Comparison between Impulse Turbine and Reaction Turbine

Impulse and reaction turbine are compared below presented in picture and tabular form.

Schematic diagram summarising the differences between impulse turbine and reaction turbine,
where the rotor is the rotating part and the stator is the stationary part of the machine.
Image source: Emoscopes (Wikimedia Commons)

Differences between Impulse and Reaction Turbines:


Impulse Turbine
Reaction Turbine
1 In impulse turbine all hydraulic energy is converted into kinetic energy by a nozzle and it is is the jet so produced which strikes the runner blades. In reaction turbine only some amount of the available energy is converted into kinetic energy before the fluid enters the runner.
2 The velocity of jet which changes, the pressure throughout remaining atmosphere. Both pressure and velocity changes as fluid passes through a runner. Pressure at inlet is much higher than at outlet.
3 Water-tight casing is not necessary. Casing has no hydraulic function to perform. It only serves to prevent splashing and guide water to the tail race. The runner must be enclosed within a watertight casing.
4 Water is admitted only in the form of jets. There may be one or more jets striking equal number of buckets simultaneously. Water is admitted over the entire circumference of the runner.
5 The turbine doesn’t run full and air has a free access to the bucket. Water completely fills at the passages between the blades and while flowing between inlet and outlet sections does work on the blades.
6 The turbine is always installed above the tail race and there is no draft tube used. Reaction turbine are generally connected to the tail race through a draft tube which is a gradually expanding passage. It may be installed below or above the tail race.
7 Flow regulation is done by means of a needle valve fitted into the nozzle. The flow regulation in reaction turbine is carried out by means of a guide-vane assembly. Other component parts are scroll casing, stay ring runner and the draft tub.
8 Example of impulse turbine is Pelton wheel. Examples of reaction turbine are Francis turbine, Kaplan and Propeller Turbine, Deriaz Turbine, Tubuler Turbine, etc.
9 Impulse turbine have more hydraulic efficiency. Reaction turbine have relatively less efficiency.
10 Impulse turbine operates at high water heads. Reaction turbine operate at low and medium heads.
11 Water flow is tangential direction to the turbine wheel. Water flows in radial and axial direction to turbine wheel.
12 Needs low discharge of water. Needs medium and high discharge of water.
13 Degree of reaction is zero. Degree of reaction is more than zero and less than or equal to one.
14 Impulse turbine involves less maintenance work. Reaction turbine involves more maintenance work.
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All Comments

  • thanks for this comparison this was useful

    LAKSHITH Dec 5, 2015 1:02 pm Reply
  • This is extremely useful tabulation & clear illustration.
    May I use this in a presentation with source & citation of

    Bhushan Dec 15, 2015 12:00 pm Reply
    • You are free to use content provided us.
      Please do support us by giving citations and references in your presentation.

      ME Mechanical Team Dec 15, 2015 4:52 pm Reply
  • Very nice explaination

    Kalpana Feb 7, 2016 1:54 pm Reply
  • Very easy point

    gowtham Mar 5, 2016 9:36 pm Reply
  • wow thank you vey much to get such kind of information

    halefom kidane Jun 26, 2016 6:10 pm Reply
  • very nice it is helpful material

    umesh bhanage Jun 29, 2016 1:59 pm Reply
  • Now I have understood the difference between the two classifications. Thanks a lot.

    Ononogbo Chibuike Jul 20, 2016 9:14 am Reply
  • Nice one difference between the two turbines

    Sagarpalei Dec 6, 2016 12:17 am Reply
  • Billions thanks.

    irfan khan Dec 13, 2016 9:39 am Reply
  • Thanks for a simple elaboration of the two turbines

    Mambwe SIMUKOKO Jan 22, 2017 8:39 pm Reply
  • I’m usually to blogging and i really recognize your content. The article has really peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and preserve checking for brand spanking new information.

    alarm Nov 20, 2017 7:44 am Reply
  • Thanks

    Prasanna Dec 6, 2017 12:47 pm Reply
  • Very useful information presented perfectly

    Paritosh Dec 18, 2017 8:37 am Reply
  • Very useful and easy

    kitu May 21, 2018 3:07 pm Reply
  • very helpful easy understandable …. Thanks all the team members thanks a lot….

    prashant Kumar May 27, 2018 8:10 pm Reply
  • i found it important with shinagdew debay werkneh

    solomon asfaw gudeta Jun 2, 2018 12:07 pm Reply
  • excellent comparison,useful and straight to the point

    Ambassador. GODWIN SAMUEL UDONG Aug 16, 2018 7:04 pm Reply
  • Very good explained

    Debraj das Dec 3, 2018 4:17 pm Reply

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