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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