More than one way to turn a prop

We all know how a basic prop engine works right? basically its a typical internal combustion engine with a prop driven off the end of the crank shaft. But there are a few more ways to turn a propeller. I had heard the term “turbo prop” for a while, mostly when traveling by small prop planes. I always assumed that meant a turbo charged piston engine, just in an aircraft, not so… In reality a turbo prop is a deceptively simple turbine engine, like a jet, but used to turn a prop shaft instead of creating thrust. huh? It consists of several components: 1 compressor. 2. jet fuel/igniter. 3 turbines. 4.exhaust pipe. It is so simple really; engine starts and compressor pulls air in and forces it downstream where it gets sprayed with jet fuel. Then it ignites and heads towards the tailpipe. before it gets there it turns 2 turbines: one turns the prop shaft and the other turns the compressor shaft. For some reason the exhaust does not produce thrust like a typical jet engine, so it can be directed downward. It needs a basic reduction gear because the turbine likes to turn extremely fast in relation to the desired prop speed. In other words the prop is geared way down so it has a shitload or torque. This type of engine is popular on many short takeoff and landing vehicles for commercial use because the higher initial cost of the plane is offset by the more efficient and less complicated nature of the engine in the long run. here are some pics…

Here is a typical civilian turboprop type aircraft (top). They are also used on larger planes, such as this russian Tupolev bomber(bottom).

Ok, so that is the first two types of engine: piston driven, and turbo prop. there are more ways to turn a prop coming next time…


2 responses to “More than one way to turn a prop

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