In the present day, a majority of powerful aircraft rely on gas turbine engines for the means of producing the thrust needed for propulsion and lift. For gas turbine engines to operate as intended, they must carry out continuous combustion of fuel and air mixtures. While the resulting exhaust is expelled after being -used to power the engine compressor by driving a turbine assembly, the intense heat of combustion fuel will often spread throughout the engine and into surrounding components. If not controlled, this heat has the potential of causing various issues and hazards, thus it is crucial that proper cooling is implemented. Many turbine engines utilize basic cooling systems to guard heat-stressed parts, these assemblies utilizing air, cooling paths, and other elements to maintain temperatures. In this blog, we will discuss the cooling systems of gas turbine engines in more detail so that you may understand their function and importance.
To create the fuel and air mixtures that are combusted within the engine, inlets draw in large amounts of atmospheric air. If only the amount of air necessary for combustion was drawn, engines would quickly reach internal temperatures surpassing 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As this is well beyond acceptable levels for safety, a large surplus is drawn in so that hot sections of the engine can be cooled through the process of convection. As air takes on the heat and leaves the engine, temperatures are brought down to a range of 1,500 to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, which is acceptable for such applications.
One of the hottest areas within a typical gas turbine engine is in and around the turbine, and conductive metals will carry heat to the outside skin of the assembly. To deter heat build-up faced by the turbine case and assembly, cooling air inlets are situated around the exterior of the engine, allowing airflow to cool the case, bearings, and turbine nozzle. Additionally, internal air from the engine compressor is also vented to the bearings and other surrounding parts. For the engine exterior and nacelle, fan air is directed through such assemblies. To remove all the heated air in an efficient way, it is directed into the exhaust stream to be expelled.
While removing heat is very important, there are ways in which the spread of heat can be controlled to make the cooling process easier and to protect more sensitive sections. With fiberglass insulation and aluminum foil radiation shields implemented on the exhaust duct, heat from surfaces can be controlled while also preventing any fuel or oil from coming into contact with hot parts. For accessory zones, fireproof bulkheads, seals, and calibrated airflows are all relied on.
As engines face extreme heat during standard operations, it is important that they are regularly inspected and maintained. In some cases, intensive heat can cause parts to warp, making it necessary for a repair or replacement to be carried out. If you find yourself in need of various parts for your gas turbine engine, look no further than Automatize Electronics.
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