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Animated Gas Turbine Parts


Computer picture of a jet engine

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

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.

Here is a slide that compares our computer model with a photo of a real, Pratt and Whitney F100 engine., The F100 engine is used in the F15 and F16 fighter aircraft. As we can see in the picture, jet engines are complicated pieces of machinery. Jets have a lot of parts which spin on a central shaft. To enclose the spinning parts, a jet engine is shaped like a long cylinder. At the bottom of the slide we have a much simpler computer drawing of the engine parts.

Picture and computer drawing of the inside of a jet
 engine with the parts labeled.

Various parts on the photograph are labeled and the corresponding parts on the computer drawing are indicated. The F100 engine picture does not show the aircraft inlet because the inlet is part of the airframe and changes from aircraft to aircraft. The F100 is an afterburning turbofan engine and the flame holders for the afterburner are shown in orange in the nozzle of the drawing. The front section of the F100 is the fan section which is not modeled on the computer drawing.

To analyze jet engine operation, engineers have adopted a numbering scheme for the various parts. This scheme and the accompanying two-dimensional schematic drawing are given on a separate slide.

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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Guided Tours
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Editor: Nancy Hall
NASA Official: Nancy Hall
Last Updated: May 13 2021

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