Aviation Powerplants Essay Research Paper Aviation PowerplantsAviation

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Aviation Powerplants Essay, Research Paper Aviation Powerplants Aviation has reshaped modern life and has provided for extreme convenience for traveling businessmen, vacationers, and thrillseekers alike. It also plays a key role in military operations of all kinds. Although aircraft design progression plays a predominant role in advancing speed, agility, utility, and entertainment; none of these would be possible without powerplant development, refinement and modification. Aviation powerplants originated with the Wright flyer and its small 2 cylinder inline engines of a mere 45 horsepower. This style engine dominated aviation well into the First World War. They were generally placed in pushing positions (rear-facing) and produced a relatively low number of revolutions per

minute (2500 RPM redline). There was little need for new engine development at this time because aircraft design progressed slowly. Rotary engines became popular around 1910 and powered many fighters and bombers in The First World War. These engines are placed in a radial pattern around the crankshaft. These produced respectable horsepower numbers in the category of up to 185+. They were used in such famous aircraft as the Sopwith Camel and Moth. A variation of the rotary engine was used in the most famous aircraft of the war: The Fokker Dr.1 Triplane flown by Baron Von Richtofen. A unique feature of these engines is that they had no throttle, but ran at a constant speed. Also the cylinders were not fixed in place as one might expect. They instead rotated around a fixed

crankshaft. The propeller was attached to the cylinders. The advantage of this configuration was lowered production time and elimination of a costly and vulnerable cooling system. Speed control was gained by cutting the fuel supply and thus shutting down the engine. The engine would retain enough momentum to allow the pilot to simply turn back on the fuel system and restart the engine to get power. Rotary and small inline engines soon gave way to the large Radial engines of World War 2. These were configured in a radial pattern similar to that of Rotary engines. They, however do not have a fixed crankshaft but instead directly spin the propeller from a moving crankshaft. Throttles are included here to slow down for combat while still staying out of a stall. The Radial engines

produced immense amounts of horsepower. One example of this is the 18 cylinder dual layer Pratt & Whitney R-2800 (from the P-47 Thunderbolt, also the best aircraft of the war). Stock, the engine produces 2100+ horsepower. This engine, when coupled with a Turbo-Supercharger (for altitudes above 20,000 feet) it produces 2500+ horsepower. The radial engines also boast survivability far beyond that of inline or V-configurations. One 18 cylinder Radial was found with 17 30mm cannon shells imbedded in the engine block. The radial engine is a great package: survivability, durability, reliability, power, and acceleration. Inline water-cooled engines were also available during World War 2. These are similar to the ones in standard cars, except they are larger (12 -24 cylinders) and

develop more horsepower (up to 1600). The drawbacks to using inline engines include: vulnerability due to the necessity of a radiator; and a head on 30 mm cannon shot can take out numerous cylinders and physically stall the engine. Horizontally opposed engines are still used today in small private aircraft (Cessna, Bonanza, etc.). These, however, do not use the distributors or computers used to control the spark as do the newer cars. They instead use magnetos and spark plugs because these technologies have been proven and used for nearly 100 years. Also, no fuel injection is used but instead carburetors are the standard. They are standard FAA approved equipment and will not likely be replaced soon. In late 1945, the first turbofan engine was used in an active combat aircraft. The