How Jet Engines Differ From Car Engines

The next time you’re outside, turn your eyes to the sky and you will most likely see a few vapor trails above us. These are the white wispy lines that jet engine planes paint across the great blue sky as they zoom across the horizon. These lines are made by the engines inside the plane that powers them, specifically, jet engine propulsion. This type of engine converts energy rich liquid fuel into a powerful force called thrust. The thrust, in combination with lift, forces air past the wings to power it into the sky and enable flight. Let’s explore how jet engines function and how they vary from piston engines.

Jet engines are similar, yet different, to piston engines in vehicles. A piston engine utilizes cylinders that house pistons which move back and forth to provide power. A jet engine forces gas past the blades of a turbine which make it rotate. In piston engines, fuel is transferred into the cylinders with air from the atmosphere and undergoes a process called combustion. This occurs when burning fuel and air expand and raise the temperature within the pistons, causing them to move back and forth. The pistons drive the crankshaft that powers the cars wheels which enables it to move. The amount of power a piston engine can produce is directly correlated to how big the cylinder is and how far the piston moves. This concept of combustion creating propulsion is mirrored in jet engines.

Instead of using cylinders to power the pistons, a jet engine consists of a long metal tube that carries out the same functions that the cylinders do. Think of it as a thrust making production line. Air is drawn through an intake, compressed by a fan, mixed with fuel which causes combustion, then fired out through an exhaust system. Because this process is occurring at a constant rate, a jet engine is capable of producing a constant power stream that is much stronger than a car engine. A jet engine also burns more fuel since there is a constant need for it. Another area where piston engines vary is in the exhaust systems; jet engines pass the exhaust through multiple turbine stages to extract as much energy as possible.

A more technical name for a jet engine is a gas turbine. As the exhaust gas passes the turbine and causes it to rotate, the plane itself moves forward. This can be better understood by Newton’s third law of motion, which states, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The force of the exhaust gas shooting backwards inevitably makes the plane propel forward. The turbine plays a crucial role in the operation of jet engines, making them a vital component.

At NSN Purchasing, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the jet engine parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@nsnpurchasing.com or call us at +44-142-035-8043.


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