Monday, March 20, 2017

Steam Driven Turbine

John Jensen posted
Turbine at a powerhouse in an abandoned textile finishing plant.
Bud Norwood I worked on a steam turbine similar to that. From the early 1900s. The old guys that actually built those machines really were the rocket scientists of their day! We have generations of millwrights who are familiar with turbines now days but those boys were out there on the cutting edge of new technology in their day!Bud Norwood Just to bring this discussion back to the machining aspect, several jobs I was on required in-place machining on turbine joints. Several times the rotor (155 tons) was placed in a portable lathe to machine the bearing journals. It was interesting work.
The blade wheels get bigger as the steam progresses through the turbine because the steam looses pressure.

In the 1800's, electricity was generated by pistons driving a crankshaft. Today, most of our electricity is generated by turbine driven alternators. Initially, the turbines were steam driven from coal-fired boilers. Then nuclear power was introduced to generate the steam. Now some boilers have been converted to burn natural gas instead of coal because fracking has reduced the cost of natural gas. But all three of these fuel sources use steam driven turbines.

During World War II, Germany and other countries were developing turbines that could be driven directly from burning fuel. These turbines were called jet engines. Now gas-burning turbines have been scaled up to generate electricity. But the modern versions of these plants also use steam-driven turbines because the residual heat from the gas turbine is used to make steam. I'm willing to bet that over half the electricity consumed in America is still made with steam turbines.

Update:
John Abbott posted
Birmingham steel turbine

John Abbott posted
[This is supposed to be at Facebook resolution. I determined that the text reads: "Electricity generating steam turbine failure: damage to low pressure rotor was caused by excessive vibrations."]



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