In Latin it is where we can find the etymological origin of the word turbine that we are dealing with now, specifically, it derives from the Latin term “turbo”, which can be translated as “whirlpool”.
It must also be stated that the first time that the cited word was used was at the beginning of the 19th century. And it is that the French scientist Benoit Fourneyron created it in 1827 to define the practical turbine that he shaped. This was one of the many inventions that, throughout his life, he undertook, who is considered the father of the hydraulic turbine.
A turbine is a machine formed by a wheel with several paddles. By continuously receiving a liquid in its central part, the turbine expels it towards its circumference and manages to take advantage of its energy to generate a driving force.
What a turbine does, therefore, is take advantage of the Pressure of a liquid to make a wheel with propellers turn and produce a movement. It can be said, therefore, that the turbine is an engine that produces mechanical energy.
The propellers or blades of the wheel are located on its circumference. The liquid that enters the turbine, therefore, generates the tangential type force that gives movement to the wheel, causing it to rotate. A axisfinally takes care of to transfer said mechanical energy to another machine or device.
It is possible to distinguish between a wide variety of turbines according to their operation. A wind turbine, for example, is one that takes advantage of the kinetic energy found in the wind to obtain mechanical energy. Wind turbines were common in mills.
The hydraulic turbineinstead, it works with the Energy that is present in a fluid. Thanks to the shaft that is linked to the wheel, this kind of turbine can offer the energy necessary to move a machine or to produce electrical energy through a generator. Hydropower plants, in fact, use turbines of this class.
We cannot ignore the existence of what is known as a Kaplan turbine. This is a type of water turbine that bases its operation on an impeller that performs the same function and in a similar way as the propeller of a boat. If it is so called, it is in honor of its inventor, the Austrian engineer Víktor Kaplan (1876 – 1934).
That one patented this device and although, at first, it was considered that it could not be manufactured or have the expected result, it finally ended up succeeding. Thus, it began to be used in both textile factories and power plants.
On the other hand, we also find the so-called Francis turbine, which is reaction and mixed flow. It was created by James B. Francis, it is hydraulic and currently where it is used most frequently is in hydroelectric plants, since it is highly efficient.
Within the aforementioned previous classification are turbines:
* of action: the fluid does not change its pressure at any time during its passage through the impeller, but rather it decreases from the value it has when entering the turbine until it reaches atmospheric pressure at the guide ring. It is distinguished mainly by not having a suction pipe. One of the most efficient classes is the Pelton turbine, which has a tangential flow and a low number of revolutions, generally less than or equal to 30;
* reaction: the pressure of its fluid changes considerably as it passes through the impeller, since when it enters the impeller its value is higher than that of atmospheric pressure and when it leaves it shows a significant depression. Among its main characteristics, it can be said that it has a suction pipe that connects the fluid discharge area with the impeller outlet. According to the configuration of its blades (each of its curved blades towards which the impulse fluid), it is possible to speak of a fixed blades and of adjustable blades (both may have diagonal flow or from axial flow).
On the other hand is the thermal turbine, which is characterized by the significant change in density that its working fluid undergoes when passing through the machine. At first glance it is possible to distinguish two groups, given the main features of their design:
* the gas turbine, which appeals to a gas as a fluid to obtain the energy necessary for its operation, and which does not show a phase change of the fluid when it passes through the impeller;
* the steam turbine, in which the working fluid can undergo phase changes when passing through the impeller. Two of the most common types are steam turbines and the mercury turbines.
Other subgroups that can be recognized within thermal turbines are:
* turbine in action: energy transfer only occurs when the speed of the fluid changes and the enthalpy jump (of the thermodynamic magnitude that is equivalent to adding its internal energy to the product of the volume and the external pressure) occurs only in the stator (the fixed part within which the rotor rotates);
* jet turbine: the enthalpy jump occurs in the stator and impeller, or only in the rotor.