How The Exhaust System Affects Engine Performance

The exhaust system is a standard part of combustion engines, allowing for spent gasses to  be expelled from the aircraft for the means of safety. Alongside preventing hazards such as carbon monoxide poisoning and the outbreak of fires, the expulsion of exhaust gas also has the potential benefit of increasing engine performance. In this blog, we will discuss the functionality of the aircraft exhaust system, allowing you to better understand the benefits that they bring to the engine.

During flight, engine pressure ratios are often what determine power and efficiency. Pressure ratios refer to the ratio between the total pressure at the exit of the propelling nozzle and the total pressure at the inlet of the compressor. Generally, a higher pressure ratio will lead to increased engine performance. Pressure ratios can be affected by various factors, including the engine size, weight, and the amount of fuel that is burned during operations. The health of the aircraft engine also has an effect on pressure ratios due to the fact that obstructions such as deposits may affect overall power and efficiency. For a frame of reference, the standard pressure ratio of a modern civilian aircraft engine will sit between 40:1 and 55:1.

Across reciprocating aircraft engines and gas turbine engines, the aircraft exhaust system will typically serve the roles of venting combustion gasses from the engine and supplying heat to the cabin and carburetor. For reciprocating aircraft engines in particular, short stack and collector systems are the two common types. The short stack system is one found on non-supercharged and low-powered engines, allowing for a lower noise level to be maintained. With collector systems, on the other hand, the exhaust system will be used alongside a supercharger or turbocharger. When the engine features a supercharger or turbocharger, exhaust gas can further be used to drive such systems, allowing for an increased amount of power to be attained. As a result, the aircraft exhaust system can improve the overall horsepower and efficiency of the aircraft for the benefit of more optimal flight.

While reciprocating aircraft engines may utilize a collector system and other equipment to increase their engine performance with exhaust, turbine engines can as well. After exhaust gasses are used to drive a turbine assembly in a turbine engine, the exhaust will have lost much of its energy and pressure. Despite this, a nozzle situated within the turbine engine will direct the exhaust gasses in a way that accelerates their flow. This speedup causes the exhaust gas to leave the engine with an exit velocity surpassing the free stream velocity, resulting in an increased amount of propulsion for flight. As such, the exhaust system of the turbine engine can allow for an aircraft to increase its performance.

As various engine and exhaust issues can lead to power and efficiency losses, it is recommended that such assemblies are regularly inspected and maintained to prevent any major issues from arising. If you are conducting an inspection and you find parts that require replacement, make sure that you start the procurement process as soon as possible to minimize downtime. At Aerospace Aces, we can help you secure everything you require with unmatched pricing and lead-times to save you time and money.

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