Gas turbine engines are versatile and trustworthy engines, as they are used for a number of different industries, such as helicopters, ships, locomotives, tanks and small power plants. There are, of course, many different types of turbines, such as steam, wind and water turbines. Specifically, a gas turbine uses a pressurized gas to spin the turbine.
In all modern gas turbines, the engine produces its own pressurized gas by burning fuel such as propane, natural gas, kerosene or jet fuel. The heat produced by the burning the fuel expands in the air, and the rush of this hot air is what spins the turbine.
Gas turbines are made up of three basic parts:
- Compressor – Compresses the air to high pressure
- Combustion area – Burns the fuel and produces high-velocity gas
- Turbine – Extracts the energy from the gas flowing from the combustion chamber
In an axial-flow gas turbine engine, air is sucked in by the compressor, which is a cone-shaped cylinder with small fan blades attached. As the air is pushed through the compression stage, its pressure rises significantly.
One major advantage of gas turbines is that they have an excellent power-to-weight ratio compared to other engines. In other words, the amount of power you receive from the engine is good compared to the engine’s weight. On another positive note, gas turbine engines are much smaller than their reciprocating counterparts of the same power, saving space and energy.