Turbine engines were a huge advancement in aviation, allowing for unprecedented flight capabilities. Generally speaking, turbine engines are classified based on whether the compressor is centrifugal flow, axial flow, or a combination of the two. Further distinctions are made based on the path the air takes through the engine and how power is produced. Turbine engines come in four basic types: turbojet, turboprop, turbofan, and turboshaft.
The first type of turbine engine, the turbojet, was developed in Germany and England ahead of World War II. it is the simplest of all jet engines, consisting of four sections: the compressor, combustion chamber, turbine section, and exhaust. The compressor passes air at an accelerated rate to the combustion chamber where the fuel inlet and igniter are. Expanding air drives the turbine and the high speed exhaust gases provide thrust. Turbojet engines generally have lower range and endurance are mostly used in military aircraft.
The first Turboprop engine was designed over the course of three years from 1939-1942 by Hungarian designer Gyorgy Jendrassik. Despite this, it was not utilized by an aircraft until 1945, when Rolls Royce converted a Derwent II engine into the RB50 model. A turboprop engine operates a propeller through a reduction gear which allows optimal propeller performance to be achieved even at lower speeds than the operating RPM. due to their fuel efficiency and ability to operate at slow speeds, turboprop engines are often used in small, commuter aircraft or aircraft used in agriculture.
Turbofan engines were the product of the idea to merge the best parts of the turbojet and turboprop. In a turbofan engine, secondary air flow is diverted around the combustion chamber, creating additional thrust. There are two separate airstreams through a turbofan engine - one passes through the engine core while the other bypasses the core entirely. One of the earliest applications of a turbofan engine was in the Gloster E28/39, which took its maiden flight in May of 1941. The final type of turbine engine is the turboshaft. In this model, the energy produced by the expanding gases drives a shaft connected to a turbine through one stage of reduction gearing as opposed to producing jet thrust. The first turboshaft engine was created in 1949 and are commonly used by helicopters.
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