Steam Turbine Types: A Complete Guide

We’ll examine the many types of steam turbines in this post. Although the components of every steam turbine are the same, the way these components are arranged causes differences in the turbines that give rise to distinct varieties. We attempt to introduce these types to you in this post and familiarize you with how various types of steam turbines are built.

Steam Turbine Concept

A mechanical device classified as a steam turbine separates the thermal energy from the pushed steam and transforms it into mechanical energy. The operation of electrical generators is best suited for the turbine since it generates rotatory motion. The name of the gadget already makes it clear that it is powered by steam. As the vapor stream passes over the turbine’s blades, the steam cools and expands, giving off almost all of its energy in the process. You can read about several steam turbine types and their features in the section that follows.

Types of steam turbine

Different kinds of steam turbines can be created based on the design, working pressures, size, and a variety of other factors. However, there are only two fundamental varieties of steam turbines: impulse and reaction turbines. In fact, these two primary types of steam turbines are the basis for further variants.

Impulse Turbine

The superheated steam in this type of turbine is discharged from fixed nozzles in the casing at a high velocity. The turbine shaft rotates when steam collides with the blades, also known as buckets. A steam turbine’s high and intermediate pressure stages are typically impulse turbines. In stationary nozzles, steam pressure drops completely. Although, in theory, there is no pressure drop in the moving blades or impulse blades, in practice there must be a slight pressure drop across the moving blades in order for the flow to occur.

When steam expands through the nozzle of an impulse turbine, the majority of the pressure potential energy is transformed into kinetic energy. When fixed nozzles’ high-velocity steam strikes the blades, it changes direction and exerts force. The rotor turns as a result of the impulse that propels the blades ahead. The pressure drop per stage can be rather significant in these turbines, enabling big blades and fewer stages. This is their principal feature. Except for low-power applications, turbine blades are compounded, an arrangement that considerably increases efficiency at low speeds.

Reaction Turbine

In this form of steam turbine, the turbine shaft rotates as a result of the steam passing from the stator’s fixed blades via the shaped rotor blade nozzles. A reaction-type turbine is typically used in the steam turbine’s low-pressure stage. After expanding through the high and intermediate stages of the turbine, this steam is now at low pressure and temperature, making it the perfect candidate for a reaction turbine.

In reaction turbines, the pressure potential energy is transferred to kinetic energy as the steam expands through the fixed nozzle. High-velocity steam from fixed nozzles strikes the blades (nozzles), which causes them to change direction and expand even further. A force is applied as a result of the direction shift and steam acceleration. The rotor turns as a result of the impulse that propels the blades ahead. As a result of the work involved in driving the rotor, steam velocity through the stage does not change significantly, but pressure and temperature do. Because the pressure drop in a single stage is constrained, this type of turbine experiences pressure dips in multiple stages.

Further Types of Steam Turbines

As we already stated, there are just two primary types of turbines. However, there are additional kinds of steam turbines that are essentially the two basic steam turbines’ derivatives, with different configurations that provide a new mode of operation. Check out our inventory of steam turbines.

Condensing and Noncondensing Turbines

Condensing and noncondensing steam turbines are the first two varieties to be categorized by the new arrangement and with a new method of operation. To extract the most energy possible from steam, equipment of the first type condenses it below atmospheric pressure. Noncondensing turbines release steam at a higher pressure than the surrounding air, which is then used for heating or other necessary operations before returning as water to the boiler.

Large amounts of cooling water are needed in condensing turbines to remove the heat produced during condensation. Condensing turbines may condense at pressures of 90 to 100 kilopascals below atmospheric pressure, whereas noncondensing turbines exhaust steam at or above atmospheric pressure.

Back-Pressure Steam Turbines

A back-pressure steam turbine is another type of steam turbine and is the most appropriate apparatus for mechanical-drive applications, such as the drivers of pumps or compressors.
Backpressure describes steam turbines that release steam at pressures higher than atmospheric. Typically, a plant’s specific application of steam determines the discharge pressure. Higher pressures are typically utilized when supplying steam to industrial operations, whereas lower pressures are regularly employed in small and large low-pressure (LP) applications, such as heating systems.

Extraction Steam Turbine

Extraction steam turbines are a fourth type of steam turbine with a different operating mechanism. A portion of the steam can be extracted from an extraction turbine through one or more apertures in its casing at an intermediate pressure. The steam that was extracted might be applied to a procedure. Depending on the steam turbine design, the steam extraction pressure may or may not be automatically adjusted.


The objective of this article was to provide readers with all the information they needed to know about the many kinds of steam turbines. The most significant equipment in the realm of energy conversion is the steam turbine. Knowing the many sorts of steam turbines will improve your technical grasp of this device while also allowing you to become more familiar with the steam turbines’ general design and function. Additionally, brands like GE provides turbine Control system components that keep an eye out for dangers and guard against them. These include IS200TREGH1B and IS200TRTDH1C etc.

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