Types of aircraft engines

For the people who were born in the world where such advanced inventions and technology are widely used, this can seem pretty mundane stuff. Indeed, what can fascinate us when people are already setting forth to find life on another planet? Still, the whole idea behind all those space probes sent out works significantly on the same fundamental findings and logic.

The importance of an engine

All the magnificent probes to lightning speed jet fighters all carry the fundamental components. One of the core elements of aircraft that helps these flying giants to go about their business is the engine. Without an engine there is no life in an aeroplane. It can still breath but will be severely disabled as it will be devoid of its general purpose. Certainly, if you are interested in learning about the way aeroplanes are functioning, you cannot omit the complexity of their engines.

Let’s get into the fun part and take a closer look at the aircraft engines that were there and are still around.

The most common engine types that we know are the reciprocating engine, gas turbine, electric motor, jet, turbofan, ramjet, scramjet and rocket engines. All of these engine types work using the internal combustion technique. Let’s dig deeper into some of them.

Reciprocating engines

Reciprocating engine are basically what we typically see inside a vehicle and it is also often referred to as a piston engine. Reciprocating engines have other variants as well, such as radial, flat which are also known as horizontally opposed engines and the in-line reciprocating engines.

Gas turbine engines

Gas turbine engine is a way more dominant than reciprocating engines when it comes to their usage for the modern aircraft. Gas turbine engines work as a mean of internal-combustion engine, converting gas into working fluid and this is used to turn the whole turbine.

Electric motors

Yes, electric motors are also deployed in an aeroplane engine. These are typically found  in experimental aeroplanes such as Solar Impulse 1. The way such a motor works is, of course, using electricity. Electricity comes in via medium such as fuel cells, solar cells, power beaming and ultra-capacitors.  These are also used in unmanned aeroplanes, for example, in drones or UAV (Unmanned aerial vehicles).

Jet engines

A jet engine is one of the most fascinating engines that gave the whole aeronautics an extra edge!  Jet engines work in a different from other propeller engines way. Jet engines are far more powerful than the reciprocating engines.

Rocket engines

A rocket engine, is the ultimate engine that can be used in aircraft. Rocket engines, unlike jet engines, carry the oxidizer along with it to accelerate the whole burned fuel and the only source of mass for its reaction.

Basically, the invention of a rocket engine kickstarted the sonic state of the giants exploring the sky we can see today.