Category Archive: Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

What Is a Steam Turbine, What Are Its Types and How Does It Work?

In the world of power generation, few inventions have been as pivotal as the Steam Turbine. These machines are the workhorses behind many industrial and power plants, converting the energy stored in steam into mechanical work. Let’s delve into the depths of Steam Turbines: their types, functions, and the captivating science behind their operation.

What Is A Steam Turbine?

The steam turbine is a machine that can extract thermal energy from steam and convert it into rotary motions. It is classified as a type of heat engine. 

Charles Parsons invented the modern steam turbine in 1884, and it is guided by thermodynamic efficiency principles, focusing on the various stages of steam expansion.

Through comprehensive analysis, simulation, and iterative improvements, Product Engineering Services continuously drive the evolution of steam turbine technology, fostering advancements that propel the industry toward greater efficiency and sustainability.

How Steam Turbines Function?

The steam turbine has evolved into an important component in energy generation. As previously stated, the steam turbine converts steam energy into rotary motion. This is then coupled to a generator and converted into electricity.

Steam turbines are used in critical energy generation processes such as thermal power plants and district cooling schemes. 

The Steam Turbine Market Report by Global News Wire forecasts a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.41% for this market from 2022 to 2026, indicating the prevalence of this type of energy generation.

How Does a Steam Turbine Work?

  • A heat source is used by the steam turbine to warm up water and convert it to steam. These heat sources range from natural gas to coal to nuclear or solar power.
  • This process causes water molecules to expand.
  • Steam is then passed through the turbine’s blades, which rotate and convert the thermal energy of steam into kinetic energy. The blades have the ability to control the speed, direction, and pressure of the steam. Following a structure that only makes small increments gradually, turbines can reduce steam pressure and thus improve electrical output and efficiencies.
  • The steam turbine is linked to a generator, which generates an electric current.

Steam Turbine Efficiency 

In general, turbine efficiency refers to the ratio of electrical output achieved in comparison to the required heat source input. In an era of rising heat source prices (such as natural gas) and a greater emphasis on sustainability, the efficiency of steam turbines cannot be overstated. 

In short, higher turbine efficiency lowers operational costs while also having a lower environmental impact. Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) plays a pivotal role in the optimization and design refinement of steam turbines, enhancing their efficiency and performance.

Steam Turbine Efficiency

What Are The Types Of Steam Turbines

Steam turbines can be categorized into various types based on different criteria. One primary classification is based on whether they are condensing or non-condensing turbines:

– Condensing Vs. Non Condensing Turbines

Condensing Steam Turbines:

These turbines operate at low pressures, allowing the steam to expand fully within the turbine. They exhaust steam to a condenser, where the steam is condensed back into water. The condensed water is then pumped back to the boiler, completing the cycle. Condensing turbines are typically more efficient than non-condensing turbines because they utilize the entire pressure drop in the steam.

Non-Condensing Steam Turbines:

Non-condensing steam turbines, also known as back-pressure turbines, are a type of steam turbine used to generate power. Unlike condensing turbines, which utilize both high-pressure and low-pressure steam and then condense the steam to water, non-condensing turbines exhaust steam at a specific pressure, maintaining a higher pressure than a condensing turbine.

Each type has its advantages and is suited for specific applications based on the required output, pressure levels, and efficiency considerations.

How Does A Steam Turbine Get Energy From Steam?

A steam turbine works by heating water to extremely high temperatures and then converting it to steam using a heat source such as gas, coal, nuclear, or solar. As the steam flows past the spinning blades of a turbine, it expands and cools. In the rotating turbine’s blades, the potential energy of the steam is thus converted into kinetic energy. Because steam turbines generate rotary motion, they are ideal for driving electrical generators that generate electricity. The turbines are linked to a generator by an axle, which generates energy via a magnetic field that generates an electric current.

Steam turbines stand as the pinnacle of power generation in numerous industries, and their efficiency relies heavily on meticulous design and engineering. Mechanical Engineering Consultants specializing in steam turbines play an instrumental role in optimizing their performance.

How Do the Turbine’s Blades Work?

The turbine blades are perhaps second in importance after steam. As a result, it is preferable to become acquainted with their operation, as they perform the majority of the work of steam turbines.

The blades of a turbine are intended to control the speed, direction, and pressure of steam as it passes through the turbine. For large-scale turbines, dozens of blades are typically attached to the rotor in different sets. Each set of blades contributes to the extraction of energy from the steam while also maintaining optimal pressure levels.

Because of this multi-stage approach, the turbine blades reduce the pressure of the steam in very small increments during each stage. This, in turn, reduces the forces on them and significantly improves the turbine’s overall output.

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What Is The History Of Water Turbine Technology? A Blog by Technosoft Engineering

Water Turbines have been a pivotal part of our journey harnessing nature’s power for centuries. These incredible machines, also known as Hydropower Turbines, have a fascinating history deeply intertwined with human innovation and the quest for renewable energy sources. Let’s dive into the captivating tale of how water turbine technology came to be and evolved over time.

A Brief History Of Hydropower  

Some of the first innovations in using water for power were developed in China between 202 BC and 9 AD, during the Han Dynasty. Trip hammers were used to pound and hull grain, break ore, and make early paper. They were powered by a vertically set water wheel.

The availability of water power has long been linked to the acceleration of economic growth. When Richard Arkwright established Cromford Mill in England’s Derwent valley in 1771 to spin cotton and thus establish one of the world’s first factory systems, he used hydropower as an energy source.

Key Inventions In Hydropower Turbine Technology:

Some of the most significant advances in hydropower technology took place in the first half of the nineteenth century. In 1827, French engineer Benoit Fourneyron created the first Fourneyron reaction turbine, capable of producing around 6 horsepower.

The Francis turbine, developed by British-American engineer James Francis in 1849, is still the most widely used water turbine in the world today. Lester Allan Pelton, an American inventor, invented the Pelton wheel, an impulse water turbine, in the 1870s and patented it in 1880.

In the early twentieth century, Austrian professor Viktor Kaplan invented the Kaplan turbine, a propeller-type turbine with adjustable blades.

In 1878, the world’s first hydroelectric project powered a single lamp at the Cragside country house in Northumberland, England. Four years later, the first plant to serve a system of private and commercial customers opened in Wisconsin, USA, and hundreds of hydropower plants were operational within a decade.

Hydropower plants were built in North America at Grand Rapids, Michigan (1880), Ottawa, Ontario (1881), Dolgeville, New York (1881), and Niagara Falls, New York (1881). They were used to power mills and light some local structures.

By the turn of the century, the technology had spread throughout the world, with Germany developing the first three-phase hydro-electric system in 1891 and Australia launching the first publicly owned plant in the Southern Hemisphere in 1895. The Edward Dean Adams Power Plant, the world’s largest hydroelectric development at the time, was built at Niagara Falls in 1895.

As the emerging technology spread around the world, hundreds of small hydropower plants were in operation by 1900. In China, a hydroelectric station with a capacity of 500 kW was built on the Xindian creek near Taipei in 1905.

In 20th century Mechanical engineering design services play a pivotal role in optimizing the efficiency and functionality of water turbine systems.

What Is The History Of Hydropower Turbine? 

Experiments on the mechanics of reaction wheels conducted in the 1750s by the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler and his son Albert found application approximately 75 years later. Jean-Victor Poncelet of France proposed the idea of an inward-flowing radial turbine in 1826, which was the direct forerunner of the modern water turbine. This machine had a vertical spindle and a fully enclosed runner with curved blades. Water entered radially inward and exited below the spindle.

Samuel B. Howd of the United States patented and built a similar machine in 1838. James B. Francis improved on Howd’s design by adding stationary guide vanes and shaping the blades so that water could enter shock-free at the correct angle. His runner design, known as the Francis turbine (see above), is still the most popular for medium-high heads. James Thomson, a Scottish engineer, proposed improved control by adding coupled and pivoted curved guide vanes to ensure proper flow directions even at part load.

In 1909, the first pumped storage plant with a capacity of 1,500 kilowatts was constructed near Schaffhausen, Switzerland. It used a separate pump and turbine, resulting in a relatively large and only marginally cost-effective system. The first plant in the United States, built on the Rocky River in Connecticut in 1929, was also only marginally profitable. Following the success of a plant in Flatiron, Colorado, major work on pumped-storage hydropower began in the United States in the mid-1950s. This facility, built in 1954, was outfitted with a 9,000-kilowatt reversible-pump turbine.

In highly industrialized countries, such as the United States and the nations of western Europe, most potential sites for hydropower have already been tapped. Environmental concerns relating to the impact of large dams on the upstream watercourse and to the possible effect on aquatic life add to the likelihood that only a few large hydraulic plants will be built in the future.

Who Discovered Water Turbine?

Benoît Fourneyron

French water turbine inventor Benoît Fourneyron was born on October 31, 1802, in Saint-Étienne, France, and passed away on July 31, 1867, in Paris.

He was a mathematician’s son who entered the new Saint-Étienne engineering school in 1816 and graduated with the first class. While employed at Le Creusot’s ironworks, he researched Claude Burdin’s (his former professor) concept for a novel kind of waterwheel that Burdin dubbed a “turbine.”

What Is the Theory Of The Water Turbine?

Water in action generates hydroelectric power. Water must be moving in order to generate electricity. This kinetic energy turns the blades of a water turbine, converting it to mechanical (machine) energy. The turbine shaft drives a generator, which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. This technology is known as hydroelectric power or “hydropower” for short because water is the initial source of electrical energy.

The hydrologic cycle, which is powered by solar energy, moves water constantly. As precipitation, atmospheric water reaches the earth’s surface as part of the hydrologic cycle. Some of this water evaporates, but much of it percolates into the soil or runs off the surface. Rain and melting snow eventually reach ponds, lakes, reservoirs, or oceans, where evaporation occurs constantly. Water is a renewable resource because of the hydrologic cycle.

Twentieth Century – A Century Of Rapid Innovations

The twentieth century saw rapid changes and innovations in hydropower facility design. Many engineering services companies start specializing in the design, installation, and maintenance of water turbines for various applications.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s policies, including the New Deal in the 1930s, aided in the construction of several multipurpose projects such as the Hoover and Grand Coulee dams, with hydropower accounting for 40% of the country’s electricity generation by 1940.

State-owned utilities built significant hydropower developments throughout Western Europe, the Soviet Union, North America, and Japan from the 1940s to the 1970s, spurred initially by World War II and then by strong post-war economic and population growth.

Low-cost hydropower was viewed as one of the most effective ways to meet rising energy demand, and it was frequently linked to the development of energy-intensive industries such as aluminum smelters and steelworks.

Brazil and China became world leaders in hydropower in the late twentieth century. The Itaipu Dam, which spans Brazil and Paraguay, first opened in 1984 with a capacity of 12,600 MW; it has since been expanded and upgraded to 14,000 MW, and is now only surpassed in size by China’s 22,500 MW Three Gorges Dam.

Decadal capacity growth slowed in the late 1980s and then fell in the 1990s. This was due to increasing financial constraints and concerns about the environmental and social impacts of hydropower development, which caused many projects around the world to be halted.

Lending and other forms of assistance from international financial institutions (IFIs), most notably the World Bank, dried up in the late 1990s, affecting hydropower construction in the developing world in particular.

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What are the different Types of Turbines and classifications?

Turbines, the mechanical powerhouses driving various industries and generating energy, stand as pivotal components in modern engineering.

Harnessing the kinetic energy from various sources, water turbines, steam turbines, gas turbines, and wind turbines play instrumental roles in converting this energy into useful forms like electricity or mechanical power.

Turbines operate on the principle of energy conversion of a moving fluid or gas into rotational mechanical energy.

Let’s delve deeper into the world of turbines, exploring their types, classifications, and unique contributions to power generation and mechanical operations.

What is a Turbine ?

A turbine is a mechanical device that harnesses the energy from a fluid flow (such as water, steam, or gas) and converts it into useful work, usually rotational mechanical energy. It consists of blades or a rotor that spins when exposed to a moving fluid. Turbines are widely used in various applications, like generating electricity in power plants, powering aircraft engines, producing propulsion for ships, and even extracting energy from wind. The engineering services company specializes in designing and optimizing turbines for renewable energy generation.

Turbines are classified as

  1. Water turbine 
  2. Steam turbine 
  3. Gas turbine 
  4. Wind turbine 

Water turbines

Water turbines are devices used to convert the energy from flowing or falling water into mechanical or electrical energy. They’re a key component in hydroelectric power plants and various water-powered systems. Effective water turbine operation often requires a comprehensive integration of mechanical and electrical engineering services to optimize performance and ensure seamless functionality.

Water turbines two categories

  1.  Impulse Turbines 
  2.  Reaction Turbines 

(1) Impulse turbines

In hydroelectric power plants, impulse turbines are a type of water turbine that use the energy of moving water to make electricity. They operate based on the principle of converting the kinetic energy of water into mechanical energy, which is then transformed into electrical energy.

Impulse turbines come in two categories:

A: Pelton turbine

Lester Ella Pelton invented the Pelton wheel turbine in 1870, and it is used in high-head, low-flow power plants.On the runner of the turbine, there is a spoon-shaped bucket that directs the strong, fast water from the nozzle to turn the drive wheel against the rotating series. When the high-speed water strikes the bucket blades, they begin to move anticlockwise. The Pelton wheel performs best when the drop height is 50–2000 m and the flow rate is 4–15 m3/s.

B: Cross-flow turbine

Anthony Michel invented the Crossflow turbine in 1903, and it is used in low heads of 10-70 meters with a power output of 5-100 kW.This turbine obtains energy by reducing water velocity while maintaining pressure, which is why cross-flow turbines are a good example of impulse turbines.

(2) Reaction Turbines

Reaction turbines produce torque by responding to pressure or by accelerating water flow.

A reaction turbine, as the name implies, operates on the principle of reaction force, which is felt by the turbine blades when water flows over them.

The first set of blades in the reaction turbine is fixed and convert water pressure energy into kinetic energy.

Water then flows through the runner blades. The moving blades are shaped like an aerofoil.

Reaction turbines fall into two categories: 

A: Francis Turbine 

The main components of the Francis turbine are:

  • Volute casing
  • Runner blades
  • Guide vanes
  • Draft tube

Water flows from the cashing through the guide vanes, which are arranged on the periphery to direct the water to the runner blades.

Water enters the rotor blades radially through the guide vanes. The Francis turbine’s runner is unique in design. Because of the pressure difference created by the aerofoil structure, water begins to rotate as it enters radially.

The entire pressure energy of the water is converted into kinetic energy during the process, so the water, after passing through the runner process, is at low pressure.

When the water flows over the blades, the kinetic energy is converted as well. The energy from the turbine is determined by the net pressure difference from the inlet to the outlet.

B: Kaplan Turbine

Water enters the Kaplan turbine through the casing and flows through the guide blade.

In the axial portion, water enters the runner blades. The runner blades are designed for specific aerofoil structures, such as those used in the Francis turbine.

Steam turbine

Steam turbines convert the thermal energy in steam into mechanical energy, which is then used to generate electricity.

Sir Charles Parsons invented it in 1884. When a high-energy fluid passes over the structure of an airfoil, This causes a pressure difference, which generates lift force, which is then converted into mechanical energy.

Flow Energy → Mechanical Energy

Coal and nuclear fuel are the primary materials used to generate steam in turbines, which is then used to generate electricity in thermal power plants. Mechanical and electrical engineering services play a pivotal role in the design, installation, and maintenance of steam turbines.

Steam turbine two categories:

  1. Condensing   
  2.  Non Condensing 

(1) Condensing

A condensing turbine is a type of steam turbine used in power plants to generate electricity. It operates by expanding high-pressure steam through a series of turbine blades, causing the rotor to turn and drive a generator, producing electrical power.

(2) Non Condensing

A non condensing turbine is a type of steam turbine used in power generation. Unlike a condensing turbine, which exhausts steam to a condenser for re-use, a non condensing turbine discharges exhaust steam directly to the atmosphere.

Steam turbine differ based on Steam extraction

  1. Straight-Through Turbines 
  2. Bleeder or Extraction Turbines 
  3. Controlled- (or Automatic) Extraction Turbines 

(1) Straight-Through Turbines

Straight-through turbines refer to a type of turbine where the flow of fluid, typically water or air, passes straight through the turbine blades without changing direction.

(2) Bleeder or Extraction Turbines

Bleeder turbines and extraction turbines are both types of steam turbines used in power generation. They operate based on similar principles but have distinct differences in their functionality.

(3) Controlled- (Or Automatic-) Extraction Turbines

Controlled-extraction turbines, also known as automatic-extraction turbines, are types of steam turbines used in power plants. These turbines are designed to extract steam at different points along the turbine’s expansion process, allowing for multiple stages of energy extraction.

Gas Turbine

A gas turbine is a type of internal combustion engine. It is also known as a combustion turbine. Fresh atmospheric air is compressed as it passes through a compressor.

The energy is then added by spraying fuel into the air and igniting it, resulting in a high-temperature flow from the combustion.

Natural Gas → Mechanical Energy

Gas turbines convert natural gas or liquid fluid into mechanical energy, which is then used to generate electricity to power homes and businesses, as well as aircraft, trains, ships, electrical generators, and even tanks. When it comes to turbines, the incorporation of mechanical and electrical engineering services is crucial for the best results.

Gas turbines come in four categories:

  1.  Turbojet Engines 
  2.  Turboprop Engines 
  3.  Turbofan Engines 
  4.  Turboshaft Engines 

(1) Turbojet Engines

Turbojet engines were the first type of gas turbine. Despite their appearance, they operate on the same principles as reciprocal engines: intake, compression, power, and exhaust. Air is moved at high speed to the fuel inlet and ignitor of the combustion chamber in this type of engine. By expanding air, the turbine causes accelerated exhaust gases.

(2) Turboprop Engines

A turboprop engine is the second type of gas turbine. It is a turbojet engine connected to a propeller by a gear system. The operation of a gas turbine of this type is as follows:

  • The turbojet drives a shaft that is connected to a transmission gearbox.
  • A transmission box slows the spinning process, and the transmission mechanism is attached to the slowest moving gear.
  • The air propeller spins and produces thrust.

(3) Turbofan Engines

The best turbojets and turboprops in the world are paired with turbofan engines. A duct fan can connect a turbofan engine to the front of a turbojet engine. The fan then provides additional thrust, aids in engine cooling, and reduces engine noise output.

(4) Turboshaft Engines

Turboshaft engines, which are mostly found on helicopters, are the fourth type of gas turbine. The main distinction is that turboshaft engines use the majority of their power to spin turbines rather than driving them out the back of the vehicle. Turboshaft engines are turbojet engines with a large shaft attached to the back.

Wind Turbine

Wind power generation, as the name suggests, is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into electrical power.

Wind energy works on a simple principle: a series of sails and blades mounted around a rotor catch the wind and convert its kinetic energy into rotational energy, producing electricity.

Wind turbines have two categories

  1. Horizontal axis machines  
  2.  Vertical-axis machines  

(1) Horizontal axis machines

Horizontal-axis machines typically refer to turbines or windmills where the main rotor shaft and electrical generator are aligned horizontally. In the context of wind turbines, horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) are the most commonly used type today.

(2) Vertical-axis machines

Vertical-axis machines refer to a type of wind turbine where the main rotor shaft is arranged vertically. Unlike horizontal-axis wind turbines, which have blades rotating around a horizontal axis, vertical-axis turbines have blades that spin around a vertical axis.


This was the first blog in the series of upcoming blogs.

We got an introduction to

Water turbine

Steam turbine

Gas turbine

Wind turbine

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