What is an Afterburner?

An afterburner is a facility incorporated into some jet engines (mainly on military aircraft) which allows them to create a massive amount of thrust in order to achieve maximum acceleration. In simple terms, fuel is added to the jet exhaust section of the engine downstream of the turbine and this reignites the air creating more thrust (and a visible “burn” from the exhaust).

Using an afterburner consumes fuel very quickly and can only be used for very short amounts of time so is therefore usually only used when required such as in take-offs from short runways (or aircraft carriers) and combat situations.

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