Main article: Brayton cycle
A gas turbine is a rotary machine somewhat similar in principle to a steam turbine. It consists of three main components: compressor, combustion chamber, and turbine. The air is compressed by the compressor where a temperature rise occurs. The compressed air is further heated by combustion of injected fuel in the combustion chamber which expands the air. This energy rotates the turbine which powers the compressor via a mechanical coupling. The hot gases are then exhausted to provide thrust.
Gas turbine cycle engines employ a continuous combustion system where compression, combustion, and expansion occur simultaneously at different places in the engine?giving continuous power. Notably, the combustion takes place at constant pressure, rather than with the Otto cycle, constant volume.
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Gasoline engines take in a mixture
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Gasoline engines take in a mixture of air and gasoline and compress it by the movement of the piston from bottom dead center to top dead center when the fuel is at maximum compression. The reduction in the size of the swept area of the cylinder and taking into account the volume of the combustion chamber is described by a ratio. Early engines had compression ratios of 6 to 1. As compression ratios were increased the efficiency of the engine increased as well.
With early induction and ignition systems the compression ratios had to be kept low. With advances in fuel technology and combustion management high performance engines can run reliably at 12:1 ratio. With low octane fuel a problem would occur as the compression ratio increased as the fuel was igniting due to the rise in temperature that resulted. Charles Kettering developed a lead additive which allowed higher compression ratios.
The fuel mixture is ignited at difference progressions of the piston in the cylinder. At low rpm the spark is timed to occur close to the piston achieving top dead center. In order to produce more power, as rpm rises the spark is advanced sooner during piston movement. The spark occurs while the fuel is still being compressed progressively more as rpm rises.18