Hydraulic Turbine

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Hydraulics is part of the more general discipline of fluid power.  Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the engineering uses of fluid properties.


Working Priniciple
Hydraulic turbines convert the potential energy of water into mechanical work. 
Leonardo da Vinci once said “The power of water has changed more in this world than emperors or kings”. It was very rightly stated by him as in present time Hydropower, the power generated from water, has a major contribution to the world’s total power production. This all was made possible by the development of Hydraulic Turbines which can transfer the energy from flowing water to the shafts of dynamos producing electrical power.


Layout of Hydroelectric Power Plants
— (1) Dam 
— (2) Spillway 
— (3) Penstock and Tunnel 
— (4) Surge Tank 
— (5) Power Station


  • Types of hydraulic turbine:
  • Pelton wheel (Pelton turbine)
  • Kaplan turbine (Propeller turbine)
  • Francis turbine


  • Pelton Wheel (Pelton turbine)
  • This turbine is named after Lester A. Pelton (1829 – 1908) an American Engineer who developed it in the year 1880.Pelton wheel is a high head turbine. It is used with heads of more than 500 metres. The flow of water is tangential to the runner. So it is a tangential flow impulse turbine. A Pelton’s runner consists of a single wheel mounted on a horizontal shaft. Water falls towards the turbine through a pipe called penstock and flows through a nozzle. The high speed jet of water hits the buckets (vanes) on the wheel and causes the wheel to rotate. A spear rod which has a spear shaped end can be moved by a hand wheel.


  • Francis turbine:
  • Francis Turbine is the first hydraulic turbine with radial inflow. It was designed by an American scientist James Francis. If the water flows radially through the runner, from outwards to inwards then it is known as an inward radial flow turbine.
  • Francis turbine is a reaction turbine as the energy available at the inlet of the turbine is a combination of kinetic and pressure energy.


  • Kaplan turbine:
  • Kaplan turbine is an axial flow reaction turbine . The water flows through the runner of the turbine in an axial direction and the energy at the inlet of the turbine is the sum of kinetic and pressure energy .
  •  In an axial flow reaction turbine the shaft is vertical. The lower end of the shaft is larger and is known as ‘hub’ or ‘boss’. It is on this hub that the vanes are attached. If the vanes are adjustable then it is known as kaplan Turbine and if the vanes are non adjustable then it is known as Propeller Turbine


  • Draft tube
  • The draft tube is a pipe of gradually increasing area which connects the outlet of the runner with the tailrace. One end of the draft tube is connected to the outlet of the runner while the other end is submerged below the level of water in the tail race.
  • It creates a negative head at the outlet of the runner thereby increasing the net head on the turbine.
  • It converts a large proportion of rejected kinetic energy into useful pressure energy


  • Governing of turbine
  • It is the operation by which the speed of the turbine is kept constant under all conditions of working load. This is done automatically by a governor which regulates the rate flow through the turbines according to the changing load conditions on the turbine.
  • Governing of a turbine is absolutely necessary if the turbine is coupled to an electric generator which is required to run at constant speed under all fluctuating load conditions.


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