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The most critical aspect of steam turbine reliability centers on the bucket design.
Since buckets, or rotating blades, are subjected to unsteady steam forces during
operation, the phenomenon of vibration resonance must be considered. Resonance occurs
when a stimulating frequency coincides with a natural frequency of the system. At
resonance conditions, the amplitude of vibration is related primarily to the amount of
stimulus and damping present in the system. High bucket reliability requires designs with
minimum resonant vibration. The design process starts with accurate calculation of
bucket natural frequencies in the tangential, axial, torsional, and complex modes, which
are verified by test data. In addition, improved aerodynamic nozzle shapes and generous
stage axial clearances are used to reduce bucket stimulus. Bucket covers are used on
some or all stages to attenuate induced vibration.

These design practices, together with advanced precision manufacturing

techniques, ensure the necessary bucket reliability. Almost all of the blading used in
modern mechanical drive steam turbines is either of drawn or milled type construction.
Drawn blades are machined from extruded airfoil shaped pieces of material stock. Milled
blades are machined from a rectangular piece of bar stock.

As will be seen later, a certain percentage of steam turbine blades are neither
drawn nor milled type construction. These blades are usually large, last-stage blades of
steam turbines or jet gas expanders. They are either made by forging or a precision cast

To keep the lowest natural frequency of the blades principally above the sixth
harmonic frequency of the turbine speed, the aspect ratio, i.e., the ratio of blade length to

profile chord length, is limited to a value below 5. In the transition zone, which is
particularly endangered by vibration failures, this ratio is further reduced. Transition zone
means the range of the turbine blading, which depending on the turbine operating point,
alternately admits superheated steam or wet steam. The operating point is determined by
the power generated by the turbine and the live steam conditions. As a general rule the
width of the axial gap between guide blades and moving blades is made at least 20
percent of the profile chord length.

The actual value may be larger and is determined by the expected relative
expansion between guide blades and moving blades. Manufacturers usually standardize
shroud dimensions for each profile chord length. The clearance between moving blade
shrouds and guide blade carrier, as well as between guide blade shrouds and rotor is
several millimeters. Sealing is effected by caulked-in sealing strips a few tenths of a
millimeter thick. The moving blades are held in the shaft groove by T-roots. Axial root
dimensions typically equal the profile chord length. All sizes of T-roots produced by a
given manufacturer are geometrically similar. For all the reaction blading only a single
profile shape and a single root shape is necessary.

Blade roots and shrouds are sometimes designed in rhomboid shape. The
rhomboid faces are ground and thus provide an optimal fit for the blade roots and blade
shrouds. Some notes on the stresses acting on the turbine blading will be of interest. The
turbine blading is subject to dynamic forces because the steam flow entering the rotor
blades in the circumferential direction is not homogeneous. Blades alternate with flow
passages so that the rotating blades pass areas of differing flow velocities and directions.
Since the forces affecting the rotor blading are generated by this flow, the blade stresses
also vary. The magnitude of the stress variation depends very much on the quality of the
blading. Poorly designed blading will often experience flow separation. This induces
particularly high bending stresses on the blades. Dynamic blade stresses are also
produced by ribs or other asymmetries in the flow area.

If the steam turbine is driving a compressor, surge events can induce high
dynamic stresses in the rotor blades. These surges excite torsional vibrations of the
turbine rotor which in turn excite bending oscillations in the blades. The severity of the
alternating bending load in the blade due to the dynamic blade stresses depends on such
parameters as magnitude of the dynamic blade force, frequency level of the blade, and the
damping properties of the blade. The frequency level is determined by the ratio of natural
frequency to exciting frequency. With constant dynamic blade force the vibrational
amplitude and thus the bending load increase with the decreasing difference of these two
frequencies (resonance conditions). With a given dynamic blade force and a given
resonance condition the alternating bending stress is determined by the damping. Large
excitation forces and resonance conditions are not dangerous as long as the damping is
high. So much of the vibration energy is transformed into heat that the vibration
amplitude remains small.

The vibration of a blade is damped by the material-damping capacity, by the

damping at the blade root and by the steam surrounding the blade. All cylindrical blades
on drum rotors from such notable manufacturers as Siemens are machined with integral
shrouds. When the blades of a row are assembled, these shrouds are pressed against each
other and form a closed shroud ring. The complete shroudband links all blades of the
stage to a coupled vibration system whose natural frequencies are substantially higher
than those experienced by individual freestanding blades. The transmitted energy of a
vibration excitation into the linked blade system will be equally distributed to all blades
within a row; the entire blade row has to be excited. For comparison, in an unlinked
system (freestanding blades) the excitation energy will mainly be absorbed by the blade
that has a natural frequency equal to the excitation frequency. This blade is then
susceptible to breakage. Some considerations of the effect of narrow gaps, which may
form between the shrouds during operation, are given as follows (Fig. 6.12).

Gaps could occur by:

1. Insertion of blades made from martensitic material (chrome steel) into a shaft
made from ferritic material. The ferritic shaft material has a higher thermal

expansion coefficient than the martensitic material. As shaft and blading heat up,
there will be a proportionally larger expansion of the shroud in the radial direction
than in the circumferential direction.

2. Expansion of shaft and lengthening of blades due to the centrifugal force at

operating speed. Gap formation will be eliminated through selection of suitable
root and shroud geometry. Assembly-related forces on blade roots in the
circumferential direction cause a small angular deflection in the blade
profile/shroud section. In a completed blade row the counteracting torsional
moment from each blade to its respective shroud prevents the formation of gaps
as described by effects 1 and 2.

If the prestress in the shroud area is still not sufficient and gaps form because of
extreme changes of the steam temperature in the blading, the vibration behavior of the
circumferential unlinked shroudband is still substantially different from that of a row of
freestanding blades. All drum rotor blades have manufacturing and assembling
tolerances, which cause the natural frequencies of the blades of a rotating row to be
spread over a wide range. Therefore it is statistically impossible for all blades to get into
resonance simultaneously. The blade that is exactly in resonance is prevented from
developing its maximum resonance amplitude by the neighboring blade, which is not in
resonance. The shrouds of the neighboring blades act as amplitude limiters, and the
vibration energy is transformed into heat by impact forces.

Energy is also dissipated from vibration amplitude by the following effect:

Because of machining tolerances the existing gaps are not of uniform width, but wedge-
shaped, crowned or another shape. This, for instance, causes the energy of vibration
about the axis of minimum inertia to be partly converted into a torsional vibration by
impact against the neighboring shroud. The available vibration energy is thus distributed
over several forms of vibration so that the maximum possible amplitude is decreased.
With existing gaps the shrouds act as amplitude limiters and vibration converters. The
shrouds add further to the operational safety because there is a wide radial gap between

shrouding and guide blade carrier. If because of a drop of the steam temperature the rotor
or the casing should suffer distortion, the thin sealing strips are damaged without
generation of excessive friction heat, but the radial clearance is never taken up so that the
rotor cannot touch the casing.

A turbine is a device that converts chemical energy into mechanical energy,
specifically when a rotor of multiple blades or vanes is driven by the movement of a fluid
or gas. In the case of a steam turbine, the pressure and flow of newly condensed steam
rapidly turns the rotor. This movement is possible because the water to steam conversion
results in a rapidly expanding gas. As the turbines rotor turns, the rotating shaft can work
to accomplish numerous applications, often electricity generation.

Fig 1 Sectional View of a Steam turbine

In a steam turbine, the steams energy is extracted through the turbine and the
steam leaves the turbine at a lower energy state. High pressure and temperature fluid at
the inlet of the turbine exit as lower pressure and temperature fluid. The difference is
energy converted by the turbine to mechanical rotational energy, less any aerodynamic
and mechanical inefficiencies incurred in the process. Since the fluid is at a lower
pressure at the exit of the turbine than at the inlet, it is common to say the fluid has been
expanded across the turbine. Because of the expanding flow, higher volumetric flow

occurs at the turbine exit (at least for compressible fluids) leading to the need for larger
turbine exit areas than at the inlet.

The generic symbol for a turbine used in a flow diagram is shown in Figure
below. The symbol diverges with a larger area at the exit than at the inlet. This is how
one can tell a turbine symbol from a compressor symbol. In Figure , the graphic is
colored to indicate the general trend of temperature drop through a turbine. In a turbine
with a high inlet pressure, the turbine blades convert this pressure energy into velocity or
kinetic energy, which causes the blades to rotate. Many green cycles use a turbine in this
fashion, although the inlet conditions may not be the same as for a conventional high
pressure and temperature steam turbine. Bottoming cycles, for instance, extract fluid
energy that is at a lower pressure and temperature than a turbine in a conventional power
plant. A bottoming cycle might be used to extract energy from the exhaust gases of a
large diesel engine, but the fluid in a bottoming cycle still has sufficient energy to be
extracted across a turbine, with the energy converted into rotational energy.

Fig 2 Flow diagram of a steam turbine

Turbines also extract energy in fluid flow where the pressure is not high but
where the fluid has sufficient fluid kinetic energy. The classic example is a wind turbine,
which converts the winds kinetic energy to rotational energy. This type of kinetic energy
conversion is common in green energy cycles for applications ranging from larger wind
turbines to smaller hydrokinetic turbines currently being designed for and demonstrated
in river and tidal applications. Turbines can be designed to work well in a variety of
fluids, including gases and liquids, where they are used not only to drive generators, but
also to drive compressors or pumps.

One common (and somewhat misleading) use of the word turbine is gas
turbine, as in a gas turbine engine. A gas turbine engine is more than just a turbine and
typically includes a compressor, combustor and turbine combined to be a self-contained
unit used to provide shaft or thrust power. The turbine component inside the gas turbine
still provides power, but a compressor and combustor are required to make a self-
contained system that needs only the fuel to burn in the combustor.

An additional use for turbines in industrial applications that may also be

applicable in some green energy systems is to cool a fluid. As previously mentioned,
when a turbine extracts energy from a fluid, the fluid temperature is reduced. Some
industries, such as the gas processing industry, use turbines as sources of refrigeration,
dropping the temperature of the gas going through the turbine. In other words, the
primary purpose of the turbine is to reduce the temperature of the working fluid as
opposed to providing power. Generally speaking, the higher the pressure ratio across a
turbine, the greater the expansion and the greater the temperature drop. Even where
turbines are used to cool fluids, the turbines still produce power and must be connected to
a power absorbing device that is part of an overall system.

Also note that turbines in high inlet-pressure applications are sometimes called
expanders. The terms turbine and expander can be used interchangeably for most
applications, but expander is not used when referring to kinetic energy applications, as
the fluid does not go through significant expansion.


There are complicated methods to properly harness steam power that give rise to
the two primary turbine designs: impulse and reaction turbines. These different designs
engage the steam in a different method so as to turn the rotor. As water converts into
steam, the molecules grow further apart.

While steam can exert pressure, it cannot exert the correct pressure needed to spin
the rotor quickly enough to generate electricity. Thus, a special design of rotor is required
to properly harness the steam and spin.

In an impulse turbine, nozzles direct the steam towards the rotors, which are
equipped with concave panels called buckets. The nozzles are able to project a jet of
steam that spins the rotor at a loss of roughly 10 percent energy. As the jets change their
position, they can increase or decrease the rate of rotor spin.

A reaction turbine works opposite the impulse turbine. The steam nozzles are
attached to the rotor blades on opposite sides. The nozzles are so positioned that when
they release jets of stream, they propel the rotor in a spinning motion that keeps it
rotating as long as steam is being expelled.

It can reach high speeds because the nozzle designs focus the steam into a thin
stream, although the initial warm up period may take several moments.

Fig 3 High inlet pressure reaction turbine, back-pressure type

There are different methods for producing steam to propel a steam turbine.
Condensing steam turbines typically employ low-pressure steam that is not fully
condensedit is usually approximately 90 percent steam. When steam has lower
pressure than the atmospheric pressure surrounding it, it can be expanded to a greater
degree for turning standard piston engines. Non-condensing steam turbines also work
with low pressure steam, usually at refineries or pulping plants, where low pressure steam
is typically available. These turbines take advantage of exhaust steam, a product of other

Turbines also require a governor, or speed limiter, which controls the speed of the
rotor rotation. Turbines require a slow warm up period to prevent accidents or damage.
The governor can control the pressure and amount of steam emitted so as to properly
monitor and control the speed of the spinning rotors. This is necessary in applications like
electrical generation. The electrical grid in the United States and in other countries
utilizes droop speed control. When a plant is functioning in a full-load output capacity, it
runs at 100 percent speed, while it runs at 105 percent speed when at no-load. The speed
variance is required because of the myriad power plants operating simultaneously, which
need to provide dependable frequency despite constant changes, drop offs and
capabilities of power.


Steam turbines are the most common and versatile prime movers used today. The
capabilities and flexibility of operation, as well as the range of power provided is
unparalleled in today's power generation and process markets. The components of Steam
Turbine are:

(1) The rotor that carries the blading to convert the thermal energy of the steam
into the rotary motion of the shaft.

(2) The casing, inside of which the rotor turns, that serves as a pressure vessel for
containing the steam (it also accommodates fixed nozzle passages or stator vanes
through which the steam is accelerated before being directed against and through
the rotor blading)

(3) The speed-regulating mechanism and

(4) The support system, which includes the lubrication system for the bearings
that support the rotor and also absorb any end thrust developed.

Steam turbines consist of circularly distributed stationary blades called nozzles

which direct steam on to rotating blades or buckets mounted radially on a rotating wheel.
In a steam turbine nozzles apply supersonic steam to a curved blade. The blade whips the
steam back in the opposite direction, simultaneously allowing the steam to expand a bit.
A stationary blade then redirects the steam towards the next blade. The process repeats
until the steam is completely expanded. The moving blades are mounted radially on the
rotor. The stationary blades are mounted to the case of the turbine.

A compact machine can be built economically with ten or more stages for
optimum use of high pressure steam and vacuum exhaust by mounting the wheels of a
number of stages on a single shaft, and supporting the nozzles of all stages from a
continuous housing. Large axial turbines must be operated under such conditions that the
exhaust steam does not contain more than 10 to 13% of liquid since condensate droplets
could seriously erode the high velocity nozzles and blades. The moisture content of the
exhaust is dependent upon the inlet steam pressure/temperature combination. Special
moisture removal stages may be incorporated in the design when the steam superheat
temperature is limited.




Blades are the heart of a steam turbine, as they are the principal elements that
convert the thermal energy into kinetic energy. The efficiency and reliability of a turbine
depend on the proper design of the blades. It is therefore necessary for all engineers
involved in the steam turbines engineering to have an overview of the importance and the
basic design aspects of the steam turbine blades.

Fig 4 View of blades on a rotor

Blade design is a multi-disciplinary task. It involves the thermodynamic,

aerodynamic, mechanical and material science disciplines. A total development of a new
blade is therefore possible only when experts of all these fields come together as a team.

The development process of a new profile took years of development and testing in the
earlier years. But with the advent of CFD and FEM packages, there is a significant
reduction in design and testing times. The feasibility of 3-D designs also has improved
because of the advances in these software packages.

This paper deals mainly with the mechanical aspects of the blade design. It aims
mainly at understanding the principles of design of the existing blades, and giving an
overview of other related issues to blades which a designer should be aware of.


The blade can be divided into 3 parts:

The profile, which converts the thermal energy of steam into kinetic energy, with
a certain efficiency depending upon the profile shape.
The root, which fixes the blade to the turbine rotor, giving a proper anchor to the
blade, and transmitting the kinetic energy of the blade to the rotor.
The damping element, which reduces the vibrations which necessarily occur in
the blades due to the steam flowing through the blades. These damping elements
may be integral with blades, or they may be separate elements mounted between
the blades.
Each of these elements will be separately dealt with in the following sections.
In order to understand the further explanation, a familiarity of the terminology used is
required. The following terminology is used in the subsequent sections.

Fig 5 High Pressure Blade Profile

If circles are drawn tangential to the suction side and pressure side profiles of a
blade, and their centers are joined by a curve, this curve is called the camber line. This
camber line intersects the profile at two points A and B. The line joining these points is
called chord, and the length of this line is called the chord length. A line which is
tangential to the inlet and outlet edges is called the bitangent line. The angle which this
line makes with the circumferential direction is called the setting angle. Pitch of a blade is
the circumferential distance between any point on the profile and an identical point on the
next blade.


There are two basic types of profiles - Impulse and Reaction. In the impulse type
of profiles, the entire heat drop of the stage occurs only in the stationary blades. In the
reaction type of blades, the heat drop of the stage is distributed almost equally between
the guide and moving blades.

Though the theoretical impulse blades have zero pressure drop in the moving
blades, practically, for the flow to take place across the moving blades, there must be a
small pressure drop across the moving blades also. Therefore, the impulse stages in
practice have a small degree of reaction. These stages are therefore more accurately,
though less widely, described as low-reaction stages.

The typical impulse and reaction stages are plotted in the following figure.

Impulse stage Reaction stage

The presently used reaction profiles are more efficient than the impulse profiles at
part loads. This is because of the more rounded inlet edge for reaction profiles. Due to
this, even if the inlet angle of the steam is not tangential to the pressure-side profile of the
blade, the losses are low.

However, the impulse profiles have one advantage. The impulse profiles can take
a large heat drop across a single stage, and the same heat drop would require a greater
number of stages if reaction profiles are used, thereby increasing the turbine length.

The Steam turbines use the impulse profiles for the control stage (1st stage), and
the reaction profiles for subsequent stages. There are three reasons for using impulse
profile for the first stage.

a) Most of the turbines are partial arc admission turbines. If the first stage is a
reaction stage, the lower half of the moving blades do not have any inlet
steam, and would ventilate. Therefore, most of the stage heat drop should
occur in the guide blades.
b) The heat drop across the first stage should be high, so that the wheel chamber
of the outer casing is not exposed to the high inlet parameters. In case of -4
turbines, the inner casing parting plane strength becomes the limitation, and
therefore requires a large heat drop across the 1st stage.
c) Nozzle control gives better efficiency at part loads than throttle control.
d) The number of stages in the turbine should not be too high, as this will
increase the length of the turbine.

There are exceptions to the rule. Turbines used for CCPs, and BFP drive turbines
do not have a control stage. They are throttle-governed machines. Such designs are used
when the inlet pressure slides. Such machines only have reaction stages. However, the
inlet passages of such turbines must be so designed that the inlet steam to the first
reaction stage is properly mixed, and occupies the entire 360 degrees.

There are also cases of controlled extraction turbines where the L.P. control stage
is an impulse stage. This is either to reduce the number of stages to make the turbine
short, or to increase the part load efficiency by using nozzle control, which minimises
throttle losses.


The root is a part of the blade that fixes the blade to the rotor or stator. Its design
depends upon the centrifugal and steam bending forces of the blade. It should be
designed such that the material in the blade root as well as the rotor / stator claw and any
fixing element are in the safe limits to avoid failure.
The roots are T-root and Fork-root. The fork root has a higher load-carrying
capacity than the T-root.It was found that machining this T-root with side grip is more of
a problem. It has to be machined by broaching, and the broaching machine available
could not handle the sizes of the root.

The typical roots used for the HP moving blades for various steam turbine
applications are shown in the following figure:

T-root Fork-root
T-root with side-grip

Fig 6 High pressure blade roots


The LP blade profiles of moving blades are twisted and tapered. These blades are
used when blade height-to-mean stage diameter ratio (h/Dm) exceeds 0.2.


The roots of LP blades are as follows:
1) 2 blading:
The roots of both the LP stages in 2 type of LP blading are T-roots.
2) 3 blading:
The last stage LP blade of HK, SK and LK blades have a fork-root. SK blades
have 4-fork roots for al sizes. HK blades have 4-fork roots upto 56 size, where
modified profiles are used. Beyond this size, HK blades have 3 fork roots. LK blades
have 3-fork roots for all sizes.
The roots of the LP blades of preceding stages are of T-roots.


The excitation of any blade comes from different sources. They are:
a) nozzle-passing excitation: As the blades pass the nozzles of the stage, they
encounter flow disturbances due to the pressure variations across the guide blade
passage. They also encounter disturbances due to the wakes and eddies in the flow
path. These are sufficient to cause excitation in the moving blades. The excitation
gets repeated at every pitch of the blade. This is called nozzle-passing frequency
excitation. The order of this frequency = no. of guide blades x speed of the
machine. Multiples of this frequency are considered for checking for resonance.

b) excitation due to non-uniformities in guide-blades around the periphery. These

can occur due to manufacturing inaccuracies, like pitch errors, setting angle
variations, inlet and outlet edge variations, etc.

For HP blades, due to the thick and cylindrical cross-sections and short blade
heights, the natural frequencies are very high. Nozzle-passing frequencies are therefore
necessarily considered, since resonance with the lower natural frequencies occurs only
with these orders of excitation.

In LP blades, since the blades are thin and long, the natural frequencies are low.
The excitation frequencies to be considered are therefore the first few multiples of speed,
since the nozzle-passing frequencies only give resonance with very high modes, where
the vibration stresses are low.

The HP moving blades experience relatively low vibration amplitudes due to their
thicker sections and shorter heights. They also have integral shrouds. These shrouds of
adjacent blades butt against each other forming a continuous ring. This ring serves two
purposes it acts as a steam seal, and it acts as a damper for the vibrations. When
vibrations occur, the vibration energy is dissipated as friction between shrouds of
adjacent blades.

For HP guide blades of Wesel design, the shroud is not integral, but a shroud band
is riveted to a number of guide blades together. The function of this shroud band is
mainly to seat the steam. In some designs HP guide blades may have integral shrouds
like moving blades. The primary function remains steam sealing.

In industrial turbines, in LP blades, the resonant vibrations have high amplitudes

due to the thin sections of the blades, and the large lengths. It may also not always be
possible to avoid resonance at all operating conditions. This is because of two reasons.
Firstly, the LP blades are standardised for certain ranges of speeds, and turbines may be
selected to operate anywhere in the speed range. The entire design range of operating
speed of the LP blades cannot be outside the resonance range. It is, of course, possible to
design a new LP blade for each application, but this involves a lot of design efforts and
manufacturing cycle time. However, with the present-day computer packages and
manufacturing methods, it has become feasible to do so.

Secondly, the driven machine may be a variable speed machine like a compressor
or a boiler-feed-pump. In this case also, it is not possible to avoid resonance.

In such cases, where it is not possible to avoid resonance, a damping element is to

be used in the LP blades to reduce the dynamic stresses, so that the blades can operate
continuously under resonance also.

There may be blades which are not adequately damped due to manufacturing
inaccuracies. The need for a damping element is therefore eliminated. In case the
frequencies of the blades tend towards resonance due to manufacturing inaccuracies,
tuning is to be done on the blades to correct the frequency. This tuning is done by
grinding off material at the tip (which reduces the inertia more than the stiffness) to
increase the frequency, and by grinding off material at the base of the profile (which
reduces the stiffness more than the inertia) to reduce the natural frequency.

The damping in any blade can be of any of the following types:

a) Material damping: This type of damping is because of the inherent damping
properties of the material which makes up the component.
b) Aerodynamic damping: This is due to the damping of the fluid which
surrounds the component in operation.
c) Friction damping: This is due to the rubbing friction between the component
under consideration with any other object.
Out of these damping mechanisms, the material and aerodynamic types of
damping are very small in magnitude. Friction damping is enormous as compared to the
other two types of damping. Because of this reason, the damping elements in blades
generally incorporate a feature by which the vibrational energy is dissipated as frictional
The frictional damping has a particular characteristic. When the frictional force
between the rubbing surfaces is very small as compared to the excitation force, the
surfaces slip, resulting in friction damping. However, when the excitation force is small
when compared to the frictional force, the surfaces do not slip, resulting in locking of the

surfaces. This condition gives zero friction damping, and only the material and
aerodynamic damping exists. In a periodically varying excitation force, it may frequently
happen that the force is less than the friction force. During this phase, the damping is very
less. At the same time, due to the locking of the rubbing surfaces, the overall stiffness
increases and the natural frequency shifts drastically away from the individual value. The
response therefore also changes in the locked condition. The resonant response of a
system therefore depends upon the amount of damping in the system (which is
determined by the relative duration of slip and stick in the system, i.e., the relative
magnitude of excitation and friction forces) and the natural frequency of the system
(which alters between the individual values and the locked condition value, depending
upon the slip or stick condition).


Among the different materials typically used for blading are 403 stainless steel,
422 stainless steel, A-286, and Haynes Stellite Alloy Number 31 and titanium alloy. The
403 stainless steel is essentially the industrys standard blade material and, on impulse
steam turbines, it is probably found on over 90 percent of all the stages. It is used because
of its high yield strength, endurance limit, ductility, toughness, erosion and corrosion
resistance, and damping. It is used within a Brinell hardness range of 207 to 248 to
maximize its damping and corrosion resistance. The 422 stainless steel material is applied
only on high temperature stages (between 700 and 900F or 371 and 482C), where its
higher yield, endurance, creep and rupture strengths are needed.

The A-286 material is a nickel-based super alloy that is generally used in hot gas
expanders with stage temperatures between 900 and 1150F (482 and 621C). The
Haynes Stellite Alloy Number 31 is a cobalt-based super alloy and is used on jet
expanders when precision cast blades are needed. The Haynes Stellite Number 31 is used
at stage temperatures between 900 and 1200F (482 and 649C). Another blade material
is titanium. Its high strength, low density, and good erosion resistance make it a good
candidate for highspeed or long-last stage blading.




Manufacturing process is that part of the production process which is directly

concerned with the change of form or dimensions of the part being produced. It does not
include the transportation, handling or storage of parts, as they are not directly concerned
with the changes into the form or dimensions of the part produced.

Manufacturing is the backbone of any industrialized nation. Manufacturing and

technical staff in industry must know the various manufacturing processes, materials
being processed, tools and equipments for manufacturing different components or
products with optimal process plan using proper precautions and specified safety rules to
avoid accidents. Beside above, all kinds of the future engineers must know the basic
requirements of workshop activities in term of man, machine, material, methods, money
and other infrastructure facilities needed to be positioned properly for optimal shop
layouts or plant layout and other support services
effectively adjusted or located in the industry or plant within a well planned
manufacturing organization.

Todays competitive manufacturing era of high industrial development and

research, is being called the age of mechanization, automation and computer integrated
manufacturing. Due to new researches in the manufacturing field, the advancement has
come to this extent that every different aspect of this technology has become a full-
fledged fundamental and advanced study in itself. This has led to introduction of
optimized design and manufacturing of new products. New developments in
manufacturing areas are deciding to transfer more skill to the machines for considerably
reduction of manual labor.


For producing of products materials are needed. It is therefore important to know

the characteristics of the available engineering materials. Raw materials used
manufacturing of products, tools, machines and equipments in factories or industries are
extracted from ores. The ores are suitably converted the metal into a molten form by
reducing or refining processes in foundries. This molten metal is poured into moulds for
providing commercial castings, called ingots. Such ingots are then processed in rolling
mills to obtain market form of material supply in form of bloom, billets, slabs and rods.
These forms of material supply are further subjected to various manufacturing
processes for getting usable metal products of different shapes and sizes in various
manufacturing shops. All these processes used in
manufacturing concern for changing the ingots into usable products may be classified
into six major groups as
primary shaping processes
secondary machining processes
metal forming processes
joining processes
surface finishing processes and
processes effecting change in properties.


Primary shaping processes are manufacturing of a product from an amorphous

material. Some processes produces finish products or articles into its usual form whereas
others do not, and require further working to finish component to the desired shape and
size. The parts produced through these processes may or may not require to under go
further operations. Some of the important primary shaping processes are:
(1) Casting
(2) Powder metallurgy

(3) Plastic technology
(4) Gas cutting
(5) Bending and
(6) Forging.


As large number of components require further processing after the primary

processes. These components are subjected to one or more number of machining
operations in machine shops, to obtain the desired shape and dimensional accuracy on flat
and cylindrical jobs. Thus, the jobs undergoing these operations are the roughly finished
products received through primary
shaping processes. The process of removing the undesired or unwanted material from the
work-piece or job or component to produce a required shape using a cutting tool is
known as machining. This can be done by a manual process or by using a machine called
machine tool (traditional machines namely lathe, milling machine, drilling, shaper,
planner, slotter). In many cases these operations are performed on rods, bars and flat
surfaces in machine shops.
These secondary processes are mainly required for achieving dimensional
accuracy and a very high degree of surface finish. The secondary processes require the
use of one or more machine tools, various single or multi-point cutting tools (cutters), job
holding devices, marking and measuring instruments, testing devices and gauges etc. for
getting desired dimensional control and required degree of surface finish on the
workpieces. The example of parts produced by machining processes includes hand tools
machine tools instruments, automobile parts, nuts, bolts and gears etc. Lot of material is
wasted as scrap in the secondary or machining process. Some of the common secondary
or machining processes are:

a. Turning
b. Threading
c. Knurling

d. Milling
e. Drilling
f. Boring
g. Planning
h. Shaping
i. Slotting
j. Sawing
k. Broaching
l. Hobbing
m. Grinding
n. Gear Cutting
o. Thread cutting and
p. Unconventional machining processes namely machining
with Numerical Control (NC) machines tools or Computer Numerical
Control (CNC) machine tools using ECM, LBM, AJM, USM setups etc.



A milling machine is a machine tool that removes metal as the work is fed against
a rotating multipoint cutter. The milling cutter rotates at high speed and it removes metal
at a very fast rate with the help of multiple cutting edges. One or more number of cutters
can be mounted simultaneously on the arbor of milling machine. This is the reason that a
milling machine finds wide application in production work. Milling machine is used for
machining flat surfaces, contoured surfaces, surfaces of revolution, external and internal
threads, and helical surfaces of various cross-sections. In many applications, due to its
higher production rate and accuracy, milling machine has even replaced shapers and

Milling can be used to produce a practically infinite variety of workpiece
surfaces. A distinguishing feature of a process is the cutting edge (major or minor) that
produces the workpiece surface in face milling the minor cutting edge is located at the
face of the milling cutter, while in peripheral milling the major cutting edge is located on
the circumference of the milling cutter. A distinction can be made on the basis of the feed
direction angle in down-milling the feed direction angle is > 90, thus the cutting
edge of the milling cutter enters the workpiece at the maximum undeformed chip
thickness, while in up-milling the feed direction angle is < 90, thus the cutting edge
enters at the theoretical undeformed chip thickness h = 0. This initially results in pinching
and rubbing.

Fig 7 Milling machine

Fig 8 Job surfaces generated by milling machine


In milling machine, the metal is cut by means of a rotating cutter having multiple
cutting edges. For cutting operation, the work piece is fed against the rotary cutter. As the
work piece moves against the cutting edges of milling cutter, metal is removed in form
chips of trochoid shape. Machined surface is formed in one or more passes of the work.
The work to be machined is held in a vice, a rotary table, a three jaw chuck, an index
head, between centers, in a special fixture or bolted to machine table. The rotator speed of
the cutting tool and the feed rate of the workpiece depend upon the type of material being


The milling process is broadly classified into peripheral milling and face milling.
In peripheral milling, the cutting edges are primarily on the circumference or periphery of
the milling cutter and the milled surface is generally parallel to cutter axis. In face
milling, although the cutting edges are provided on the face as well as the periphery of

the cutter, the surface generated is parallel to the face of the cutter and is perpendicular to
the cutter axis.

Fig 9 Different Milling methods


Fig 10 Milling cutters

Fig 11 Different types of Milling cuts at a glance


Fig 12 Milling cutter terms

3.3.6 Milling Calculations

The following calculation methods and procedures for milling operations are
intended to be guidelines and not absolute because of the many variables encountered in
actual practice.

Metal-Removal Rates-
The metal-removal rate R (sometimes indicated as mrr) for all types of milling is
equal to the volume of metal removed by the cutting process in a given time, usually
expressed as cubic inches per minute (in3/min).Thus,

R = WHf

where R = metal-removal rate, in3/min.

W = width of cut, in
H = depth of cut, in
f = feed rate, inches per minute (ipm)

In peripheral or slab milling, W is measured parallel to the cutter axis and H

perpendicular to the axis. In face milling,W is measured perpendicular to the axis and
H parallel to the axis.

Feed Rate-
The speed or rate at which the workpiece moves past the cutter is the
feed rate f, which is measured in inches per minute (ipm).Thus,

f = Ft NC rpm

Where, f = feed rate, ipm

Ft = feed per tooth (chip thickness), in or cpt

N = number of cutter teeth
Crpm = rotation of the cutter, rpm

Feed per Tooth-

Production rates of milled parts are directly related to the feed
rate that can be used. The feed rate should be as high as possible, considering
machine rigidity and power available at the cutter. To prevent overloading the
machine drive motor, the feed per tooth allowable Ft may be calculated from

Khp c
= NC rpm WH

where hpc = horsepower available at the cutter (80 to 90 percent of motor rating),
i.e., if motor nameplate states 15 hp, then hp available at the cutter is 0.8 to 0.9 15 (80
to 90 percent represents motor efficiency)

K = machinability factor

Cutting Speed-
The cutting speed of a milling cutter is the peripheral linear speed resulting from
the rotation of the cutter.The cutting speed is expressed in feet per minute (fpm or ft/min)
or surface feet per minute (sfpm or sfm) and is determined from

D (rpm )

where S = cutting speed, fpm or sfpm (sfpm is also termed spm)

D = outside diameter of the cutter, in
rpm = rotational speed of cutter, rpm

The required rotational speed of the cutter may be found from the following
simple equation:

rpm = or
(D / 12 ) 0.26 D

When it is necessary to increase the production rate, it is better to change the cutter
material rather than to increase the cutting speed. Increasing the cutting speed alone may
shorten the life of the cutter, since the cutter is usually being operated at its maximum
speed for optimal productivity.

General Rules for Selection of the Cutting Speed

_ Use lower cutting speeds for longer tool life.

_ Take into account the Brinell hardness of the material.
_ Use the lower range of recommended cutting speeds when starting a job.
_ For a fine finish, use a lower feed rate in preference to a higher cutting speed.

Number of Teeth: Cutter-

The number of cutter teeth N required for a particular application may be found
from the simple expression (not applicable to carbide or other high-speed cutters)

N =
Ft C rpm

where f = feed rate, ipm

Ft = feed per tooth (chip thickness), in
Crpm = rotational speed of cutter, rpm
N = number of cutter teeth.
An industry-recommended equation for calculating the number of cutter teeth required
for a particular operation is

N =19 .5 R 5.8

where N = number of cutter teeth

R = radius of cutter, in

This simple equation is suitable for HSS cutters only and is not valid for carbide,
cobalt cast alloy, or other high-speed cutting tool materials.

Milling Horsepower-
Ratios for metal removal per horsepower (cubic inches per minute per
horsepower at the milling cutter) have been given for various materials. The general
equation is

in 3 / min WHf
K= =
hp c hp c

where K = metal removal factor, in3/min/hpc

hpc = horsepower at the cutter
W = width of cut, in
H = depth of cut, in
f = feed rate, ipm.

The total horsepower required at the cutter may then be expressed as

in 3 / min WHf
hp c = =

The K factor varies with type and hardness of material, and for the same material varies
with the feed per tooth, increasing as the chip thickness increases.The K factor represents
a particular rate of metal removal and not a general or average rate.


Polishing is usually a multistage process. The first stage starts with a rough
abrasive and each subsequent stage uses a finer abrasive until the desired finish is
achieved. The rough pass removes surface defects like pits, nicks, lines and scratches.
The finer abrasives leave very thin lines that are not visible to the naked eye. Lubricants
like wax and kerosene are used as lubricating and cooling media during these operations.

Polishing operations for items such as chisels, hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches,

etc., are given a fine finish but not plated. In order to achieve this finish four operations
are required: roughing, dry fining, greasing, and coloring. For an extra fine polish the
greasing operation may be broken up into two operations: rough greasing and fine




Fig 13 Machining steps in the manufacturing of milled blades

The following steps are involved in the machining of a Steam Turbine Blade:

1. Size Milling

2. Size Grinding
3. Facing
4. Root Bottom Width Milling
5. Neck Milling
6. Total Length Milling
7. Convex Profile
8. Concave Profile
9. Pitch Milling
10. Pitch Grinding
11. Finishing

Fig 14 Size Milling of the raw material work piece

The fixturing elements at the head and root of the blade structure are ultimately
removed to leave the final shaped item, but during the machining process itself their
accuracy and form have a crucial impact on the success of the overall operation.

For Root Rectangle, It is done by standard endmill- only roughing

Now for Root Trapezoid or dovetail, special roughing and finishing
The Head Counter sinking is carried out by counter-bore tool.
The Head rectangle Standard is done by standard end-mill and only
roughing is required.
Now the Head Cylindrical shape is done by the standard end-mill followed
by roughing and finishing.

Whichever processing methods are employed, the first step is to machine the
reference surfaces by which the workpiece will be clamped during the subsequent
machining. Several Coromant tools are suitable for this operation, and the CoroMill 390
long edge cutter is particularly recommended. CoroMill 200, 300 and 390 are also good

It may also be possible in this operation to also machine the clearances necessary
for subsequent processes, if the machining strategy would benefit from this.

Fig 15 Bending of work piece
It is possible that the blade workpiece may deform or bend during subsequent
stages of the machining process, the result of machining away 80% of the original rolled
or annealed raw material and the residual stresses thus created. This is particularly
possible for large blades, 400600 mm long, which may bend by as much as 2 mm.
Reworking the fixturing elements during the machining process, so that the position of
the workpiece in the machining centres is modified to account for the deformation, can
counteract this phenomenon.
The recommended procedure for such reworking on a 5-axis machine is:
_ opening the fixturing system on the blade head and moving it back, so that the blade is
now secured only by the root. _ creating a new centre line for the workpiece, by counter-
boring or turnmilling. _ fixing the blade by the new element. An alternative is to modify
the adaptor itself, so that the position of the workpiece is suitably adjusted when the
modified adaptor is held in the machine, without any changes to the fixturing elements.

Machining the root of the blade

The machining process to shape the root of the blade will depend on several
factors, notably the dimensions of the finished item. Small blades are often machined
directly from round bar stock, which is then is milled to a square shape. 160 mm Larger

blades are often made from rectangular bar stock or forging. Normally these blades are
first machined with cutting tools, and then broached or ground. Turbine blades can be
divided into two classes, stator and rotor blades, and in normal practice these two designs
have different mounting systems and different styles of root, to accommodate the
different loadings they receive in use. Stator blades normally have one small slot in one
side of the root, which is relatively easy to machine with solid carbide or indexable insert
endmills. Rotor blades may have different mounting systems, such as a Christmas tree
profile, or deep slots machined in a trapezoidal cross-section. These variations in the
profile and geometry of the blades root will require different machining strategies.

Machining a Christmas tree profile

For machining the Christmas tree profile on a blade, it can be helpful to change
the fixturing arrangement, and make the tool axis parallel to the blade length. It may also
then be possible to use a special adaptor on the Christmas tree profile to hold the blade
during subsequent roughing operations, and so avoid the need for machining (and later
removing) separate fixturing elements onto the workpiece. A milling strategy using
CoroMill 390 long edge milling cutters, applying down milling for each side of the
profile, will allow maximized metal removal rates and tool life.

1. Roughing with the long edge cutter in different ap-steps, using down milling Calculate
a suitable ae/Dc ratio so as to bring more than one effective tooth into cut during the
cutting cycle.
2. Roughing completed.
3. Machining the christmas tree profile, with special HSS tooling.

Roughing the christmas tree profile may also be performed by CoroMill 331 side
and face milling cutters in different diameters, to achieve the stair-like shape on the

However, using a set of different diameter cutters mounted in this manner results
in large differences in effective cutting speed between the largest and the smallest cutter.
An alternative is to employ solid tools, particularly if there are difficulties with
accessibility or the complexity of the shapes being produced.

(a) Roughing with the long edge cutter

(b)Roughing completed

Fig 16 Christmas tree profile machined

Machining a deep slot in the blade root by end milling

The type of workpiece material will have a large influence over the machining
parameters when machining slots into the blade roots. In many cases it will be stainless
steel, and thus problems of chip adhesion to the cutting tool will occur. However,
carefully selected tooling and the correct
machining methods will counteract these difficulties. The blades size and material, and
the slots position and form, will determine the machining strategy. In most cases it will
be better to leave the machining of the slots,
along with their roughing and finishing, until after the other machining operations are
complete. That way the machining of the blade profile itself can be carried out without
any slots in the blade root which might conceivably affect the clamping and stability of
the workpiece. In addition any bending or deformation in the workpiece that occurs
during profiling, due to the release of internal stresses, can be compensated for when the
item is remounted prior to the finishing operations, an approach which should also help to
maximise the quality of the final blade.
In general, machining deep slots in the blade root can be divided into:
slot milling (L-style with endmill).

plunge milling (with endmill).
trochoidal milling (with endmill).

Machining the blade body

Machining the blade rhombus is a critical step in blade manufacture, and a wide
variety of potential machining solutions are available depending on the design of the
blade and the types of cutting machinery available. A comprehensive description of all
these different methods is beyond the scope of this book, but the basic principles can be
outlined, emphasising the machining principles which underlie them: optimizing the
cutting tool engagement, reducing vibrations, using the tooling as effectively as
possible, and maximising productivity.

Fig 17 Machining blade body

Roughing the rhombus parallel to the blade axis, using one tool

This is a very common machining approach, using two separate cutting steps to
reach the full depth of cut. In most cases this method allows the cutting force to be

reduced more effectively than by reducing the feed per tooth, as it allows the chip
thickness to be modified towards the recommended target values.

Fig 18 Roughing the rhombus parallel to the blade axis, using one tool

Material CMC 5.2

Tool R200-L, Dc 63 mm, zn 6
Insert RCKT 1204M0-MM 2040
vc 220 m/min, fz 0,21 mm, ap 24 mm,
ae 3063 mm.

To achieve the full benefits of this approach, the milling strategy must use
down milling, and a 45 angle of cutting entry into the work piece. The tool path must not
change through 90 angles.

Instead, change the feed direction incrementally through small changes of radii.
Ensure a tool engagement of 6080%, if necessary by changing the tool diameter or
cutting path.

Employ a different depth of cut in each of the two passes, to minimize notch wear
on the cutting insert. Maximize the larger depth of cut as much as possible.

Fig 19 Machining the rhombus profile with the end mill cutter

Vibrations and heavy axial pressure on the inserts will occur if the feed forces
cause any movement or deflection of the work piece. If this occurs the feed direction
should be modified so the forces act in directions where the blade fixturing arrangement
supports the work piece most effectively.

Vibrations can also be reduced by adopting cutting paths which machine the metal
in small triangular steps, in both the longitudinal and lateral directions. This approach
requires modifications to the cutting speed and feed, along with no more than 60% of the
usual maximum depth of cut, and the modified cutting forces will also produce changes
in the wear patterns seen on the cutting inserts.

Fig 20 End milling the profile in two dirctions

Roughing the rhombus parallel to the blade axis,
using two tools of different diameter

The use of two different tools to machine the rhombus is an effective strategy in
many situations. A first cut, producing a slot perpendicular to the blade axis, can be made
with an endmill such as CoroMill 390 (using L-milling or plunge milling) or a slot
milling cutter such as CoroMill 331. This slot then provides clearance for a subsequent
cutting tool of different diameter, which should experience a less severe cutting
environment and generate lower vibrations while it machines along the blades
longitudinal axis.

Fig 21 Roughing the rhombus parallel to the blade axis (using two tools of different diameter)

Roughing the rhombus machining the roof slopes

This penultimate operation in roughing the blades contour uses a roughing tool
whose size will depend on the design of the blade, and on the radius between the roof
slope and the blades root.

Fig 22 Roughing the rhombus machining the roof slopes

Roughing the pressure side peripheral milling

Roughing the pressure side of the blade the concave side is usually the last
stage of the roughing process, and also one of the most complex. Modern designs of
turbine blades maximize their efficiency through complicated surface geometries, and
machining these surfaces requires a careful machining strategy to account for both the
profile of the blade, and changes in the effective stiffness of the work piece as the

machining operation proceeds. Peripheral milling is an effective way to carry out this
operation, with a depth of cut between 15 mm.

Fig 23 Roughing the pressure side peripheral milling

Roughing the pressure side waterline milling, parallel to the blade axis

An alternative strategy to machine the pressure side is waterline milling, an

approach originally derived from 3-axis milling in the die and mould industry, now
adapted to 5-axis milling machines. In this technique, the cutting operation consists of a
sequence of 2-dimensional layers, each completed before the tool moves down to the
next. Transitions between the layers are carried out by helical ramping or circular
interpolation, with the initial feed direction always away from the solid fixturing at the
root of the blade.

Fig 24 Roughing the pressure side waterline milling, parallel to the blade axis

Semi-finishing the blade

Fig 25 Semi-Finishing the Blade by turn milling

The semi finishing operation requires a 5-axis milling operation, and will directly
influence the surface quality of the final finished blade. Therefore the aim should always
be to achieve a very regular, uniform level of residual material if necessary, through
two separate semi finishing operations. Normally this operation is done by turn milling.

A variety of tool paths can be employed. One common technique, especially when
machining large cast blades, is to use a feed direction along the blade length, but other
possibilities are shown in the diagram. For example, the blade can be shaped by milling
across the blade, either using several passes in one direction with a rapid return
movement between passes, or in a single continuous helical cut around the blade.

Convex and Concave Profiling

Fig 26 Convex and Concave Profiling

Finishing the Blade:

Fig 27 Finishing the Blade

Finishing the blade is probably the most difficult 5-axis machining operation, but
its success will greatly depend on the quality of the other machining steps carried out
previously. The most suitable tool depends on the type and size of the blade, and also on
the spindle speed and the feed available in the machining centre. The principal problems
when finishing are vibrations, and the quality of the pre-finished surfaces. Using tools
with a smaller radius, or using a different number of inserts in the cutting head can help

combat vibrations. During the cutting process the tool follows a helical path around the
blade, a path controlled by a specialised CAD-CAM system.

To achieve the best surface quality and structure, the tool has to maintain a
constant norm angle at each point on the surface, and always in a down milling manner.
In this way, and combined with an oil mist coolant, the resulting surface can be highly
polished. With suitable optimised equipment it is possible to achieve a surface roughness,
although the final surface quality will strongly depend on the combination of normangle,
feed and cutting engagement.


This project is made on the basic manufacturing technique of steam turbine

The procedure involved in this manufacturing leads to achieve the best
surface quality and structure.
This method uses two separate cutting steps to reach the full depth of cut,
which allows the cutting force to be reduced more effectively than by
reducing the feed per tooth, as it allows the chip thickness to be modified
towards the recommended target values.


Principles of Metal Manufacturing Processes J. Beddodes & M.J.Bibby- Carleton

University Canada.

McGraw-Hill machining and metalworking handbook / Ronald A. Walsh. and Denis R.

Cormier3rd ed.

Handbook Of Machining And Metalworking Calculations- Ronald A. Walsh- McGRAW-


Cutting Tool Technology Industrial Handbook- Graham T. Smith, MPhil (Brunel), PhD
Birmingham), CEng, FIMechE, FIEE Formerly Professor of Industrial Engineering
Southampton Solent University Southampton U. K.

Machinerys Handbook 28th Edition - Erik Oberg, Franklin D. Jones, Holbrook L.

Horton, And Henry H. Ryffel Christopher J. Mccauley, Senior Editor Riccardo M. Heald,
Associate Editor Muhammed Iqbal Hussain, Associate Editor 2008 Industrial Press New

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.

Power Plant Engineering - A.K. Raja, Amit Prakash Srivastava.

Protective coatings for turbine blades- Y. Tamarin, ASM International