Engine turbines make the world go 'round--literally. From steam turbines in electricity plants to turbofan engines in jet aircraft and microturbines powering environmental control units, these rotary engine components propel modern society forward. The turbine itself is a simple creation for which innovative applications are still being discovered.
In order to understand engine turbines, you need to understand types of turbines engines and components of turbine engines. Start with the following vocabulary to put engine turbines into context.
TurbineA turbine is essentially a bladed rotary unit that spins and produces energy when gas, air or liquid is directed against the turbines.
APUAuxiliary Power Units, or APUs, are small, turbine-driven units that are generally responsible for supporting functions of a vehicle--from heavy trucks to space orbiters--but not actually propelling it. Even though they're not propelling a vehicle, APUs round out the classification of turbine engine types.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration gives a detailed explanation of how APUs support the operator of their orbiter vehicles.
MicroturbinesMicroturbines are relatively small, stationary energy producing turbines. Even though they don't produce movement of the structure they're housed in, they are technically still a turbine engine.
Whole Building Design Guide explains microturbines and their advantages in great detail.
CogenerationCogeneration, on-site power generation, combined heat and power or distributed generation all refer to the production of electricity with a heat byproduct that can then be applied to some useful purpose. Steam, combustion and microturbines all produce combined heat and power.
Turning gearThe turning gear is utilized when an engine turbine is still subject to energy-producing forces, such as steam, wind or water. The turning gear turns the turbine at a slow rate of speed to keep it from warping under the pressures it is subjected to.
Jamestown Board of Public Utilities explains the purpose of a turning gear in relation to the other parts of a steam turbine engine.
NacelleThe nacelle or turbine housing contains the bulk of a turbine engine's components, including the axis for the turbine's rotation. In a turbofan engine, as on a jet aircraft, the nacelle may house the entire engine.
Better Planet explains the basic anatomy of engine turbines by using a wind turbine as an example