With the combustion of fuel and air mixtures within gas turbine engines in order to generate propulsion, an immense amount of heat is produced which must be cooled. Unlike reciprocating engines that ignite fuel in a four stroke cycle, the gas turbine engine features continuous combustion. This heat can reach thousands of degrees, and if left unchecked, could render an engine unusable in a matter of minutes. To combat this heat, various turbine engine cooling components and air paths are used to reduce temperatures and protect parts.
As the gas turbine engine draws in air for compression and combustion, there remains a great excess that is not used for fuel mixing. This excess air is useful as it provides for much of the turbine engine
cooling, bringing temperatures of hot sections down to around 1,500 to 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit. While this reduces much of the heat within surrounding areas of the casing, heat may still be conducted through metal towards the outside skin. Along the turbine engine, various inlets are implemented to allow the entrance of cool air. This flow is then used to reduce temperature of the turbine case
, nozzle, bearings, and other turbine engine parts. From the engine compressor, bleed air may also be vented so that bearings and nearby components may be cooled.
As air passes through the turbine engine, it is used to cool the combustion chamber liners
. Through engineering, liners are constructed in a way that air passing through them is funneled into a rapid moving film, cooling the inner and outer liner surface. Across turbine engines, cool air is also mixed with the combustion gases towards the aft of the burners so that temperature is decreased before the gases are passed through the turbine.
To protect various turbine engine components, the powerplant is divided into various sections that are separated by seals and fireproof bulkheads. Airflows are supplied to each of these areas to maintain temperatures at an optimal value. By controlling the airflow within the turbine engine through ventilation, the chance of harmful vapor buildup is diminished. Depending on the turbine section, turbine engine cooling air may be supplied through a nose cowl inlet, fan duct, precooler, and other such components.
Insulation also proves to be highly beneficial in turbine engine temperature control, and it often comes in the form of blankets containing fiberglass, low conductance materials, and aluminum foil. Insulation blankets are often placed on the exhaust duct of the gas turbine engine to reduce temperature, as well as prevent fuel from coming into contact with extremely hot aircraft engine components. With covering, the blanket avoids the possibility of becoming soaked in oil, and they are very commonly used for multiple installations. In transport aircraft that utilize auxiliary power units located within the tail cone, insulation blankets may be installed around the exhaust tail pipe to reduce temperature and protect nearby components.
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