Engine Technologies – UPSC Prelims

  • Ramjet: It is a form of air-breathing jet engine that uses the vehicle’s forward motion to compress incoming air for combustion without a rotating compressor.
  • Working: Fuel is injected in the combustion chamber where it mixes with the hot compressed air and ignites. A ramjet-powered vehicle requires an assisted take-off like a rocket assist to accelerate it to a speed where it begins to produce thrust.
  • Drawback: Ramjets work most efficiently at supersonic speeds around Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound) and can operate up to speeds of Mach 6. However, the ramjet efficiency starts to drop when the vehicle reaches hypersonic speeds.
  • Scramjet: It is an improvement over the ramjet engine as it efficiently operates at hypersonic speeds and allows supersonic combustion. Thus it is known as Supersonic Combustion Ramjet or Scramjet.
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