Application and function of turbines


The turbine is one of the most used equipment nowadays in the engineering world. They are rotating machines that have different applications and different functions, ranging from hydroelectric power to motor racing. Within the energy industry, turbines can be found in nuclear, hydro, thermoelectric, etc. plants. In this field, wind turbines are also gaining more and more investment and application. In essence, they are motor machines – that is, they are moved by the working fluid. This is the concept of counter-working pumps, for example. Pumps energize the working fluid, increasing its pressure and promoting fluid movement in the pipeline.

A unique feature that can be found in all these examples is the presence of a bladed rotor. In its construction, with the exception of wind turbines, there are nozzles, or fixed blades, which are responsible for directing the fluid towards the moving blades. At this moment, the transformation of the fluid's enthalpy1 into mechanical power, that is, rotation of an axis, takes place. In turbines used for power generation, this axis is coupled to an electrical generator, which then promotes the generation of electrical energy. In the turbines used in aviation, the air that passes through the equipment undergoes a compression process followed by combustion before leaving the turbine, producing the thrust necessary to move aircraft.

In their application inside plants, they are operated using saturated steam or superheated steam, where generally the constructive form of the machine changes little for each application. An important and widely used classification concerns turbine discharge pressure. Turbines that have a discharge pressure greater than atmospheric are called backpressure turbines. In case the discharge pressure is lower than atmospheric pressure, the turbine is called condensation. Condensing turbines are normally large turbines that operate with superheated steam, with several expansion stages where, at the end of the process, there is only water from the steam expansion and condensation process.

Briefly, the purpose of a turbine is to convert the available energy into the fluid that enters it to generate electrical energy. In its conception, the turbine expands the fluid that enters it, decreasing its pressure – or even, decreasing its internal energy2.

Several constructive and process factors influence the ability to convert this energy, that is, the efficiency of the machine. A classic example is the number of blades and their angle of inclination, in addition to their manufacturing quality. Also, in terms of installation, fluid flows with a lot of pressure and flow variations tend to reduce the efficiency of the machine.

The differential of the PROSUMIR Pressure Reducing Turbine (TRP) is that it is able to control the pressure drop imposed on the flow – being able to operate with saturated or superheated steam. In this way, it is possible to apply it in factories, modulating the steam pressure according to the needs of the manufacturing process, without altering in any way the parameters already established at the factory.

Learn more about TRP, a PROSUMIR solution for energy use in steam systems at www.prosumir.com.br.

1 Enthalpy: thermodynamic property used in calculations of compression and expansion processes, that is, necessary in calculating the power developed in turbines

2 Internal energy: thermodynamic property used to fully determine the characteristics of a system, or measure energy in relation to the mass of a system

3 Condensation: thermodynamic process that occurs at constant temperature, where the change from vapor to liquid phase occurs

For a better understanding of the terms above, it is recommended to read Bornakke and Sonntag's work, “Fundamentals of Thermodynamics”, from the Van Wylen Series.





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