From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Ramjet, Scramjet Engine
Mains level : Not Much
The ISRO successfully conducted test for credible next-generation air-breathing scramjet engines, in order to launch satellites in a predetermined orbit at a low cost.
What is a jet engine?
- A jet engine is a machine that converts energy-rich, liquid fuel into a powerful pushing force called thrust.
- The thrust from one or more engines pushes a plane forward, forcing air past its scientifically shaped wings to create an upward force called lift that powers it into the sky.
Ramjet vs. Scramjet Engine
- Both scramjet and Ramjet are types of jet engines.
- A ramjet is an air breathing jet engine which is usually associated with supersonic transport.
- Ramjets can start at supersonic speeds only, so as a result they cannot be started at zero velocity and cannot produce thrust as there is a lack of airspeed.
- Hence assisted take off flights or rockets are needed to or accelerate it to a supersonic speed from which it starts producing thrust.
- This makes ramjet engine to be efficient only at supersonic speeds as it can accelerate to speeds of about Mach 6.
- Ramjet has revolutionized Rocket Propulsion and Missile Technology over the years.
How different is Scramjet?
- The Scramjet or the Supersonic Combustion Ramjet is a further complex model and is efficient at hypersonic speeds, usually upwards of Mach 6.
- They do not have any moving parts to compress the air as the air entering is already at high pressure.
- Scramjets have a very similar working to that of the ramjet except the fact that combustion also takes place at supersonic speed.
- This means that the air being compressed does not slow down as it enters the combustion chamber.
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