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The function of a turbine is to convert the energy of water, steam or wind into mechanical energy that will drive a generator. The generator converts mechanical energy into electricity. In turbine generator power plants, this combination of generator and turbine is called a generating unit.
Moving water makes the turbine spin In this generating unit, water travels through the penstock and into the solute box. This spins the turbine blades and is then drawn into the turbine shaft to exit the lower intake tube. The mechanical energy produced by the force that drives the water in the turbine is transmitted to a generator, which converts it into electrical energy.
A generator driven by a turbine produces alternating currents. The generator is connected to the turbine drive shaft. It consists of a moving part, the rotor, and a fixed part, the stator. The outer surface of the rotor is covered with electromagnets. The inner surface of the stator, or cylinder wall, is made of copper windings. As the rotor rotates inside the stator, the electrons in the copper windings "vibrate". Its movement produces an electrical current, similar to that created by Michael Faraday in his 1831 experiment on electromagnetic induction, but on a much larger scale.
Turbines have a constant rotation speed All generating units in the power system must be synchronized. In other words, it is critical that they maintain an accurate rotation speed. Why? To ensure adequate power quality. Electrically powered equipment is designed to use alternating current of a specific frequency. This frequency depends on the speed of rotation of the generating unit, that is, the number of times per second that the rotor magnets pass through the stator windings. This frequency is expressed in cycles per second, or hertz (Hz), named for Heinrich Hertz, the German physicist who proved the existence of radio waves.
In North America, the standard AC current cycles 60 times per second, but in Europe, it is 50 times per second. This means that a clock designed to run at 60Hz will be slower when plugged into a European plug.