Types Of Turbines

A turbine is defined as a device which draws energy from a fluid moving at a high speed and converts that energy into work. The purpose of turbines is basically to produce electricity and to propel various machinery and objects via the mechanical energy produced.

Every turbine has a one basic principle that is: a moving fluid which can be water, steam, wind or gas is made to run over blades at a high speed, the blades induced by the moving fluid start rotating and as a result they start the rotor engine attached to the device which is responsible for converting the energy into work.

Turbines came into being after the industrial revolution when the entire world changed its shape. Almost the entire electricity of the world is produced by turbines; however the source of energy may vary. The first turbines to be used were the steam turbines but now on the basis of the fluid from which energy is extracted there are four major types of turbines:

  • Steam turbines
  • Water turbines
  • Wind turbines
  • Gas turbines

Modern steam turbine with generator installation in a power house.
Modern steam turbine with generator installation in a power house.

Steam Turbine

Steam turbines were the first turbines ever produced by man.

These turbines are composed of shaft blades and a rotor engine.

The steam which is produced by the burning of coal, oil or from nuclear reactor is made to pass through blades which spin at a very high speed to drive the generator which produces energy.

The principle on which it works is that the thermal energy which is extracted from the steam is converted into mechanical energy.

Although officially steam engines were put into use by the efforts of the English engineer Charles Algernon Parsons in 1884, it believed that he was not the first person who came up with the idea.

Rotating blade assembly of a steam turbine.
Rotating blade assembly of a steam turbine.

The concept of converting the energy produced by fast moving steam into work was first given in the first century by a Greek mathematician. However since there were not many resources at that time the concept was not given much of a thought.

In 1884 when the world was at the peak of the industrial revolution the advent of steam engine changed the world at a rapid speed. First it was used to run ships and various machinery then soon it was put into use for producing electricity.

For more than a century steam turbines were majorly used for production of electricity but later other types of turbines took over.

Because of the fact that they use up the fossil fuels which are now are being diminished they are not preferred today for the making of electricity for masses.

Rotor of a water turbine
Rotor of a water turbine
Offshore wind turbines in Belgium
Offshore wind turbines in Belgium

Water Turbine

Water turbines work on the same principle as the steam turbines but the difference is that they use water instead of steam. The water used by these turbines comes from lakes and rivers.

Dams which are built in these huge water bodies store the water at one end, at the other end they possess hydraulic turbines which possess a shaft bearing vertical blades and a generator which produces hydroelectric power which is in turn used as electricity.

Water turbines today are the major source of electricity all over the world. Nearly 70% of the world uses hydroelectric power to produce electricity. They are more preferable than the steam turbines as they do not waste up the fossil fuels.

The first water turbines were built in Niagara falls at the end of the 19th century but their use became massive at the mid of the 20th century with the fall of industries.

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines use up the moving wind to produce electricity.

These turbines might not be as popular as water and steam turbines but in many parts of the world like in Scotland and some parts of America this turbine is used to produce electricity.

Long egg beater- like shafts, possessing bow shaped blades, are placed high in the sky. These blades move with the moving wind to produce electricity.

Producing electricity from wind may sound a good option as wind is a resource which can never end; however this process has huge restrictions as wind is as reliable as water.

It can only be applicable in parts of the world where wind moves fast continuously.

A Gas Turbine
A Gas Turbine

Gas Turbine

Gas turbines use up high pressure gas to produce energy.

These turbines are not used for producing electricity but they are used to propel jet engines.

Gas turbines are the latest types of turbines. Their structure is advanced but the principle is same.

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Comments 26 comments

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skymaster 5 years ago

Very informative. Nice to learn other types of turbines than gas turbines :) ty

riyas.aboobacker profile image

riyas.aboobacker 5 years ago from today : UK . ( tomorrow :no idiea )

very informative

Megan Coxe profile image

Megan Coxe 5 years ago from somewhere between here and there

Very interesting stuff! It´s great to have accessible material on this topic at hand!

htodd profile image

htodd 5 years ago from United States

Great post..nice

qasim javed ...pakistan.. kamalia 5 years ago

interesting but not compltee overview

humaira kanwal 5 years ago

nice info.

SARAN 5 years ago


ambrish 5 years ago

good data including thear

yamuna 5 years ago

good information

kevin 5 years ago

this info is great for my science fair project. thanks a ton!

srinivasulu 5 years ago


kids1227 5 years ago

this data is very helpful...

prakhar pathak 5 years ago

this data is verry nice and helpful.

raj 5 years ago


Jitendra 5 years ago

Its very useful to me ,hope u also..

jp 5 years ago

nice photo

suraj 5 years ago

vry useful for me

harsh raj singh 5 years ago

The information is to the topic,and provide great knowledge.

Ritu 5 years ago

good description..................

Ravi 4 years ago


Ashagre 4 years ago

I think all people like these kind of description.why? because is good explanation.

Kaka 4 years ago

Nice and simple explanation.

neel 4 years ago

nice for my use

hiraze 4 years ago

there are many types of turbines,not complete but good effort.

Sukhvir sukhi 4 years ago

It is good topic for me.because it given kind information regarding my project



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