Jet Engine

A jet engine is a reaction engine that discharges a fast moving jet of fluid to generate thrust in accordance with Newton's laws of motion. This broad definition of jet engines includes turbojets, turbofans, rockets, ramjets, pulse jets and pump-jets. In general, most jet engines are internal combustion engines but non-combusting forms also exist.

In some common parlance, the term 'jet engine' is loosely referred to an internal combustion duct engine, which typically consists of an engine with a rotary (rotating) air compressor powered by a turbine ("Brayton cycle"), with the leftover power providing thrust via a propelling nozzle. These types of jet engines are primarily used by jet aircraft for long distance travel. The early jet aircraft used turbojet engines which were relatively inefficient for subsonic flight. Modern subsonic jet aircraft usually use high-bypass turbofan engines which help give high speeds as well as, over long distances, giving better fuel efficiency than many other forms of transport.

About 7.2% of the oil used in 2004 was ultimately consumed by jet engines. In 2007, the cost of jet fuel, while highly variable from one airline to another, averaged 26.5% of total operating costs, making it the single largest operating expense for most airlines.


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Timeline of jet power

Jet engines can be dated back to the invention of the aeolipile before the first century AD. This device used steam power directed through two nozzles so as to cause a sphere to spin rapidly on its axis. So far as is known, it was not used for supplying mechanical power, and the potential practical applications of this invention were not recognized. It was simply considered a curiosity.

Jet propulsion only literally and figuratively took off with the invention of the rocket by the Chinese in the 13th century. Rocket exhaust was initially used in a modest way for fireworks but gradually progressed to propel formidable weaponry; and there the technology stalled for hundreds of years.

Archytas, the founder of mathematical mechanics, as described in the writings of Aulus Gellius five centuries after him, was reputed to have designed and built the first artificial, self-propelled flying device. This device was a bird-shaped model propelled by a jet of what was probably steam, said to have actually flown some 200 meters.

In Ottoman, Turkey in 1633 Lagari Hasan Çelebi took off with what was described to be a cone-shaped rocket and then glided with wings into a successful landing, winning a position in the Ottoman army. However, this was essentially a stunt. The problem was that rockets are simply too inefficient at low speeds to be useful for general aviation.

The Coanda-1910.

In 1910 Henri Coanda designed, built and piloted the first 'thermojet'-powered aircraft, known as the Coanda-1910, which he demonstrated publicly at the second International Aeronautic Salon in Paris. The powerplant used a 4-cylinder piston engine to power a compressor, which fed two burners for thrust, instead of using a propeller. At the airport of Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, Coanda lost control of the jet plane, which went off of the runway and caught fire. Fortunately, he escaped with minor injuries to his face and hands. Around that time, Coanda abandoned his experiments due to a lack of interest from the public, scientific and engineering institutions. It would be nearly 30 years until the next thermojet-powered aircraft, the Caproni Campini N.1 (sometimes referred to as C.C.2).

In 1913 René Lorin came up with a form of jet engine, the subsonic pulsejet, which would have been somewhat more efficient, but he had no way to achieve high enough speeds for it to operate, and the concept remained theoretical for quite some time.

However, engineers were beginning to realize that the piston engine was self-limiting in terms of the maximum performance which could be attained; the limit was essentially one of propeller efficiency. This seemed to peak as blade tips approached the speed of sound. If engine, and thus aircraft, performance were ever to increase beyond such a barrier, a way would have to be found to radically improve the design of the piston engine, or a wholly new type of powerplant would have to be developed. This was the motivation behind the development of the gas turbine engine, commonly called a "jet" engine, which would become almost as revolutionary to aviation as the Wright brothers' first flight.

The earliest attempts at jet engines were hybrid designs in which an external power source first compressed air, which was then mixed with fuel and burned for jet thrust. In one such system, called a thermojet by Secondo Campini but more commonly, motorjet, the air was compressed by a fan driven by a conventional piston engine. Examples of this type of design were Henri Coanda's Coanda-1910 aircraft, and the much later Campini Caproni CC.2, and the Japanese Tsu-11 engine intended to power Ohka kamikaze planes towards the end of World War II. None were entirely successful and the CC.2 ended up being slower than the same design with a traditional engine and propeller combination.