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There is an element of similarity to both the reciprocating and jet engines, but the thermodynamic cycle of each is different from the other. The reciprocating engine operates on the Otto cycle, a constant volume cycle, consisting of four distinct operations. These operations are performed intermittently by a piston reciprocating in an enclosed cylinder. It is important to remember that the piston in a reciprocating engine delivers power only during one of its four strokes.

The turbine engine operates on the Brayton cycle, a constant pressure cycle containing the same four basic operations as the Otto cycle, but accomplishing them simultaneously and continuously so that an uninterrupted flow of power from the engine results.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015