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TURBINE AND AUXILIARIES

STEAM TURBINE THEORY

CHAPTER 12 STEAM TURBINE THEORY


12.1 INTRODUCTION
The steam turbine is most versatile prime mover, which is capable of almost endless applications. A machine, which originates mechanical motion by using some natural force, is called prime mover. Steam turbine is a practical power source and is built in as small size as 5 KW to as large as 1300 MW. It is relatively quiet and smooth in operation. Its compactness is unexpelled in the high capacity region and operates on relative speed, which permits direct connection to the alternator. The steam turbine offers many advantages over other prime movers, both thermodynamically and mechanically. From a thermodynamic point of view, the main advantage of the steam turbine over, say, a reciprocating steam engine, is that in the turbine the steam can be expanded down to a lower back-pressure, thereby making available a greater heat drop. In addition, the internal efficiency of the turbine is high, so it is able to convert a high proportion of this relatively large heat drop into mechanical work. From a mechanical point of view, the turbine is ideal, because the propelling force is applied directly to the rotating elements of the machine and has not, as in the reciprocating engine, to be transmitted through a system of connecting links, which are necessary to transform a reciprocating motion into a rotary motion. Hence, since the steam turbine possesses rotary motion only, if the manufacture is good and the machine is correctly designed, it ought to be free from out-of-balance forces. If the load on a turbine is kept constant, the torque developed at the coupling remains constant. A generator at a steady load offers a constant resisting torque. Therefore, a turbine is suitable for driving a generator, particularly as they are both high-speed machines. A further advantage of the turbine is that the exhaust steam is not contaminated with oil vapour and can be condensed and fed back to the boilers without passing through filters. It also means that there is considerable saving in lubricating oil when compared with a reciprocating steam engine of equal power. Yet the steam turbine is not without disadvantages. It is non-reversible. Unlike the IC engine, it is not a complete power plant, but must be associated with a steam generator. ET 08 79

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Steam rates are high unless in condensing operation. The thermal (steam) power plant therefore was a duel phase cycle, i.e. vapour and liquid. It is a closed cycle to enable the working fluid (water) to be used again and again. The cycle used is "Rankine Cycle" modified to include superheating of steam, regenerative feed water heating and reheating of steam.

12.2 ENERGY CONVERSION IN STEAM TURBINE


A steam turbine basically consists of two elements or sets of elements as shown in Fig. 1.2. These are

Fig.1.2 Basic Elements of Turbine

a) NOZZLE

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The nozzle, attached to the casing of the turbine. The steam enters the nozzle at a high pressure and a relatively low velocity. Due to nozzle action steam velocity increases at the cost of pressure and temperature. b) CURVED BLADES The blades are attached to the turbine rotor. The rapidly moving particles of steam issuing from the nozzle enter the blades. As the blades are curved (Fig. 1.3), the direction of motion of these particles of steam is changed. This causes the change of momentum of passing steam due to which resultant force in the tangential to the rotor periphery is set-up. The summation of this force acting on all the blades constitutes the driving force of the turbine.

Finally when the steam comes out of the blades, the pressure and temperature of the steam are reduced, i.e. the drop of the enthalpy at the exhaust of the turbine due to expansion of steam. The processes of expansion and direction changing may occur once ET 08 81

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(single stage) as in the simple impulse turbine, or a number of times (multi-stage) as in pressure compounded impulse or impulse-reaction turbine.

12.3 IMPULSE AND REACTION PRINCIPLE CLASSIFICATION


Basically there are two broad classifications of steam turbine with respect to operating principle. i) Impulse Turbine ii) Impulse-Reaction/Reaction Turbine

12.4 IMPLUSE TURBINE


In this class of turbines, the potential energy of steam, by virtue of its pressure and superheat, is changed into Kinetic energy of steam having high velocity by expansion in fixed nozzles. All the expansion of the original steam occurs in these nozzles only (fixed to the casing) and none taking place in the rotor blading during its passage. Thus the pressures at the inlet and outlet edges of these blading will be equal. The moving blades are designed in such a manner that the steam will glide on and off without any tendency to strike them, thus giving an impulse due to change of velocity of steam which causes the shaft to rotate. The steam flow area at the inlet and outlet is constant in this type and blading. Since there is no pressure difference across the two sides of moving blades, there is little or no tendency for steam to leak past the blade tips and so the problem of sealing between the two sides of the wheel is considerably simplified. The impulse turbines may be sub-classified as follows. 12.4.1 The simple Impulse Turbine This turbine consists of only one stage of nozzles and moving blades, as shown in Fig. 1.4. The top portion of Fig. 1.4 shows a longitudinal section through the upper half of the turbine, the middle portion shows a development of the nozzles and blading. The lower part of the figure shows approximately how the absolute pressure and the absolute velocity of the steam vary from point-to-point during the passage of the steam through the turbine. In this turbine, the steam is expanded once only, the steam enters the nozzles at the steam chest pressure and issues from the nozzles at condenser pressure. The heat drop is comparatively large and as the increase in Kinetic energy is equal to the heat drop, the ET 08 82

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nozzle exit velocity of the steam is high. For maximum blade efficiency, the blade velocity should be slightly less than one half the steam velocity, so in this type of turbine the blade velocity is very high. As the rotor diameter is kept fairly small, the rotational speed is also very high, being of the order of 30,000 rpm. With speeds of this order it is often necessary to reduce the speed of the driven machine by gear-box, thus increasing the cost and complexity of an installation and reducing its overall efficiency. It can be seen from Fig. 1.4 that the velocity of the steam leaving the moving blades is large which represents the loss of Kinetic energy and is called the "Carry-over loss" or "Leaving Loss" which may be approximately 11% of initial Kinetic energy of the steam. An example of the simple impulse turbine is the De Laval turbine used for relatively low power application. Rotor of simple (Single stage) impulse turbine is shown in Fig. 1.5.

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12.4.2 The Pressure-Compounded Impulse Turbine The turbine, shown in Fig. 1.6, is basically a number of impulse turbines connected in series on the same shaft, the exhaust steam from one stage entering the nozzles of the ET 08 84

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succeeding stage. In this way the whole of the pressure drop (heat drop) available, i.e. from steam chest to condenser, is split-up into a number of smaller pressure drops. Hence stage consists of set of nozzles and blades. As the heat drop in each stage is a fraction of the heat drops in a simple impulse turbine working between the same limits of pressure and temperature, the increase in Kinetic energy in each stage will be much lower, i.e. the velocity of the steam issuing from the nozzles will be much lower. Therefore, the blade velocities and rotational speed can be lowered. This means the greater the number of stages, the lower the speeds. The leaving loss in the last stage as compared to simple impulse turbine is proportionately less, still it is appreciable. In a pressure-compounded impulse turbine the nozzles are usually fitted into partitions, called "diaphragms", which separate one wheel chamber from the next. The wheels are mounted individually on the shaft and carry the blades on their periphery. As expansion of the steam takes place wholly in the nozzles, the space between any two diaphragms is filled with steam at a constant pressure, but the pressure on either side of any diaphragm are different. The greatest difference occurs in the first few stages. Hence, steam will tend to leak through the space between the bore of the diaphragm and the surface of the shaft. Fitting of labyrinth glands usually minimizes such leakage. A.C.E. Rateau first designed this type of turbine.

12.4.3 The Velocity-Compounded Impulse Turbine It is similar to the simple impulse turbine in that there is only one set of nozzles. The wheel, however, instead of being fitted with a single row of blades, is fitted with two or more rows, between which are arranged rows of stationary guide blades. Fig. 1.7 shows a three-row wheel. Steam enters the nozzles at the steam chest pressure and issues from the nozzles at condenser pressure and as in the simple impulse turbine, at very high velocity. The provision of two or more rows of moving blades, however, enables the blade velocity for maximum efficiency to be made appreciably less than that necessary for maximum efficiency in its simple impulse turbine. On passing through the first row of moving blades the steam gives up only a part of its Kinetic energy and issues from this row of blades with fairly high velocity. It then enters the first of the two rows of guide blades and is redirected by them into the second row of moving blades. There is a slight drop in velocity in the fixed guide blades due to friction. In passing through the second ET 08 85

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row of moving blades, the steam gives up another portion of its Kinetic energy to the rotor. It is redirected in the second row of guide blades, does work on the third row of moving blades, and finally leaves the wheel in a more or less axial direction with a certain residual velocity. This velocity is comparatively small and therefore the leaving loss is small, being about two percent of the initial available energy of the steam.Fig.1.7 (a) shows two-stage vel.comp.impulse turbine. 12.4.4 The Pressure-Velocity Compounded Impulse Turbine In the same way that a number of simple impulse turbines in series on the same shaft can be combined to form a pressure-compounded impulse turbine, so a number of simple velocity - compounded impulse turbine as shown in Fig. 1.8. The only difference in principle between the two types is that in the pressure-compounded type a stage consists of a set of nozzles and a single row wheel, whereas in the pressure-velocity-compounded type a stage consists of set of nozzles and a single row wheel, whereas in the pressurevelocity compounded type a stage consists of a set of nozzles and a wheel with two or more rows of blades. As in other type of impulse turbines, the steam is expanded wholly in the nozzles and the wheels rotate in steam at constant pressure. The total pressure drop from steam chest to condenser being split-up into as many steps as the number of wheels on the shaft. This type of turbine is comparatively simple in construction and is much more compact than the multi-stage pressure-compounded impulse turbine since the pressure drop is greater per stage and consequently fewer stages are necessary. Unfortunately its efficiency is not high. At one time it was widely used in power stations but is now an obsolete type. Many impulse turbines, however, incorporate a two-row velocity wheel for the first stage in the high pressure cylinder. An American engineer, C.G. Curtis, first introduced this turbine.

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Fig.1.6 Pressure Compounded Impulse Turbine

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Fig.1.8 Velocity &Pressure Compounded impulse Turbine

12.5 IMPLUSE-REACTION TURBINE Impulse-reaction (commonly called as "Reaction Turbine") turbines works on the principle that the steam pressure is reduced in both fixed and moving blades unlike in impulse turbine in which pressure was reduced only in nozzles. While the steam is passing through the moving blades, work is still being done by the impulse effect due to the reversal of direction of the high velocity steam, but the fixed and moving blades are so designed that the steam expands as it passes through both thus giving, in addition, a reaction effect due to the expansion of steam through the moving blades.

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Since in the reaction type machine a pressure drop also occurs across the moving blades it is necessary to provide effective sealing at the blade tips. This must be done to prevent leakage of steam past the shrouding of the wheel and consequent loss in efficiency particularly at the high-pressure end of the machine. These turbines may be designed for radial flow or axial flow. However, radial flow machines are absolute now a days and all modern turbine employ axial flow designs. The axial-flow impulse-reaction turbine consists of a number of rows of moving blades attached to the rotor and an equal number of rows of fixed blades attached to the casing as shown in Fig. 1.9. The fixed blades compare to the nozzles used in the impulse turbine. Steam is admitted over the whole circumference and in passing through the first row of fixed blades undergoes a small drop in pressure and its velocity is increased. It then enters the first row of moving blades and as in the impulse turbine, suffers a change in direction and hence momentum giving an impulse on the blades. During the steam passage through the moving blades it undergoes a further small drop in pressure resulting in increase in velocity, which gives rise to a reaction in the direction opposite to that of the added velocity. It is in this way that the impulse-reaction turbine differs from the pure impulse turbine. Thus the gross propelling force in the impulse-reaction turbine, or the "reaction" turbine, is the vector sum of the impulse and the reaction effects. Fig. 1.9 shows how the blade heights increase as the specific volume of the steam increases with reduction in pressure. It also shows how the pressure falls gradually as the steam passes through the groups of blades. There is a pressure drop across each row of blades both fixed and moving. This is of considerable practical importance, especially at the high-pressure end of the turbine where the pressure drops are greatest, because this difference of pressure tends to force some steam through the clearance spaces between the moving blades and the casing, similarly between the fixed blades and rotor. These clearances have to be carefully controlled by using axial and/or radial seals at the blade tips; otherwise the available energy possessed by the steam, which leaked across, would be lost. The pressure drop across the moving blades gives rise to a large axial thrust on the rotor towards the low pressure end of the turbine, therefore special balance pistons have to be fitted to counteract it. Fig. 1.10 shows the axial section of a turbine with impulse/reaction stages and balance piston arrangement.

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The steam velocities in this type of turbine are moderate, the velocity for maximum blade efficiency being roughly equal to the blade velocity. The leaving loss is normally about the same as for the multi-stage impulse turbine. The impulse-reaction turbine was developed by Sir Charles A. Parsons and is widely used in power stations.

Fig.1.9 Axial Flow Reaction Turbine

12.5.1 Distinction between Impulse & Reaction Designs The hard and fast distinction between the impulse and impulse-reaction turbine is becoming progressively less important. The general trend of commercial development being that the reaction turbine often to adopt a certain percentage of impulse in its design and the impulse turbine likewise to adopt a certain percentage of reaction. At the present time the two types are therefore characterized more by differences of constructional ET 08 90

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features than by any actual differences in the methods of extracting energy from the steam by the blading. The reason for this progressive development is that the reaction stage is slightly more efficient than the impulse stage, but at the high-pressure end of the turbine this is more offset by the loss due to leakage across the tips of moving blades. The general trend is to use a greater percentage of impulse at the high-pressure end of the turbine and to progressively increase the percentage of reaction at the low-pressure end.

Fig.1.10 Double Casing Impulse-Reaction Turbine

Further due to different characteristics of impulse and reaction blading there are significant differences in the turbine designs. The impulse turbine moving blades are carried on discs, which are either integral with or attached to a small diameter shaft. The axial thrust on the rotor is small since there is no pressure drop across the blades and therefore no pressure forces across the discs. The presence of a pressure drop across the moving blades of the reaction turbine makes disc unviable. Instead, a greatly expanded hollow shaft known as a drum rotor replaces the discs.

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