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The Brayton cycle is a thermodynamic process that occurs in jet engines and all other gas turbine engines too. It describes how the engine is able to produce work through heat and energy. In the case of the jet engine, the work generated in a propulsive thrust 

When analyzing the thermodynamic processes inside an engine, engineers usually divide the engine based off the major thermodynamic processes like compression, combustion and expansion. Below is a simplified schematic of an engine, with each divided segment labeled with a station number.

Image result for jet engine diagram stations

As the air enters the inlet and moves from station 0 to 1, the air is compressed. The compression process should preferably  be adiabatic, meaning heat neither enters nor leaves during the process and isentropic, meaning entropy remains the same throughout the process. While in the compressor, the temperature and pressure of the air raises.

While keeping the pressure constant, as the air moves through the combustor from station 1 to 2, fuel is added to the flow. The newly introduced fuel is then combusted, increasing the temperature further. 

The gas then begins to expand as it enters the turbine and moves from station 2 to 3. During this expansion, work is done on the turbine. This work is then transferred through a shaft to both the compressor and the nozzle, producing thrust and accelerating the engine forward.

The diagram above depicts an ideal Brayton cycle. In reality, the processes characterize as isentropic or adiabatic are not perfectly fixed in heat or entropy. Instead of vertical or horizontal lines in the ideal Brayton cycle, jet engines usually result in slanted lines. Although they’re not completely the same, the Brayton cycle is still valuable for evaluating a jet engine as they are still very similar.

Engine efficiency

A critical part of designing a jet engine is assessing and gauging how efficient it is. The more efficient an engine is, the less fuel it needs to consume to create thrust. 

Jet engine efficiency is usually defined as the ration between propulsive power and fuel power.


In the above equation for overall efficiency, T is thrust, U0 is the flight velocity, mf is the flow rate of the fuel mass and hf is the specific fuel energy per unit mass. Overall efficiency can also be calculated by taking the product of two different specific efficiencies, thermal and propulsive efficiency.

Thermal efficiency

The thermal or internal efficiency of an engine is the efficiency at which it can convert fuel into kinetic energy. It’s often written as the ration between fuel power and the rate at which kinetic energy is produced.


In the above equation, me is the flow rate of the exhaust mass and Ue is the exhaust velocity.

Jet engines with higher temperatures and pressure ratios have a higher thermal efficiency. The thermal efficiency is often limited by the materials used in the jet engine. The higher the temperature, the more stress the materials have to withstand without melting or mechanically failing.

The temperature in most combustors can reach up to 2,300° C. For comparison, the surface of the sun is around 5,600° C. In order to handle this temperature without melting, the jet engines made by Rolls-Royce use a special nickel alloy coated with a thin layer of ceramic, but even with this special high-temperature-resistant plating the combustion chamber would still melt. To avoid this, a series of laser-driller holes helps funnel cooler air from the compressor to cool the combustion chamber. 

Propulsive efficiency

The propulsive, or external efficiency of an engine is the efficiency at which an engine can convert kinetic energy to propulsive thrust. To have a high propulsive efficiency, engines must have a propelling mechanism that depletes very little energy during the conversion process. It’s often described as the ratio between the production rate of propulsive kinetic energy and the propulsive power.


In order to maximize propulsive efficiency, the engine needs a configuration that produces a large thrust, while still maintaining the smallest change in velocity across the engine. To accomplish this, the engine must be able to move a large volume of air. An engine with a lower flight velocity than its exhaust velocity will waste energy, producing a low propulsive efficiency. 

The speed of the jet also has an effect on the propulsive efficiency. When a high velocity jet exhaust enters a low velocity airstream, a lot of energy is lost. At low speeds, a turbojet is not very efficient. Using a configuration called a turboprop to drive a propeller is much more efficient use of the work produced by a jet
engine. This advantage begins to diminish at around 400 mph as the blades reach supersonic speeds. At these
speeds, the blades begin to create shock waves, reducing the efficiency. 


A turbofan engine has the advantages of both a turbojet and a turboprop, providing better propulsive efficiency at both low and high airspeeds. Using more machinery and only slightly more fuel, the turbofan is able to move a much larger volume of air and generate more thrust compared to the turbojet. 

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Innovation
Autonomous vehicles may be a lot closer than people think. They probably won’t be commercially available with the next couple of years, but they could be the transportation of the future, driving commuters to work, running errands for the lazy or busy and safely shipping drunks from the bar to the comfort of their own house.

There are a lot of questions people have about these autonomous vehicles, like for one what will they look like? Will they be similar to the machines we currently used to get ourselves from point A to point B? Protean Electric an automotive technology company may have an answer. They’re aiming to change the game by redefining the auto’s wheelbase.

The “global intelligence mobility market” is estimated to reach a mind boggling 1 trillion dollars in just 6 years according to Protean.  They plan to cash in on some of this money by developing a new wheelbase that provides full rotation around the wheel’s vertical axis as well as integrated steering and obedient kneeling.

A ProteanDrive hub motor with a mini double wishbone suspension connected to a 360 degree rotation steering arm could provide all these impressive features in one simple package. As announced by Protean, a Protean Pd18 unit will power each ProteanDrive, capable of providing each wheelbase with 107HP of torque.

Protean hasn’t announced a price for the ProteanDrive yet, but with the 1 trillion dollar market cap approaching in 2025, Protean should be giving more details about the ProteanDrive soon.
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Innovation
When asked to think about the moon landing, the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is the image of an astronaut bouncing up and down in the low gravity of the moon. Basing their latest robot design off of this image, the European Space Agency have created a robot called SpaceBok to traverse low-gravity environments and help us explore the final frontier of space.


They were able achieve this by borrowing the dynamic walking style from the springbok, a smaller antelope. By using this walking style, the SpaceBok is able to take strides where all its legs are in the air, rather than one leg keeping in contact with the surface.

By Utilizing the organic movements of the springbok, the SpaceBok is able to more efficiently traverse the moon, mars or even asteroids through a series of algorithms and computational power. Although the SpaceBok does have to land at a certain point, through this design it’s able to easily and effortlessly leap through low gravity environments, providing a quicker option for exploring the surface of these environments. 

Using springs located on the end of its legs, the robot is able to store energy from landing and immediately launch up to six feet in the air. Borrowing the technology used to stabilize satellites, European Space Agency Engineers created a stability system for SpaceBok. The system, called a reaction wheel, allows the SpaceBok to accelerate or decelerate in different directions to keep the robot oriented. The SpaceBok is being tested in the lab right now, but there are plans to begin testing on hilly terrain soon.

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Innovation
Octinion, a robotics engineering company located in Belgium has recently created a robot capable of picking strawberries. It was created to help farmers with the recent worker shortages they are suffering from. 


According the Octinion, in the same amount of time it takes a normal human strawberry picker to pick about 100 lb of strawberries, Rubion, the strawberry picking robot can pick nearly 800 lbs. Rubion is able to accomplish this feat through a pre-programmed dataset in its internal RGB camera and a photonic sensor which lets it recognize and distinguish different wave lengths and from those wave lengths, it can determine if the strawberry is ripe or not. Once the robot decides the berry is ripe, it carefully picks the berry using a soft gripper. It then sorts the berry based on its weight and size. This whole process is quickly executed within five seconds called the five-second picking cycle

“Just like you know what a plump, juicy red strawberry looks like, Rubion can do this mathematically,” says Dr. Jan Anthonis, the CTO of Octinion”looking for the infrared spectroscopic heat signatures given off from a perfect fruit, getting a perfect ‘hit’ every time,”

Strawberries and other fragile and soft fruits are tough to automate because not only does the robot need to be capable of determining between under ripe, over rip and rip fruit, the robot also needs to handle it delicately due to easy bruising. Rubion is proficient in locating, gathering and storing the strawberries all without damaging them.

Automation Technologies like Rubion are gaining popularity fast due to labor shortages in the agriculture industry around the world. Many farms don’t have enough workers to pick all their fruits or vegetables so the remaining produce is usually left to rot. There have been many other attempts from different robotics engineering companies at automatic produce harvest like a robot that can pick 25,000 raspberries in a single day, a robot that harvests apples automatically using suctions and a robot that can cut and harvest lettuce. Likewise, rice farmers in Japan are starting to use robotic ducks to diminish weed growth and pesticides in rice fields 

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Innovation
Up until now, Ice Berg lettuce has been a tough crop to automatically collect, but engineers at the University of Cambridge have created a new robot, called Vegebot that harvests lettuce using a machine learning algorithm. According to The Journal of Field Robotics, what originally started as a proof of concept lab test has now advanced to a full fledge machine that has been consistently and successfully picking lettuce in an assortment of different fields.


The Vegebot has a computer vision system built into it and using its overhead camera, it can identify the head of lettuce and determine whether the lettuce is still growing, ready to harvest or diseased. After the Vegebot determines that the lettuce is ready to harvest, a second camera is used to guide a Universal Robots UR10 arm with a blade anchored to it to cut the head. A gripper or end effector is then used to collect the harvested lettuce from the ground.

While this prototype was success in picking the lettuce, researchers admitted that this process currently takes more time and is less efficient that using human workers and still needs a lot of work. Harvesting lettuce automatically is an arduous problem to solve because the heads grow low to the ground making it difficult to cut and they can be easily damaged during handling.

The researchers at Cambridge were able to use a set of lettuce images to train the Vegebot to recognize and classify diseased or infected heads of lettuce through a machine-learning algorithm. They were also able to teach the Vegebot the proper grip to employ when handling the delicate crop so it doesn’t get damaged. Although not fully complete yet, the Vegebot and other robotic harvesters could not only help relieve labor shortages in the farming industry but it could also diminish food waste.  Instead of picking the whole field in one pass, forthcoming iterations, according to researchers will be able to continuously and repeatedly analyze and harvest fully developed vegetables 

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Press Releases
Enser Corporation analyzes, designs and builds quality below the hook material handling equipment to test, grip, lift, and transport your valued products.  Our below the hook custom equipment is designed to your specific needs in mind incorporating ASME B30.20 and ASME BTH-1  (that governs manufacturing, inspection, marking, testing, maintenance and operation of the below the hook lifting devices) sets us apart from our competition). A below the hook lifter is a device such as spreader beam, c-hook, pallet lifter, and plate clamps that offer a way to attach load to hoist as well as hold, protect, control and orient the load. Selecting the proper below the hook lifting device for the job and knowing its limitations is critical. A well designed device will make your work easier but, it is critical that they are properly used. Enser utilizes the latest version of ASME B30.20, the safety standard for below the hook lifting devices. It covers markings, construction, installation, inspection, testing, maintenance and operation of below the hook lifting devices. Below is a Mathcad Simulation Demonstration that explains the process.

Enser’s extensive experience as a leading engineering services company uniquely positions us to provide the best and most cost-effective solution. Our service is that of complete custom turnkey engineering services. We offer engineering staffing, turnkey manufacturing solutions, design and FEA analysis. With over 70 years of industry experience offering engineering and project management solutions, we confidently support your programs and requirements with professionals from our Engineering and Technology Development Centers. For more information on how we can help you, click here. do not hesitate to call us at (877) 367-3770

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Industry

Chances are you have identified a process or system that is preventing you to increase efficiency, causing delayed projects and reduced productivity. But what do you do? Who do you call to help you solve a complex engineering problem while increasing productivity and profitability? Our client had a unique need for a next generation testing system to test multiple hoist units (of various types and specifications) with minimum change over. This requirement presented a remarkable challenge that just added to each project’s timeline and budget. ENSER Corp’s engineering team implemented design solutions for the Universal Automatic Test System (UATS) capable of testing the functionality across 38 different configurations. The test devices contain an automatic unit identification and universal loading system, control software with embedded acceptance procedures and operational safety limits.

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