Turbochargers and the Aircraft Exhaust System

For the typical aircraft engine to operate efficiently, it requires an optimal fuel and air mixture for propulsion generation. As an aircraft increases its altitude, however, low atmospheric pressure causes engine performance to drop as drawing in high amounts of oxygen becomes more difficult. To remedy such situations, some aircraft utilize what is known as a turbocharger. As an equipment piece that pressurizes oxygen for more optimal combustion, the turbocharger is paramount to the safe and efficient operation of many aircraft. Alongside their benefits, it is also important to understand the effect that they can have on the aircraft exhaust system and how to properly care for them.

For aircraft that utilize a turbocharger, the engine exhaust system may be faced with higher pressures and temperatures that can create more wear over time. As such, it is crucial that one is always more adamant about carrying out regular inspections. During a typical flight, the turbocharger is tasked with maintaining an aircraft exhaust system pressure value that is near sea level. As this value of pressure highly differs from the surrounding atmosphere, any escaping exhaust gases have the potential to damage nearby structures with intense heat.

Another commonly faced issue for aircraft exhaust systems with a turbocharger is the buildup of coke deposits in the wastegate unit. As this carbon buildup occurs, the wastegate unit may begin to function incorrectly and more sporadically. If the wastegate valve becomes fixed in a closed position due to a buildup, an overboost condition may occur. With any coke deposit formation, the turbocharger may provide less power and manifold pressure which is needed for optimal operations. To remove such buildups, one should always clean and maintain structures and assemblies in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.

For some assemblies, augmentor tubes may be used to assist in the cooling process. If such components are present on the aircraft, they should be checked regularly for their condition, alignment, and integrity of attachment. Due to the location that the augmentor tube is often located, the component should always be inspected for any signs of cracking. Locating and remedying augmentor tube cracks is crucial for safety due to them leaving the potential for carbon monoxide gases to enter the nacelle, cabin, or wings.

While a majority of engine exhaust system and turbocharger components may be repairable when faced with an issue, components such as tailpipes, mufflers, exhaust stacks, and other such components should always be replaced. This is due to the fact that identifying the material makeup of such parts can prove difficult for replacement. Furthermore, any repair procedure that alters either the composition or grain structure will have an effect on the component as well. As such, any attempted repair should be conducted with extreme care and precision so that all structures, compositions, etc. remain the same.

Depending on the type of aircraft engine used, a number of nozzle engine assemblies may be present. For rotorcraft that feature turboshaft engines, the nozzle may be used to create a divergent duct to improve hovering. For turbofan engines, nozzles can either be ducted or unducted depending on the component makeup and how air flows throughout the system. For the turboprop engine, nozzles may be used to increase the amount of thrust achieved by the engine, though they primarily serve to expel exhaust gases from the engine. For certain turboprop engines, the exhaust duct is known as a tailpipe, and they can similarly create thrust through the expulsion of exhaust gases. With all types, regular inspection should be conducted to ensure that structures are well protected and are devoid of damages.

When you are in the market for reliable aircraft exhaust system parts and other aviation components, look no further than NSN Sphere. As a leading supplier of aviation parts, NSN Sphere is your sourcing solution for mufflers, nozzles, propellers, augmentor tubes, and much more. Get started today with a personalized quote when you fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website.


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