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What is a Mixed Flow Turbine?

by Team Techvilly

A mixed-flow turbine can be considered as a hybrid of an axial and radial turbine, as it combines the best features of each. The entrance flow in a mixed flow turbine is at an angle between the entire radial and axial designs. This lessens the flow channel curvature and efficiently reduces secondary flow production when compared to a radial turbine.

The Fundamentals of a Mixed Flow Turbine

The mixed flow turbine combines two different types of turbine principles. This is why they’re called “mixed flow turbines.” Axial and radial turbine concepts are combined in this type of turbine. The fluid enters a radial turbine in a tangential direction—along a straight from the top of a circle to the left or right—and spirals like water discharged from a toilet. Assume that the water spiral causes the fan blades to turn in the same direction as the water. A radial turbine’s core notion is as follows.

An axial turbine is a turbine that rotates in one direction. A turbine, on the other hand, employs a fluid that flows perpendicular to the blades of a rotor rather than in the same direction as the blades. The most common type of axial turbine is the windmill. When the wind blows through the rotor blades of a windmill, the blades are designed to capture it. John B. McCormick improved the efficiency of the unit by combining two types of turbines into a single one. Energy efficiency is a hot concern all around the world, and any design that improves a system’s energy efficiency is valuable. Turbine control systems are provided by companies such as GE to improve the safety and efficiency of turbines. IS220PTCCH1A and IS420ESWBH3A are two examples.

Advantages of Mixed Flow Turbines

Mixed Flow Turbines have an advantage over Axial and Radial Turbines. The axial turbine’s efficiency ranges from 70 to 75 percent. Because there is a gap between the rotor blades for fluid to pass through, this is the case. Making a windmill a complete, solid circle was the only method to capture all of the air blowing at it. By the way, if the windmill was a complete solid circle, the air would not be captured in a usable way by the turbine, so there would be no axial turbine with 100% efficiency.

The efficiency of the radial turbine is around 80%. A phenomenon is known as “secondary flow” is the cause of the efficiency being less than 100 percent. This happens when the fluid on the blade’s edge separates from the blade and stops moving the rotor. Consider the example of flushing the toilet: the water outside the bowl does not always circulate perfectly with the rest of the water. The second flow of toilet water is referred to as the secondary flow. The less water in the flow contributes to turning the fan, the more secondary water there is.

As a result, efficiency suffers. Because the fluid enters radially in a mixed flow turbine, the secondary flow is limited, and the efficiency of the axial turbine component is maximized with a forced fluid flow, the efficiency rises to roughly 85 percent to 90 percent when both of these designs are combined.
Although a modest gain in efficiency may not appear to be important, on a huge industrial scale where energy costs millions of dollars, even a slight increase in efficiency can save a lot of money.


The mixed flow turbine is still in use today since it is such a desirable design. Modern automotive turbochargers, for example, use mixed flow air intake systems to increase the amount of air entering the engine cylinders. More air in the engine area equals increased explosions, which results in more power production.

As the engine’s speed rises, it requires more air at a faster pace. Because the fan in the turbocharger rotates more frequently as the number of engine rotations (rotational speed) increases, the turbocharger helps meet this need for additional air. Even though it employs a design that is astonishingly more than 100 years old, the turbocharger is a crucial component in many sorts of motor racing.

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