A Guide to Operating Efficiently with Steam Turbine Oil

Princeton,NJ/ 360prwire/ December 16/

It is a known fact that energy can only be converted and transferred. It cannot be created nor can it be destroyed. In such circumstances, to be able to generate electricity is not only a big achievement but also conducts a lot of work. It is important to understand that the source of power comes from a time and effort of a lot of people working on machines. You must have noticed power plants having a chain of smoke coming out of the chimneys. 

This is because of the power plants with turbines working day in and day out with steam turbine services. There are primarily two kinds of turbines, gas, and steam. Steam turbines came in ay before gas turbines did. The idea differs from that of gas turbines. This is because gas turbines use natural gas and steam turbines use water vapor to generate electricity. One of the earliest steam turbines came in the year 1884 by Charles Parsons. 

How does a steam turbine work? 

With the use of steam or water vapor, steam turbines generate electricity by conversion of energy. The idea is to convert thermal energy into mechanical energy which is then again converted into electrical energy and is spread through the wires across towns.  

Through steam turbines, the vapours are put under high pressure. This steam is then passed through the turbine blades which are rotated by the pressurized steam. This is when thermal energy is converted to mechanical energy. With the help of the laws of thermodynamics, the mechanism is easy to explain and put to mechanical use. 

Functions of a steam turbine oil

Just like any other machine, a steam turbine also requires oil to function. With the increase in demand for steam turbine services, people are not considering the life of the machines and the parts of them. There is much more than the rotating blades and the thermal energy. Steam turbine oil is a major part of electricity generation. This is not very well known by people other than the operators and that is why we will be discussing some functions of turbine oil: 

  • It helps provide lubrication of the bearings. This includes journal and thrust. 
  • Since there are different types of construction of turbines, the oil can be used to lubricate accordingly. Some of these places will include seals, gears, oil shafts among other things. 
  • Turbine oil is responsible for providing efficient cooling 
  • More importantly, it helps with rust, corrosion, and other metal-eating pests with applied in affected areas. 

How to choose the right steam turbine oil? 

When looking for steam turbine oil to help your machine get some of the better help from the oil. You need to understand the different types of turbine oil and the things to keep in mind when choosing are. It is important to learn and understand these things when looking for a new turbine oil: 


This is a factor of steam turbine services where the oil is the star of the show. The viscosity of the oil is basically the thickness and the density of the liquid. This is an important aspect of the lubrication of the machine bearings. The higher the viscosity the thicker the film will be over the needed area. You need to understand the viscosity index of the oil. This determines the changes in the viscosity of the oil with respect to change in temperature. 

Rust and corrosion 

Good turbine oil will work great against corrosion and rust all the same. The turbine oil should work alike against friction and chemical corrosion. This is done when the oil attaches itself to the metal surface and prevents it from getting oxidized. Should you ignore this part, regardless of lubrication which will make the machine go smoother; it will lose its longevity. 


Water and oil have specific gravities which allow them to be separate from each other. This is called demulsibility, the ability of the oil to resist getting mixed with water and steam. This can severely contaminate the oil and make the efficiency degrade. 

Foam resistance 

With oil being constantly in motion, foam is not the most unnatural thing to happen in a turbine. But the oil should be good enough to not fathom a lot of foam in itself. This will cause an overflow in the system and contaminate the oil. Good turbine oil should consist of additives that will resist foam to its utmost level.


Thus, to conclude, turbine oil is another important part of a proper functioning steam turbine just like other parts. Ensuring care during selecting a turbine oil is important to get the most of the machine. Not only will it help work the parts better and more smoothly, but it will also increase the life expectancy of the turbines.