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Turbine

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Mechanical Features and Designs

A turbine is an engine that extracts energy from fluid in the form of water, air, steam, or a combustible gas, and transforms it into mechanical energy. Turbines are typically classified as either impulse turbines or reaction turbines, depending on how they operate. The four different types of turbines include wind turbines, hydraulic turbines or water turbines, steam turbines, and gas turbines.

Contents

[edit] History

Claude Burdin, a French mining engineer, coined the term turbine in 1828 when he was awarded a prize for his publication of a plausible and efficient type of water turbine. The term turbine derived from the Latin "turbo" which refers to a whirling or spinning top.[1] A student of Burdin by the name of Benoit Fourneyron developed upon his ideas and eventually invented what was considered the world’s first modern type hydraulic turbine. This turbine was a reaction type turbine of six horsepower featuring a distributor that guided water flow so that the water acted more efficiently upon the blades. Burdin went on to produce larger sized, more powerful hydraulic turbines that operated under higher pressure. This paved the way for the development of other types of turbines to be built that used alternative sources to produce energy such as steam and gas.[2]

[edit] How it Works

Turbines are typically tube shaped and consist of a series of blades that produce a rotating action. Fluid enters the turbine at one end, pushing against the blades and causing them to spin. As a result, the fluid gets dispersed out the opposite end of the turbine from where it entered. All turbines operate on the premise that the amount of energy gained during the intake of fluid or combustible gas into the turbine will always be greater than the fluid or gas outtake because the turbine will always capture a part of the energy produced.[3]

[edit] Types

[edit] Steam Turbines

Steam turbines transform thermal energy into steam to do mechanical work. A steam engine was the earliest form of a type of steam turbine. Steam turbines were used in marine propulsion and in powering electricity. Today steam turbines fueled by fossils fuels or nuclear energy used to drive generators in electrical power plants.[4]

[edit] Hydraulic Turbines

Also known as water turbines, these are mostly associated with dams and the generation of hydroelectric power. Hydraulic turbines are a kind of impulse turbine because they are operable by the rapid flowing or falling of water.[5]

[edit] Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are the least common type of turbine used today. However, like steam and hydraulic or water turbines, wind turbines are primarily used to generate electricity.[6]

[edit] Gas Turbines

These are the newest type of turbine engine, used mostly for jet propulsion but also are used in power plants. A gas turbine draws upon a mixture of fuel such as kerosene and compressed air that are combined in a combustion chamber and burned. This leads to the expansion of hot gases that pass through the blades or rotors of the turbine, making them spin. Most gas turbines generate higher temperatures than other types of turbines and are usually made out of steel and special steel alloys.[7]

[edit] References

  1. Turbine History. Science. 2008-09-30.
  2. Turbine History. Science. 2008-09-30.
  3. What is a Turbine. Wisegeek.com. 2008-09-30.
  4. Turbine Types. Science. 2008-09-30.
  5. Turbine Types. Science. 2008-09-30.
  6. Turbine Types. Science. 2008-09-30.
  7. Turbine Types. Science. 2008-09-30.