Steam turbine repairs: Causes and Solutions for Rotor Vibration Failures

Steam turbines are an essential part of a power plant. This generator is what transfers mechanical energy to electrical energy. In 2017, there was an order of 112 steam turbines just for non-condensing turbines.

While the purpose of every turbine is to generate electricity, steam turbines repairs are particularly responsible for a lot of it. The process of generating electricity is quite extravagant. There are major components of the turbine that come to play.

The mechanism of steam turbines is turning mechanical energy to electrical is not that confusing.  The steam in the turbine is passed through a series of chambers wherein the steam expands and then contracts.

The heated steam is passed through two chambers wherein it is treated with high pressure. After the steam is passed through this kind of treatment, the steam jet passes through the turbine’s blades. The heated air and creates pressure against the blades, causing them to turn.

So far, this is chemical energy that has turned into mechanical energy. Thereon, the mechanical energy is passed through a generator and hence turns into electrical energy. This is then passed around the areas requiring power.

Main components of a steam turbine 

Power plants have a lot of mechanisms working to generate electricity. In 2018, there was a global increase of 2.8% in electrical current. None of it will be possible should the turbines miss out on a component. Usually, there are people ready to repair any kind of abnormality that occurs. Nonetheless, here are some important components of a steam turbine that help the process move along properly:

  • A combustion engine
  • A rotator
  • Turbines and blades
  • A pressure valves

Coolant chamber 

If you have several components working day in and out to transfer energy, then something is bound to go wrong. Just how humans sometimes get sick, engines and materials also report at times.

Causes of issues with rotor vibrations that occur often 

If you have machines working for you, they are bound to get mishandled and eventually break down. Thence you should make sure that you always have them maintained. One of the most local areas which get corrupted more often is the rotor vibration.

Rotor rubs

This is one of the main reasons why rotors get corrupted. The surface of the rotors often collides, and that causes friction. This happens more when a fast-spinning surface comes in contact with a not-moving ailment. There is little to no space between the rotor surfaces and cause rubbing, which is not good for its health. This, in turn, leads to bending of the shaft, which will cause unnecessary vibrations.

Thermal stress 

The turbine consists of a lot of heat and pressure for the stem to work properly. On top of that, should there be any external pressure, that could cause a lot of problems in the rotor. This is mostly caused due to too many starts on the motors. Another reason is restricted airflow and bearing failure.  It can also be caused if there is an unbalance in the voltage situation.

How to fix rotor vibrations 

Where there is a will, there is a way, and all problems come with solutions. Similarly, if rotor vibration is one of the biggest problems that you are going through, here are some solutions:


One of the best ways that you can avoid any kind of over-vibration in the rotors of the turbine is by lubrication. It will keep the surfaces from gaining tension and thus induce friction. It will also bring the heating of the turbine to a minimum.

Keep it well maintained. 

The most important thing that you should do regularly is to keep the turbine well maintained. Make sure that you do not unnecessarily start the engine too often. This is one of the major reasons why the engine goes corrupt.

Keep it aligned

The basic thing that you can do is to make sure that everything is in place when it comes to the health of a turbine. That being said, make sure that no screw is out of the way, and the casing is done properly. The main shaft of the engine should be in place.


There are many reasons why a turbine would get dysfunctional. It causes a lot of power plants to work at a loss. Hence it is essential to keep the engines and the turbines well maintained. Regular inspections should be conducted to ensure that everything is working fine. Some day or the other, something is bound to get broken. That is when you call the professionals for help.

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