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Jet Engines - How do they work?

Have you ever wondered how jet engines push airplanes large and small through the air at high speed?

Let's take a look at the inside of a turbofan engine, a type of jet engine that's commonly found on airliners and business jets.

At the front of the engine is a large fan. The large fan spins quickly like a propellor and provides a large amount of thrust. Most of the air that the fan pushes passes straight out the back of the engine and pushes the aircraft forward.

Some of the air that has passed through the fan enters a smaller section of the engine containing many spinning turbines, essentially fans with many blades.

As the air enters the first section of the engine, called the compressor section, the turbines compress and heat it. As the air moves through the compressors it becomes quite hot and dense.

At the end of the compressor section are a series of burners where fuel is pumped into the engine. As the fuel burns and expands it shoots towards the back of the engine.

Before the exhaust passes out of the engine it spins several turbines that act like small windmills, spinning in the exhaust stream. The exhaust turbines are connected to the compressor turbines and cause them to spin, drawing more air into the engine.

The final set of exhaust turbines actually spin the large fan at the front of the engine pushing a huge volume of air out the back of the engine.

The thrust from a jet engine is produced by a combination of the large fan at its front and the hot exhaust shooting out the back of it.

Pretty simple, right? Now you know what powers airplanes and keeps them flying through the sky.


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