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Beginner's Guide to Propulsion
Turbine Engine Identification

If so instructed by your teacher, print out a worksheet page for these problems.

Before you begin:

  • In this activity, you will be using the Beginner's Guide to Propulsion to identify parts and answer questions about a basic jet engine. Prior to completing the activity locate the Propulsion Index, and preview the slides listed under Turbine Engine Parts and Engine Component Analysis. Refer back to the information in the slides to help you complete the questions given below.

  • During World War II, a new type of airplane engine was developed independently in Germany and in England.  This engine was called a gas turbine engine; we normally call the engine a jet engine. Early jet engines worked much like a rocket engine, creating a hot exhaust gas that was passed through a nozzle to produce thrust. But unlike the rocket engine, which must carry its oxygen for combustion, the turbine engine gets its oxygen from the surrounding air. (A jet engine will not work in outer space because there is no surrounding air.) For a gas turbine engine, the accelerated gas is the jet exhaust ,and most of the mass of the jet exhaust comes from the surrounding atmosphere. Most modern passenger and military aircraft are powered by gas turbine engines, engines that are very important for modern life.

Answer the following questions:

Gas Turbine parts


  1. Use the Turbine Engine Parts section located in the Propulsion Index of the Beginner's Guide to Propulsion to match the correct letter from above with the listed part. Write the corresponding letter for each engine part in the space to the right of the word.














  2. Answer the following questions about Turbine Engine Parts and Engine Component Analysis using the Beginner's Guide to Propulsion.


  1. Why is the inlet lip of a supersonic airplane's engine sharper than the inlet lip of a subsonic airplane?

  2. What is the purpose of the central cone in the "Axisymetric Supersonic" engine?


  3. What is the purpose of the stators in the compressor?

  4. What is the advantage of having a rectangular nozzle on a jet engine?

  5. What is "spillage drag"?

  6. What is meant by "distortion" in reference to inlet performance?

  7. What is the difference between an axial compressor and a centrifugal compressor?

  8. Why did designers change from centrifugal compressors to axial compressors?

  9. At what point in the turbojet engine is the pressure the highest?

  10. How does the nozzle produce thrust?

Related Pages:
Propulsion Activity Index
Propulsion Index


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, May 13 02:38:39 PM EDT 2021

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