AskDefine | Define turbine

Dictionary Definition

turbine n : rotary engine in which the kinetic energy of a moving fluid is converted into mechanical energy by causing a bladed rotor to rotate

User Contributed Dictionary

see Turbine



From turbo


  1. any of various rotary machines that use the kinetic energy of a continuous stream of fluid or gas to turn a shaft


rotary machines
  • Finnish: turbiini
  • German: Turbine
  • Japanese: タービン



  1. Plural of turbina
  1. whirlwind
  2. gust (of snow or dust etc)

Extensive Definition

A turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from a fluid flow. Claude Burdin (1788-1873) coined the term from the Latin turbo, or vortex, during an 1828 engineering competition. Benoit Fourneyron (1802-1867), a student of Claude Burdin, built the first practical water turbine.
The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades, or the blades react to the flow, so that they rotate and impart energy to the rotor. Early turbine examples are windmills and water wheels.
Gas, steam, and water turbines have a casing around the blades that contains and controls the working fluid. Credit for invention of the modern steam turbine is given to British Engineer Sir Charles Parsons (1854 - 1931).
A device similar to a turbine but operating in reverse is a compressor or pump. The axial compressor in many gas turbine engines is a common example.

Theory of operation

A working fluid contains potential energy (pressure head) and kinetic energy (velocity head). The fluid may be compressible or incompressible. Several physical principles are employed by turbines to collect this energy:
Turbine designs will use both these concepts to varying degrees whenever possible. Wind turbines use an airfoil to generate lift from the moving fluid and impart it to the rotor (this is a form of reaction). Wind turbines also gain some energy from the impulse of the wind, by deflecting it at an angle. Crossflow turbines are designed as an impulse machine, with a nozzle, but in low head applications maintain some efficiency through reaction, like a traditional water wheel. Turbines with multiple stages may utilize either reaction or impulse blading at high pressure. Steam Turbines were traditionally more impulse but continue to move towards reaction designs similar to those used in Gas Turbines. At low pressure the operating fluid medium expands in volume for small reductions in pressure. Under these conditions (termed Low Pressure Turbines) blading becomes strictly a reaction type design with the base of the blade solely impulse. The reason is due to the effect of the rotation speed for each blade. As the volume increases, the blade height increases, and the base of the blade spins at a slower speed relative to the tip. This change in speed forces a designer to change from impulse at the base, to a high reaction style tip.
Classical turbine design methods were developed in the mid 19th century. Vector analysis related the fluid flow with turbine shape and rotation. Graphical calculation methods were used at first. Formulas for the basic dimensions of turbine parts are well documented and a highly efficient machine can be reliably designed for any fluid flow condition. Some of the calculations are empirical or 'rule of thumb' formulae, and others are based on classical mechanics. As with most engineering calculations, simplifying assumptions were made.
Velocity triangles can be used to calculate the basic performance of a turbine stage. Gas exits the stationary turbine nozzle guide vanes at absolute velocity Va1. The rotor rotates at velocity U. Relative to the rotor, the velocity of the gas as it impinges on the rotor entrance is Vr1. The gas is turned by the rotor and exits, relative to the rotor, at velocity Vr2. However, in absolute terms the rotor exit velocity is Va2. The velocity triangles are constructed using these various velocity vectors. Velocity triangles can be constructed at any section through the blading (for example: hub , tip, midsection and so on) but are usually shown at the mean stage radius. Mean performance for the stage can be calculated from the velocity triangles, at this radius, using the Euler equation:
As shown in the CFD generated figure, it can be seen that a down stream low pressure (shown by the gradient lines) draws upstream flow into the inlet of the shroud from well outside the inlet of the shroud. This flow is drawn into the shroud and concentrated (as seen by the red coloured zone). This augmentation of flow velocity corresponds to a 3-4 times increase in energy available to the turbine. Therefore a turbine located in the throat of the shroud is then able to achieve higher efficiency, and an output 3-4 times the energy the turbine would be capable of if it were in open or free stream. For this reason shrouded turbines are not subject to the properties of the Betz limit.
Considerable commercial interest has been shown in recent times in shrouded tidal turbines as it allows a smaller turbine to be used at sites where large turbines are restricted. Arrayed across a seaway or in fast flowing rivers shrouded tidal turbines are easily cabled to a terrestrial base and connected to a grid or remote community. Alternatively the property of the shroud that produces an accelerated flow velocity across the turbine allows tidal flows formerly too slow for commercial use to be utilised for commercial energy production.
While the shroud may not be practical in wind, as a tidal turbine it is gaining more popularity and commercial use. A shrouded tidal turbine is mono directional and constantly needs to face upstream in order to operate. It can be floated under a pontoon on a swing mooring, fixed to the seabed on a mono pile and yawed like a wind sock to continually face upstream. A shroud can also be built into a tidal fence increasing the performance of the turbines.
Cabled to the mainland they can be grid connected or can be scaled down to provide energy to remote communities where large civil infrastructures are not viable. Similarly to tidal stream open turbines they have little if any environmental or visual amenity impact.
turbine in Arabic: عنفة
turbine in Asturian: Turbina
turbine in Azerbaijani: Turbin
turbine in Bulgarian: Турбина
turbine in Catalan: Turbina
turbine in Czech: Turbína
turbine in Danish: Turbine
turbine in German: Turbine
turbine in Modern Greek (1453-): Αεριοστρόβιλος
turbine in Spanish: Turbina
turbine in Persian: توربین
turbine in French: Turbine
turbine in Galician: Turbina
turbine in Korean: 터빈
turbine in Indonesian: Turbin
turbine in Italian: Turbina
turbine in Hebrew: טורבינה
turbine in Dutch: Turbine
turbine in Japanese: タービン
turbine in Norwegian: Turbin
turbine in Norwegian Nynorsk: Turbin
turbine in Polish: Turbina
turbine in Portuguese: Turbina
turbine in Romanian: Turbină
turbine in Russian: Турбина
turbine in Simple English: Turbine
turbine in Slovak: Turbína
turbine in Finnish: Turbiini
turbine in Swedish: Turbin
turbine in Vietnamese: Turbine
turbine in Turkish: Türbin
turbine in Chinese: 涡轮发动机
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