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Why vacuum is created in turbine?

A vacuum is maintained in the condenser so that steam can easily

flow and more work can be extracted from the steam in
the turbine.

The steam pressure in the last stage of the steam turbine is very low after
performing the work. To make the steam flow to the condenser to convert
into condensate (liquid/water) it is necessary that the pressure be much
lower in the condenser to make the steam flow to the condenser. Therefore,
vacuum is maintained in the condenser using either vacuum pump or
steam ejector.


Basic vacuum created in the LPT exhaust side is because of condensing

process. Phase change is occurring at the exhaust side i.e. conversion of
steam into water. Specific volume of water is much lower than the steam.
Hence when the condensing process happens, volume of steam reduces
and basic vacuum is created. Apart from this, vacuum pumps are provided
to remove non condensable gases/air ingress which reduces heat transfer
effectiveness. Why vacuum is created? To improve LPT cylinder efficiency
& thus the load/work done shall be improved.

Effect of over vacuum?

It causes sub-cooling effect where hot well temperature reduces more than
design which required to be added in boiler leads to heat loss. Also flow
accelerated erosion in LPT last stages

Effect of under vacuum?

LPT efficiency reduction which causes lesser work done & leads to reduced
load output.

How the vacuum is created?
It is a condition well below normal atmospheric pressure and is
measured in units of pressure (the pascal). A vacuum can
be created by removing air from a space using a vacuum pump or
by reducing the pressure using a fast flow of fluid, as in Bernoulli's
What is the use of gland steam condenser?
The middle section of the gland seals are usually (for higher rating
turbine) connected to Sealing fan system (gland condenser fan),
which sucks air + Steam from the gland seals, and pumped into a
heat exchanger where the steam is condensed and thereafter air
will be vent out into the atmosphere.
What is the gland steam?
It is the low-pressure steam that is led to a sealing gland.
The steam seals the gland, which may be either a carbon ring or
labyrinth type against air at the vacuum end of the shaft.
What is a gland seal?

A gland is a general type of stuffing box, used to seal a rotating or

reciprocating shaft against a fluid. The most common example is
in the head of a tap (faucet) where the gland is usually packed
with string which has been soaked in tallow or similar grease.

What is a labyrinth seal?

A labyrinth seal is a type of mechanical seal that provides a
tortuous path to help prevent leakage. An example of such
a seal is sometimes found within an axle's bearing to help prevent
the leakage of the oil lubricating the bearing.
When a condensing steam turbine is first started up and in a low-load condition, steam from the inlet
(H.P.) end will leak from the outboard gland - even though carbon-ring seals and labyrinth seals are
installed to minimise the leakage. Superheated steam is invisible and, due to its high temperature, is
very dangerous. Leakage of steam is also a waste and is not desirable. Conversely, under the same
low-load conditions, the L.P end of the turbine will be under the vacuum of the surface condenser.
The vacuum will tend to pull in cold atmospheric air through the seals along the shaft. Cold air will
have a detrimental effect on the hot metal of the shaft which can lead to damage. In order to
minimise these problems, a manually controlled supply of low pressure SEAL steam (about 2 Psi), is
piped to a common line feeding the glands of the machine. This pressure will prevent the ingress of
air at the L.P. end and ensure a positive pressure at the H.P. end during start-up. (The ejector units
are started and vacuum pulled before starting the turbine). When the turbine load is increased, the
leakage of steam into the Seal-steam header will cause greater pressure than the Seal steam supply
and will begin to flow to the L.P. end seal. At this point, the Seal steam supply can be shut down and
the Seal-steam taken from the H.P. end and manually maintained at 2 Psi by venting excess into the
surface condenser. Even when the seal pressures are maintained at 2 Psi, some leakage occurs
from both seals.