Steam turbines for modern fossil and combined cycle power plants typically utilize a reheat cycle with High Pressure (HP), Intermediate Pressure (IP), and Low Pressure (LP) turbine sections. For an HP turbine section operating entirely in the superheat region, section efficiency can be calculated based on pressure and temperature measurements at the inlet and exhaust. For this case HP section efficiency is normally assumed to be a constant value over a load range if inlet control valve position and section pressure ratio remain constant.

It has been observed that changes in inlet steam temperature impact HP section efficiency. K.C. Cotton stated that ‘the effect of throttle temperature on HP turbine efficiency is significant’ in his book ‘Evaluating and Improving Steam Turbine Performance’ (2nd Edition, 1998). The information and conclusions provided by K.C. Cotton are based on test results for large fossil units calculated with 1967 ASME steam tables. Since the time of Mr. Cotton’s observations, turbine configurations have evolved, more accurate 1997 ASME steam tables have been released, and our ability to quickly analyze large quantities of data has greatly increased.

This paper studies the relationship between inlet steam temperature and HP section efficiency based on both 1967 and 1997 ASME steam tables and recent test data, which is analyzed computationally to reveal patterns and trends. With the efficiencies of various inlet pressure class HP section turbines being calculated with both 1967 and 1997 ASME steam tables, a comparison reveals different characteristics in the relationship between inlet steam temperature and HP section efficiency. Recommendations are made on how the results may be used to improve accuracy when testing and trending HP section performance.

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