Steam Turbines - A Book of Instruction for the Adjustment and Operation of - the Principal Types of this Class of Prime Movers
by Hubert E. Collins
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FIRST EDITION Second Impression


Copyright, 1909, by the Hill Publishing Company

All rights reserved


The authors of this book used the spellings "aline," "gage," and "hight" for the conventional spellings "align," "gauge," and "height." As they are used consistently and do not affect the sense, they have been left unchanged. Obvious typos and misspellings that did not affect the sense have been silently corrected. The following substantive typographical errors have also been corrected: "being" to "bearing" (p. 68); "FIG. 50" to "FIG. 56" (p. 91), and "Fig. 2" to "Fig. 73" (p. 159). Two other likely errors have been left as transcriber queries: lead/load on p. 142 and beating/heating on p. 177.

Superscript numbers are indicated with carets: B^1. Subscript numbers are indicated with curly braces: P{1} for P-sub-1.


This issue of the Power Handbook attempts to give a compact manual for the engineer who feels the need of acquainting himself with steam turbines. To accomplish this within the limits of space allowed, it has been necessary to confine the work to the description of a few standard types, prepared with the assistance of the builders. Following this the practical experience of successful engineers, gathered from the columns of Power, is given. It is hoped that the book will prove of value to all engineers handling turbines, whether of the described types or not.

Hubert E. Collins. New York, April, 1909.



I The Curtis Steam Turbine in Practice 1

II Setting the Valves of the Curtis Turbine 31

III Allis-Chalmers Steam Turbine 41

IV Westinghouse-Parsons Turbine 58

V Proper Method of Testing a Steam Turbine 112

VI Testing a Steam Turbine 137

VII Auxiliaries for Steam Turbines 154

VIII Trouble with Steam Turbine Auxiliaries 172


[1] Contributed to Power by Fred L. Johnson.

"Of the making of books there is no end." This seems especially true of steam-turbine books, but the book which really appeals to the operating engineer, the man who may have a turbine unloaded, set up, put in operation, and the builders' representative out of reach before the man who is to operate it fully realizes that he has a new type of prime mover on his hands, with which he has little or no acquaintance, has not been written. There has been much published, both descriptive and theoretical, about the turbine, but so far as the writer knows, there is nothing in print that tells the man on the job about the details of the turbine in plain language, and how to handle these details when they need handling. The operating engineer does not care why the moving buckets are made of a certain curvature, but he does care about the distance between the moving bucket and the stationary one, and he wants to know how to measure that distance, how to alter the clearance, if necessary, to prevent rubbing. He doesn't care anything about the area of the step-bearing, but he does want to know the way to get at the bearing to take it down and put it up again, etc.

The lack of literature along this line is the writer's apology for what follows. The Curtis 1500-kilowatt steam turbine will be taken first and treated "from the ground up."

On entering a turbine plant on the ground floor, the attention is at once attracted by a multiplicity of pumps, accumulators and piping. These are called "auxiliaries" and will be passed for the present to be taken up later, for though of standard types their use is comparatively new in power-plant practice, and the engineer will find that more interruptions of service will come from the auxiliaries than from the turbine itself.

Builders' Foundation Plans Incomplete

It is impractical for the manufacturers to make complete foundation drawings, as they are not familiar with the lay-out of pipes and the relative position of other apparatus in the station. All that the manufacturers' drawing is intended to do is to show the customer where it will be necessary for him to locate his foundation bolts and opening for access to the step-bearing.

Fig. 1 shows the builders' foundation drawing, with the addition of several horizontal and radial tubes introduced to give passage for the various pipes which must go to the middle of the foundation. Entering through the sides of the masonry they do not block the passage, which must be as free as possible when any work is to be done on the step-bearing, or lower guide-bearing. Entering the passage in the foundation, a large screw is seen passing up through a circular block of cast iron with a 3/4-inch pipe passing through it. This is the step-supporting screw. It supports the lower half of the step-bearing, which in turn supports the entire revolving part of the machine. It is used to hold the wheels at a proper hight in the casing, and adjust the clearance between the moving and stationary buckets. The large block which with its threaded bronze bushing forms the nut for the screw is called the cover-plate, and is held to the base of the machine by eight 1-1/2-inch cap-screws. On the upper side are two dowel-pins which enter the lower step and keep it from turning. (See Figs. 2 and 3.)

The step-blocks are very common-looking chunks of cast iron, as will be seen by reference to Fig. 4. The block with straight sides (the lower one in the illustration) has the two dowel holes to match the pins spoken of, with a hole through the center threaded for 3/4-inch pipe. The step-lubricant is forced up through this hole and out between the raised edges in a film, floating the rotating parts of the machine on a frictionless disk of oil or water. The upper step-block has two dowel-pins, also a key which fits into a slot across the bottom end of the shaft.

The upper side of the top block is counterbored to fit the end of the shaft. The counterbore centers the block. The dowel-pins steer the key into the key-way across the end of the shaft, and the key compels the block to turn with the shaft. There is also a threaded hole in the under side of the top block. This is for the introduction of a screw which is used to pull the top block off the end of the shaft. If taken off at all it must be pulled, for the dowel-pins, key and counterbore are close fits. Two long bolts with threads the whole length are used if it becomes necessary to take down the step or other parts of the bottom of the machine. Two of the bolts holding the cover-plate in place are removed, these long bolts put in their places and the nuts screwed up against the plate to hold it while the remaining bolts are removed.

How to Lower Step-Bearings to Examine Them

Now, suppose it is intended to take down the step-bearings for examination. The first thing to do is to provide some way of holding the shaft up in its place while we take its regular support from under it. In some machines, inside the base, there is what is called a "jacking ring." It is simply a loose collar on the shaft, which covers the holes into which four plugs are screwed. These are taken out and in their places are put four hexagonal-headed screws provided for the purpose, which are screwed up. This brings the ring against a shoulder on the shaft and then the cover-plate and step may be taken down.

While all the machines have the same general appearance, there are some differences in detail which may be interesting. One difference is due to the sub-base which is used with the oil-lubricated step-bearings. This style of machine has the jacking ring spoken of, while others have neither sub-base nor jacking ring, and when necessary to take down the step a different arrangement is used.

A piece of iron that looks like a big horseshoe (Fig. 5) is used to hold the shaft up. The flange that covers the entrance to the exhaust base is taken off and a man goes in with the horseshoe-shaped shim and an electric light. Other men take a long-handled wrench and turn up the step-screw until the man inside the base can push the horseshoe shim between the shoulder on the shaft and the guide-bearing casing. The men on the wrench then back off and the horseshoe shim supports the weight of the machine. When the shim is in place, or the jacking ring set up, whichever the case may be, the cover-plate bolts may be taken out, the nuts on the long screws holding the cover in place.

The 3/4-inch pipe which passes up through the step-screw is taken down and, by means of the nuts on the long screws, the cover-plate is lowered about 2 inches. Then through the hole in the step-screw a 3/4-inch rod with threads on both ends is passed and screwed into the top step; then the cover-plate is blocked so it cannot rise and, with a nut on the lower end of the 3/4-inch rod, the top step is pulled down as far as it will come. The cover-plate is let down by means of the two nuts, and the top step-block follows. When it is lowered to a convenient hight it can be examined, and the lower end of the shaft and guide-bearing will be exposed to view.

The lower guide-bearing (Fig. 6) is simply a sleeve flanged at one end, babbitted on the inside, and slightly tapered on the outside where it fits into the base. The flange is held securely in the base by eight 3/4-inch cap-screws. Between the cap-screw holes are eight holes tapped to 3/4-inch, and when it is desired to take the bearing down the cap-screws are taken out of the base and screwed into the threaded holes and used as jacks to force the guide-bearing downward. Some provision should be made to prevent the bearing from coming down "on the run," for being a taper fit it has only to be moved about one-half inch to be free. Two bolts, about 8 inches long, screwed into the holes that the cap-screws are taken from, answer nicely, as a drop that distance will not do any harm, and the bearing can be lowered by hand, although it weighs about 200 pounds.

The lower end of the shaft is covered by a removable bushing which is easily inspected after the guide-bearing has been taken down. If it is necessary to take off this bushing it is easily done by screwing four 5/8-inch bolts, each about 2 feet long, into the tapped holes in the lower end of the bushing, and then pulling it off with a jack. (See Fig. 7.)

Each pipe that enters the passage in the foundation should be connected by two unions, one as close to the machine as possible and the other close to the foundation. This allows the taking down of all piping in the passage completely and quickly without disturbing either threads or lengths.

Studying the Blueprints

Fig. 8 shows an elevation and part-sectional view of a 1500-kilowatt Curtis steam turbine. If one should go into the exhaust base of one of these turbines, all that could be seen would be the under side of the lower or fourth-stage wheel, with a few threaded holes for the balancing plugs which are sometimes used. The internal arrangement is clearly indicated by the illustration, Fig. 8. It will be noticed that each of the four wheels has an upper and a lower row of buckets and that there is a set of stationary buckets for each wheel between the two rows of moving buckets. These stationary buckets are called intermediates, and are counterparts of the moving buckets. Their sole office is to redirect the steam which has passed through the upper buckets into the lower ones at the proper angle.

The wheels are kept the proper distance apart by the length of hub, and all are held together by the large nut on the shaft above the upper wheel. Each wheel is in a separate chamber formed by the diaphragms which rest on ledges on the inside of the wheel-case, their weight and steam pressure on the upper side holding them firmly in place and making a steam-tight joint where they rest. At the center, where the hubs pass through them, there is provided a self-centering packing ring (Fig. 9), which is free to move sidewise, but is prevented from turning, by suitable lugs. This packing is a close running fit on the hubs of the wheel and is provided with grooves (plainly shown in Fig. 9) which break up and diminish the leakage of steam around each hub from one stage to the next lower. Each diaphragm, with the exception of the top one, carries the expanding nozzles for the wheel immediately below.

The expanding nozzles and moving buckets constantly increase in size and number from the top toward the bottom. This is because the steam volume increases progressively from the admission to the exhaust and the entire expansion is carried out in the separate sets of nozzles, very much as if it were one continuous nozzle; but with this difference, not all of the energy is taken out of the steam in any one set of nozzles. The idea is to keep the velocity of the steam in each stage as nearly constant as possible. The nozzles in the diaphragms and the intermediates do not, except in the lowest stage, take up the entire circumference, but are proportioned to the progressive expansion of steam as it descends toward the condenser.


While the machine is running it is imperative that there be no rubbing contact between the revolving and stationary parts, and this is provided for by the clearance between the rows of moving buckets and the intermediates. Into each stage of the machine a 2-inch pipe hole is drilled and tapped. Sometimes this opening is made directly opposite a row of moving buckets as in Fig. 10, and sometimes it is made opposite the intermediate. When opposite a row of buckets, it will allow one to see the amount of clearance between the buckets and the intermediates, and between the buckets and the nozzles. When drilled opposite the intermediates, the clearance is shown top and bottom between the buckets and intermediates. (See Fig. 11.) This clearance is not the same in all stages, but is greatest in the fourth stage and least in the first. The clearances in each stage are nearly as follows: First stage, 0.060 to 0.080; second stage, 0.080 to 0.100; third stage, 0.080 to 0.100; fourth stage, 0.080 to 0.200. These clearances are measured by what are called clearance gages, which are simply taper slips of steel about 1/2-inch wide accurately ground and graduated, like a jeweler's ring gage, by marks about 1/2-inch apart; the difference in thickness of the gage is one-thousandth of an inch from one mark to the next.

To determine whether the clearance is right, one of the 2-inch plugs is taken out and some marking material, such as red lead or anything that would be used on a surface plate or bearing to mark the high spots is rubbed on the taper gage, and it is pushed into the gap between the buckets and intermediates as far as it will go, and then pulled out, the marking on the gage showing just how far in it went, and the nearest mark giving in thousandths of an inch the clearance. This is noted, the marking spread again, and the gage tried on the other side, the difference on the gage showing whether the wheel is high or low. Whichever may be the case the hight is corrected by the step-bearing screw. The wheels should be placed as nearly in the middle of the clearance space as possible. By some operators the clearance is adjusted while running, in the following manner: With the machine running at full speed the step-bearing screw is turned until the wheels are felt or heard to rub lightly. The screw is marked and then turned in the opposite direction until the wheel rubs again. Another mark is made on the screw and it is then turned back midway between the two marks. Either method is safe if practiced by a skilful engineer. In measuring the clearance by the first method, the gage should be used with care, as it is possible by using too much pressure to swing the buckets and get readings which could be misleading. To an inexperienced man the taper gages would seem preferable. In the hands of a man who knows what he is doing and how to do it, a tapered pine stick will give as satisfactory results as the most elaborate set of hardened and ground clearance gages.

Referring back to Fig. 11, at A is shown one of the peep-holes opposite the intermediate in the third stage wheel for the inspection of clearance. The taper clearance gage is inserted through this hole both above and below the intermediate, and the distance which it enters registers the clearance on that side. This sketch also shows plainly how the shrouding on the buckets and the intermediates extends beyond the sharp edges of the buckets, protecting them from damage in case of slight rubbing. In a very few cases wheels have been known to warp to such an extent from causes that were not discovered until too late, that adjustment would not stop the rubbing. In such cases the shrouding has been turned or faced off by a cutting-off tool used through the peep-hole.

Carbon Packing Used

Where the shaft passes through the upper head of the wheel-case some provision must be made to prevent steam from the first stage escaping. This is provided for by carbon packing (Fig. 12), which consists of blocks of carbon in sets in a packing case bolted to the top head of the wheel-case. There are three sets of these blocks, and each set is made of two rings of three segments each. One ring of segments breaks joints with its mate in the case, and each set is separated from the others by a flange in the case in which it is held. In some cases the packing is kept from turning by means of a link, one end of which is fastened to the case and the other to the packing holder. Sometimes light springs are used to hold the packing against the shaft and in some the pressure of steam in the case does this. There is a pipe, also shown in Fig. 12, leading from the main line to the packing case, the pressure in the pipe being reduced. The space between the two upper sets of rings is drained to the third stage by means of a three-way cock, which keeps the balance between the atmosphere and packing-case pressure. The carbon rings are fitted to the shaft with a slight clearance to start with, and very soon get a smooth finish, which is not only practically steam-tight but frictionless.

The carbon ring shown in Fig. 12 is the older design. The segments are held against the flat bearing surface of the case by spiral springs set in brass ferrules. The circle is held together by a bronze strap screwed and drawn together at the ends by springs. Still other springs press the straps against the surface upon which the carbon bears, cutting off leaks through joints and across horizontal surfaces of the carbon. The whole ring is prevented from turning by a connecting-rod which engages a pin in the hole, like those provided for the springs.

The Safety-stop

There are several designs of safety-stop or speed-limit devices used with these turbines, the simplest being of the ring type shown in Fig. 13. This consists of a flat ring placed around the shaft between the turbine and generator. The ring-type emergencies are now all adjusted so that they normally run concentric with the shaft, but weighted so that the center of gravity is slightly displaced from the center. The centrifugal strain due to this is balanced by helical springs. But when the speed increases the centrifugal force moves the ring into an eccentric position, when it strikes a trigger and releases a weight which, falling, closes the throttle and shuts off the steam supply. The basic principle upon which all these stops are designed is the same—the centrifugal force of a weight balanced by a spring at normal speed. Figs. 14, 15, and 16 show three other types.

The Mechanical Valve-Gear

Fig. 17 shows plainly the operation of the mechanical valve-gear. The valves are located in the steam chests, which are bolted to the top of the casing directly over the first sets of expansion nozzles. The chests, two in number, are on opposite sides of the machine. The valve-stems extend upward through ordinary stuffing-boxes, and are attached to the notched cross-heads by means of a threaded end which is prevented from screwing in or out by a compression nut on the lower end of the cross-head. Each cross-head is actuated by a pair of reciprocating pawls, or dogs (shown more plainly in the enlarged view, Fig. 18), one of which opens the valve and the other closes it. The several pairs of pawls are hung on a common shaft which receives a rocking motion from a crank driven from a worm and worm-wheel by the turbine shaft. The cross-heads have notches milled in the side in which the pawls engage to open or close the valve, this engagement being determined by what are called shield-plates, A (Fig. 18), which are controlled by the governor. These plates are set, one a little ahead of the other, to obtain successive opening or closing of the valves. When more steam is required the shield plate allows the proper pawl to fall into its notch in the cross-head and lift the valve from its seat. If less steam is wanted the shield-plate rises and allows the lower pawl to close the valve on the down stroke.

The valves, as can easily be seen, are very simple affairs, the steam pressure in the steam chest holding the valve either open or shut until it is moved by the pawl on the rock-shaft. The amount of travel on the rock-shaft is fixed by the design, but the proportionate travel above and below the horizontal is controlled by the length of the connecting-rods from the crank to the rock-shaft. There are besides the mechanical valve-gear the electric and hydraulic, but these will be left for a future article.

The Governor

The speed of the machine is controlled by the automatic opening and closing of the admission valves under the control of a governor (Fig. 19), of the spring-weighted type attached directly to the top end of the turbine shaft. The action of the governor depends on the balance of force exerted by the spring, and the centrifugal effort of the rectangular-shaped weights at the lower end; the moving weights acting through the knife-edge suspension tend to pull down the lever against the resistance of the heavy helical spring. The governor is provided with an auxiliary spring on the outside of the governor dome for varying the speed while synchronizing. The tension of the auxiliary spring is regulated by a small motor wired to the switchboard. This spring should be used only to correct slight changes in speed. Any marked change should be corrected by the use of the large hexagonal nut in the upper plate of the governor frame. This nut is screwed down to increase the speed, and upward to decrease it.

The Stage Valves

Fig. 20 represents one of the several designs of stage valve, sometimes called the overload valve, the office of which is to prevent too high pressure in the first stage in case of a sudden overload, and to transfer a part of the steam to a special set of expanding nozzles over the second-stage wheel. This valve is balanced by a spring of adjustable tension, and is, or can be, set to open and close within a very small predetermined range of first-stage pressure. The valve is intended to open and close instantly, and to supply or cut off steam from the second stage, without affecting the speed regulation or economy of operation. If any leaking occurs past the valve it is taken care of by a drip-pipe to the third stage.

The steam which passes through the automatic stage valves and is admitted to the extra set of nozzles above the second-stage wheel acts upon this wheel just the same as the steam which passes through the regular second-stage nozzles; i.e., all the steam which goes through the machine tends to hasten its speed, or, more accurately, does work and maintains the speed of the machine.


[2] Contributed to Power by F. L. Johnson.

Under some conditions of service the stage valve in the Curtis turbine will not do what it is designed to do. It is usually attached to the machine in such manner that it will operate with, or a little behind, in the matter of time, the sixth valve. The machine is intended to carry full load with only the first bank of five valves in operation, with proper steam pressure and vacuum. If the steam pressure is under 150 pounds, or the vacuum is less than 28 inches, the sixth valve may operate at or near full load, and also open the stage valve and allow steam to pass to the second-stage nozzles at a much higher rate of speed than the steam which has already done some work in the first-stage wheel. The tendency is to accelerate unduly the speed of the machine. This is corrected by the governor, but the correction is usually carried too far and the machine slows down. With the stage valve in operation, at a critical point the regulation is uncertain and irregular, and its use has to be abandoned. The excess first-stage pressure will then be taken care of by the relief valve, which is an ordinary spring safety valve (not pop) which allows the steam to blow into the atmosphere.

The mechanical valve-gear does not often get out of order, but sometimes the unexpected happens. The shop man may not have properly set up the nuts on the valve-stems; or may have fitted the distance bushings between the shield plates too closely; the superheat of the steam may distort the steam chest slightly and produce friction that will interfere with the regulation. If any of the valve-stems should become loose in the cross-heads they may screw themselves either in or out. If screwed out too far, the valve-stem becomes too long and the pawl in descending will, after the valve is seated, continue downward until it has broken something. If screwed in, the cross-head will be too low for the upper pawl to engage and the valve will not be opened. This second condition is not dangerous, but should be corrected. The valve-stems should be made the right length, and all check-nuts set up firmly. If for any purpose it becomes necessary to "set the valves" on a 1500-kilowatt mechanical gear, the operator should proceed in the following manner.

Setting the Valves of a 1500-Kilowatt Curtis Turbine

We will consider what is known as the "mechanical" valve-gear, with two sets of valves, one set of five valves being located on each side of the machine.

In setting the valves we should first "throw out" all pawls to avoid breakage in case the rods are not already of proper length, holding the pawls out by slipping the ends of the pawl springs over the points of the pawls, as seen in Fig. 21. Then turn the machine slowly by hand until the pawls on one set of valves are at their highest point of travel, then with the valves wide open adjust the drive-rods, i.e., the rods extending from the crank to the rock-shaft, so that there is 1/32 of an inch clearance (shown dotted in Fig. 17, Chap. I) at the point of opening of the pawls when they are "in." (See Fig. 22.) Then set up the check-nuts on the drive-rod. Turn the machine slowly, until the pawls are at their lowest point of travel. Then, with the valves closed, adjust each valve-stem to give 1/32 of an inch clearance at the point of closing of the pawls when they are "in," securely locking the check-nut as each valve is set. Repeat this operation on the other side of the machine and we are ready to adjust the governor-rods. (Valves cannot be set on both sides of the machine at the same time, as the pawls will not be in the same relative position, due to the angularity of the drive-rods.)

Next, with the turbine running, and the synchronizing spring in mid-position, adjust the governor-rods so that the turbine will run at the normal speed of 900 revolutions per minute when working on the fifth valve, and carrying full load. The governor-rods for the other side of the turbine (controlling valves Nos. 6 to 10) should be so adjusted that the speed change between the fifth and sixth valves will not be more than three or four revolutions per minute.

The valves of these turbines are all set during the shop test and the rods trammed with an 8-inch tram. Governors are adjusted for a speed range of 2 per cent. between no load and full load (1500 kilowatt), or 4 per cent. between the mean speeds of the first and tenth valves (no load to full overload capacity).

The rods which connect the governor with the valve-gear have ordinary brass ends or heads and are adjusted by right-and-left threads and secured by lock-nuts. They are free fits on the pins which pass through the heads, and no friction is likely to occur which will interfere with the regulation, but too close work on the shield-plate bushings, or a slight warping of the steam chest, will often produce friction which will seriously impair the regulation. If it is noticed that the shield-plate shaft has any tendency to oscillate in unison with the rock-shaft which carries the pawls, it is a sure indication that the shield-plates are not as free as they should be, and should be attended to. The governor-rod should be disconnected, the pawls thrown out and the pawl strings hooked over the ends.

The plates should then be rocked up and down by hand and the friction at different points noted. The horizontal rod at the back of the valve-gear may be loosened and the amount of end play of each individual shield-plate noticed and compared with the bushings on the horizontal rod at the back which binds the shield-plates together. If the plates separately are found to be perfectly free they may be each one pushed hard over to the right or left and wedged; then each bushing tried in the space between the tail-pieces of the plates. It will probably be found that the bushings are not of the right length, due to the alteration of the form of the steam chest by heat. It will generally be found also that the bushings are too short, and that the length can be corrected by very thin washers of sheet metal. It has been found in some instances that the thin bands coming with sectional pipe covering were of the right thickness.

After the length of the bushings is corrected the shield-plates may be assembled, made fast and tested by rocking them up and down, searching for signs of sticking. If none occurs, the work has been correctly done, and there will be no trouble from poor regulation due to friction of the shield-plates.

The Baffler

The water which goes to the step-bearing passes through a baffler, the latest type of which is shown by Fig. 23. It is a device for restricting the flow of water or oil to the step- and guide-bearing. The amount of water necessary to float the machine and lubricate the guide-bearing having been determined by calculation and experiment, the plug is set at that point which will give the desired flow. The plug is a square-threaded worm, the length of which and the distance which it enters the barrel of the baffler determining the amount of flow. The greater the number of turns which the water must pass through in the worm the less will flow against the step-pressure.

The engineers who have settled upon the flow and the pressure decided that a flow of from 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 gallons per minute and a step-pressure of from 425 to 450 pounds is correct. These factors are so dependent upon each other and upon the conditions of the step-bearing itself that they are sometimes difficult to realize in every-day work; nor is it necessary. If the machine turns freely with a lower pressure than that prescribed by the engineers, there is no reason for raising this pressure; and there is only one way of doing it without reducing the area of the step-bearing, and that is by obstructing the flow of water in the step-bearing itself.

A very common method used is that of grinding. The machine is run at about one-third speed and the step-water shut off for 15 or 20 seconds. This causes grooves and ridges on the faces of the step-bearing blocks, due to their grinding on each other, which obstruct the flow of water between the faces and thus raises the pressure. It seems a brutal way of getting a scientific result, if the result desired can be called scientific. The grooving and cutting of the step-blocks will not do any harm, and in fact they will aid in keeping the revolving parts of the machine turning about its mechanical center.

The operating engineer will be very slow to see the utility of the baffler, and when he learns, as he will sometime, that the turbine will operate equally well with a plug out as with it in the baffler, he will be inclined to remove the baffler. It is true that with one machine operating on its own pump it is possible to run without the baffler, and it is also possible that in some particular case two machines having identical step-bearing pressures might be so operated. The baffler, however, serves a very important function, as described more fully as follows: It tends to steady the flow from the pump, to maintain a constant oil film as the pressure varies with the load, and when several machines are operating on the same step-bearing system it is the only means which fixes the flow to the different machines and prevents one machine from robbing the others. Therefore, even if an engineer felt inclined to remove the baffler he would be most liable to regret taking such a step.

If the water supply should fail from any cause and the step-bearing blocks rub together, no great amount of damage will result. The machine will stop if operated long under these conditions, for if steam pressure is maintained the machine will continue in operation until the buckets come into contact, and if the step-blocks are not welded together the machine may be started as soon as the water is obtained. If vibration occurs it will probably be due to the rough treatment of the step-blocks, and may be cured by homeopathic repeat-doses of grinding, say about 15 seconds each. If the step-blocks are welded a new pair should be substituted and the damaged ones refaced.

Some few experimental steps of spherical form, called "saucer" steps, have been installed with success (see Fig. 24). They seem to aid the lower guide-bearing in keeping the machine rotating about the mechanical center and reduce the wear on the guide-bearing. In some instances, too, cast-iron bushings have been substituted for bronze, with marked success. There seems to be much less wear between cast-iron and babbitt metal than between bronze and babbitt metal. The matter is really worth a thorough investigation.


In Fig. 25 may be seen the interior construction of the steam turbine built by Allis-Chalmers Co., of Milwaukee, Wis., which is, in general, the same as the well-known Parsons type. This is a plan view showing the rotor resting in position in the lower half of its casing.

Fig. 26 is a longitudinal cross-section cut of rotor and both lower and upper casing. Referring to Fig. 26 the steam comes in from the steam-pipe at C and passes through the main throttle or regulating valve D, which is a balanced valve operated by the governor. Steam enters the cylinder through the passage E.

Turning in the direction of the bearing A, it passes through alternate stationary and revolving rows of blades, finally emerging at F and going out by way of G to the condenser or to atmosphere. H, J, and K represent three stages of blading. L, M, and Z are the balance pistons which counterbalance the thrust on the stages H, J, and K. O and Q are equalizing pipes, and for the low-pressure balance piston similar provision is made by means of passages (not shown) through the body of the spindle.

R indicates a small adjustable collar placed inside the housing of the main bearing B to hold the spindle in a position where there will be such a clearance between the rings of the balance pistons and those of the cylinder as to reduce the leakage of steam to a minimum and at the same time prevent actual contact under varying temperature.

At S and T are glands which provide a water seal against the inleakage of air and the outleakage of steam. U represents the flexible coupling to the generator. V is the overload or by-pass valve used for admitting steam to intermediate stage of the turbine. W is the supplementary cylinder to contain the low-pressure balance piston. X and Y are reference letters used in text of this chapter to refer to equalizing of steam pressure on the low-pressure stage of the turbine. The first point to study in this construction is the arrangement of "dummies" L, M, and Z. These dummy rings serve as baffles to prevent steam leakage past the pistons, and their contact at high velocity means not only their own destruction, but also damage to or the wrecking of surrounding parts. A simple but effective method of eliminating this difficulty is found in the arrangement illustrated in this figure. The two smaller balance pistons, L and M, are allowed to remain on the high-pressure end; but the largest piston, Z, is placed upon the low-pressure end of the rotor immediately behind the last ring of blades, and working inside of the supplementary cylinder W. Being backed up by the body of the spindle, there is ample stiffness to prevent warping. This balance piston, which may also be plainly seen in Fig. 25, receives its steam pressure from the same point as the piston M, but the steam pressure, equalized with that on the third stage of the blading, X, is through holes in the webs of the blade-carrying rings. Entrance to these holes is through the small annular opening in the rotor, visible in Fig. 25 between the second and third barrels. As, in consequence of varying temperatures, there is an appreciable difference in the endwise expansion of the spindle and cylinder, the baffling rings in the low-pressure balance piston are so made as to allow for this difference. The high-pressure end of the spindle being held by the collar bearing, the difference in expansion manifests itself at the low-pressure end. The labyrinth packing of the high-pressure and intermediate pistons has a small axial and large radial clearance, whereas the labyrinth packing of the piston Z has, vice versa, a small radial and large axial clearance. Elimination of causes of trouble with the low-pressure balance piston not only makes it possible to reduce the diameter of the cylinder, and prevent distortion, but enables the entire spindle to be run with sufficiently small clearance to obviate any excessive leakage of steam.

Detail of Blade Construction

In this construction the blades are cut from drawn stock, so that at its root it is of angular dovetail shape, while at its tip there is a projection. To hold the roots of the blades firmly, a foundation ring is provided, as shown at A in Fig. 27. This foundation ring is first formed to a circle of the proper diameter, and then slots are cut in it. These slots are accurately spaced and inclined to give the right pitch and angle to the blades (Fig. 28), and are of dovetail shape to receive the roots of the blades. The tips of the blades are substantially bound together and protected by means of a channel-shaped shroud ring, illustrated in Fig. 31 and at B in Fig. 27. Fig. 31 shows the cylinder blading separate, and Fig. 27 shows both with the shrouding. In these, holes are punched to receive the projections on the tips of the blades, which are rivetted over pneumatically.

The foundation rings themselves are of dovetail shape in cross-section, and, after receiving the roots of the blades, are inserted in dovetailed grooves in the cylinder and rotor, where they are firmly held in place by keypieces, as may be seen at C in Fig. 27. Each keypiece, when driven in place, is upset into an undercut groove, indicated by D in Fig. 27, thereby positively locking the whole structure together. Each separate blade is firmly secured by the dovetail shape of the root, which is held between the corresponding dovetailed slot in the foundation ring and the undercut side of the groove.

Fig. 29, from a photograph of blading fitted in a turbine, illustrates the construction, besides showing the uniform spacing and angles of the blades.

The obviously thin flanges of the shroud rings are purposely made in that way, so that, in case of accidental contact between revolving and stationary parts, they will wear away enough to prevent the blades from being ripped out. This protection, however, is such that to rip them out a whole half ring of blades must be sheared off at the roots. The strength of the blading, therefore, depends not upon the strength of an individual blade, but upon the combined shearing strength of an entire ring of blades.

The blading is made up and inserted in half rings, and Fig. 30 shows two rings of different sizes ready to be put in place. Fig. 31 shows a number of rows of blading inserted in the cylinder of an Allis-Chalmers steam turbine, and Fig. 32 gives view of blading in the same turbine after nearly three years' running.

The Governor

Next in importance to the difference in blading and balance piston construction, is the governing mechanism used with these machines. This follows the well-known Hartung type, which has been brought into prominence, heretofore largely in connection with hydraulic turbines; and the governor, driven directly from the turbine shaft by means of cut gears working in an oil bath, is required to operate the small, balanced oil relay-valve only, while the two steam valves, main and by-pass (or overload), are controlled by an oil pressure of about 20 pounds per square inch, acting upon a piston of suitable size. In view of the fact that a turbine by-pass valve opens only when the unit is required to develop overload, or the vacuum fails, a good feature of this governing mechanism is that the valve referred to can be kept constantly in motion, thereby preventing sticking in an emergency, even though it be actually called into action only at long intervals. Another feature of importance is that the oil supply to the bearings, as well as that to the governor, can be interconnected so that the governor will automatically shut off the steam if the oil supply fails and endangers the bearings. This mechanism is also so proportioned that, while responding quickly to variations in load, its sensitiveness is kept within such bounds as to secure the best results in the parallel operation of alternators. The governor can be adjusted for speed while the turbine is in operation, thereby facilitating the synchronizing of alternators and dividing the load as may be desired.

In order to provide for any possible accidental derangement of the main governing mechanism, an entirely separate safety or over-speed governor is furnished. This governor is driven directly by the turbine shaft without the intervention of gearing, and is so arranged and adjusted that, if the turbine should reach a predetermined speed above that for which the main governor is set, the safety governor will come into action and trip a valve which entirely shuts off the steam supply, bringing the turbine to a stop.


Lubrication of the four bearings, which are of the self-adjusting, ball and socket pattern, is effected by supplying an abundance of oil to the middle of each bearing and allowing it to flow out at the ends. The oil is passed through a tubular cooler, having water circulation, and pumped back to the bearings. Fig. 33 shows the entire arrangement graphically and much more clearly than can be explained in words. The oil is circulated by a pump directly operated from the turbine, except where the power-house is provided with a central oiling system. Particular stress is laid by the builders upon the fact that it is not necessary to supply the bearings with oil under pressure, but only at a head sufficient to enable it to run to and through the bearings; this head never exceeding a few feet. With each turbine is installed a separate direct-acting steam pump for circulating oil for starting up. This will be referred to again under the head of operating.


The turbo-generator, which constitutes the electrical end of this unit, is totally enclosed to provide for noiseless operation, and forced ventilation is secured by means of a small fan carried by the shaft on each end of the rotor. The air is taken in at the ends of the generator, passes through the fans and is discharged over the end connections of the armature coils into the bottom of the machine, whence it passes through the ventilating ducts of the core to an opening at the top. The field core is, according to size, built up either of steel disks, each in one piece, or of steel forgings, so as to give high magnetic permeability and great strength. The coils are placed in radial slots, thereby avoiding side pressure on the slot insulation and the complex stresses resulting from centrifugal force, which, in these rotors, acts normal to the flat surface of the strip windings.


As practically no adjustments are necessary when these units are in operation, the greater part of the attention required by them is involved in starting up and shutting down, which may be described in detail as follows:

To Start Up

First, the auxiliary oil pump is set going, and this is speeded up until the oil pressure shows a hight sufficient to lift the inlet valve and oil is flowing steadily at the vents on all bearings. The oil pressure then shows about 20 to 25 pounds on the "Relay Oil" gage, and 2 to 4 pounds on the "Bearing Oil" gage. Next the throttle is opened, without admitting sufficient steam to the turbine to cause the spindle to turn, and it is seen that the steam exhausts freely into the atmosphere, also that the high-pressure end of the turbine expands freely in its guides. Water having been allowed to blow out through the steam-chest drains, the drains are closed and steam is permitted to continue flowing through the turbine not less than a half an hour (unless the turbine is warm to start with, when this period may be reduced) still without turning the spindle. After this it is advisable to shut off steam and let the turbine stand ten minutes, so as to warm thoroughly, during which time the governor parts may be oiled and any air which may have accumulated in the oil cylinder above the inlet valve blown off. Then the throttle should be opened sufficiently to start the turbine spindle to revolving very slowly and the machine allowed to run in this way for five minutes.

Successive operations may be mentioned briefly as admitting water to the oil cooler; bringing the turbine up to speed, at the same time slowing down the auxiliary oil pump and watching that the oil pressures are kept up by the rotary oil pump on the turbine; turning the water on to the glands very gradually and, before putting on vacuum, making sure that there is just enough water to seal these glands properly; and starting the vacuum gradually just before putting on the load. These conditions having been complied with, the operator next turns his attention to the generator, putting on the field current, synchronizing carefully and building up the load on the unit gradually.

The principal precautions to be observed are not to start without warming up properly, to make sure that oil is flowing freely through the bearings, that vacuum is not put on until the water glands seal, and to avoid running on vacuum without load on the turbine.

In Operation

In operation all that is necessary is to watch the steam pressure at the "Throttle" and "Inlet" gages, to see that neither this pressure nor the steam temperature varies much; to keep the vacuum constant, as well as pressures on the water glands and those indicated by the "Relay Oil" and "Bearing Oil" gages; to take care that the temperatures of the oil flowing to and from the bearings does not exceed 135 degrees Fahr. (at which temperature the hand can comfortably grasp the copper oil-return pipes); to see that oil flows freely at all vents on the bearings, and that the governor parts are periodically oiled. So far as the generator is concerned, it is only essential to follow the practice common in all electric power plant operation, which need not be reviewed here.

Stopping the turbine is practically the reverse of starting, the successive steps being as follows: starting the auxiliary oil pump, freeing it of water and allowing it to run slowly; removing the load gradually; breaking the vacuum when the load is almost zero, shutting off the condenser injection and taking care that the steam exhausts freely into the atmosphere; shutting off the gland water when the load and vacuum are off; pulling the automatic stop to trip the valve and shut off steam and, as the speed of the turbine decreases, speeding up the auxiliary oil pump to maintain pressure on the bearings; then, when the turbine has stopped, shutting down the auxiliary oil pump, turning off the cooling water, opening the steam chest drains and slightly oiling the oil inlet valve-stem. During these operations the chief particulars to be heeded are: not to shut off the steam before starting the auxiliary oil pump nor before the vacuum is broken, and not to shut off the gland water with vacuum on the turbine. The automatic stop should also remain unhooked until the turbine is about to be started up again.


Water used in the glands of the turbine must be free from scale-forming impurities and should be delivered at the turbine under a steady pressure of not less than 15 pounds. The pressure in the glands will vary from 4 to 10 pounds. This water may be warm. In the use of water for the cooling coils and of oil for the lubricating system, nothing more is required than ordinary good sense dictates. An absolutely pure mineral oil must be supplied, of a non-foaming character, and it should be kept free through filtering from any impurities.

The above refers particularly to Allis-Chalmers turbines of the type ordinarily used for power service. For turbines built to be run non-condensing, the part relating to vacuum does not, of course, apply.


While the steam turbine is simple in design and construction and does not require constant tinkering and adjustment of valve gears or taking up of wear in the running parts, it is like any other piece of fine machinery in that it should receive intelligent and careful attention from the operator by inspection of the working parts that are not at all times in plain view. Any piece of machinery, no matter how simple and durable, if neglected or abused will in time come to grief, and the higher the class of the machine the more is this true.

Any engineer who is capable of running and intelligently taking care of a reciprocating engine can run and take care of a turbine, but if he is to be anything more than a starter and stopper, it is necessary that he should know what is inside of the casing, what must be done and avoided to prevent derangement, and to keep the machine in continued and efficient operation.

In the steam turbine the steam instead of being expanded against a piston is made to expand against and to get up velocity in itself. The jet of steam is then made to impinge against vanes or to react against the moving orifice from which it issues, in either of which cases its velocity and energy are more or less completely abstracted and appropriated by the revolving member. The Parsons turbine utilizes a combination of these two methods.

Fig. 34 is a sectional view of the standard Westinghouse-Parsons single-flow turbine. A photograph of the rotor R R R is reproduced in Fig. 35, while in Fig. 36 a section of the blading is shown upon a larger scale. Between the rows of the blading upon the rotor extend similar rows of stationary blades attached to the casing or stator. The steam entering at A (Fig. 34), fills the circular space surrounding the rotor and passes first through a row of stationary blades, 1 (Fig. 37), expanding from the initial pressure P to the slightly lower pressure P{1}, and attaining by that expansion a velocity with which it is directed upon the moving blade 2. In passing through this row of blades it is further expanded from pressure P{1} to P{2} and helps to push the moving blades along by the reaction of the force with which it issues therefrom. Impinging upon the second row of stationary blades 3, the direction of flow is diverted so as to make it impinge at a favorable angle upon the second row of revolving blades 4, and the action is continued until the steam is expanded to the pressure of the condenser or of the medium into which the turbine finally exhausts. As the expansion proceeds, the passages are made larger by increasing the length of the blades and the diameter of the drums upon which they are carried in order to accommodate the increasing volume.

It is not necessary that the blades shall run close together, and the axial clearance, that is the space lengthwise of the turbine between the revolving and the stationary blades, varies from 1/8 to 1/2 inch; but in order that there may not be excessive leakage over the tops of the blades, as shown, very much exaggerated, in Fig. 38, the radial clearance, that is, the clearance between the tops of the moving blades and the casing, and between the ends of the stationary blades and the shell of the rotor, must be kept down to the lowest practical amount, and varies, according to the size of the machine and length of blade, from about 0.025 to 0.125 of an inch.

In the passage A (Fig. 34) exists the initial pressure; in the passage B the pressure after the steam has passed the first section or diameter of the rotor; in the passage C after it has passed the second section. The pressure acting upon the exposed faces of the rows of vanes would crowd the rotor to the left. They are therefore balanced by pistons or "dummies" P P P revolving with the shaft and exposing in the annular spaces B^1 and C^1 the same areas as those of the blade sections which they are designed to balance. The same pressure is maintained in B^1 as in B, and in C^1 as in C by connecting them with equalizing pipes E E. The third equalizing pipe connects the back or right-hand side of the largest dummy with the exhaust passage so that the same pressure exists upon it as exists upon the exhaust end of the rotor. These dummy pistons are shown at the near end of the rotor in Fig. 35. They are grooved so as to form a labyrinth packing, the face of the casing against which they run being grooved and brass strips inserted, as shown in Fig. 39. The dummy pistons prevent leakage from A, B^1 and C^1 to the condenser, and must, of course, run as closely as practicable to the rings in the casing, the actual clearance being from about 0.005 to 0.015 of an inch, again depending on the size of the machine.

The axial adjustment is controlled by the device shown at T in Fig. 34 and on a larger scale in Fig. 40. The thrust bearing consists of two parts, T{1} T{2}. Each consists of a cast-iron body in which are placed brass collars. These collars fit into grooves C, turned in the shaft as shown. The halves of the block are brought into position by means of screws S{1} S{2} acting on levers L{1} L{2} and mounted in the bearing pedestal and cover. The screws are provided with graduated heads which permit the respective halves of the thrust bearing to be set within one one-thousandth of an inch.

The upper screw S{2} is set so that when the rotor exerts a light pressure against it through the thrust block and lever the grooves in the balance pistons are just unable to come in contact with the dummy strips in the cylinder. The lower screw S{1} is then adjusted to permit about 0.008 to 0.010 of an inch freedom for the collar between the grooves of the thrust bearing.

These bearings are carefully adjusted before the machine leaves the shop, and to prevent either accidental or unauthorized changes of their adjustment the adjusting screw heads are locked by the method shown in Fig. 40. The screw cannot be revolved without sliding back the latch L{3}. To do this the pin P{4} must be withdrawn, for which purpose the bearing cover must be removed.

In general this adjustment should not be changed except when there has been some wear of the collars in the thrust bearing; nevertheless, it is a wise precaution to go over the adjustment at intervals. The method of doing this is as follows: The machine should have been in operation for some time so as to be well and evenly heated and should be run at a reduced speed, say 10 per cent. of the normal, during the actual operation of making the adjustment. Adjust the upper screw which, if tightened, would push the spindle away from the thrust bearing toward the exhaust. Find a position for this so that when the other screw is tightened the balance pistons can just be heard to touch, and so the least change of position inward of the upper screw will cause the contact to cease. To hear if the balance pistons are touching, a short piece of hardwood should be placed against the cylinder casing near the balance piston. If the ear is applied to the other end of the piece of wood the contact of the balance pistons can be very easily detected. The lower screw should then be loosened and the upper screw advanced from five to fifteen one-thousandths, according to the machine, at which position the latter may be considered to be set. The lower screw should then be advanced until the under half of the thrust bearing pushes the rotor against the other half of the thrust bearing, and from this position it should be pushed back ten or more one-thousandths, to give freedom for the rotor between the thrusts, and locked. A certain amount of care should be exercised in setting the dummies, to avoid straining the parts and thus obtain a false setting.

The object in view is to have the grooves of the balance pistons running as close as possible to the collars in the cylinder, but without danger of their coming in actual contact, and to allow as little freedom as possible in the thrust bearing itself, but enough to be sure that it will not heat. The turbine rotor itself has scarcely any end thrust, so that all the thrust bearing has to do is to maintain the above-prescribed adjustment.

The blades are so gaged that at all loads the rotor has a very light but positive thrust toward the running face of the dummy strips, thus maintaining the proper clearance at the dummies as determined by the setting of the proper screw adjustment.

Main Bearings

The bearings which support the rotor are shown at F F in Fig. 34 and in detail in Fig. 41. The bearing proper consists of a brass tube B with proper oil grooves. It has a dowel arm L which fits into a corresponding recess in the bearing cover and which prevents the bearing from turning. On this tube are three concentric tubes, C D E, each fitting over the other with some clearance so that the shaft is free to move slightly in any direction. These tubes are held in place by the nut F, and this nut, in turn, is held by the small set-screw G. The bearing with the surrounding tubes is placed inside of the cast-iron shell A, which rests in the bearing pedestal on the block and liner H. The packing ring M prevents the leakage of oil past the bearing. Oil enters the chamber at one end of the bearing at the top and passes through the oil grooves, lubricating the journal, and then out into the reservoir under the bearing. The oil also fills the clearance between the tubes and forms a cushion, which dampens any tendency to vibration.

The bearings, being supported by the blocks or "pads" H, are self-alining. Under these pads are liners 5, 10, 20, and 50 thousandths in thickness. By means of these liners the rotor may be set in its proper running position relative to the stator. This operation is quite simple. Remove the liners from under one bearing pad and place them under the opposite pad until a blade touch is obtained by turning the rotor over by hand. After a touch has been obtained on the top, bottom, and both sides, the total radial blade clearance will be known to equal the thickness of the liners transferred. The position of the rotor is then so adjusted that the radial blade clearance is equalized when the turbine is at operating temperature.

On turbines running at 1800 revolutions per minute or under, a split babbitted bearing is used, as shown in Figs. 42a and 42b. These bearings are self-alining and have the same liner adjustment as the concentric-sleeve bearings just described. Oil is supplied through a hole D in the lower liner pad, and is carried to the oil groove F through the tubes E E. The oil flows from the middle of this bearing to both ends instead of from one end to the other, as in the other type.

Packing Glands

Where the shaft passes through the casing at either end it issues from a chamber in which there exists a vacuum. It is necessary to pack the shaft at these points, therefore, against the atmospheric pressure, and this is done by means of a water-gland packing W W (Fig. 34). Upon the shaft in Fig. 35, just in front of the dummy pistons, will be seen a runner of this packing gland, which runner is shown upon a larger scale and from a different direction in Fig. 43. To get into the casing the air would have to enter the guard at A (Fig. 44), pass over the projecting rings B, the function of which is to throw off any water which may be creeping along the shaft by centrifugal force into the surrounding space C, whence it escapes by the drip pipe D, hence over the five rings of the labyrinth packing E and thence over the top of the revolving blade wheel, it being apparent from Fig. 43 that there is no way for the air to pass by without going up over the top of the blades; but water is admitted to the centrally grooved space through the pipe shown, and is revolved with the wheel at such velocity that the pressure due to centrifugal force exceeds that of the atmosphere, so that it is impossible for the air to force the water aside and leak in over the tips of the blades, while the action of the runner in throwing the water out would relieve the pressure at the shafts and avoid the tendency of the water to leak outward through the labyrinth packing either into the vacuum or the atmosphere.

The water should come to the glands under a head of about 10 feet, or a pressure of about 5 pounds, and be connected in such a way that this pressure may be uninterruptedly maintained. Its temperature must be lower than the temperature due to the vacuum within the turbine, or it will evaporate readily and find its way into the turbine in the form of steam.

In any case a small amount of the steaming water will pass by the gland collars into the turbine, so that if the condensed steam is to be returned to the boilers the water used in the glands must be of such character that it may be safely used for feed water. But whether the water so used is to be returned to the boilers or not it should never contain an excessive amount of lime or solid matter, as a certain amount of evaporation is continually going on in the glands which will result in the deposit of scale and require frequent taking apart for cleaning.

When there is an ample supply of good, clean water the glands may be packed as in Fig. 45, the standpipe supplying the necessary head and the supply valve being opened sufficiently to maintain a small stream at the overflow. When water is expensive and the overflow must be avoided, a small float may be used as in Fig. 46, the ordinary tank used by plumbers for closets, etc., serving the purpose admirably.

When the same water that is supplied to the glands is used for the oil-cooling coils, which will be described in detail later, the coils may be attached to either of the above arrangements as shown in Fig. 47.

When the only available supply of pure water is that for the boiler feed, and the condensed steam is pumped directly back to the boiler, as shown in Fig. 48, the delivery from the condensed-water pumps may be carried to an elevation 10 feet above the axis of the glands, where a tank should be provided of sufficient capacity that the water may have time to cool considerably before being used. In most of these cases, if so desired, the oil-cooling water may come from the circulating pumps of the condenser, provided there is sufficient pressure to produce circulation, as is also shown in Fig. 48.

When the turbine is required to exhaust against a back pressure of one or two pounds a slightly different arrangement of piping must be made. The water in this case must be allowed to circulate through the glands in order to keep the temperature below 212 degrees Fahrenheit. If this is not done the water in the glands will absorb heat from the main castings of the machine and will evaporate. This evaporation will make the glands appear as though they were leaking badly. In reality it is nothing more than the water in the glands boiling, but it is nevertheless equally objectionable. This may be overcome by the arrangement shown in Fig. 49, where two connections and valves are furnished at M and N, which drain away to any suitable tank or sewer. These valves are open just enough to keep sufficient circulation so that there is no evaporation going on, which is evidenced by steam coming out as though the glands were leaking. These circulating valves may be used with any of the arrangements above described.

The Governor

On the right-hand end of the main shaft in Fig. 34 there will be seen a worm gear driving the governor. This is shown on a larger scale at A (Fig. 50). At the left of the worm gear is a bevel gear driving the spindle D of the governor, and at the right an eccentric which gives a vibratory motion to the lever F. The crank C upon the end of the shaft operates the oil pump. The speed of the turbine is controlled by admitting the steam in puffs of greater or less duration according to the load. The lever F, having its fulcrum in the collar surrounding the shaft, operates with each vibration of the eccentric the pilot valve. The valve is explained in detail later.

This form of governor has been superseded by an improved type, but so many have been made that it will be well to describe its construction and adjustment. The two balls W W (Fig. 50) are mounted on the ends of bell cranks N, which rest on knife edges. The other end of the bell cranks carry rollers upon which rest a plate P, which serves as a support for the governor spring S. They are also attached by links to a yoke and sleeve E which acts as a fulcrum for the lever F. The governor is regulated by means of the spring S resting on the plate P and compressed by a large nut G on the upper end of the governor spindle, which nut turns on a threaded quill J, held in place by the nut H on the end of the governor spindle and is held tight by the lock-nut K. To change the compression of the spring and thereby the speed of the turbine the lock-nut must first be loosened and the hand-nut raised to lower the speed or lowered to raise the speed as the case may be. This operation may be accomplished while the machine is either running or at rest.

The plate P rests upon ball bearings so that by simply bringing pressure to bear upon the hand-wheel, which is a part of the quill J, the spring and lock-nut may be held at rest and adjusted while the rest of the turbine remains unaffected. Another lever is mounted upon the yoke E on the pin shown at I, the other end of which is fastened to the piston of a dash-pot so as to dampen the governor against vibration. Under the yoke E will be noticed a small trigger M which is used to hold the governor in the full-load position when the turbine is at rest.

The throwing out of the weights elevates the sleeve E, carrying with it the collar C, which is spanned by the lever F upon the shaft H. The later turbines are provided with an improved form of governor operating on the same principle, but embodying several important features. First, the spindle sleeve is integral with the governor yoke, and the whole rotates about a vertical stationary spindle, so that two motions are encountered—a rotary motion and an up and down motion, according to the position taken by the governor. This spiral motion almost entirely eliminates the effect of friction of rest, and thereby enhances the sensitiveness of the governor. Second, the governor weights move outward on a parallel motion opposed directly by spring thrust, thus relieving the fulcrum entirely of spring thrust. Third, the lay shaft driving the governor oil pump and reciprocator is located underneath the main turbine shaft, so that the rotor may be readily removed without in the least disturbing the governor adjustment.

The Valve-Gear

The valve-gear is shown in section in Fig. 51, the main admission being shown at V{1} at the right, and the secondary V{2} at the left of the steam inlet. The pilot valve F receives a constant reciprocating motion from the eccentric upon the layshaft of the turbine through the lever F (Fig. 50). These reciprocations run from 150 to 180 per minute. The space beneath the piston C is in communication with the large steam chest, where exists the initial pressure through the port A; the admission of steam to the piston C being controlled by a needle valve B. The pilot valve connects the port E, leading from the space beneath the piston to an exhaust port I.

When the pilot valve is closed, the pressures can accumulate beneath the piston C and raise the main admission valve from its seat. When the pilot valve opens, the pressure beneath the piston is relieved and it is seated by the helical spring above. If the fulcrum E (Fig. 50) of the lever F were fixed the admission would be of an equal and fixed duration. But if the governor raises the fulcrum E, the pilot valve F (Fig. 51) will be lowered, changing the relations of the openings with the working edges of the ports.

The seating of the main admission valve is cushioned by the dashpot, the piston of which is shown in section at G (Fig. 51). The valve may be opened by hand by means of the lever K, to see if it is perfectly free.

The secondary valve is somewhat different in its action. Steam is admitted to both sides of its actuating piston through the needle valves M M, and the chamber from which this steam is taken is connected with the under side of the main admission valve, so that no steam can reach the actuating piston of the secondary valve until it has passed through the primary valve. When the pilot valve is closed, the pressures equalize above and below the piston N and the valve remains upon its seat. When the load upon the turbine exceeds its rated capacity, the pilot valve moves upward so as to connect the space above the piston with the exhaust L, relieving the pressure upon the upper side and allowing the greater pressure below to force the valve open, which admits steam to the secondary stage of the turbine.

It would do no good to admit more steam to the first stage, for at the rated capacity that stage is taking all the steam for which the blade area will afford a passage. The port connecting the upper side of the piston N with the exhaust may be permanently closed by means of the hand valve Q, to be found on the side of the secondary pilot valve chest, thus cutting the secondary valve entirely out of action. No dashpot is necessary on this valve, the compression of the steam in the chamber W by the fall of the piston being sufficient to avoid shock.

The timing of the secondary valve is adjusted by raising or lowering the pilot valve by means of the adjustment provided. It should open soon enough so that there will not be an appreciable drop in speed before the valve comes into play. The economy of the machine will be impaired if the valve is allowed to open too soon.

Safety Stop Governor

This device is mounted on the governor end of the turbine shaft, as shown in Figs. 52 and 53. When the speed reaches a predetermined limit, the plunger A, having its center of gravity slightly displaced from the center of rotation of the shaft, is thrown radially outward and strikes the lever B. It will easily be understood that when the plunger starts outward, the resistance of spring C is rapidly overcome, since the centrifugal force increases as the square of the radius, or in this case the eccentricity of the center of gravity relative to the center of rotation. Hence, the lever is struck a sharp blow. This releases the trip E on the outside of the governor casing, and so opens the steam valve F, which releases steam from beneath the actuating piston of a quick-closing throttle valve, located in the steam line. Thus, within a period of usually less than one second, the steam is entirely shut off from the turbine when the speed has exceeded 7 or 8 per cent of the normal.

The Oiling System

Mounted on the end of the bedplate is the oil pump, operated from the main shaft of the turbine as previously stated. This may be of the plunger type shown in Fig. 54, or upon the latest turbine, the rotary type shown in Fig. 55. Around the bedplate are located the oil-cooling coils, the oil strainer, the oil reservoir and the oil pipings to the bearing.

The oil reservoir, cooler, and piping are all outside the machine and easily accessible for cleaning. Usually a corrugated-steel floor plate covers all this apparatus, so that it will not be unsightly and accumulate dirt, particularly when the turbine is installed, so that all this apparatus is below the floor level; i.e., when the top of the bedplate comes flush with the floor line. In cases where the turbine is set higher, a casing is usually built around this material so that it can be easily removed, and forms a platform alongside the machine.

The oil cooler, shown in Fig. 56, is of the counter-current type, the water entering at A and leaving at B, oil entering at C (opening not shown) and leaving at D. The coils are of seamless drawn copper, and attached to the cover by coupling the nut. The water manifold F is divided into compartments by transverse ribs, each compartment connecting the inlet of each coil with the outlet of the preceding coil, thus placing all coils in series. These coils are removable in one piece with the coverplate without disturbing the rest of the oil piping.


The blades are drawn from a rod consisting of a steel core coated with copper so intimately connected with the other metal that when the bar is drawn to the section required for the blading, the exterior coating drawn with the rest of the bar forms a covering of uniform thickness as shown in Fig. 57. The bar after being drawn through the correct section is cut into suitable lengths punched as at A (Fig. 58), near the top of the blade, and has a groove shown at B (Fig. 59), near the root, stamped in its concave face, while the blade is being cut to length and punched. The blades are then set into grooves cut into the rotor drum or the concave surface of the casing, and spacing or packing pieces C (Fig. 59) placed between them. These spacing pieces are of soft iron and of the form which is desired that the passage between the blades shall take. The groove made upon the inner face of the blade is sufficiently near to the root to be covered by this spacing piece. When the groove has been filled the soft-iron pieces are calked or spread so as to hold the blades firmly in place. A wire of comma section, as shown at A (Fig. 59), is then strung through the punches near the outer ends of the blades and upset or turned over as shown at the right in Fig. 58. This upsetting is done by a tool which shears the tail of the comma at the proper width between the blades. The bent-down portion on either side of the blade holds it rigidly in position and the portion retained within the width of the blade would retain the blade in its radial position should it become loosened or broken off at the root. This comma lashing, as it is called, takes up a small proportion only of the blade length or projection and makes a job which is surprisingly stiff and rigid, and yet which yields in case of serious disturbance rather than to maintain a contact which would result in its own fusing or the destruction of some more important member.

Starting Up the Turbine

When starting up the turbine for the first time, or after any extended period of idleness, special care must be taken to see that everything is in good condition and that all parts of the machine are clean and free from injury. The oil piping should be thoroughly inspected and cleaned out if there is any accumulation of dirt. The oil reservoirs must be very carefully wiped out and minutely examined for the presence of any grit. (Avoid using cotton waste for this, as a considerable quantity of lint is almost sure to be left behind and this will clog up the oil passages in the bearings and strainer.)

The pilot valves should be removed from the barrel and wiped off, and the barrels themselves cleaned out by pushing a soft cloth through them with a piece of wood. In no case should any metal be used.

If the turbine has been in a place where there was dirt or where there has been much dust blowing around, the bearings should be removed from the spindle and taken apart and thoroughly cleaned. With care this can be done without removing the spindle from the cylinder, by taking off the bearing covers and very carefully lifting the weight of the spindle off the bearings, then sliding back the bearings. It is best to lift the spindle by means of jacks and a rope sling, as, if a crane is used, there is great danger of lifting the spindle too high and thereby straining it or injuring the blades. After all the parts have been carefully gone over and cleaned, the oil for the bearing lubrication should be put into the reservoirs by pouring it into the governor gear case G (Fig. 34). Enough oil should be put in so that when the governor, gear case, and all the bearing-supply pipes are full, the supply to the oil pump is well covered.

Special care should be taken so that no grit gets into the oil when pouring it into the machine. Considerable trouble may be saved in this respect by pouring the oil through cloth.

A very careful inspection of the steam piping is necessary before the turbine is run. If possible it should be blown out by steam from the boilers before it is finally connected to the turbine. Considerable annoyance may result by neglecting this precaution, from particles of scale, red lead, gasket, etc., out of the steam pipe, closing up the passages of the guide blades.

When starting up, always begin to revolve the spindle without vacuum being on the turbine. After the spindle is turning slowly, bring the vacuum up. The reason for this is, that when the turbine is standing still, the glands do not pack and air in considerable quantity will rush through the glands and down through the exhaust pipe. This sometimes has the effect of unequal cooling. In case the turbine is used in conjunction with its own separate condenser, the circulating pump may be started up, then the turbine revolved, and afterward the air pump put in operation; then, last, put the turbine up to speed. In cases, however, where the turbine exhausts into the same condenser with other machinery and the condenser is therefore already in operation, the valve between the turbine and the condenser system should be kept closed until after the turbine is revolved, the turbine in the meantime exhausting through the relief valve to atmosphere.

Care must always be taken to see that the turbine is properly warmed up before being caused to revolve, but in cases where high superheat is employed always revolve the turbine just as soon as it is moderately hot, and before it has time to become exposed to superheat.

In the case of highly superheated steam, it is not undesirable to provide a connection in the steam line by means of which the turbine may be started up with saturated steam and the superheat gradually applied after the shaft has been permitted to revolve.

For warming up, it is usual practice to set the governor on the trigger (see Fig. 50) and open the throttle valve to allow the entrance of a small amount of steam.

It is always well to let the turbine operate at a reduced speed for a time, until there is assurance that the condenser and auxiliaries are in proper working order, that the oil pump is working properly, and that there is no sticking in the governor or the valve gear.

After the turbine is up to speed and on the governor, it is well to count the speed by counting the strokes of the pump rod, as it is possible that the adjustment of the governor may have become changed while the machine has been idle. It is well at this time, while there is no load on the turbine, to be sure that the governor controls the machine with the throttle wide open. It might be that the main poppet valve has sustained some injury not evident on inspection, or was leaking badly. Should there be some such defect, steps should be taken to regrind the valve to its seat at the first opportunity.

On the larger machines an auxiliary oil pump is always furnished. This should be used before starting up, so as to establish the oil circulation before the turbine is revolved. After the turbine has reached speed, and the main oil pump is found to be working properly, it should be possible to take this pump out of service, and start it again only when the turbine is about to be shut down.

If possible, the load should be thrown on gradually to obviate a sudden, heavy demand upon the boiler, with its sometimes attendant priming and rush of water into the steam pipe, which is very apt to take place if the load is thrown on too suddenly. A slug of water will have the effect of slowing down the turbine to a considerable extent, causing some annoyance. There is not likely to be the danger of the damage that is almost sure to occur in the reciprocating engine, but at the same time it is well to avoid this as much as possible. A slug of water is obviously more dangerous when superheated steam is being employed, owing to the extreme temperature changes possible.


While the turbine is running, it should have a certain amount of careful attention. This, of course, does not mean that the engineer must stand over it every minute of the day, but he must frequently inspect such parts as the lubricators, the oiling system, the water supply to the glands and the oil-cooling coil, the pilot valve, etc. He must see that the oil is up in the reservoir and showing in the gage glass provided for that purpose, and that the oil is flowing freely through the bearings, by opening the pet cocks in the top of the bearing covers. An ample supply of oil should always be in the machine to keep the suction in the tank covered.

Care must be taken that the pump does not draw too much air. This can usually be discovered by the bubbling up of the air in the governor case, when more oil should be added.

It is well to note from time to time the temperature of the bearings, but no alarm need be occasioned because they feel warm to the touch; in fact, a bearing is all right as long as the hand can be borne upon it even momentarily. The oil coming from the bearings should be preferably about 120 degrees Fahrenheit and never exceed 160 degrees.

It should generally be seen that the oil-cooling coil is effective in keeping the oil cool. Sometimes the cooling water deposits mud on the cooling surface, as well as the oil depositing a vaseline-like substance, which interferes with the cooling effect. The bearing may become unduly heated because of this, when the coil should be taken out at the first opportunity and cleaned on the outside and blown out by steam on the inside, if this latter is possible. If this does not reduce the temperature, either the oil has been in use too long without being filtered, or the quality of the oil is not good.

Should a bearing give trouble, the first symptom will be burning oil which will smoke and give off dense white fumes which can be very readily seen and smelled. However, trouble with the bearings is one of the most unlikely things to be encountered, and, if it occurs, it is due to some radical cause, such as the bearings being pinched by their caps, or grit and foreign matter being allowed to get into the oil.

If a bearing gets hot, be assured that there is some very radical cause for it which should be immediately discovered and removed. Never, under any circumstances, imagine that you can nurse a bearing, that has heated, into good behavior. Turbine bearings are either all right or all wrong. There are no halfway measures.

The oil strainer should also be occasionally taken apart and thoroughly cleaned, which operation may be performed, if necessary, while the turbine is in operation. The screens should be cleaned by being removed from their case and thoroughly blown out with steam. In the case of a new machine, this may have to be done every two or three hours. In course of time, this need only be repeated perhaps once a week. The amount of dirt found will be an indication of the frequency with which this cleaning is necessary.

The proper water pressure, about five pounds per square inch, must be maintained at the glands. Any failure of this will mean that there is some big leak in the piping, or that the water is not flowing properly.

The pilot valve must be working freely, causing but little kick on the governor, and should be lubricated from time to time with good oil.

Should it become necessary, while operating, to shut down the condenser and change over to non-condensing operation, particular care should be observed that the change is not made too suddenly to non-condensing, as all the low-pressure sections of the turbine must be raised to a much higher temperature. While this may not cause an accident, it is well to avoid the stresses which necessarily result from the sudden change of temperature. The same reasons, of course, do not hold good in changing from non-condensing to condensing.

Shutting Down

When shutting down the turbine the load may be taken off before closing the throttle; or, as in the case of a generator operating on an independent load, the throttle may be closed first, allowing the load to act as a brake, bringing the turbine to rest quickly. In most cases, however, the former method will have to be used, as the turbine generally will have been operating in parallel with one or more other generators. When this is the case, partially close the throttle just before the load is to be thrown off, and if the turbine is to run without load for some time, shut off the steam almost entirely in order to prevent any chance of the turbine running away. There is no danger of this unless the main valve has been damaged by the water when wet steam has been used, or held open by some foreign substance, when, in either case, there may be sufficient leakage to run the turbine above speed, while running light. At the same time, danger is well guarded against by the automatic stop valve, but it is always well to avoid a possible danger. As soon as the throttle is shut, stop the condenser, or, in the case where one condenser is used for two or more turbines, close the valve between the turbine and the condenser. Also open the drains from the steam strainer, etc. This will considerably reduce the time the turbine requires to come to rest. Still more time may be saved by leaving the field current on the generator.

Care should be taken, when the vacuum falls and the turbine slows down, to see that the water is shut off from the glands for fear it may leak out to such an extent as to let the water into the bearings and impair the lubricating qualities of the oil.


At regular intervals thorough inspection should be made of all parts of the turbine. As often as it appears necessary from the temperature of the oil, depending on the quality of the oil and the use of the turbine, remove the oil-cooling coil and clean it both on the inside and outside as previously directed; also clean out the chamber in which it is kept. Put in a fresh supply of oil. This need not necessarily be new, but may be oil that has been in use before but has been filtered. We recommend that an oil filter be kept for this purpose. Entirely new oil need only be put into the turbine when the old oil shows marked deterioration. With a first-class oil this will probably be a very infrequent necessity, as some new oil has to be put in from time to time to make up the losses from leakage and waste.

Clean out the oil strainer, blowing steam through the wire gauze to remove any accumulation of dirt. Every six months to a year take off the bearing covers, remove the bearings, and take them apart and clean out thoroughly. Even the best oil will deposit more or less solid matter upon hot surfaces in time, which will tend to prevent the free circulation of the oil through the bearings and effectively stop the cushioning effect on the bearings. Take apart the main and secondary valves and clean thoroughly, seeing that all parts are in good working order. Clean and inspect the governor and the valve-gear, wiping out any accumulation of oil and dirt that may appear. Be sure to clean out the drains from the glands so that any water that may pass out of them will run off freely and will not get into the bearings.

At the end of the first three months, and after that about once a year, take off the cylinder cover and remove the spindle. When the turbine is first started up, there is very apt to be considerable foreign matter come over in the steam, such as balls of red lead or small pieces of gasket too small to be stopped by the strainer. These get into the guide blades in the cylinder and quite effectively stop them up. Therefore, the blades should be gone over very carefully, and any such additional accumulation removed. Examine the glands and equilibrium ports for any dirt or broken parts. Particularly examine the glands for any deposit of scale. All the scale should be chipped off the gland parts, as, besides preventing the glands from properly packing, this accumulation will cause mechanical contact and perhaps cause vibration of the machine due to lack of freedom of the parts. The amount of scale found after the first few inspections will be an indication of how frequently the cleaning should be done. As is discussed later, any water that is unsuitable for boiler feed should not be used in the glands.

In reassembling the spindle and cover, very great care must be taken that no blades are damaged and that nothing gets into the blades. Nearly all the damage that has been done to blades has resulted from carelessness in this respect; in fact, it is impossible to be too careful. Particular care is also to be taken in assembling all the parts and in handling them, as slight injury may cause serious trouble. In no case should a damaged part be put back until the injury has been repaired.

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