How Does a Steam Turbine Work?


Quick Answer

A steam turbine functions when highly pressured gaseous water, or steam, passes along the rotor through the multiple alternatively fixed and moving blades. A running generator converts the resultant kinetic energy into electrical energy. This is one of the most efficient sources of energy.

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Full Answer

Sir Charles Parsons invented the modern steam turbine in 1884. Steam turbines come in various types, and they have multiple uses. They range from small turbines of less than 0.75 kilowatts used in pumps to large turbines of over 1.5 million kilowatts used in electricity generation.

A steam turbine consists of different parts of equal importance, but each part has a different function. When the steam is pressured through the nozzle, it hits the blades, which are strategically located and designed to capture as much energy as possible. The blades are attached to the rotor and spin it around, creating rotational energy that moves the running generator, which has dynamos that convert the kinetic energy into electrical energy. The blades and rotor are enclosed in an alloy steel outer case, which can withstand high pressure for efficient functioning. After rotating the blades, the steam cools in the condensing turbine into water for reuse, making the whole process more efficient.

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