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Axial Turbine


A gas turbine unit for power generation or a turbojet engine for production of
thrust primarily consists of a compressor, Combustion chamber and a turbine. The air as
it passes through the compressor, experiences an increase in presser. There after the air in
fed to the combustion chamber leading to tan increase in temperature. This high pressure
and temperature gas in then passed through the turbine, where it is expanded the required
power is obtained.

Turbines, like compressors, can be classified into radial, axial and mixed flow machines.
In the axial machine the fluid moves essentially in the axial direction through the rotor. In
the radial type the fluid motion is mostly radial. The mixed-flow machine is characterized
by a combination of axial and radial motion of the fluid relative to the rotor. The choice
of turbine type depends on the application, though it is not always clear that any one type
is superior.
Comparing axial and radial turbines of the same overall diameter, we may say that
the axial machine, just as in the case of compressors, is capable of handling considerably
greater mass flow. On the other hand, for small mass flows the radial machine can be
made more efficient than the axial one. The radial turbine is capable of a higher pressure
ratio per stage than the axial one. However, multistaging is very much easier to arrange
with the axial turbine, so that large overall pressure ratios are not difficult to obtain with
axial turbines. In this chapter,

We will focus on the axial flow terbine

Generally the efficiency of a well-designed turbine is higher than the efficiency of a

compressor. Moreover, the design process is somewhat simpler. The principal reason
For this fact is that the fluid undergoes a pressure drop in the turbine and a pressure rise
in the compressor .The pressure drop in the turbine is sufficient to keep the secondary
layer generally well behaved and the secondary layer separation which of the occurs in
compressors because of an adverse pressure gradient, can be avoided in turbines.
Offsetting this advantage is the much more critical stress problem, since turbine rotors
must operate in very high temperature gas. Actual blade shape is often more dependent
on stress and cooling considerations than on aerodynamic considerations, beyond the
satisfaction of the velocity-triangle requirements.
Because of the generally falling pressure in turbine flow passages much more
turbine in a giving blade row is possible without danger of flow separation than in an
axial compressor blade row. This means much more work and considerably higher
pressure ratio, per stage.
In recent years advances have been made in turbine blade cooling and in the
metallurgy of turbine blade materials. This means that turbines are able to operate
successfully at increasingly high inlet gas temperatures and that substantial improvements
are being made in turbine engine thrust, weight, and fuel consumption.

Two-dimensional theory of axial flow turbine.

An axial turbine stage consists of a row of stationary blades, called nozzles or stators,
followed by the rotor, as Fig 1 illustrates. Because of the large pressure drop per stage,
the nozzle and rotor blades may be of increasing length, as shown, to accommodate the
rapidly expanding gases, while holding the axial velocity to something like a uniform
value through the stage.

It should be noted that the hub–lip ratio for a high pressure gas turbine in quite high that
in it is having blades of short length. Thus, the radial variation in velocity and pressure
may be neglected and the performance of a turbine stage is calculated from the
performance of the blading at the mean radial section that in a bio-dimensional “pitch-

Following are the notation used for this chapter:

C - axial velocity
W - relation velocity
R → radial character
R – radial direction
Z - axial direction
θ - tangential direction
1 - inlet to the nozzle.
2 - exit from the nozzle, or unlit to the rotor
3 - exit from the rotor.
α - absolute angle
β- relative angle

design analysis “. A Low–pressure within will typically have a much lower hub-lip ratio
and a larger blade twist. A two dimensional design is not valid in this case.

A section through the mean radius would appear as in fig.1 One can see that the
nozzles accelerate the flow imparting an increased tangential velocity component. The
velocity diagram of the turbine differs from that of the compressor in that change in
tangential velocity in the rotor, ∆Vw , in the direction opposite to the blade speed U. The
reaction to this change in the tangential momentum of the fluid is a torque on the rotor in
the direction of motion. Hence the fluid does work on the rotor. Again applying the
momentum relation-ship we may show that the power output is

P = m&(U 2Vw − U 3Vw ) …………………(1)

2 3

In an axial turbine,
U 2 ~− U 3 = U (s a )y. The work output per unit mass flow rate is
WT = U (Vw − Vw )
2 3

Again, WT = Cp (To1 − To3 ) .

Defining ∆To = To1 − To3 = To 2 − To3 ,

We find that the stage work ratio is

∆To WT U (Vw − Vw )
2 3
= = ……………………(2)
To1 C p To1 C p To1

Fig 2: illustrates a combined (inlet to and exit from the rotor ) velocity diagram of
a turbine stage. The velocity diagram gives the following relation:

= tan α 2 − tan β 2

= tan α3 − tan β3
Thus, WT = U (Vw − Vw )
2 3
= UV f [tan α 2 − tan α3 ]
i.e, WT = UV f [tan α 2 − tan α3 ] ……………(3)

The Eq (3) gives the expression for WT in terms of gas angles associated with the rotor

Note that the “work-down factor” required in case of the axial compressor in
necessary here. This in because in an accelerating flow the effect of the growth of
secondary layer along the annulus passage in much less then when there is a decelerating
flow with an adverge pressure gradient.

Instead of temperature drop ratio [defined in Eq (2)], turbine designers generation refer to
the work capacity of a turbine stage as

c p ∆To Vw − Vw
2 3
Ψ= =
U2 V

= [tan β 2 − tan β3 ] …………………..(4)
Ψ is a dimensionless parameter,

Which is called the “blade looking capacity“ or “temperature drop coefficient “. In gas
turbine design, V f in kept generally constant across a stage and the ratio V f / U is called
“the flow coefficient’ φ

Thus, Eq (4) can be written as

ψ = φ[tan β2 − tan β3 ] …………..(5)

As the secondary layer over the blade surface in not very sensitive in case of a
turbine the turbine designer has considerably more freedom to distribute the hold stage
pressure drop between the rotor and the stator. However, locally on the section surface of
the blade there could be a zone of an adverse pressure gradient depending on the turning
and on the pitch of the blades. Thus, the secondary layer could grow rapidly or even
separate in such a region affecting adversity the turbine efficiency. Figure 13.3 illustrates
the schematic of flow within the blade passage and the pressure distribution over the
section surface depicting a zone of diffusion. Different design groups hence their own
rules, learned from experience of blade testing, for the amount of diffusion which is
permissible particularly for highly loaded blades.

Degree of reaction:

Another useful dimensionless parameter is the “degree for reaction” or simply the
reaction” R. It may be defined for a turbine as the fraction of overall enthalpy drop (or
pressure drop) occurring in the rotor

h2 − h3
Thus, R= ………………(6)
ho1 − ho3

T2 − T3
To1 −T o3

Turbine stage in which the entire pressure drop occurs in the nozzle are called impulse
stages. Stages in which a portion of the pressure drop occurs in the nozzle and the rest in
the rotor are called reaction stages. In a 50% reaction turbine, the enthalpy drop in the
rotor would be half of the total for the stage.

An impulse turbine stage in shown in Fig14.1, along with the velocity diagram for
the common case of constant axial velocity. Since no enthalpy change occurs within the
rotor, the energy equation within the rotor requires that | Vr | =| Vr | . If the axial velocity
2 3
is held constant, then this requirement is satisfied by
β3 = −β2
From the velocity diagram, W1 can see that
Vr = −Vr
w3 w2

i.e. Vw − Vw = 2Vr w
2 3 2

= 2(C θ2 − V )

= 2U ( tan α 2 − 1)

Cθ 2 − Cθ3
Then, ψ =

= 2(φ tan α 2 − 1)

The Eq 8 illustrate the effect of the nozzle outlet angle on the impulse turbine work

It is evident, then, that for large power output the nozzle angle should be as large as
possible. Two difficulties are associated with very large α2 . For reasonable axial
velocities (i.e., reasonable flow per unit frontal area), it is evident that large
2 creates very large absolute and relative velocities throughout the
stage. High losses are associated with such velocities, especially if the relative velocity
Vr is supersonic. In practice, losses seem to be minimized for values of

2 around 70
o. In addition, one can see that for large
α 2 [tan α 2 > (2U / V f )], the absolute exhaust velocity will have a swirl in the direction
opposite to U. While we have not introduced the definition of turbine efficiency as yet, it
is clear that, in a turbojet engine where large axial exhaust velocity is desired, the kinetic
energy associated with the tangential motion of the exhaust gases is essentially a loss.
Furthermore, application of the angular momentum equation over the entire engine
indicates that exhaust swirl is associate with an (undesirable) net torque acting on the
aircraft. Thus the desire is for axial or near-axial absolute exhaust velocity (at least for the
last stage if a multistage turbine is used). For the special case of constant V f and axial
exhaust velocity Vw = 0 and Vw = 2U . So Eq. 8 becomes,
3 2

Cθ 2U
ψ=2 [ tan α 2 = =
= 2 / φ]
For a given power and rotor speed, and for a given peak temperature, Eq. (8) is sufficient
to determine approximately the mean blade speed (and hence radius) of a single-stage
impulse turbine having axial outlet velocity. If , as is usually the case, the blade speed is
too high (for stress limitations), or if the mean diameter is too large relative to the other
engine components, it is necessary to employ a multistage turbine in which each stage
does part of the work.
It has been shown that the 50% reaction compressor stage (with constant V f ) has
symmetrical blading. The same is true for the 50% reaction turbine stage. As the change
in static enthalpy is same in stator and rotor blades, the change in kinetic energy relative
to such blade row must be the same. The velocity diagram for a 50% reaction stage with a
constant axial velocity is shown in Fig 5.

Since the velocity diagram is symmetrical,

Wθ 2 = C θ 2 − V

= −C θ3

i.e. C θ 3 = −(C θ 2 − V )

or, Cθ 2 − Cθ3 = 2Cθ 2 − U

Cθ 2 − Cθ3
ψ =

= 2 z tan α 2 − 1

or, ψ = 2φ tan α 2 − 1 ………………….(9)

Again the desirability of large α2 is indicated and the same limitations are encountered,
so that typical values of α2 are near 70 o . For the special case of axial outlet velocity
and constant V f α 3 and β 2 are zero and the velocity diagram becomes a rectangle. The
stage work output is then

ψ =1

Thus for the same blade speed and for axial outlet velocities, the impulse stage work is
twice that of the 50% reaction stage. We can expect the impulse stage to have somewhat
greater loss, however, since the average fluid velocity in the stage is higher and since the
secondary layer on the suction side of the rotor blades may be significantly thicker and
closer to separation, depending on the turning angle and blade spacing. The 50% reaction
stage is not uniquely desirable, of course. One can use any degree of reaction (greater
then zero) to design a turbine of acceptable performance.

The gas flow angle at inlet and exit of blades can b expressed in terms of Ψ, φ and R .
For the rotor blade, the relative total enthalpy remains constant and W1 have,

W22 W3
h2 + = h3 + 2
2 2

W32 W22
i, h2 − h3 = −
2 2

If the axial velocity is the same upstream and downstream of the rotor, then

(Wθ 3 − Wθ 2 (Wθ 3 + Wθ )
2 .
h2 − h3 =

The Eq.6 becomes,

(Wθ 3 − Wθ 3 )(Wθ 3 + Wθ )
2U (C θ 2 − C θ 3 )

Again from velocity triangle (Fig 2),

Cθ 2 − C θ 3 = Wθ 2 − Wθ 3

Wθ 3 + Wθ 2
Thus, R = −( ) …………….(10)

1 Cz
=− (tan β 2 + tan β3 )
2 U

i, R = − φ (tan β2 + tan β3 ) ……………..(11)

Solving Eq. 5 and Eq.11, we have

tan β2 = (ψ − 2 R) / 2φ ………………………(12)

tan β3 = (ψ + 2 R ) / 2φ …………………………..(13)

and from geometric relation

tan α2 = tan β2 + ………………………(14)

tan α3 = tan β3 + …………………..(15)

Hence, from given values of Ψ, φ and R, We can estimate gas flow angles and the
blade layout.

Again, combining Eq.11 and Eq.14, We have

R= [1 − φ(tan α2 + tan β3 )] ………………….(16)

Which is the expression for R in terms of the exit air angles. For the special case
of symmetrical blading , α2 = −β3 and we have R = 1 / 2 . For the case of Vr = −Vrw ,
w3 2

We have R = 0 . Now for the special case of zero exit swirl, Vw3 = 0 and it follows that
Vr = V f tan β3 = −U ie. tan β3 = − 1 and Eq. 16 because
w3 φ
R =1− φ tan α2 ………………….(17)

Again for zero exit swirl, the blade loading capacity, Eq.5 reduces to

ψ = φ tan α 2 ……………………..(18) [α3 = 0]

Equations 17 and 18 have been used in plolling Fig 6, which pertains to design conditions

Here we see that for a given stator outlet angle, the impulse stage requires a much higher
axial velocity ratio than does the 50% reaction stage. In the impulse stage all flow
velocities are higher, and that is one reason why its efficiency is lower than that of the
50% reaction stage.


The aerodynamic losses in the turbine differ with the stage configuration, that is,
the degree of reaction. Improved efficiency is associated with higher reaction, which
tends to mean less work per stage and thus a large number of stages for a given overall
pressure ratio.

The understanding of aerodynamic losses is important to design, not only in the choice of
blading type (impulse or reaction) but also in devising ways to control these losses, for
example, methods to control the clearance between the tip of the turbine blade and the
outer casing wall. The choices of blade shape, aspect ratio, spacing, Reynolds number,
Mach number, and flow incidence angle can all affect the losses and hence the efficiency
of turbine stages.

Two definitions of efficiency are in common image: the choice between then
depends on the application for which the turbine is used. For many conventional
applications, useful turbine output is in the form of shift power and the kinetic energy of
the exhaust -, V32 / 2 , is consideration as a loss. In this case, I deal work would be
C P (T01 − T3s ) and a total to static turbine efficiency, ηts , based on the inlet and exit
static conditions is used.

To1 − To3
Thus, ηts = ……………..(19)
To1 − T3s

The ideal (isen tropic) to actual expansion process in turbines is illustrated in Fig
7. Further,

To1 − To3
η =
ts To1 [1− ( P3 / Po1 )(γ −1) / γ ]

1 − (To3 / To1 )
= ……………………(20)
1 − ( p 3 / p o1 )(γ −1) / γ

In some applications, particularly turbojets, the exhaust kinetic energy is not

considered a loss since the exhaust gases are intended to emerge at high velocity. The
ideal work in this case is then C P (T01 − T03 s ) rather than C P (T01 − T03 s ) . This
requires a different definition of efficiency, the total-to-total turbine efficiency ηtt
defined by

T01 − T03 1 − (T03 / T01)

η tt = =
T01 − T 03s 1 − ( p03 / p01 ) ( γ −1) / γ ………………(21)

One can compare ηtt & ηts by making the approximation

T03s − T3s ≅ T 03 − T3 = V32 / 2C p ,

and using Eqs. 20 and 21 to show that

ηtt =
1 − V3 [2C p (T01 − T3s )]
Thus ηtt > ηts

The actual turbine work can be expressed as,

Wt = ηtt C p T01[1 − ( 03 ) ( γ −1) / r ].

Wt = ηts C p T 01 [1 − ( 3 ) ( γ −1) / r ].

Despite the development in computational methods to predict the flow field in

turbine blade passages, the estimation of stage losses and then efficiency is still a matter
of considerable difficulty. In addition to the primary flow through the blade passage,
there are secondary flows which move fluid across the blade passages under the action of
centrifugal and carioles forces, blade loading effects causing incidence and deviation; bat
age between the moving blade lip and the stationary should; the secondary layers and
wakes shed by blades; and for transonic blades, shock waves in the blade passage and at
the trailing edges. Another class of effects is the insteady general cascade list can be
correlated to define the loss coefficients for the stator (nozzle) and rotor blade of turbines.

With reference to the Fig 7, the effects of loss and thus irreversibility through the
sector and rotor are expressed by difference in static enthalpies, (h2 − h2 s ) and
( h3 − h3ss ) respectively. Non-dimensional enthalpy loss coefficient –“ for the nozzle can
be defined as,

h2 − h2 s = V22ζ N

Similarly, the “enthalpy to as coefficient” for the rotor,

h3 − h3ss = Vr2 ζ R
2 3

Thus, the expressions for the efficiency can be approximated as:

 ζ V 2 +ζ V 2 
R r N 2
 3 
ηtt = 1 + ………………….(23)
2(h1 − h3 ) 
 
 

 ζ V 2 +ζ V 2 + V 2 
R r N 2 1
 3 
ηts = 1 +  ……………………(24)
2(h1 − h3 )
 
 
While designing a turbine stage for a particular application, the restriction arises from the
view point of blade stress rather than from the aerodynamics to achieve the maximum
possible efficiency. In short, the blade spud is limited by the blade stress particularly in
high temperature:- applications. The turbine designers will often work to a maximum
value of blade speed defined by temperature and material properties. Thus in modern
limits, the turbine blade cooling in very vital which determines the life of an engine
( Parlimitorly for the turbojet engine). In many applications, the characteristics of the
compressor which the turbine drives also impose limits on the turbine special.

Turbine Performance

For a given design of turbine operations with a given which at sufficiently high
Reynolds member, it can be shown from the dimensional analysis,

P0 m RT02 ΩD
= f( , ),
P02 D 2 γ RT02

Where stagnation states 02 and 03 are at the turbine inlet and outlet, respectively.
Figure 8 shows the overall performance of a particular single-stage turbine. One can see
that pressure ratios greater than those for compressor stages can be obtained with
satisfactory efficiency.
The performance of turbines is limited principally by two factors: compressibility
and stress. Compressibility limits the mass flow that can pass through a given and as we
will see stress limits the wheel speed U. The work per stage, for example, depends on the
square of the wheel speed. However, as Chapter 5 showed, the performance of the engine
depends very strongly on the maximum temperature. Of course, as the maximum
temperature increases, the allowable stress level diminishes; hence in the design of the
engine there must be a compromise between maximum temperature and maximum rotor
tip speed U.

For given pressure ratio and adiabatic efficiency, the turbine work per unit mass is
proportional to the inlet stagnation temperature. Since, in addition, the turbine work in a
jet or turboshaft engine is commonly two or three times the useful energy output of the
engine, a 1% increase in turbine inlet temperature can produce a 2% or 2% increase in
engine output. This considerable advantage has supplied the incentive for the adoption of
fairly elaborate methods for cooling the turbine nozzle and rotor blades.