Increasing efficiency of gas turbine engines by way of irreversibility minimization has been the underlying objective in the development of a variety of simple, regenerative, and combined cycles. The approach thus far has been to conceptualize new cycles, or choose existing cycles, perform exergy analyses, and make modifications to minimize irreversibility. In this paper we take a fundamentally different approach by developing a thermodynamic framework that defines the principles governing the minimization of irreversibility and uses these principles to deduce an optimal architecture for simple-cycle gas turbine engines. No engine cycle/design is assumed in the beginning. The benefit of this approach is two-fold. First, it explains the factors affecting irreversibility in gas turbine engines. Second, it defines an optimal architecture for simple-cycle engines based on the chosen constraints (e.g., polytropic efficiency of compression and expansion processes, blade temperature limits, etc.) having an efficiency greater than any preconceived cycle/architecture with the same constraints.

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