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Learn Gas Turbine Operational Concept in 5 Minutes

Gas turbines, also known as combustion turbines, are a type of internal combustion engine widely used for power generation, propulsion, and mechanical drive applications. The operation of a gas turbine involves several key steps:

  1. Air Intake: The process begins with the intake of ambient air. This air serves as the oxidizer for combustion in the turbine. The air is typically filtered and compressed to increase its pressure before entering the combustion chamber.

  2. Compression: The compressed air is directed into the combustion chamber, where it is further pressurized by a series of axial or centrifugal compressors. This compression raises the air temperature and pressure, preparing it for combustion.

  3. Fuel Injection and Combustion: Fuel is injected into the compressed air, and the mixture is ignited. The combustion process releases a significant amount of energy in the form of high-temperature, high-pressure gas.

  4. Expansion and Power Generation: The hot gases produced during combustion are directed through a series of turbine blades. As the gases expand through the turbine, they lose pressure and temperature while imparting energy to the turbine blades, causing them to rotate. This rotational energy is then used to drive a generator, producing electricity.

  5. Exhaust: After passing through the turbine, the exhaust gases exit the system. In some applications, the hot exhaust gases may be utilized for additional purposes, such as combined heat and power (CHP) systems where the waste heat is recovered for heating purposes.

Gas turbines are known for their high power-to-weight ratios, efficiency, and versatility. They find extensive use in aviation for aircraft propulsion, as well as in power plants for electricity generation. Their ability to start quickly and respond rapidly to changing power demands makes them suitable for applications where rapid load changes are common. Despite their advantages, gas turbines also face challenges, such as high operating temperatures, which require advanced materials for construction, and issues related to fuel efficiency at partial loads. Ongoing research and development aim to address these challenges and further improve the efficiency and environmental performance of gas turbines.

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