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Steam turbines belong to the turbine construction type. They have rapidly rotating shafts, which are provided with various turbine blades. Their drive is maintained for these turbines from hot steam - often water vapour - and converted under great pressure from heat into mechanical energy. In this context it should be noted that the steam turbine of a steam engine defines that the steam engine is indeed powered by steam, but does not contain any turbine.
Steam turbines are used in many areas. So they are used to generate electricity in power plants for fossil fuels, nuclear power plants and in solar thermal power plants. In particularly high-performance power plants steam turbines are used in combination with gas turbines. There, the exhaust gases from the gas turbines are harnessed to heat the steam generator. The discharged steam in turn is used to drive the steam turbine. Thus, this type power plant is called a gas and steam power plant.
But steam turbines are installed not only in power plants. For example, they are built for power generation in nuclear-powered vessels, particularly because of the benefits to the military of the vibration-free and low-noise operation of the turbines. In addition, they are used for large cogeneration plants and drive compressors and pumps to a range of about 1 MW.