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Hydraulic Turbines: Definition and Basics

written by: naveenagrawal • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 11/17/2014

Hydraulic Turbines transfer the energy from a flowing fluid to a rotating shaft. A turbine is something that rotates or spins. Learn more about how Hydraulic Turbines work in this article.

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    Leonardo da Vinci once said “The power of water has changed more in this world than emperors or kings”. It was very rightly stated by him as in present time Hydropower, the power generated from water, has a major contribution to the world’s total power production. This all was made possible by the development of Hydraulic Turbines which can transfer the energy from flowing water to the shafts of dynamos producing electrical power.

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    Hydraulic Turbines

    Hydraulic Turbines have a row of blades fitted to the rotating shaft or a rotating plate. Flowing liquid, mostly water, when pass through the Hydraulic Turbine it strikes the blades of the turbine and makes the shaft rotate. While flowing through the Hydraulic Turbine the velocity and pressure of the liquid reduce, these result in the development of torque and rotation of the turbine shaft. There are different forms of Hydraulic Turbines in use depending on the operational requirements. For every specific use a particular type of Hydraulic Turbine provides the optimum output.

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    Classification of Hydraulic Turbines: Based on flow path

    Water can pass through the Hydraulic Turbines in different flow paths. Based on the flow path of the liquid Hydraulic Turbines can be categorized into three types.

    1. Axial Flow Hydraulic Turbines: This category of Hydraulic Turbines has the flow path of the liquid mainly parallel to the axis of rotation. Kaplan Turbines has liquid flow mainly in axial direction.
    2. Radial Flow Hydraulic Turbines: Such Hydraulic Turbines has the liquid flowing mainly in a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation.
    3. Mixed Flow Hydraulic Turbines: For most of the Hydraulic Turbines used there is a significant component of both axial and radial flows. Such types of Hydraulic Turbines are called as Mixed Flow Turbines. Francis Turbine is an example of mixed flow type, in Francis Turbine water enters in radial direction and exits in axial direction.

    None of the Hydraulic Turbines are purely axial flow or purely radial flow. There is always a component of radial flow in axial flow turbines and of axial flow in radial flow turbines.

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    Classification of Hydraulic Turbines: Based on pressure change

    One more important criterion for classification of Hydraulic Turbines is whether the pressure of liquid changes or not while it flows through the rotor of the Hydraulic Turbines. Based on the pressure change Hydraulic Turbines can be classified as of two types.

    1. Impulse Turbine: The pressure of liquid does not change while flowing through the rotor of the machine. In Impulse Turbines pressure change occur only in the nozzles of the machine. One such example of impulse turbine is Pelton Wheel.
    2. Reaction Turbine: The pressure of liquid changes while it flows through the rotor of the machine. The change in fluid velocity and reduction in its pressure causes a reaction on the turbine blades; this is where from the name Reaction Turbine may have been derived. Francis and Kaplan Turbines fall in the category of Reaction Turbines.

Hydraulic Turbines

Hydraulic Turbines transfer the energy from a flowing fluid to a rotating shaft. Turbine itself means a thing which rotates or spins. To know more about what are Hydraulic Turbines, what is the working principle of Hydraulic Turbines and how are they classified, read on through this article series.
  1. Hydraulic Turbines: Definition and Basics
  2. Hydraulic Turbines: The Pelton Turbine
  3. Hydraulic Turbines: Francis Turbine
  4. Hydraulic Turbines: Kaplan Turbine
  5. Cavitation in Hydraulic Turbines: Causes and Effects