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Following the realisation of the potential of jet engines by the Germans is WW2, jet propulsion went forth to revolutionise both military and commercial aviation.
In terms of motorsport the introduction of the jet engine took the flight airspeed record out of the reach of private enthusiasts such as Howard Hughes who built modified propeller driven aircraft and made it an international government funded project vs government funded project affair now reaching speeds nearly 10 times the speed of sound!
As jet technology became more readily available jet engines have been fitted to cars! Rover/BRM and Howmett both ran experimental jet cars at LeMans, Emerson Fittipaldi drove a Lotus F1 powered by a jet engine briefly in 1971 and jet cars have dominated Land Speed Record runs since the 1960s. Current holder is British built car Thrust SSC!
The lovely people I used to work with at Halfords Basildon brought me a Haynes Jet Engine kit as a leaving/Christmas present (Thank you guys!). Haynes produce several models of different engines including a V8, inline 4, rotary and of course the jet. They are a simple to put together mechanical models that demonstrate how these engines work!
You can buy your own here: Haynes JE01 Build Your Own Jet Engine Toy
(apologies for the photo, I’d already opened the box so got the cleanest shot of it I could get!)
Basically, a jet engine works by heavily compressing air, mixing it with fuel, igniting the compressed mixture which expands and pushes it self out of the back of the engine to produce thrust and push the vehicle forward. To do this a jet engine has a low pressure compressor at the front, a high pressure compressor in the middle (with the combustion chamber) and a turbine at the back which uses excess energy to help the compressors spin.
The low pressure points in the cycle are colour coded in white whereas the high pressure points are colour coded grey.
Here you can sort of see how it works. The end where my hand is is the exhaust. So the air gets sucked in to low pressure compressor where it is compressed a little and is then drawn into the high pressure compressor. Once that air is nicely squished it goes through the large grey strip which is the combustion chamber. The exploding mix of compressed air and fuel then expands rapidly and heads towards the back and exit of the engine, turning the turbine wheels at the end which help the compressor draw more air in.
You can see in the hour glass shape of the engine housing how it’s designed to get as much air into that small space as possible.
That engine is then mounted to it’s base and the big fan goes on!
The fan has two functions: Firstly it helps draw more air into the compressor and secondly, as you can see it’s a lot wider than the compressor unit itself, that is so it can direct nice cool outside air over the hot combustion chamber to keep it cool. On a real aeroplane you’ll see it mounted in a big cowling so the air that passes through the fan can’t escape.
Now for the review bit!
I actually rate these Haynes kits quite highly. I’ve made a couple now and both have gone together nicely without the need of modification which is more than I can say for a lot of specialist kit companies! All the parts from both have been nicely detailed as well!
I like the colour coding with this kit. It helps explain the process a lot easier and actually makes it a bit easier to build as well as, obviously all the bits you need in different places are colour coded.
My only criticism would be the animation. On both kits I’ve done the electric motor that drives the model is really loud and the sound card is a little weak. It certainly wouldn’t put me off of doing another but it would be nice to have a higher quality sound.
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