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Brayton cycle[′brāt·ən ‚sī·kəl]
A thermodynamic cycle (also variously called the Joule or complete expansion diesel cycle) consisting of two constant-pressure (isobaric) processes interspersed with two reversible adiabatic (isentropic) processes.
The thermal efficiency for a given gas, air, is solely a function of the ratio of compression. This is also the case with the Otto cycle. For the diesel cycle with incomplete expansion, the thermal efficiency is lower.
The Brayton cycle, with its high inherent thermal efficiency, requires the maximum volume of gas flow for a given power output. The Otto and diesel cycles require much lower gas flow rates, but have the disadvantage of higher peak pressures and temperatures. These conflicting elements led to many designs, all attempting to achieve practical compromises. With the development of fluid acceleration devices for the compression and expansion of gases, the Brayton cycle found mechanisms which could economically handle the large volumes of working fluid. This is perfected in the gas turbine power plant. See Gas turbine, Thermodynamic cycle