AXIAL FLOW REACTION TURBINE: Kaplan Turbine, Propeller Turbine, Main parts of the Kaplan turbine


If the water flows parallel to the axis of the rotation shaft the turbine is known as axial flow turbine. If the head at inlet of the turbine is the sum of pressure energy and kinetic energy and during the flow of the water through the runner a part of pressure energy in converted in to kinetic energy, the turbine is known as reaction turbine.

For axial flow reaction turbine, the shaft of the turbine is vertical. The lower end of the shaft is made longer known as “hub” or “boss”. The vanes are fixed on the hub and acts as a runner for the axial flow reaction turbine. The important types of axial flow reaction turbines are:

1. Propeller Turbine

2. Kaplan Turbine

When the vanes are fixed to the hub and they are not adjustable the turbine is known as propeller turbine. But if the vanes on the hub are adjustable, the turbine is known as Kaplan turbine. This turbine is suitable, where large quantity of water at low heads is available.

The main parts of the Kaplan turbine are:

The main parts of the Kaplan turbine

1. Scroll casing

2. Guide vanes mechanism

3. Hub with vanes or runner of the turbine

4. Draft tube

Between the guide vanes and the runner the water in the Kaplan turbine turns through a right angle in to the axial angle direction and then posses through the runner. 

The runner of the Kaplan turbine has four or six or eight in some cases blades and it closely resembles a ships propeller. The blades (vanes) attached to a hub or bosses are so shaped that water flows axially through the runner.

The runner blades of a propeller turbine are fixed but the Kaplan turbine runner heads can be turned about their own axis, so that their angle of inclination may be adjusted while the turbine is in motion. The adjustment of the runner blades in usually carried out automatically by means of a servomotor operating inside the hollow coupling of turbine and generator shaft. When both guide vane angle and runner blade angle may thus be varied a high efficiency can be maintained over a wide range of operating conditions. i.e. even at part load, when a lower discharge is following through the runner a high efficiency can be attained in case of Kaplan turbine. The flow through turbine runner does not affect the shape of velocity triangles as blade angles are simultaneously adjusted, the water under all the working conditions flows through the runner blades without shock. The eddy losses which are inevitable in Francis and propeller turbines are completely eliminated in a Kaplan Turbine.

Working Proportions of Kaplan Turbine:

The main dimensions of Kaplan Turbine runners are similar to Francis turbine runner.

However the following are main deviations,

Working Proportions of Kaplan Turbine

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