Monday, December 5, 2011


Fig. 1-4 Hero’s engine - probably the earliest
form of jet reaction.
6. Jet propulsion is a practical application of Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion which states that, ’for every force acting on a body there is an opposite and equal reaction’. For aircraft propulsion, the ’body’ is atmospheric air that is caused to accelerate as it passes through the engine. The force required to give this acceleration has an equal effect in the opposite direction acting on the apparatus producing the acceleration. A jet engine produces thrust in a similar way to the engine/propeller combination. Both propel the aircraft by thrusting a large weight of air backwards (fig. 1-3), one in the form of a large air slipstream at comparatively low speed and the other in the form of a jet of gas at very high speed.
7. This same principle of reaction occurs in all forms of movement and has been usefully applied in many ways. The earliest known example of jet reaction is that of Hero’s engine (fig. 1-4) produced as a toy in 120 B.C. This toy showed how the momentum of steam issuing from a number of jets could impart an equal and opposite reaction to the jets themselves, thus causing the engine to revolve.
Fig. 1-5 A garden sprinkler rotated by the
reaction of the water jets.
8. The familiar whirling garden sprinkler (fig. 1-5) isa more practical example of this principle, for themechanism rotates by virtue of the reaction to thewater jets. The high pressure jets of modern
firefightingequipment are an example of ’jet reaction’,for often, due to the reaction of the water jet, the hosecannot be held or controlled by one fireman. Perhapsthe simplest illustration of this principle is afforded bythe carnival balloon which, when the air or gas isreleased, rushes rapidly away in the directionopposite to the jet.
9. Jet reaction is definitely an internal phenomenon and does not, as is frequently assumed, result from the pressure of the jet on the atmosphere. In fact, the jet propulsion engine, whether rocket, athodyd, or turbo-jet, is a piece of apparatus designed to accelerate a stream of air or gas and to expel it at high velocity. There are, of course, a number of ways of doing this, as described in Part 2, but in all instances the resultant reaction or thrust exerted on the engine is proportional to the mass or weight of air expelled by the engine and to the velocity change imparted to it. In other words, the same thrust can be provided either by giving a large mass of air a little extra velocity or a small mass of air a large extra velocity. In practice the former is preferred, since by lowering the jet velocity relative to the atmosphere a higher propulsive efficiency is obtained.


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