as it could lead to
catastrophic failure of the component.

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Axial Flow Advantages
There are several advantages of the axial flow compressor. They are:
High peak efficiencies (volume) created by its straight through design
Higher peak efficiencies (compressor pressure ratios) attainable by the use of
additional stages of compression
Higher mass airflow for a given frontal area and a low drag coefficient
The disadvantages of the axial flow compressor are:
Difficulty and high cost of manufacture
Relatively high weight
High starting power requirements
Low pressure rise per stage (currently around 1.4 to 1, but as high as 1.5 to 1.6 to
1 in newer engines being developed)
Good compression in the cruise to take-off power range only, i.e. poor start, idle and
low power operation
The low pressure rise per stage occurs in the axial blade design where inlet and exit
velocities are held at about the same values.
By comparison, the centrifugal compressor has a much higher airflow exit velocity as
compared to its inlet velocity and can achieve much higher compression per stage.

Centri-axial Compressors
The centrifugal compressor is commonly used in conjunction with the axial flow
compressor but seems only to meet the needs of smaller flight engines (business jets and
All larger engines today are of the axial flow type. However, a resurgence of the use of
centrifugal compressors can be seen. Recent developments have produced compression
ratios as high as 10:1 from a single centrifugal compressor.
Formerly, only axial flow compressors could attain this level of compression. The
centrifugal compressor is shorter in length than an axial compressor and that is its main

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Overview ......................................................................................................................... 2
Combustion Chambers ................................................................................................... 3
Combustion Airflow......................................................................................................... 7
Fuel Nozzles .................................................................................................................... 9
Pressurising and Dump Valve ....................................................................................... 15
Engine Fuel Environmental Control .............................................................................. 16

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The combustion section is typically located directly between the compressor diffuser and
turbine section.
All combustion sections contain the same basic elements:
One or more combustion chambers (combustors or cans)
A fuel injection system
An ignition source
Fuel drainage system
The combustion chamber, or combustor, is where the fuel and air are mixed and burned.
The fuel injection system supplies the fuel through the fuel nozzles into the combustors.
A typical ignition source is the high energy capacitor discharge system.
A fuel drainage system accomplishes the important task of draining the unburned fuel
after engine shutdown.
The combustion section or burner, as it is called, consists basically of an outer casing,
an inner perforated liner, a fuel injection system, and a starting ignition system. The
function of this section is to add heat energy to the flowing gases, thereby expanding and
accelerating the gases into the turbine section
One way to think about combustion is that, when fuel heat is added, the volume of the
gas is increased and, with flow area remaining the same, this causes an acceleration of
gases to occur.
This process is referred to as combustion at constant pressure: the pressure at the exit
does not alter significantly to the entry pressure.
The combustion chamber or combustor in a turbine engine is where the fuel and air are
mixed and burned. A typical combustor consists of an outer casing with a perforated
inner liner. The perforations are various sizes and shapes, all having a specific effect on
the flame propagation within the liner.
The fuel injection system meters the appropriate amount of fuel through the fuel nozzles
into the combustors. Fuel nozzles are located in the combustion chamber case or in the
compressor outlet elbows. Fuel is delivered through the nozzles into the liners in a finely
atomised spray to ensure thorough mixing with the incoming air. A more rapid and
efficient the combustion process is achieved with a finer spray.
A typical ignition source for gas turbine engines is the high energy capacitor discharge
system, consisting of an exciter unit, two high tension cables, and two spark ignitors.
This ignition system produces 60 to 100 sparks per minute, resulting in a ball of fire at
the igniter electrodes. Some of these systems produce enough energy to shoot sparks
several inches, so care must be taken to avoid a lethal shock during maintenance tests.
A fuel drainage system accomplishes the important task of draining the unburned fuel
after engine shutdown. Draining accumulated fuel reduces the possibility of exceeding
tailpipe or turbine inlet temperature limits due to an engine fire after shutdown. In
addition, draining the unburned fuel helps to prevent gum deposits in the fuel manifold,
nozzles, and combustion chambers which are caused by fuel residue.

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The combustion chamber (combustor) has the task of burning large quantities of fuel
(supplied through fuel burners) with extensive volumes of air (supplied by the
compressor) and releasing the heat in such a manner that the air is expanded and
accelerated to give a smooth stream of uniformly heated gas under all conditions to the
turbine. To accomplish the task of efficiently burning the fuel/air mixture a combustion
chamber must:
Mix fuel and air effectively in the best ratio for good combustion
Burn the mixture as efficiently as possible
Cool the hot combustion gases to a temperature the turbine blades can tolerate
Distribute hot gases evenly to the turbine section
This task must be accomplished with the minimum loss in pressure and with the
maximum heat release for the limited space available.
There are currently three basic types of combustion chambers:
The multiple-can type
The annular or basket type
The can/annular type
Functionally they are the same, but their design and construction is different.

Multiple-Can Type

Figure 1: Multiple-Can Type Combustion Chambers

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The multiple-can type combustion chamber consists of a series of individual combustor
cans which act as individual burner units. This type of combustion chamber is well
suited to centrifugal compressor engines because of the way compressor discharge air is
equally divided at the diffuser. Each can is constructed with a perforated stainless steel
liner inside the outer case (Figure 1).
The inner liner is highly heat resistant and is easily removed for inspection once the
combustion can is removed from the engine. Each combustion can has a large degree of
curvature which provides a high resistance to waring. However, the shape is inefficient in
terms of the amount of space required and the added weight.

Figure 2: Multiple-Can Type Combustion Chamber Construction

The individual combustors in a typical multiple-can combustion chamber are
interconnected with small flame propagation tubes (Figure 2). The combustion starts in
the two cans equipped with igniter plugs, then the flame travels through the tubes and
ignites the fuel/air mixture in the other cans. Each flame propagation tube is actually a
small tube surrounded by a larger tube or jacket. The small inner tube carries the flame
between the cans and the outer tube carries airflow between the cans that cools and
insulates. There are 8 or 10 cans in a typical multiple-can combustion section. The cans
are numbered clockwise when facing the rear of the engine on most American-built
engines, with the number one can being on the top. All the combustor cans discharge
exhaust gases into an open area at the turbine nozzle inlet.

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Can-Annular Combustor
The can-annular combustor is more common to older commercial aircraft powered by
Pratt & Whitney engines (B727). This design consists of an outer case containing
multiple liners located radially about the axis of the engine. The liners take air in at the
front and discharge it at the rear. Flame propagation tubes are utilized to connect the
liners and provision is made for two igniter plugs in the lower cans (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Can-Annular Combustion Chamber

In the figure below, eight liners are used. Each liner has its own fuel nozzle cluster
supporting the liner at the front end, and a device with eight apertures, called an outlet
duct, supporting the liner at the back. An advantage of this combustor is that it is
designed for ease of on the wing maintenance. The outer case is made to slide back to
facilitate liner inspection.
Each combustor liner is annular in shape. A cluster of fuel nozzles support the liner at
the front. A multiple aperture exhaust outlet supports the rear. Flame propagation tubes
are utilized to connect the liners. Ignition is provided in two liners by igniter plugs.
They may be removed for inspection and replacement without splitting the engine. Their
short length provides lower pressure drop. Combining the gases from all of the cans
provides a uniform temperature at the turbine.

Figure 4: Annular Combustion Chamber

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Annular Combustor
Today, annular combustors are commonly used in both small and large engines (Figure
4). The reason for this is that, from a standpoint of thermal efficiency, weight, and
physical size, the annular combustor is the most efficient. An annular combustion
chamber consists of a housing and perforated inner liner, or basket. The liner is a single
unit that encircles the outside of the turbine shaft housing. The shroud can be shaped to
contain one or more concentric baskets. An annular combustor with two baskets is
known as a double annular combustion chamber. Normally, the ignition source consists
of two spark igniters similar to the type found in multiple-can combustors.
In a conventional annular combustor, airflow enters at the front and is discharged at the
rear with primary and secondary airflow much the same as in the multiple-can design.
However, unlike the can type combustors, an annular combustor must be removed as a
single unit for repair or replacement. This usually involves complete separation of the
engine at a major flange.

Reverse Flow Annular Combustor

Some annular combustors are designed so the airflow can reverse direction (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Reverse Flow Annular Combustion Chamber

These reverse flow combustors serve the same function as the conventional flow type,
except the air flows around the chamber and enters from the rear. This results in the
combustion gases flowing in the opposite direction of the normal airflow through the
engine. This idea was first employed by Whittle in his early designs. In a typical reverse-
flow annular combustor, the turbine wheels are inside the combustor area rather than
downstream, as with the conventional flow designs. This allows for a shorter and lighter
engine that uses the hot gases to preheat the compressor discharge air. These factors
help make up for the loss of efficiency caused by the gases having to reverse their
direction as they pass through the combustor. 25 to 35 percent of the incoming air is
designated as primary and 65 to 75 percent becomes secondary.

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In order to allow the combustion section to mix the incoming fuel and air, ignite the
mixture, and cool the combustion gases, airflow through a combustor is divided into
primary and secondary paths. Approximately 25 to 35 percent of the incoming air is
designated as primary while 65 to 75 percent becomes secondary.

Figure 6: Airflow Distribution through a Typical Combustion Chamber

Primary, or combustion air, is directed inside the liner in the front end of a combustor.
As this air enters the combustor, it passes through a set of swirl vanes, which gives the
air a radial motion and slows down its axial velocity to about five or six feet per second.
The reduction in airflow velocity is very important because kerosene type fuels have a
slow flame propagation rate. An excessively high velocity airflow could literally blow the
flame out of the engine. This malfunction is known as a flameout. A vortex created in the
flame area provides the turbulence required to properly mix the fuel and air. Once mixed,
the combustion process is complete in the first third of a combustor.

Figure 7: Primary and Secondary Combustion Airflow

The secondary airflow in the combustion section flows at a velocity of several hundred
feet per second around the combustors periphery. This flow of air forms a cooling air
blanket on both sides of the liner and centres the combustion flames so they do not
contact the liner. Some secondary air is slowed and metered into the combustor through
the perforations in the liner where it ensures combustion of any remaining unburned

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Finally, secondary air mixes with the burned gases and cool air to provide an even
distribution of energy to the turbine nozzle at a temperature that the turbine section can
withstand (Figure 7).
Liquid fuels must be converted from their liquid state to a vapour before they will burn.
In addition, the ratio of fuel vapour to oxygen in the air must be chemically correct for
complete combustion. A stoichiometric mixture is a perfectly balanced air/fuel mixture of
15 parts of air to 1 part of fuel, by weight. An air/fuel mixture that is leaner than 15:1
has less fuel in the air/fuel mixture, while a rich mixture has more fuel. Combustible
air/fuel ratios range from 8:1 to 22:1. A gas turbine engine will experience a rich to lean
mixture of about 10:1 during acceleration and 20:1 during deceleration.
Quite often one can see the air-fuel ratio expressed as 60:1. When this occurs, the writer
is expressing the air-fuel ratio in terms of the total airflow rather than of primary
combustor airflow. If primary airflow is approximately 25 percent of total airflow, then
15:1 is 25 percent of 60:1. The mixture, when expressed in terms of total airflow, will be
48:1 on acceleration and 80:1 on deceleration.

Flame Stabilisation
The flame in the combustor is stabilised by reducing axial velocity of the air. Air exits the
compressor at about 200 metres per second (700 ft/s) where it is then diffused. Its axial
velocity drops to approximately 150 metres per second (500 ft/s). The air velocity is
further reduced by using swirl vanes in the combustion chamber.
It is desirable to anchor the flame as close as possible to the fuel nozzle. It must have a
region of low velocity air in the combustor. The swirl vanes slow the gas and the fuel is
introduced in fine particles. This prevents overheating in the chamber and stops the
flame actually touching the metal wall of the combustor. The fuel also has a spin
imparted to it from the fuel nozzle. This is achieved by inducing a swirl into the fuel and
air entering the combustor. The swirl also assists atomisation of the fuel. Also, air holes
in the liner primary zone are shaped to induce a torroidal vortex, similar to a smoke ring,
which stabilises and anchors the flame. Low velocity air is required for flame stabilisation
(Flame could blow out).

Flame Temperatures
The primary combustion temperature is about 1,800 to 2,000C. Flame stabilisation,
cooling and dilution air, keeps the gas temperatures within the tolerance of the turbine
materials at approximately 900C.

Figure 8: Temperature, Velocity and Pressure Graph

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Fuel nozzles, are the terminating point of the fuel system. They are located in the inlet of
the combustion liner. Some mix air with fuel in correct proportions to atomise or
vaporise the fuel. Air shrouds direct cooling air over the spray nozzle to aid atomisation.
The highly polished nozzle delivers a precisely patterned, highly atomised spray. Fuel
cannot be burned in a liquid state. It must first be mixed with air in correct proportions
by atomisation or vaporization.
The pressure atomising type of nozzle receives fuel under high pressure from a manifold
and delivers it to the combustor in a highly atomised, precisely patterned spray. The
cone shaped, atomised spray pattern provides a large fuel surface area of very fine fuel
droplets. This optimises fuel-air mixing and ensures the highest heat release from the
fuel. The most desirable flame pattern occurs at higher compressor pressure ratios.
Consequently, during starting and other off-design speeds, the lack of compression
allows the flame length to increase.
If the spray pattern is also slightly distorted, the flame, rather than being held centred in
the liner, can touch the liner surface and cause a hot spot, or even burn through.
Another problem that distorts the spray pattern is contaminant particles within the
nozzle, or carbon build-up outside the nozzle orifice. This can cause hot streaking, which
is an un-atomised stream of fuel which forms and tends to cut through the cooling air
blanket and impinge on the liner or on downstream components such as the turbine

Simplex Fuel Nozzles

The simplex design is basically a small round orifice which provides a single spray
pattern and incorporates an internally fluted spin chamber to impart a swirling motion
and reduce axial velocity of the fuel to provide atomisation as it exits the orifice (Figure

Figure 9: Simplex Fuel Nozzle

The internal check valve, present in the simplex nozzle, is there to prevent dribbling of
fuel from the fuel manifold into the combustor after shutdown. Some fuel systems with
simplex nozzles as their main fuel distributors incorporate a second smaller simplex
nozzle, called a primer or starting nozzle, which sprays a very fine atomised mist for
improved light-off. After light-off, start/primer systems are generally turned off.

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Another configuration with simplex nozzles is called sector burning. The engine is
started on one-half or more of the fuel nozzles and operated in that manner up to ground
idle speed. Then, at approximately flight idle speed, fuel pressure is sufficiently high to
overcome a check valve, which allows the remaining fuel nozzles to flow.
Fuel flow through the nozzle is proportional to the square root of the pressure drop
across it and is referred to as a square law fuel spray nozzle. Excellent atomisation is
achieved at high pressure but ineffective atomisation at low pressure.
The reason for this is that the simplex was, by the nature of its design, a square law
spray nozzle. The flow through the nozzle is proportional to the square root of the
pressure drop across it. This meant that if the minimum pressure for effective
atomisation was 30 PSI, the pressure needed to give maximum flow would be about
900 PSI. The fuel pumps available at that time were unable to cope with such high
pressures so a variable port spray nozzle was developed in an effort to overcome the
square law effect.
The simplex fuel nozzle was used on early jet engines and is still used on modern small
engines such as those used as APUs. This fuel nozzle gives good atomisation at the
higher fuel flows; that is, at the higher burner pressures, but was unsatisfactory at the
low pressures required at low engine speeds and especially at high altitudes.
Because simplex are effective only at high pressure/high rpm they are commonly used in
constant speed applications, such as in APUs.

Spill Type Fuel Nozzles

On some turbine engines that supply high pressure fuel to the fuel nozzles at all times,
spill type nozzles may be used. A spill type nozzle is basically a simplex nozzle with a
passage leading away from the spin chamber. This passage is referred to as a spill
passage and is required to return the excess fuel supplied during low power output
operations back to the nozzle inlet. The advantage of supplying fuel at high pressure to
the nozzle at all times is improved atomisation at all engine speeds. One disadvantage of
this type of nozzle is the extra heat generated by recirculating large amounts of fuel at
low engine speeds.

Duplex Fuel Nozzles

Duplex fuel nozzles have two separate fuel flows (Figure 11):
Primary (pilot flow) flow has a wide spray pattern used for engine start up to idle.
Secondary fuel flows with primary above idle. Combined primary and secondary flow has
a narrow pattern. Narrow pattern ensures that the flame will not impinge on the
combustion liner.

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Figure 10: Duplex Nozzle Fuel Spray Patterns
The duplex burner, as shown in (Figure 10), requires a primary and a main fuel manifold
and has two independent orifices, one much smaller than the other. Initial fuel flow is
through the smaller orifice (primary), the larger orifice (main) opens to discharge fuel at
higher fuel flows.

Figure 11: Duplex Fuel Nozzle

A duplex nozzle is able to give effective atomisation over a wider flow range than the
simplex spray nozzle.
There are two categories of duplex fuel nozzles:
Single line
Dual Line

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Single Line Duplex Nozzle

The single line duplex type receives its fuel at one inlet port and becomes a flow divider
to distribute fuel through two spray orifices. Often, as shown below, the round centre
orifice, called the pilot, or primary fuel, sprays at a wide angle during engine start and
acceleration to idle.

Figure 12: Single Line Duplex Fuel Nozzle

The annular outer orifice, referred to as main or secondary fuel, opens at a preset fuel
pressure to flow along with the pilot fuel. Fuel of much higher volume and pressure
flowing from this outer orifice causes the spray pattern to narrow so that the fuel will not
impinge on the combustion liner at higher power settings. Primary (pilot flow) flow is
used for engine start up to idle. Secondary fuel flows with primary from idle.

Dual Line Duplex Fuel Nozzles

A second type of duplex nozzle, called a dual line duplex type is quite similar to the
single line except that it contains no flow divider check valve to separate primary and
secondary fuel (Figure 13).

Figure 13: Dual Line Duplex Fuel Nozzle

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The check valve in this system is located in the Pressurizing and Dump Valve and is
labelled Pressurizing Valve. The pressurizing valve acts as a single, main flow divider for
all of the fuel nozzles, whereas in the single-line duplex nozzle, each has its own flow
divider in the form of its check valve.
Only primary fuel is supplied for starting and low flow conditions. This fuel comes from a
flow divider. Fuel sprays out from the centre primary orifice in a wide spray. The air
shroud directs cooling air over the spray nozzle. Cooling air from compressor discharge
also aids atomisation of the fuel. Fuel is discharged from both primary and secondary
orifices for high speed conditions.

Air Blast Fuel Nozzles

The air blast fuel nozzle is a newer design and is being more widely used in various sized
engines because it enhances the atomisation process and produces finer fuel droplets.
This nozzle is said to be more effective during starting when low fuel pressure causes
atomisation problems. By using a high velocity airflow, air blast nozzles more completely
atomise the fuel than can be accomplished with fuel under pressure alone. This nozzle
also has an advantage in that it utilizes a lower system working pressure than the basic
atomising types of nozzles (Figure 14).

Figure 14: Air Blast Fuel Nozzles

High velocity compressor discharge air flow enhances atomisation and aeration of the
fuel at the spray orifice producing finer fuel droplets. This design has greater effect
during starting when fuel pressure is low.

Vaporising Fuel Nozzles

The vaporising fuel nozzle, shown in Figure 15 below, connects to a fuel manifold in an
arrangement similar to the atomising type. Instead of delivering the fuel directly into the
primary air of the combustor, as the atomising type does, the vaporising tube premixes
the primary air and fuel. Combustor heat surrounding the nozzle causes the mixture to
vaporize before exiting into the combustor flame zone.

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There are two types of vaporiser nozzle:
Tee shaped dual outlets
Cane shaped single outlet

Figure 15: Vaporising Fuel Nozzles

Whereas the atomiser nozzle discharges in the downstream direction, the vaporizer
discharges in the upstream direction and the mixture then makes a 180 degree turn to
move downstream. This arrangement provides a slow moving, fine spray over a wide
range of fuel flows and is said to produce more stable combustion in some engines than
can be achieved by atomising nozzles, especially at low revolutions per minute. Some
vaporisers have only one outlet and are referred to as cane-shaped vaporizers (Figure 16).

Figure 16: Vaporising Fuel Nozzle Fuel Vapour Flow

The tee-shaped vaporizer, is one of a set of eleven utilized in some models of the
Lycoming T-53 turboshaft engine.

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Because vaporising nozzles do not provide an effective spray pattern for starting, the T-
53 incorporates an additional set of small atomising type spray nozzles which spray into
the combustor during starting. After light-off, start fuel is terminated on spool-up to idle.
This system is generally referred to as a primer or starting fuel system.
The Rolls Royce Olympus engines in the Concorde SST, and several other engines, utilize
the vaporising fuel nozzle and primer fuel nozzle systems, but these systems are not in
wide use throughout the industry.


A fuel pressurising and dump valve (P and D valve) is used along with a duplex fuel
nozzle of the dual inlet line type. Rather than providing a flow divider in each nozzle, as
with the single line duplex fuel nozzle, this arrangement allows for one central flow
divider, called a pressurizing and dump valve. The term pressurising refers to the fact
that at a pre-set pressure, a pressurizing valve within the P and D valve opens and fuel
flows into the main manifold as well as through the pilot manifold. (Figure 17)
The term dump refers to a second internal valve which has the capability of dumping the
entire fuel manifold after shut-down. Manifold dumping is a procedure which sharply
cuts off combustion and also prevents fuel boiling as a result of residual engine heat.
This boiling would tend to leave solid deposits in the manifold which could clog the finely
calibrated passageways.

Figure 17: Fuel Pressurising and Dump Valve

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A pressure signal from the fuel control arrives at the P and D valve when the power lever
is opened for engine start. This pressure signal shifts the dump valve to the left, closing
the dump port and opening the passageway to the manifolds. Metered fuel pressure
builds at the inlet check valve until the spring tension is overcome and fuel is allowed to
flow through the filter to the pilot manifold. At a speed slightly above ground idle, fuel
pressure will be sufficient to overcome the pressurizing valve spring force, and fuel will
also flow to the main manifold.
The tension on the pressurizing valve spring is normally adjustable as a line
maintenance task. A valve opening too early can give an improper fuel spray pattern and
create hot starts or off-idle stalls. A late opening valve can cause slow-acceleration
problems. To delay the opening of the secondary manifold and eliminate hot start or off-
idle stalls, the adjusting screw would be turned in to increase tension on the pressurizing
valve spring. Conversely, to cause early fuel flow to the secondary manifold and enhance
acceleration, the adjuster would be turned outward.
To shut off the engine, the fuel lever in the cockpit is moved to off. The fuel control
pressure signal is then lost and spring pressure will shift the dump valve back to the
right, opening the dump valve port. At the same time, the inlet check valve will close,
keeping the metered line flooded and ready for use on the next engine start.


Dump fuel, in years past, had been allowed to spill onto the ground or siphon from a
drain tank in flight. Current international regulations, however, prohibit this form of
environmental pollution, and now the drain tank fuel must be captured, perhaps by
hand draining. To prevent hand draining, several types of recycling systems have
recently evolved. One such system returns fuel to the aircraft fuel supply. Another type of
system pushes fuel, which formerly would have been dumped, out of the fuel nozzles by
introducing bleed air into the dump port. This prolongs combustion slightly until fuel
starvation occurs. In the system shown in the figure below, a full tank causes a float
valve to actuate and drain the tank via an eductor type flow system (Figure 18).

Figure 18: Fuel Drain Environmental System

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Combustor Drain
The combustor drain valve shown in Figure 19 is a mechanical device located in the low
point of a combustion case. It is closed by gas pressure within the combustor during
engine operation and is opened by spring pressure when the engine is not in operation.
This valve prevents fuel accumulation in the combustor after a false start or any other
time fuel might tend to puddle at the low point.

Figure 19: Combustor Drain Valve

A false start in this case is a no-start condition or hung-start condition which results in a
fuel soaked combustor and tailpipe. Draining of fuel in this manner prevents such safety
hazards as after fires and hot starts. This drain also removes un-atomised fuel which
could ignite near the lower turbine stator vanes causing serious local overheating during
starting, when cooling airflow is at the lowest flow rate.
As mentioned in the P and D valve discussion, if the dump line is capped off as an
ecology control, the fuel manifolds will drain through the lower nozzles and fuel will
evaporate in the combustor or exit the combustor via the mechanical drain valve into an
aircraft drain receptacle. Maintenance personnel will periodically drain this tank as a
pollution control measure before it spills over onto the ramp.

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This Page Intentionally Blank

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Turbines ......................................................................................................................... 2
Axial flow Turbine ........................................................................................................... 2
Gas Path through the Turbine......................................................................................... 7
Turbine Blades................................................................................................................ 7
Turbine Blade Construction .......................................................................................... 10
Turbine Discs................................................................................................................ 13
Sealing Methods ............................................................................................................ 13
Power Extraction ........................................................................................................... 14
Turbine Loads and Stresses .......................................................................................... 16
Radial Inflow Turbine .................................................................................................... 18

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The turbine has the task of providing the power to drive the compressor and accessories
and in the case of engines that do not make use solely of a jet for propulsion, of providing
shaft power for a propeller or rotor.

Operating Principles
The turbine carries out the task of extracting energy from the hot gases released from the
combustion system and expanding them to a lower pressure and temperature. The
energy is extracted by passing the airflow over a set of aerofoil shaped blades. High
stresses are involved in this process, and for efficient operation, the turbine blade tips
may rotate at speeds up to 1,300 feet per second. The continuous flow of gas to which
the turbine is exposed may have an entry temperature between 700 and 1,300 C, and
may reach a velocity of 2,000 feet per second in parts of the turbine.


The basic components of the turbine are (Figure 1):
Turbine case
Stator, also called the nozzle

Figure 1: Axial Flow Turbine

A disc and a number of turbine blades make up a turbine rotor. A nozzle followed by a
rotor, make up a turbine stage.
The rotating assembly is supported on bearings mounted in the turbine casing. A
turbine shaft may be common to the compressor shaft or by connection via a self-
aligning coupling. The location of a typical turbine assembly is highlighted in Figure 2

Figure 2: Turbine Location

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Turbine Case
The turbine casing encloses the turbine rotor and stator assembly, giving either direct or
indirect support to the stator elements. A typical case has flanges on both ends that
provide a means of attaching the turbine section to the combustion section and the
exhaust assembly.
The perimeter of some turbine cases is encircled by several tubes, or passages. These
passages are used to route cooling air around the turbine case to control thermal
expansion. For example, during cruise flight, cool air is routed around the case to reduce
the amount the case expands. This, in turn, decreases the clearance between the case
and the turbine blades making the turbine section more efficient. This is known as active
tip clearance control, or ACC.
Turbine casings are typically made from nickel based alloys such as Inconel.

Figure 3: Turbine Unit

Turbine Stator
A stator element is most commonly referred to as the turbine nozzle; however, you may
also hear the stator elements referred to as the turbine guide vanes, or the nozzle
diaphragm. The turbine nozzle is located directly aft of the combustion section and
immediately forward of the turbine wheel. Because of its location, the turbine nozzle is
typically exposed to the highest temperatures in a gas turbine engine. They are typically
made from nickel based alloy. Advanced NGVs designs are ceramic or are nickel alloy
with ceramic coatings.

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Nozzle Guide Vanes (NGV)

The design of nozzle guide vanes and turbine blades is based broadly on aerodynamic
considerations. To obtain optimum efficiency compatible with compressor and
combustor design, the nozzle guide vanes and turbine blades are of a basic aerofoil
shape (Figure 4).
The main purpose of NGVs is to direct the exhaust gasses onto the turbine blades at the
optimum angle of attack for efficient operation, another purpose may be to decrease
pressure and increase velocity of the gas onto the turbine blade.

Figure 4: Nozzle Guide Vane

NGVs require extremely high heat resistant properties and are generally constructed
from alloys of cobalt nickel and chrome.
A typical NGV assembly may, depending on the size of the engine, be manufactured as a
complete ring of vanes, segments of a ring or individual vanes (Figure 5).
When vanes are riveted or welded into segmented shrouds, the gaps between shroud
segments allow for thermal expansion. Nozzle guide vanes types are matched to the
turbine blade types

Figure 5: Nozzle guide Vane Assembly

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Turbine Blade Types
There are three types of turbine blade and nozzle configurations in common use today.
They are:

Impulse Turbine and Nozzle

In the impulse type of blades, as shown in Figure 6, the total pressure drop across each
stage of turbine occurs in the nozzle guide vanes, which, because of their convergent
shape, increase the gas velocity whilst reducing the pressure. The gas is then directed
onto the blades which experience an impulse force caused by the impact of the gas on
the blade. Impulse blades are commonly used on cartridge and air starters. The
diagram shows the bucket-like shape of the turbine blades.

Figure 6: Impulse Nozzle and Turbine

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Reaction Turbine and Nozzle

In the reaction type of blades (Figure 7) the fixed nozzle guide vanes are designed to alter
the gas flow direction without changing the pressure. The converging blade passages
experience a reaction force resulting from the expansion and acceleration of the gas.
Normally gas turbine engines do not use pure impulse or pure reaction

Figure 7: Reaction Nozzle and Turbine

Impulse/Reaction Turbine and Nozzle

Impulse/reaction blades are a combination of the impulse and the reaction types of
blades as shown in Figure 8. Normally, gas turbine engines do not use either pure
impulse or pure reaction turbine blades.
With the impulse turbine, the total pressure drop across each stage occurs in the fixed
nozzle guide vanes and the effect on the turbine blades is one of momentum only. With
the reaction turbine, the total pressure drop occurs through the turbine blade passage.
With impulse/reaction turbine, the proportion of each principle incorporated in its
design is therefore largely dependent on the type of engine in which the turbine is to
operate, but in general it is about 50% impulse and 50% reaction.
The turbine is driven by the impulse of the gas flow and its subsequent reaction as it
accelerates through the converging blade passage.

Figure 8: Impulse/Reaction Nozzle and Turbine

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Impulse/Reaction Turbine Blades

To more evenly distribute the workload along the length of the blade most modern
turbine engines incorporate impulse/reaction turbine blades. With this type of blade, the
blade base is impulse shaped while the blade tip is reaction shaped. This design creates
a uniform velocity and pressure drop across the entire blade length.


In the impulse type the total pressure drop across each stage occurs in the fixed nozzle
guide vanes which, because of their convergent shape, increase the gas velocity whilst
reducing the pressure. The gas is directed onto the turbine blades which experience an
impulse force caused by the impact of the gas on the blades. Impulse type turbines are
used for cartridge and air starters.
On impact with the turbine blades, the gas imparts energy to the blades to drive the
turbine to high speeds, as illustrated in Figure 9. The gas then passes to the exhaust
system of the next stage of NGVs.

Figure 9: Turbine Gas Path

Energy Transfer
The nozzle and blades of the turbine are twisted, the blades having a stagger angle that
is greater at the tip than the root, as shown in Figure 10.
The reason for this twist is to make the gas flow from the combustion section do equal
work at all positions along the length of the blade, and to ensure that the flow enters the
exhaust system with a uniform axial velocity.

Turbine blades are either open at the tip or fitted with interlocking shrouds. It is
common to see both types in one engine, with the high speed wheel containing open tip
blades and the lower speed wheel shrouded tip blades.
Tip loading from rotational forces often limits the use of shrouds to lower speed
locations, such as low pressure turbines in turbofan engines.

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This is also true of LP turbines in turboshaft engines, where all the energy is designed to
be absorbed by the turbine blades, and energy remaining in the tailpipe as a result of tip
losses would be completely lost to the engine.
Turbine blades can be open or shrouded at their ends. Open ended blades are used on
high speed turbines, while shrouded blades are commonly used on turbines having
slower rotational speeds.
With shrouded blades, a shroud is attached to the tip of each blade. Once installed, the
shrouds of the blades contact each other, thereby providing support. This added support
reduces vibration substantially. The shrouds also prevent air from escaping over the
blade tips, making the turbine more efficient. However, because of the added weight,
shrouded turbine blades are more susceptible to blade growth.
The turbine blades, shown in Figure 10, are of an aerofoil shape designed to provide
passages between adjacent blades that give a steady acceleration of air up to the throat
(where the area is smallest and the velocity reaches that required to produce the required
degree of reaction).

Figure 10: Turbine Blade Shape

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Turbine Shrouds and Seals
To reduce the loss in efficiency due to leakage across the blade tips, a shroud or turbine
seal may be fitted, as illustrated in Figure 11. This is formed by forging a small segment
at the end of each blade, so that when all the blades are fitted to the disc, the segments
form a peripheral ring around the blade tips.

Figure 11: Turbine Blade Tip Shrouds

Knife edge seals are often mounted on the tip shrouds (Figure 12). They also reduce air
losses across the tips and keep the airflow in an axial direction to maximise the impact
force of the flowing gases onto the blades. The seals fit in close tolerance to the shroud
rings mounted in the turbine case.

Figure 12: Knife Edge Seals

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Conventionally Cast Blades

Turbine blades and vanes are either forged by newer powder metallurgy technique or by
traditional methods, or investment cast from nickel base alloys. These materials have
very high temperature strength under centrifugal loads and are highly corrosion
resistant Figure 13.

Figure 13: Conventionally Cast Blade

Directionally Solidified Cast Blades

Turbine blades are also cast from high temperature nickel based super alloys. An
advancement in technology was directional solidification of the casting. They are
directionally solidified to improve their strength longitudinally, which increases creep
resistance. Directional solidification (called a columnar crystal structure) aligns the metal
grains or crystals in one direction.

Figure 14: Directionally Solidified Cast Blade

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Single Crystal Blades
Single Crystal blades are made from alloys that are cooled very slowly to form large
grains or crystals (large enough to make a blade). A grain is a group of atoms that form
(during cooling) into a very orderly pattern. Therefore the atomic structure of a single
crystal blade is very uniform which enhances strength and temperature resistance.
With only one grain and no grain boundaries, corrosion due to expansion is all but

Figure 15: Single Crystal Blade

Blade and Vane Thermal Barrier Coatings

Ceramic and aluminium alloy thermal barrier coating of super alloy parts and some
titanium parts are also processes which give high surface strength and resistance to
corrosion. These coatings are generally referred to as plasma sprays and, when applied
under high heat, melt into the surface of the base metal. This coating is said to give the
best protection against the scaling type corrosion or erosion which occurs at high gas
temperatures. Scaling is a condition caused by sodium (salt) in the air and sulphur in
the fuel reacting chemically with the base metals.

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Blade Attachment Methods
The methods of attaching turbine blades to the turbine disc is of considerable
importance, since the stress in the disc around the attachment point or in the blade root
has an important bearing on the limiting rim speed. Rim speed is the velocity of the rim
of the disc. The design of the attachment point must be such that the accumulation of
stresses does not lead to failure in the blade or disc.

Figure 16: Fir Tree Attachment

Fir tree fixing is now used on the majority of gas turbine engines. This type of fixing
involves very accurate machining to ensure that the loading is shared by all the
serrations. The blade is free in the serrations when the engine is stationary and is
stiffened in the root by centrifugal loading when the turbine is rotating.
If you were to rotate an engine by hand, you would hear a sharp tinkling sound as the
blades move around in their seats. This is quite normal. Fir tree blades are locked in
place by special tabs or locking plates.
Various other methods of blade retention have been used, as seen in Figure 17, but are
not common now.

Figure 17: Other Attachment Methods

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Discs are machined forgings with an integral shaft or a flange onto which a shaft can be
bolted. The disc has provision for the attachment of blades around its circumference
(Figure 18).

Figure 18: Turbine Disc

The most common methods of sealing turbines are abradable shroud ring and knife edge
tips shown in Figure 19.
The shrouds are small segments at the tips of the blades to prevent leakage across the
When shrouded tips are not used, a snug fit between the tips and the turbine casing is
ensured by either abradable blade tips or an abradable lining fitted to the case.

Figure 19: Abradable Shroud Ring and Knife Edge

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The rotor assembly fits easily into the turbine casing when assembled, but expansion
due to heating and centrifugal forces during operation causes the blades to cut their own
seat and ensure the best possible fit.
Shrouded turbines have the advantage of minimising the loss of efficiency due to leakage
of gas across the blade tip, and extra strength. They do however; suffer the disadvantage
of being susceptible to blade creep due to the increased centrifugal loading caused by the
increase in peripheral mass of the blade. Because of the extra weight, shrouded blades
are better suited to low speed turbines.

As the high velocity gases pass through the turbine nozzle and impact the turbine
blades, the turbine wheel rotates. In some engines, a single turbine wheel cannot absorb
sufficient energy from the exhaust gas to drive the compressor and accessories.
Therefore, many engines use multiple turbine stages, each stage consisting of a turbine
nozzle and wheel.
Once the turbine has extracted enough power to run the compressor, the exhaust gas
uses its remaining energy to add to the reactive force of thrust. A turbojet engine relies
on the exhaust stream velocity to contribute significantly to thrust.

Dual Spool Turbofan

The fan requires a lot of power to drive it therefore the fan and the LP compressor have
the greater number of turbine stages (Figure 20). The higher the bypass ratio the greater
number of turbine stages that are needed.

Figure 20: Dual Spool Turbofan

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Triple Spool Turbofan
Like a dual spool turbofan, the three spool fan requires a lot of power to drive it,
therefore it has the greater number of turbine stages (Figure 21). The higher the bypass
ratio the greater number of turbine stages that are needed. The IP and HP compressor do
not need so much power therefore they have fewer stages.

Figure 21: Triple Spool Turbofan

Turboprop Engine
A turboprop engine is a gas turbine engine that drives a propeller to produce thrust.
Turboprops, like all gas turbine engines, have a compressor section, combustion section,
turbine section, and exhaust section. These sections carry out the same functions as if
they were installed in a turbojet engine. However, a turboprop engine is designed with a
few differences. For example, the turbine of a turboprop engine extracts up to 85 percent
of the engines total power output to drive the propeller. To do this, most turboprop
engines utilize multiple stage turbines (Figure 23). In addition, the turbine blades in a
turboprop engine are designed to extract more energy from the exhaust gases than the
blades found in a turbojet engine.

Figure 22: Turboprop

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On some turboprop and turboshaft engines, driving torque is derived from a free power
turbine. This method allows the turbine to run at its optimum speed because it is
mechanically independent of other turbine and compressor shafts.

Figure 23: Turboprop

Turboshaft Engines
Turboshaft engines are gas turbine engines that operate something other than a
propeller by delivering power to a shaft. Turboshaft engines are similar to turboprop
engines, and in some instances, both use the same design. Like turboprops, turboshaft
engines use almost all the energy in the exhaust gases to drive an output shaft. The
power may be taken directly from the engine turbine, or the shaft may be driven by its
own free turbine. Like free turbines in turboprop engines, a free turbine in a turboshaft
engine is not mechanically coupled to the engines main rotor shaft, so it may operate at
its own speed. Free turbine designs are used extensively in current production model
engines. Turboshaft engines are frequently used to power helicopters and auxiliary power
units aboard large commercial aircraft.


To fully utilise the power available from the combustion gases, turbines are operated at
the highest tolerable temperature and blade tip speed.
The high tip speeds, (up to 1,200 feet per second); impart high centrifugal loads on the
blades and discs.
Temperatures in the turbine can also be in the region of 1,450C and gas velocity may be
around 1,800 feet per second.
The turbine environment is extremely hostile. This hostile environment can lead to
design and longevity problems.

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Blade Creep
Creep occurs when high stresses are applied to the turbine at a high temperature. It is
a gradual increase in blade length or disc diameter with time, leading eventually to a
failure of the blade or rubbing of the blade tip against the casing. The time elapsed
before failure depends on the load applied and the temperature.
Figure 24 indicates typical variations in the creep strain of a turbine blade. There is in
general, a fairly rapid initial increase in length or disc diameter, followed by a long period
during which the increase is approximately linear with time.
Finally there is a period during which the increase in blade length is rapid, leading to
total blade failure. This last condition should never be experienced in the life of an
engine. However, in the event of severe over-speeding or high temperature, this excessive
creep can occur. If high temperatures or over-speeding have occurred, blade creep
checks are then used to check that excessive blade creep has not occurred.

Figure 24: Blade Creep Graph

Creep Checks

At intervals laid down in the maintenance manual, or when an engine is operated outside
its working limits (i.e. over-temperature or over-speeding) a turbine check is required.
There are two methods of carrying out a creep check:
Measure each blade individually
Measure the distance between the turbine blade tip and the shroud ring
The measurements obtained are then compared to the last creep check measurements,
and an indication of blade creep can be ascertained.
Of the two methods of carrying out turbine blade checks, measuring each blade
individually is the most accurate as it is not affected by such variables as turbine disc
growth or turbine shroud warpage. However, to carry this check out, the turbine
assembly must be removed from the engine, to give the fitter access to the blades.
Although not as accurate, measuring the distance from the tip of the turbine blade to the
shroud ring is a more convenient and practical method of ascertaining the turbine
condition at short notice.

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If the measurements obtained during this check are out of tolerance, then the engine
would be removed for more detailed inspection.

Blade Tip to Shroud Clearance Check

The method used to check the clearance between the tips of the turbine blades and the
inner diameter of the shroud is as follows:
Insert feeler gauges into the gap between the turbine blade tips and the turbine
shroud at the 12 oclock position
Rotate the disc to find the blade which gives the least clearance
Mark this blade with an approved hot end marking pencil
Insert the feeler gauges between the marked blade and the turbine shroud at
sixteen places around the shroud circumference
The sixteen clearances which were measured should be recorded on a clock face
The measurements are then compared to previous tip clearance checks and the
maintenance manual to check any abnormal growth or out of tolerance clearances
From the measurements recorded it is possible to determine whether the shroud
ring has warped or excessive blade creep has occurred


Radial inflow turbines are sometimes used in ancillary equipment such as Gas Turbine
Compressors (GTC), Auxiliary Power Units (APU), Air Turbine Motors (ATM) and some
types of turbo superchargers. The design and construction of the turbine centres on a
disc having radially disposed vanes machined into its face and is similar in design to the
impellers used in centrifugal compressors.
The main difference is the fitting of a set of vanes to the rear face of the turbine wheel.
These vanes are known as exducer vanes, as illustrated in Figure 25. The purpose of the
exducer vanes is to increase the length of the turbine vanes and by doing so increase the
efficiency of the turbine. The gas flow through the turbine first enters through a ring of
stationary nozzle guide vanes which apportion the gas flow equally around the turbine
and direct the gas flow onto the periphery of the turbine wheel at the optimum angle of
attack. It then flows to the eye of the turbine, across the exducer vanes (to extract the
remaining energy from the gas flow) and exits at atmospheric pressure through the jet

Figure 25: Radial Inflow Turbine

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Gas Turbine Engine Exhaust .......................................................................................... 2
Engine Noise ................................................................................................................... 7
Thrust Reversers ........................................................................................................... 10

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After the gas flow leaves the turbine it enters the exhaust section. The design of a
turbojet engine exhaust section exerts tremendous influence on the performance of an
engine. The shape and size of an exhaust section affects:
Turbine inlet temperature
The mass airflow through the engine
The velocity and pressure of the exhaust jet
Therefore, an exhaust section determines to some extent the amount of thrust developed.

Figure 1: Gas Turbine Engine Exhaust

The purpose of an exhaust section is to collect the gas flow, straighten it and increase its
velocity. A typical exhaust section extends from the rear of the turbine section to the
point where the exhaust gases leave the engine. An exhaust section is comprised of
several components including the:
Exhaust cone
Exhaust duct or tailpipe
Exhaust nozzle

Figure 2: Exhaust Unit

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Exhaust Cone
A typical exhaust cone assembly consists of an outer duct, an inner cone, or exhaust
cone, three or more radial hollow struts, and a group of tie rods that assist the struts in
centring the inner cone within the outer duct. The outer duct is made of stainless steel
and attaches to the rear flange of the turbine case.
The purpose of an exhaust cone assembly is to channel and collect turbine discharge
gases into a single jet. Due to the diverging passage between the outer duct and inner
cone, gas velocity within the exhaust cone decreases slightly while gas pressure rises.
Radial struts between the outer shell and inner cone support the inner cone, and help
straighten the swirling exhaust gases that would otherwise exit the turbine at an
approximate angle of 45 degrees.

Figure 3: Exhaust Case and Cone Assembly

The exhaust cone assembly is commonly made from stainless steel or nickel alloy.

Tail Pipe
A tailpipe is an extension of the exhaust section that directs exhaust gases safely from
the exhaust cone to the exhaust, or jet nozzle. The use of a tailpipe imposes a penalty on
an engines operating efficiency due to heat and duct friction losses. These losses cause a
drop in the exhaust gas velocity and, hence, the thrust. Tailpipes are used almost
exclusively with engines that are installed within an aircrafts fuselage to protect the
surrounding airframe. Engines installed in a nacelle or pod and which may require no
tailpipe, the exhaust nozzle is mounted directly to the exhaust cone assembly.

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Exhaust Nozzle
An exhaust, or jet nozzle, provides the exhaust gases with a final boost in velocity. An
exhaust nozzle mounts to the rear of a tailpipe, if a tailpipe is required or to the rear
flange of the exhaust duct if no tailpipe is necessary.
Two types of exhaust nozzle designs used on aircraft are the converging design, and the
converging/diverging design. On a converging exhaust nozzle, the nozzle diameter
decreases from front to back. This convergent shape produces a venturi that accelerates
the exhaust gases and increases engine thrust.
The diameter of a converging/diverging duct decreases, then increases from front to
back. The converging portion of the exhaust nozzle accelerates the turbine exhaust gases
to supersonic speed at the narrowest part of the duct. Once the gases are moving at the
speed of sound they are accelerated further in the nozzles divergent portion, so the
exhaust gases exit the nozzle well above the speed of sound.

Figure 4: Converging and Converging/Diverging Exhaust Nozzles

On fan or bypass type engines, there are two gas streams venting to the atmosphere.
High temperature gases are discharged by the turbine, while a cool air mass is moved
rearward by the fan section. In a low bypass engine, the flow of cool and hot air are
combined in a mixer unit that ensures mixing of the two streams prior to exiting the
engine. High bypass engines, on the other hand, usually exhaust the two streams
separately through two sets of nozzles arranged coaxially around the exhaust nozzle.
However, on some high bypass engines, a common or integrated nozzle is sometimes
used to partially mix the hot and cold gases prior to their ejection. An exhaust nozzle
opening can have either a fixed or variable area. The two exhausts are referred to as the
hot and cold streams. In a low bypass engine, the flow of cool and hot air are combined
in a mixer unit that ensures mixing of the two streams prior to exiting the engine.

Figure 5: Cold and Hot Exhaust Flow

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Figure 6: High Bypass Fan Integrated Exhaust Flow

An exhaust nozzle opening can have either a fixed or variable area. A variable geometry
nozzle is sometimes necessary on engines that utilize an afterburner. Variable nozzles
are typically operated with pneumatic, hydraulic, or electric controls.
Afterburners are used to accelerate the exhaust gases, which in turn, increases thrust.
An afterburner is typically installed immediately aft of the last stage turbine and forward
of the exhaust nozzle. The components that make up an afterburner include the fuel
manifold, an ignition source, and a flame holder.

Figure 7: Afterburner Components

The addition of an afterburner to a gas turbine engine is made possible by the fact that
the gases in the tailpipe still contain a large quantity of oxygen. If you recall,
approximately 25 percent of a compressors discharge air is used to support combustion,
while the remaining 75 percent is used for cooling. Once the cooling air passes through
an engine, a portion of it is mixed with the exhaust gases at the rear of the turbine
section. The tailpipe entrance is fitted with a fuel manifold, consisting of a set of
afterburner fuel nozzles, or spray-bars, that inject fuel into the tailpipe. The fuel and air
mix, then ignite and burn in the afterburner. The additional heat generated by
combustion accelerates the exhaust gases and creates additional thrust.
To ensure thorough fuel-air mixing, a tubular grid or spoke shaped obstruction, called a
flame holder, is placed downstream of the fuel nozzles. The presence of the flame holder
creates turbulence, causing the approaching gases to swirl and thoroughly mix.

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Figure 8: Variable Geometry Exhaust Nozzles
The use of an afterburner dramatically increases the temperature, gas volume and thrust
produced by an engine. Therefore, when an afterburner is being used, the area of the
exhaust nozzle must be increased. If this is not done, an area of back pressure at the
rear of the turbine would be created which could increase the turbine temperature
beyond its safe level. By increasing the size of the exhaust nozzle, the exhaust gas
temperature can be reduced to tolerable limits.
Afterburning is used primarily on military aircraft to assist in take-off or produce rapid
climb-out speeds. Afterburners can provide as much as a 100 percent increase in thrust
at the expense of fuel flows three to five times higher than normal.

Turboprop Exhaust
In a typical turboprop exhaust system, the exhaust gases are directed through a tail pipe
assembly from the turbine section of the engine to the atmosphere. The exhaust
arrangement used depends on the type of engine. Turboprop engines utilizing a through-
flow burner typically expel the gases straight out the back of the engine and out the
nacelle. This extracts the maximum amount of thrust from the velocity of the hot gases.
Engines using a reverse flow combustor may exhaust the hot gases near the front of the
engine. This design collects the exhaust gases and vents them overboard through
exhaust stacks. There is very little additional thrust provided by this type of exhaust.
Helicopter tailpipes are often divergent in shape to nullify any thrust produced. This
enhances hover stability. The power required to drive the rotors is extracted through the
turbines, but any residual thrust from the tailpipe would produce a thrust on the
aircraft. Typically, the exhaust system is designed to produce no thrust.

Exhaust Insulation
Engine insulation blankets are used to shield portions of an aircrafts structure from the
intense heat radiated by the exhaust duct. In addition, blankets reduce the possibility of
leaking fuel or oil coming in contact with hot engine parts and accidentally igniting.
Common places where insulation blankets may be used include the combustion, turbine,
and exhaust sections.
Aluminium, glass fibre, and stainless steel are among the materials used in the
manufacture of engine insulation blankets. Several layers of fibreglass, aluminium foil,
and silver foil are covered with a stainless steel shroud to form a typical blanket. The
fibreglass is a low conductance material and the layers of metal foil act as radiation
shields. Each blanket is manufactured with a suitable covering that prevents it from
becoming oil soaked. Although insulation blankets were used extensively on early engine
installations, they are typically not required with modern turbofan engine installations.

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Figure 9: Engine Insulation Blankets

Noise is best defined for gas turbine engine purposes as unwanted sound because it can
be both irritating and harmful. The sound level of the average business jet or airliner
during take-off, as heard by persons on the airport near the end of the runway, would
probably be in the range of 90 to 100 decibels. This noise level would be similar to a
subway train noise as heard from the boarding platform. Right at the aircraft the noise
level could be as high as 160 decibels and painful to the ears.
Even the lower level of noise (90 to 100 effective perceived noise decibels) is felt by many
people to be excessive and harmful. The industry has reacted to this by continually
improving noise reduction techniques on every new generation of engine and aircraft to
satisfy the publics need for more effective noise abatement.
Effective Perceived Noise Decibels (Epndb) is a standard measure of the loudness (sound
pressure) combined with the frequency and duration of sound and is used specifically for
aircraft noises in the atmosphere. Epndb can also be an estimated value where
atmospheric absorption prevents completely accurate measurement, such as an aircraft
flying overhead where wind, temperature, moisture, etc., could interfere with accuracy.
Noise absorbing materials convert acoustic energy (air pressure) into heat energy.
However, one can still find what looks like the old style noise suppressor being fitted to
some newer engines to meet the new noise standards.
Noise generated as the exhaust gases leave the engine is at a low frequency level, such as
from a ships fog horn, and in the same way carries for long distances. It is this low
frequency noise that tends to be most bothersome to people who live close to airports.
The noise generated by a turbofan engine is much less than that generated by a turbojet.
This is principally because the turbofan will generally employ more turbine wheels to
drive the compressor and the fan. This, in turn, causes the hot exhaust velocity and
noise level to be lessened. The figure shows an old style hot stream noise suppressor,
called an increased perimeter or multi- lobed design.

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Most fully ducted turbofan engines are designed with what is termed exhaust mixing to
blend the fan and hot airstreams more effectively and lessen the sound emission coming
from a common exhaust duct. On these engines the sound from the inlet is likely to be
louder than from the tailpipe.

Figure 10: Exhaust Noise Graph

Types of noise suppression units used on older gas turbine engines are:
Multiple tube nozzle
Lobe type nozzle
Corrugated nozzle
All these designs mix cooler ambient air into the hot gas stream.
These devices all operate under the principle of increasing the mixing rate of the exhaust
gases with the atmosphere thus reducing the larger eddies within the exhaust stream.
This has the effect of dampening low frequency sound. This is accomplished by
increasing the contact area of the atmosphere with the exhaust gas stream through lobes
and corrugated nozzles.
Because of the characteristic of low frequency noise to linger at relatively high volume,
noise reduction is achieved by raising the frequency. Frequency change is accomplished
by increasing the perimeter of the exhaust stream, which provides more cold and hot air
mixing space. This reduces the tendency of hot and cold air molecules to shear against
each other and also to break up the large turbulence in the jet wake which produces the
low frequency (loud) noise.
In other words, reducing large eddy turbulence to fine grain turbulence changes the
frequency of noise to a higher frequency, which is more readily absorbed by the
atmosphere. The noise is then lessened for any given distance from the noise source and
the effective perceived noise reading on a decibel meter will be lower.
Frequency change is accomplished by increasing the cold and hot air mixing space. This
increases the perimeter of the exhaust stream.

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Figure 11: Cold and Hot Air Mixing
Multi-lobe and multi-tube nozzles reduce large eddy turbulence to fine grain turbulence.

Figure 12: Multi-Lobe (Left) and Multi-Tube Nozzles (Right)

Noise suppression units are not generally required on new business jets or airliners
today, but regulations around the world require their use on many older commercial jet
Newer aircraft have inlets and tailpipes lined with noise attenuating materials to keep
sound emission within the established effective perceived noise decibel limits. These
noise absorbing materials convert acoustic energy (air pressure) into heat energy.
However, one can still find what looks like the old style noise suppressor being fitted to
some newer engines to meet the new noise standards.
Noise suppression units (hush kits) are not generally required on new aircraft today.
Worldwide regulations require their use on many older commercial jet aircraft. Hush kits
include a multi-lobe exhaust mixer to induce fan bypass air into the hot stream. Or
ejectors combine the old style multi-lobed and multi-tubed designs.
Newer aircraft have inlets and tailpipes lined with noise attenuating materials. These
keep sound emission within the established effective perceived noise decibel (Epndb)

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Figure 13: Noise Attenuating Lining Locations
Noise attenuating linings are fitted to engine inlet, fan and exhaust ducts.

Figure 14: Honeycomb Noise Attenuating Linings

Airliners powered by turbojets and turbofans, most commuter aircraft, and an increasing
number of business jets are equipped with thrust reversers to aid in braking and
directional control during normal landing, and reduce brake maintenance. To provide
braking and directional control during emergency landings and baulked take-offs and to
back an aircraft out of a parking spot in a power back operation.
Thrust reversers redirect the flow of cold and/or hot exhaust to provide thrust in the
opposite direction.
Thrust reversers provide approximately 20 percent of the braking force under normal
conditions (wheel brakes provide the other 80%). Reversers must be capable of producing
50 percent of rated thrust in the reverse direction. However, exhaust gas exits a typical
reverser at an angle to the engines thrust axis. Because of this, maximum reverse thrust
capability is always less than forward thrust capability.
Operating in reverse at low ground speeds can cause re-ingestion of hot gases and
compressor stalls. It can also cause ingestion of fine sand and other runway debris.

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The most frequently encountered thrust reversers can be divided into two categories:
The mechanical blockage type
The aerodynamic blockage type
Thrust reversers can again be divided into two groups:
Hot stream, which can be further divided into two types:
Pre-exit Reverser is located before the exhaust nozzle
Post-exit Reverser is located after the exhaust nozzle
Cold stream
Most aircraft use a combination of mechanical and aerodynamic blockage reversers, and
a combination of these for use in the cold and hot streams.

Figure 15: Hot Stream (Left), Cold Stream (Right)

Mechanical Blockage

Mechanical blockage is accomplished by placing a movable obstruction in the exhaust

gas stream either before or after the exhaust exits the duct. The engine exhaust gases are
mechanically blocked and diverted to a forward direction by an inverted cone, half
sphere, or other device. The mechanical blockage system is also known as the clamshell
thrust reverser because of its shape.

Figure 16: Clam Shell with Cascade Vanes

On the selection of reverse thrust, the doors rotate to uncover the ducts and close the
normal gas stream exit. Cascade vanes then direct the gas stream in a forward direction
so that the jet thrust opposes the aircraft motion.
Another system similar to thrust reverse is a thrust spoiler. It looks like a clamshell hot
stream reverser, but the blocker panels direct the gases out radially rather than turning
them forward. The spoiler system is used where reversal of the hot jet nozzle gas
interferes with the aerodynamics of the fan section or causes hot gas re-ingestion into
the flight inlet.

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Figure 17: Thrust Spoiler Type
Cold stream mechanical blockage type places a movable obstruction in the pre-exit fan
air stream. The blocker doors open to redirect the fan airflow forward. As they open they
mechanically block the normal gas stream exit. They are typically hydraulically operated.

Figure 18: Cold Stream Mechanical Blockage Type

Aerodynamic Blockage

The aerodynamic blockage type of thrust reverser uses thin aerofoils or obstructions to
redirect the gas stream forward of the aircraft. Some aircraft may use a combination of
the aerodynamic blockage and the mechanical blockage type reversers. Mixed exhaust
turbofans are configured with one reverser, while unmixed or bypass exhaust turbofans
often have both cold stream and hot stream reversers. Some high bypass turbofans will
have only cold stream reversing because most of the thrust is present in the fan
discharge and a hot stream reverser would be of minimum value and become a weight

Hot Stream Thrust Reverse

Hot stream mechanical clamshell doors with cascade vanes are placed before the exhaust
exits the duct (pre-exit). The clamshell doors rotate to uncover the cascade vanes and
mechanically block the normal gas stream exit. Cascade vanes then direct the gas stream
in a forward direction. The same principle is used for hot stream and cold stream
reversers. Hot stream reversers tend to be pneumatically powered.

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Figure 19: Hot Stream Clam Shell Type

Cold Stream Thrust Reverse

Cold stream mechanical blocker doors with cascade vanes of the pre-exit type are used
on high bypass engine thrust reverser system.

Figure 20: Cold Stream Blocker Door Type

As the thrust reverser sleeve moves rearwards, using pneumatically driven ball screw
actuators, the blocker doors close and the cascade vanes are exposed. The blocker doors
mechanically block the normal air stream exit. Cascade vanes then direct the air stream
in a forward direction.

Reverser Operation
The normal operating procedure for thrust reverse is to select reverse after touchdown at
ground idle speed and re-apply power to approximately 75% N2 speed (100% in
emergencies). High bypass fan engines are normally limited to 70% N1.
Then as the aircraft slows to approximately 80 knots, power is reduced back to reverser
idle and then to forward thrust as soon as practical. The thrust reverser lever commonly
acts as throttle in reverse thrust except for FADEC Airbus aircraft.
While some thrust reversers are electrically powered, most large transport category
aircraft use hydraulically actuated reversers powered by main system hydraulic power,
or by pneumatic actuators powered by engine bleed air.
Cockpit indicators show thrust reverser status unlocked and deployed. Safety devices
prevent deployment while the aircraft is in flight. Warning lights and tones alert the crew
to an unlocked thrust reverser in flight.

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Operating in reverse at low ground speeds can cause re-ingestion of hot gases and
compressor stalls. It can also cause ingestion of fine sand and other runway debris that
can abrade gas path components and even find its way through main bearing air-oil
seals into oil sumps.

Figure 21: Thrust Reverse Use

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Engine Bearings .............................................................................................................. 2
Bearing Chamber Sealing ................................................................................................ 4

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The combination of compressor and turbine rotors, on a common shaft, make up the
main engine power or rotor shaft, which must be adequately supported.
Engine main bearings are assigned that critical function of support and are located along
the length of the rotor shaft. The number of bearings necessary is determined, in part, by
the length and weight of the rotor shaft. For example, since a split spool axial compressor
typically has a greater number of rotating components it requires more main bearings
than a centrifugal compressor. The main bearings of a gas turbine engine are either ball
or roller anti-friction types. Ball bearings ride in grooved inner race and support the main
engine rotor for both axial (thrust) and radial (centrifugal) loads. The roller bearings ride
on a flat inner race. Because of their greater surface contact area than the ball bearings,
they are positioned to absorb the bulk of the radial loading and to allow for axial growth
of the engine during operation. For this reason, tapered roller bearings are seldom used.

Plain bearings are not used as main bearings in turbine engines, as they are in
reciprocating engines, because turbines operate at much higher speeds and friction heat
build-up would be prohibitive. Plain bearings (bushings), however, are used in some
minor load locations such as in accessories. The primary loads acting on main bearings
are from the following sources:
Weight of the rotating mass (compressor and turbine) magnified many thousands of
times by radial G forces
Axial forces from power changes and thrust loading
Gyroscopic effect of heavy rotating masses trying to remain in place as the aircraft
changes direction
Compression and tension loads between the stationary casings and the rotor
system caused by thermal expansion
Vibrations induced by the airstream, the airframe and the engine itself

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Main Bearings
The main bearings support the rotor assemblies and then transfer the various loads
through the bearing housings and support struts to the outer cases of the engine, and
ultimately into the aircraft mountings.
The number of main bearings varies from one engine model to another. One
manufacturer might prefer to install three heavy bearings and another five or six lighter
bearings to accommodate the same load factors.
The bearings are made up of an inner and outer race, with the cage holding the rollers or
balls. This cage keeps the roller or balls aligned between the two races, which support
the turning shaft. Straight roller bearings can accept only radial loads and will not
support the shaft under thrust (axial loads). The thrust load is carried by the ball
bearing, which can carry radial and thrust loads.
Each engine configuration differs, but a common method is using one ball bearing and
one or more roller bearings per spool shaft. Roller bearings offer a larger bearing contact
surface than ball bearings and are the preferred bearing where thrust loads are not
present. The ball bearing handles the thrust load and roller bearings provide additional
supports where needed. This configuration allows the engine flexibility when it expands
and contracts due to temperature changes while operating.

Disadvantages of both ball and roller bearings include their vulnerability to damage
caused by foreign matter and tendency to fail without appreciable warning. Therefore,
proper lubrication and sealing against entry of foreign matter is essential. Commonly
used types of oil seals are labyrinth, helical thread, and carbon.
Main engine bearings are housed in a bearing support or housing. The support forms a
chamber which separates the bearing from the engine core cavity. Bearing seals keep the
lubricating oil and oil mist from entering the engine core. Oil leakage into the core cavity
will enter the airflow and gas stream.

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Labyrinth seals
Labyrinth seals are commonly used for main bearing chamber sealing. They have no
contacting parts. They prevent oil leakage out by controlling opposing air leakage into the
chamber. Compressor bleed air, which is at a greater pressure than bearing chamber
vent pressure, causes air to flow from the outside to the inside of the chamber.
Air cooling of the engine bearing chambers is not normally necessary since the
lubrication system is adequate for cooling purposes. Additionally, bearing chambers are
located, where possible, in the cooler regions of the engine. In instances where additional
cooling is required, it is good practice to have a double skinned bearing housing with
cooling air fed into the intermediate space.

This type of seal is also used as a metering device to control internal airflows. There are
several variations of labyrinth seal design.

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Labyrinth Air Seal

A labyrinth seal used as an air seal comprises a finned rotating member with a static
bore which is lined with a soft abradable material, or a high temperature honeycomb
structure. On initial running of the engine the fins lightly rub against the lining, cutting
into it to give a minimum clearance.
The clearance varies throughout the flight cycle, dependent upon the thermal growth of
the parts and the natural flexing of the rotating members. Across each seal fin there is a
pressure drop which results in a restricted flow of sealing air from one side of the seal to
the other.

Labyrinth Bearing Seal

When this seal is used for bearing chamber sealing, it prevents oil leakage by allowing
the air to flow from the outside to the inside of the chamber. This flow also induces a
positive pressure which assists the oil return system.
Seals between two rotating shafts are more likely to be subject to rubs between the fins
and abradable material due to the two shafts deflecting simultaneously. This will create
excessive heat which may result in shaft failure.
To prevent this, a non-heat producing seal is used where the abradable lining is replaced
by a rotating annulus of oil. When the shafts deflect, the fins enter the oil and maintain
the seal without generating heat. Labyrinth air/oil seals have greater fin clearance than
air seals. This prevents heat build-up due to seal rub caused by shaft flexing.

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Thread Type Labyrinth Seal

The fins on thread type labyrinth seals form a helical path similar to a screw thread. As
the seal rotates it threads the oil back into the bearing chamber. As with labyrinth
seals, fins allow for a metered amount of compressor air to flow into the bearing
chamber. Pressure within the bearing chamber is maintained slightly above atmospheric.

Hydraulic Seal
This method of sealing is often used between two rotating members to seal a bearing
chamber. Unlike the labyrinth or ring seal, it does not allow a controlled flow of air to
traverse across the seal. Hydraulic seals are formed by a seal fin immersed in an
annulus of oil which has been created by centrifugal forces. Any difference in air
pressure inside and outside of the bearing chamber is compensated by a difference in oil
level either side of the fin.

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Ring seal
A ring seal comprises a metal ring which is housed in a close fitting groove in the static
housing. The normal running clearance between the ring and rotating shaft is smaller
than that which can be obtained with the labyrinth seal. This is because the ring is
allowed to move in its housing whenever the shaft comes into contact with it.
Ring seals are used for bearing chamber sealing, except in the hot areas where oil
degradation due to heat would lead to ring seizure within its housing.

Carbon seals
Carbon seals consist of a static ring of carbon which constantly rubs against a collar on
a rotating shaft. Several springs are used to maintain contact between the carbon and
the collar. This type of seal relies upon a high degree of contact and does not allow oil or
air leakage across it. The heat caused by friction is dissipated by the oil system.

Carbon ring seals consist of a static ring of moulded carbon which is spring-loaded to
maintain contact with a race.
The seal race is mounted on the rotating shaft.

Carbon seals are brittle and need to be handled carefully. Special care should be taken
not to damage the polished sealing surfaces.

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