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What is Steam Turbine

Steam turbine is a machine capable of transforming thermal energy (from steam) to mechanical energy. OR Steam Turbine is a prime mover in which, heat energy is transformed into mechanical energy.

Purpose of Steam Turbines

Broadly speaking, Purpose of Steam turbines is divided into two broad categories: Generating Electric Power General - Purpose units used for driving pumps, compressors etc. In both cases Steam Turbine will act as a prime mover.

Principle of Working
When Steam is passed through a nozzle, it expands (transforming pressure into velocity). This high velocity (momentum) steam, when impinges on the blades, cause the wheel (rotor) to revolve.

Types of Steam Turbine

Steam turbines are categorized by the following three different ways:

From working principle

Impulse Turbine Reaction Turbine

From number of steages

Single stage turbine Multi stage turbine

Types of Steam Turbine

From how steam is utilized

Condensing turbine Back pressure (non-condensing) turbine Extraction turbine Induction turbine

Impulse Principle
If steam at high pressure is allowed to expand through a stationary nozzle, the result will be a drop in steam pressure and an increase in steam velocity. If the direction of this high velocity steam changed by passing it through a properly shaped turbine blade, will generate an impulse force. This impulse force will cause the blade to move.

Impulse Principle
Impulse Blade Steam In

Impulse Force

Steam Out

Reaction Principle
When high pressure steam is allowed to expand through a nozzle. It will produce a reaction force in the opposite direction. Causing the blade to move.

Reaction Principle

Steam Out

Reaction Force

Single Stage Turbine

This type of turbine intakes and expands the steam in a single row of nozzles and the kinetic (velocity) energy of steam is converted into a mechanical one, by one or two rows of buckets. Single stage turbines are used mainly for small output service, such as driving a pump.

Single Stage Turbine

Multi-stage Turbine
A multistage turbine consists of a series of stages arranged on a single shaft. It is designed so that each stage shares only a part of the total pressure difference. Each stage has a set of nozzle rows and bucket rows and is arranged in series to expand the steam by turns. These turbines are energy efficient and used for medium to large power service to drive large pumps, compressors and (electric) power generators.

Multi-stage Turbine

Condensing Turbine
A condensing turbine intakes high-pressure steam and expands it fully through the series of stages to vacuum and exhausts it to a condenser, where it is condensed to water, instead of being released to the atmosphere or low pressure steam system. A condensing turbine require less steam than a back-pressure turbine because the recovered energy from a unit of steam can be maximized by expanding to high vacuum.

Condensing Turbine

Back Pressure Turbine

A back pressure turbine (non-condensing turbine) utilizes only a part of high-pressure steam by expanding it to an appropriate level of pressure (low pressure or medium pressure steam). Remaining energy in the exhaust steam will be utilized as a heat source in the refinery.

Back Pressure Turbine

Extraction / Induction Turbine

The Extraction Turbine, a part of the expanding steam is extracted from the turbine casing at each connection and supplied to the steam header of intermediate pressure. The Induction Turbine, intermediate nozzles are provided to induce the excess steam from the steam header and expand it to the lower pressure level.

Extraction Turbine

Parts of Turbine
High Pressure Parts:
Governor Valve Trip Valve Trip & Throttle Valve Steam Chest Nozzles

Low Pressure Parts:

Casing Blades Seals

Parts of Turbine
Exhaust Hood Glands or Seals

Rotor Assembly
Blades or buckets Disks Shaft

Other Parts
Bearings (Radial & Thrust) Turning Gear

Purpose of Governor
The purpose of Governor is to control the speed of the turbine according to the required load / set point. Governor controls the speed of turbine by controlling the flow of steam into the turbine.

Types of Governor
There are several types of governors used in Steam Turbines.
Fly Ball Governor Hydraulic Governor Oil Relay Governor Electronic Governor

Fly Ball Governor

It consists of a fly ball and governor spring. As the speed of turbine changes, the fly ball moves outward or inward because of centrifugal force. This creates tension in the spring that in turns opens and closes the steam regulation valve. This phenomena in shown in following figure.

Hydraulic Governor
It uses an oil pump in place of fly ball. An Oil pump is connected directly to the turbine shaft. As the turbine shaft speed changes, the discharge pressure of the oil pump changes. Governor valve is connected to a flexible diaphragm. As the oil pressure on diaphragm changes, the Governor valve opening changes as well. This governor is sensitive to temperature because of Oil.

Oil Relay Governor

These governors combines the features of both fly ball governor and hydraulic governor. Oil pressure operates the piston which is attached to the spring. The spring keeps the piston in place until a change in oil pressure acts on the piston. Fly ball position the pilot valve that controls the oil flowing through oil inlet and oil outlet of the oil relay. It is not sensitive to temperature as the fly ball adjusts the turbine speed.

Electronic Governor
In these Governors an Electric Generator is attached to the turbine shaft to adjust the oil relay. Changes in the speed of shaft changes the output of the electric current. This change in the electric current adjust the pilot valve of the relay.

Turbine Protection
For the protection of turbine from over speeding, an over speed trip mechanism is provided. This mechanism operate automatically if the speed exceeds the designed limit. The over speed trip pin assembly is contained in the trip body mounted on the turbine rotor shaft. When the turbine speed exceeds the rated operated speed, centrifugal force exerted on the trip pin increases. As this force increases above the tension in the spring of trip pin. The pin moves outward and strikes the over speed trip lever and thus stops the turbine.

Auxiliary Systems
Steam turbines are usually equipped with following auxiliary systems
Lubrication system Sealing steam system

Moving Blade

Steam Nozzle Stationary Blade

Lubrication System
There are mainly two types of turbine lubrication systems Oil Ring Lubrication system Forced Lubrication System

First one is simple system that employs oil rings to deliver oil to the turbine bearings. Second one employs a lubrication pump to deliver oil to the turbine bearings.

Two types of bearings are mainly used in the turbine, Radial Bearing or Journal Bearing Thrust Bearing Radial bearing is used to avoid radial vibration (up & down vibration) of the turbine shaft. Thrust bearing is used to avoid axial movement of the turbine shaft.

Start Up of Turbine
Following are the main steps involved in the start up of steam turbine,
Lubrication system preparation & start up Turbine condensing system start up (optional) Turbine sealing & vacuum system start up (optional) Heating & pressurizing of steam lines and turbine Process system preparation Start up & Control

Preparation & Precautions

Monitoring Parameters During Operation

Excessive Casing Pressure Condensation of Steam Quality of Steam Bowing of Shaft Healthiness of the Instruments & Fittings Vibrations Contamination of the oil system Seals leakage Critical Speed

Shut Down of Steam Turbine

Following are the main steps involved in the start up of steam turbine,
Lowering of Speed to minimum controllable Stop the turbine with shutdown push button Isolation of the steam inlet and outlet valves Opening of all drain points Barring of turbine for some time Cooling and shutdown of auxiliary systems

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