Steam turbine with pdf : Methods of reducing rotor speed

Here in this article we are going to discuss about the steam turbine, its classification and methods of reducing rotor speed.

What is steam turbine ?

A steam turbine is a prime mover in which rotary motion is obtained by the gradual the momentum of the steam. We have already discussed that in a reciprocating steam engines, the steam acts on the piston, as a load or weight, Le the action of steam is static.

In a steam turbine, the force exerted on the blades is due to the velocity of steam. This is due to the fact that the curved blades by changing the direction of steam receive a force or impulse. The action of steam in this case is said to be dynamic. Thus the dynamical pressure of steam rotates the vanes, buckets or blades directly. The turbine blades are curved in such a way that the steam directed upon them enters without shock, though there is always some loss of energy by the friction upon the surface of blades. In general, a steam turbine, essentially, consists of the following two parts.

  1. The nozzle or fixed blades in which the heat energy of high pressure steam is converted into kinetic energy, so that the steam issues from the nozzle with a very high velocity.
  2. The moving blades which change the direction of steam issuing from the nozzle, so that a force acts on the blades due to change of momentum and propel them.

Note: “The steam turbines work on Rankine cycle whereas the steam engine work on modified Rankine cycle.”

Classification of Steam Turbines

The steam turbines, in general, are classified into the following two types:

1.Impulse turbines

2.Reaction turbines.

Impulse turbines : In an impulse turbine, the pressure of steam is reduced in the nozzle and remains constant while passing through the moving blades. The velocity of steam is increased in the nozzle and is reduced while passing through the moving blades. The simplest type of impulse turbine is De-Laval turbine.
The other types are Curtis, Rateau, and Zoelly impulse turbines.

Reaction turbines : In a reaction turbine, the pressure is reduced in the fixed blades as well as in moving blades. The velocity of steam is increased in the fixed blades and is reduced while passing through the moving blades. The simplest type of a reaction turbine is Parson’s turbine.

Methods of reducing rotor speed

In power plants, high pressure and high temperature steam is used in order to increase their thermal efficiency. If the entire pressore drop (from the boiler pressure to condenser pressure) is carried out in one stage only, then the velocity of steam entering into the turbine will be extremely high. It will make the turbine rotor to run at a very high speed (even upto 30000 rpm), which a number of disadvantages.
In order to reduce the rotor speed, various methods are employed. All of these methods consists of a multiple system of rotors, in series, keyed to a common shaft and the steam pressure or the jet velocity is absorbed in stages as it flows over the rotor blades. This process is widely known as ‘compounding.’
The following three methods are commonly employed for reducing the rotor speed:

1.Velocity compounding :

Velocity compounding

ln velocity compounding of an impulse turbine, the expansion of steam takes place in a nozzle or set of nozzles from the boiler pressure to the condenser pressure. The
impulse wheel carries two or three rows of
moving blades.

The steam, after expanding through nozzles, enters the first ring of moving blades on a big velocity. A portion of this high velocity is absorbed by this blade ring and the remaining passed on to the next ring of fixed blades. The fixed blades change the direction of steam and direct it to the second ring of moving blades, without altering the velocity appreciably. After passing through this second ring of moving blades, a further portion of velocity is absorbed. The steam is now directed by the second ring of fixed blades to the third ring of moving blades and then enters into the condenser.

It may be noted that no pressure drop occurs either in the fixed or moving blades. All the pressure drop occurs in the nozzles. This turbine can run at about one-third of the speed of De-Laval turbine, for the same pressure drop and diameter of the wheel.

2.Pressure compounding :

Pressure compounding

In pressure compounding of an impulse turbine, the rings of the moving blades, each having a ring of fixed nozzles, are keyed to the turbine shaft in series. The total pressure drop, of the steam, does not take place in the first nozzle ring, but is divided equally among all the nozzle rings.

The steam from the boiler is passed through the first nozzle ring, where only a small pressure drop occurs with an increase in velocity of steam. The steam is now directed on the first moving blade ring, where the pressure of steam does not alter, but the velocity decreases. This constitutes one stage. It may be noted that a stage consists of a fixed nozzle ring and a moving blade ring. The steam from the first moving blade ring enters the second nozzle ring, where its pressure is further reduced. A little consideration will show, that the pressure drop per stage in the nozzle rings is not the same. But the number of heat units, converted into velocity energy in each stage, is the same. The process is repeated in the remaining rings, until the condenser pressure is reached.

It may be noted that by arranging a small pressure drop per stage, the velocity of steam entering the moving blades, and hence the speed of rotor is reduced.

The Rateau and Zoelly turbines are the examples of pressure compounded turbines.

3.Pressure-velocity compounding :

Pressure velocity compounding

In a pressure-velocity compounding of an impulse turbine, both the previous two methods are utilised. The total pressure drop of the steam is divided into stages, and velocity obtained in each stage is also compounded. A little consideration will show, that a pressure velocity compounded impulse turbine allows a bigger pressure drop and hence less number of stages are required.

It may be noted that the diameter of the turbine is increased at each stage, to allow the increasing volume of steam at the lower pressures. A ring of nozzles is fixed at the commencement of each stage.
A curtis turbine is an example of pressure-velocity compounded impulse turbine.

So, That was all about the steam turbine, its classification and methods of reducing rotor speed. Hope you all like this content. If you are interested in such kind of valuable and interesting contents then do follow our website. Kind do share such informative contents with your friends.


Q1.What are the methods used for reducing wheel or rotor speed in steam turbines ?

Generally three types of compoundings are used to reduce the speed of rotor in steam turbine :
a) Velocity compounding
b) Pressure compounding
c) Pressure Velocity compounding

Q2.Rateau turbine is an example of which turbine ?

Pressure compounding

Q3.What are the classification of steam turbine ?

Steam turbines are generally classified into two types
a) Impulse turbine
b) Reaction turbine

Q4.How efficient is a steam turbine ?

Multistage (moderate to high pressure ratio) steam turbines have thermodynamic efficiencies that varies differently
•65 percent for very small (under 1,000 kW) units to over 90 percent for large industrial and utility sized units.
•WhereasSmall, single stage steam turbines can have efficiencies as low as 40 percent.

Q5.Curtis turbine is an example of ?

Pressure velocity compounding
(Originally made for velocity compounding)

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