Steam and water circuits 15
Finally the last of the heat in the gases is used to warm the air that is tobe used in the process of burning the fuel. (This air heater is not shown inthe diagram since it is part of the air and gas plant which is discussed in thenext chapter.)The major moving items of machinery shown in the diagram are thefeed pump, which delivers water to the system, and the fan which providesthe air needed for combustion of the fuel (in most plants each of these isduplicated). In a combined-cycle plant the place of the combustion-air fanand the fuel firing system is taken by the gas turbine exhaust.Figure 2.1 shows only the major items associated with the boiler. In apower-generation station, the steam passes to a turbine after which it hasto be condensed back to water, which necessitates the use of a heatexchanger to extract the last remaining vestiges of heat from the fluid andfully condense it into a liquid. Then, entrained air and gas has to beremoved from the condensed fluid before it is returned to the boiler.The major remaining plant items forming part of the steam/watercycle will now be briefly described and their operations explained.
2.2 The steam turbine
In plants using a turbine, the energy in the steam generated by the boileris first converted to kinetic energy, then to mechanical rotation and finallyto electrical energy. On leaving the turbine the fluid is fed to a condenserwhich completes the conversion back to water, which is then passed tofurther stages of processing before being fed to the feed pumps. In thefollowing paragraphs, we shall examine this process (with the exception ofthe conversion to electrical energy in the alternator).In the turbine, the steam is fed via nozzles onto successive rows ofblades, of which alternate rows are fixed to the machine casing with theintermediate rows attached to a shaft (Figure 2.2). In this way the heatenergy in the steam is converted first to kinetic energy as it enters themachine through nozzles, and then this kinetic energy is converted tomechanical work as it impinges onto the rotating blades. Further work isdone by the reaction of the steam leaving these blades when it encountersanother set of fixed blades, which in turn redirect it onto yet another set ofrotating blades. As the steam travels through the machine in this way itcontinually expands, giving up some of its energy at each ring of blades.The moment of rotation applied to the shaft at any one ring of blades is themultiple of the force applied to the blades and mean distance of the force.Since each stage of rings abstracts energy from the steam, the force appliedat the subsequent stage is less than it was at the preceding ring and,