NASA Meatball Image

Animated Gas Turbine Parts


Computer animation of a jet engine with side removed

Button to Display Parts Button to Display Exploded View Button to Display Rotating Engine Button to Display Compressor Button to Display Turbine Button to Stop Action

In this animation, we peel back the side of the engine to have a look inside. A graphical version of this slide is also available.

Most modern passenger and military aircraft are powered by gas turbine engines, which are also called jet engines. Jet engines come in a variety of shapes and sizes but all jet engines have certain parts in common.

On this page we have a computer model of a basic turbojet engine which you can animate by using the buttons below the picture. To have a look inside, push the "Show Parts" button. At the front of the engine, to the left, is the inlet At the exit of the inlet is the compressor, which is colored cyan. The compressor is connected by a blue colored shaft to the turbine, which is colored magenta. The compressor and the turbine are composed of many rows of small airfoil shaped blades. Some rows are connected to the inner shaft and rotate at high speed, while other rows remain stationary. The rows that spin are called rotors and the fixed rows are called stators. The combination of the shaft, compressor and turbine is called the turbomachinery. The "Exploded View" button shows you how these parts go together. Between the compressor and the turbine flow path is the combustion section or burner, which is colored red. This is where the fuel and the air are mixed and burned. The hot exhaust then passes through the turbine and out the nozzle. The nozzle performs two important tasks. The nozzle is shaped to accelerate the hot exhaust gas to produce thrust. And the nozzle sets the mass flow through the engine.

You can investigate the effects of the various engine parts on jet engine operation by using the EngineSim interactive Java applet. You can vary the performance of any of the engine parts and investigate the effects on thrust and fuel flow.

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by Tom Benson
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Last Updated Tue, May 05 07:13:15 PM EDT 2015 by Tom Benson