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TECHNOLOGUE

The Adaptable Gas Turbine

Whether creating electricity or moving planes, this engine continues to inspire innovation

Lee S. Langston

More Power

“I sell here, sir, what all the world desires to have—POWER.” These were the words of early British industrialist Matthew Boulton to James Boswell, quoted in Boswell’s 1791 book The Life of Samuel Johnson. Boulton and his partner, Scottish engineer James Watt, manufactured the first steam engines. Their firm went out of business long ago, but the world’s need for power has multiplied many times over since Boulton met Boswell.

Such increasing need for power is being fulfilled by gas turbines, in both flight propulsion and electrical generation. One can safely predict that the gas turbine will increase its role as a prime mover, as engineers continue to improve its performance and find new uses for it.

Bibliography

  • Bathie, W. W. 1996. Fundamentals of Gas Turbines, 2nd edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Conner, M. 2001. Hans von Ohain: Elegance in Flight. Reston, VA: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
  • Golley, J. 1987. Whittle: The True Story. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press.
  • Horlock, J. H. 1992. Combined Power Plants. Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.
  • Langston, L. S. 2013. Not so simple machines. Mechanical Engineering Magazine January:46–51.
  • Langston, L. S. 2012. Breaking the barrier. Mechanical Engineering Magazine May:33–37.
  • Langston, L. S. 2008. Pebbles making waves. Mechanical Engineering Magazine February:34–38.
  • Langston, L. S. 2007. Fahrenheit 3,600. Mechanical Engineering Magazine April:34–37.
  • Langston, L. S. 2004. Turbines, Gas. Encyclopedia of Energy, Volume 6. San Diego: Elsevier, pp. 221–230.
  • Taylor, E. S. 1970. Evolution of the jet engine. Astronautics & Aeronautics 8:64–72.
  • Van der Linden, Septimus. The World’s First Industrial Gas Turbine Set at Neuchatel (1939): An International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, September 2, 1988. New York: The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. http://files.asme.org/ASMEORG/Communities/History/Landmarks/5604.pdf




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