Research Outline

Aircraft Engine Research


Describe how an aircraft engine works.

Early Findings

Jet Engine Basics

  • All jet engines utilize thrust to make planes fly very fast. Thrust was discovered by Sir Isaac Newton in his law that states "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
  • The engines use a fan to draw air in the front of the engine. Then, that air is compressed (put under pressure) by a compressor. The compressor consists of many blades attached to a shaft that spin at high speeds to compress the air.
  • Once the air is compressed in the engine, it is then sprayed with fuel and lit with an electric spark. As the gasses burn, they expand and burst through the nozzle at the back of the engine. As these gases shoot backwards, they thrust the aircraft forward.
  • Within the nozzle is another set of blades called the turbine, which is also attached to the same shaft as the compressor. The hot air going through the turbine causes the turbine blades to spin, which then powers the compressor.
  • The engine is also designed so that when cool air is sucked in to the front of the engine, only some of it passes into the core of the engine and is burned. The rest of the cool air passes through the engine and out the back, mixing with the hot air released from the engine and cooling it down again.
  • The parts of an engine include the fan, compressor, combustor, turbine, mixer and nozzle.
  • The inside of the engine can heat up to three thousand degrees.

Types of Engines

  • There are five types of aircraft engines: Turboprop Engines, Turbojet Engines, Turboshaft Engines, Turbofan Engines and Ramjet Engines.
  • Turboprop engines are a jet engine that use "a gearing system to connect to the aircraft propeller." Turboprop engines rotate at mid-range speeds of 250-400 knots, and offer fuel efficiency and efficiency at mid-altitudes, but their gearing system can also wear down quickly and their "forward airspeed is limited".