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How Gas Turbine Power Plants Function?

A gas turbine power plant, also referred to as a gas turbine engine, is a type of internal combustion engine that utilizes compressed fuel and air mixtures to produce mechanical or electrical power. Ranging in use from the power plants of aircraft to industrial gas turbines used for mechanical drive, gas turbines can come in a variety of shapes and forms to accommodate varying applications. While gas turbine engines may differ based on their application, all will contain primary elements such as the gas compressor, a combustor, and a downstream turbine.

The gas compressor is the part of the turbine engine that draws in air and increases its pressure. Once the air is sufficiently pressurized, it is then directed into the combustion chamber at high speed. Within the combustion system, various fuel injectors placed in a ring serve to mix fuel and air together in order to increase combustion properties. The fuel and air mixture is then ignited within the combustion chamber, often reaching temperatures surpassing 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result of combustion, a rapidly expanding gas stream with an extremely high temperature forces its way through the gas turbine engine until it reaches the turbine. As a section of rotating aerofoil blades, the turbine will be forced to spin as hot combustion gases push past them and expand. As the turbine rotates, it will drive the compressor so that more air can be brought in and pressurized. Additionally, the turbine will also operate a generator so that electricity can be produced. Once the turbine exhaust gases have been spent, they will be removed from the exhaust system through expulsion. For applications such as aircraft engines, this exhaust may be used for increased thrust depending on the aviation hardware parts present on the power plant of aircraft.

The fuel-to-power efficiency of a turbine is important for its performance, and operating temperatures can often have a major effect. Generally, higher temperatures will increase the efficiency of operations, thus resulting in cost savings. Despite gases often reaching extreme temperatures of 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit from combustion, many metals of the gas turbine engine can only take heat that is far below such temperatures. As such, air from the compressor may be used to cool down turbine exhaust gas, protecting the engine at the cost of decreased efficiency.

In some instances, a recuperator or heat recovery steam generator may be used to take advantage of waste heat, and each system provides its own unique use. With the recuperator, waste heat from the exhaust system is taken and used for preheating the compressor discharge air. With the heat recovery steam generator on the other hand, heat is taken from turbine exhaust and used to create high-pressure steam with boilers. With the pressurized steam, additional electrical power can be achieved with steam turbines. While these methods can prove very useful for land-based applications where space and weight may not be a concern, such solutions may not be useful for aircraft engines and other vehicles.

The gas turbine power plant is a useful engine that may benefit countless applications from aviation to industrial processes. ASAP AM Spares is a leading supplier of all types of gas turbine power plant components and aviation hardware parts, and we offer competitive pricing on products for frame engines, aircraft engines, exhaust systems, and much more. As you explore our offered components, we invite you to fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form for the items that you wish to procure. Once we have received your request, our team will rapidly review and respond to your request within 15 minutes and offer a personalized quote that serves as a solution to your individual needs. Get started today and see why customers choose to rely on ASAP AM Spares for all their operational needs.


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