Pratt & Whitney has made its name for the high-performance aircraft engines, and it looks like the company is committed to being the best in the business as it claims to have improved the traditional jet engines design by reducing the impact of supersonic turbulence. The company aims to achieve this feat by integrating its new PW1000 PurePower engine into the modern aircraft, which in theory will make them 15 percent more efficient than the conventional turbine engines.
The technology involves using a gear box to alter the speed of the solid shaft linking the compressor to the turbine and spinning it. And by varying the speed at the subsonic speed and changing it as the conditions (temperature, pressure, etc.) change, the turbulence inside the turbine is minimised allowing an improved efficiency. The company claims that this method makes the engine 15 percent more efficient, and due to the lack of sound-induced shockwaves; the engine is 75 percent quieter.
In a traditional turbine engine running on a compressor, the air is mainly transported into the combustion chamber and rapidly accelerated into the turbine which is then spun up incredibly fast. The compressor and the turbine are, in most cases, mechanically connected using the same shaft. Thus, both of them start to spin at the same speed.
In theory, the more the gas that is passed over the turbine blades, the faster it will spin. And as it spins faster, it will suck in more air, thus being a self-sustaining process. All this is fine and dandy until the compressor blades reach the speed of sound, which then starts to create sonic shockwaves containing highly compressed and uncompressed waves travelling in a series causing turbulence. This turbulence impedes compressor’s ability to force in more air, thus reducing the output power and efficiency. Thus, by keeping the speed at an optimal value, the company has improved the performance of turbine engines for good.
And the Geared Turbofan engine took Pratt & Whitney over $10 billion and 20 years to create. Thanks to their ingenuity and hard work, now the engines will be quieter, fuel efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly.