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Turboprop & Turboshaft Engines

TURBINE ENGINES
Turboprop
Turboprop & Turboshaft Engines

Describe the layout, operation and characteristics of the following turboprop engine configurations:
a. Gas coupled/free turbine
~ In this arrangement, a gas turbine acts simply as a gas generator to supply high-energy gases to an
independent free power turbine.
~ The gases are expanded across the free turbine, which is connected to the propeller drive shaft via
reduction gearing.
~ The free turbine arrangement is very flexible; it is easy to start due to the absence of propeller drag and the
propeller and gas producer shafts can assume their optimum speeds independently.
~ The layout of a free power turbine engine (P&W PT6 reverse-flow) is shown in the figure below.

b. Gear coupled turbines


~ The coupled power turbine engine is the simplest adaptation from the turbo-jet engine.
~ In this configuration, the gas flow is fully expanded across a turbine which drives the compressor, the
surplus power developed being transmitted to the propeller by a common drive shaft via suitable
reduction gearing.
~ This arrangement is shown below.

Turboprop & Turboshaft Engines

Describe the layout and operation of reduction gears in


turboturbo-prop engines:
~ A large reduction of shaft speed must be provided in order
to match the power turbine to the propeller.
~ Reduction ratios of between 6:1 and 20:1 are typical.
~ The reduction gearing accounts for a large proportion (up to
25%) of the total weight of a turbo-prop engine.
~ It also increases its complexity.
~ Power losses of the order of 3 to 4% are incurred in the gearing
(a turbo-prop producing 6,000eshp, some 200shp is lost
through the gearing).
~ Most turboprop reduction drives use on of a number of
variations of the epicyclic gear train (see right for typical
arrangement).
~ Some turbo-props will use a gear train or a combination of gear train and epicyclic (see below).

Describe the operation of overover-speed safety devices in turboturbo-prop engines:


~ With a turboprop engine it is normally the propeller which acts as a governor by increasing or decreasing
its pitch angle to add or remove the loading on the rotating parts of the engine.
~ If a turboprop over-speeds, it is usually due to the fact that the propeller controls have
allowed the pitch angle of the propeller to decrease, so that the reduction of load on the engine has caused it to
over-speed.
~ This reduction of pitch is as a result of aerodynamic and centrifugal forces acting on the rotating propeller.
~ If the reduction of the propeller pitch has been caused by failure of the propeller control unit,
there may be a back-up method built in to the control system, to drive the propeller back to a coarser
angle, thereby slowing it down to a safe value.
~ These back-up systems usually involve the use of centrifugal governors that sense the over-speed.
~ Flyweights move outwards, opening the pilot valve and allowing metered oil pressure to drive the
propeller towards coarse.
2

Turboprop & Turboshaft Engines

Describe the layout, operation and characteristics of turboturbo-shaft engines:


~ Gas turbine engines that deliver
power through a shaft to operate something
other than a propeller are referred to
as turbo-shaft engines.
~ In most cases the output shaft is
driven by its own free power turbine
which extracts the majority of the
total power output from the
engines gas generator.
~ They are similar in design to turboprop
engines and in some instances will use the same gas generator section design (see PT6 diagram on Pg 1).
~ The free power turbine is mechanically independent of the of the gas generator and operates at virtually
a constant speed.
~ The turbo-shaft engine and the helicopter are ideal companions - the engine is required to
respond to frequent and sudden changes in power demands to keep the helicopter rotor revolving at a
virtually constant speed (250-300 RPM being typical).
~ In helicopter applications, the power developed by the turbine is varied to meet changing loads imposed on the
rotor system, by increasing or decreasing the fuel supplied to the gas generator, thus altering the gas generator
speed and the supply of gas energy to the power turbine.

~ Because gas turbine engines rotate at extremely high speeds, and the main rotor of a helicopter needs
to rotate at a fairly low, constant speed the output drive of a turbo-shaft engine must incorporate some
form of reduction gearing.
~ Some engines have their reduction gearing installed within the engine so that their output shaft is at a
usable speed, which can be further reduced to a rotor speed by the main rotor gearbox.
~ Other types of turbo-shaft engines will, because their power turbine rotational speed is not so high, provide a
direct power output to a separate reduction gearbox, in the case of a helicopter, the main rotor
gearbox.

Turboprop & Turboshaft Engines

Outline typical control systems in turboturbo-shaft engines:


engines:
~ The control parameters being monitored and used for a typical turbo-shaft engine would
include:
a. Gas generator speed (N2 )
b. Free power turbine speed (N1 )
c. Power turbine inlet temperature (PTIT)
d. Main rotor speed (Nr )
e. Throttle valve position
f. Torque
~ The computer controls the fuel flow to the engine to maintain a constant rotor RPM.
~ During normal operation the optimum engine/rotor speed is selected by a speed selector lever,
and the varying power demands are met thereafter by the automatic fuel computer.
~ The computer varies the rates of fuel flow to the engines to suit the changing power demands caused by changes
to the rotor blade pitch.

Twin coupled PT6 turbo-shaft assembly