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The Purpose of LVDTs in Gas and Steam Turbines

Monday, December 21, 2020

Imagine the stress aircraft and wind turbines must absorb when operating. All of the components must withstand high levels of shock and vibration, yet still operate precisely according to their specifications. Sentech LVDTs are leading the way with highly customized LVDTs for monitoring position on wind, gas, and steam turbines. Our company’s ability to design, manufacture, and produce a product that meets the most demanding applications is unsurpassed in the industry.

What is the Difference Between a Gas and Steam Turbine?

Gas and steam turbines are used to convert a liquid into mechanical energy using rotary mechanisms. Both sensors in wind turbines and gas turbines are characterized as thermal turbo-machinery. A steam turbine uses pressurized steam from a boiler as the liquid to convert into mechanical energy, and gas turbines use gases such as air as the working fluid.

A steam turbine is used for power generation whereby the heated steam enters the turbine and then loses its pressure moving through the rotors’ blades. In turn, the rotors move the shaft to which they are connected, delivering power at a constant speed.

A gas turbine operates as an internal combustion engine consisting of several components; the compressor, combustion chamber, and turbine, all assembled along a rotating shaft. They each perform different tasks of a combustion engine for when fuel is mixed with the gas and then ignited, the combustion results as the temperature of the gas and pressure rise to an incredibly high level.

LVDT Applications

Linear Variable Displacement Transducers (LVDTs) are an electromechanical instrument designed to produce an AC voltage output proportional to the transformer’s relative displacement and ferromagnetic core. They are used in applications in the industrial and aerospace market where turbines feature. Typical applications include rotary actuators, valve positioning, throttle level positioning for space vehicles, aircraft, drones, missiles, nuclear reactors, flight simulators, and high-speed railways.

The critical characteristic of LVDTs is their ability to perform under high vibration and shock levels, such as the thrust generated in the aerospace industry. They are also used in wind turbines that are exposed to fluctuating temperatures and harsh environments.

LVDT Sensor

LVDTs are commonly used in the oil and gas industry, military aircraft, mining equipment, test, and measurement equipment. LVDT sensors meet the rugged demands of gas turbines.

Digital calculation and analog circuitry determine the velocity and acceleration by differentiating the position data at any point in time. Selecting the most suitable position-sensing transducer depends on the delivery distance, required ruggedness, price, accuracy, physical access, placement, non-contact, contact, and many other factors.

Sentech’s multi-channel LVDTs offer redundancy in case of a sensor break or failure.

Aerospace Gas Turbine

A turbofan gas turbine engine is widely used in aviation because it is exceptionally fuel-efficient and provides high thrust at low speeds. These engines work by sucking the air into the front of the engine using a fan. The air passes through the combustion system, where it is combined with fuel and fired to the maximum temperature, which ignites the fuel and air mixture and shoots it out the back of the engine into the atmosphere creating the thrust.

Sensors for Gas and Steam Turbines

LVDT position sensors provide operators with crucial position measurements on gas and steam turbines. They are a well-established methodology to monitor and control valve turbine shell expansion, turbine vibration, servos, and more.

LVDT sensors provide position feedback and valve position measurements to ensure proper turbine operations. Gas turbine power plants typically operate using a highly developed control algorithm; therefore, a plant operator needs to know the exact position of valves at all times to ensure smooth operation. Although some operators only need to know if a valve is open or closed, other operators need to know the valve’s exact position to obtain maximum engine operating efficiency.

Sentech’s Aerospace LVDT, Linear Variable Differential Transformer, and RVDT, Rotary Variable Differential Transformer, offers solutions for the Thrust Reverser, Stator Vanes, Fuel Controls, and Engine Control Systems. Our engineering team designs with the customers’ needs by offering a  solution to meet their requirements.

Key Takeaways:

  • LVDTs can meet the demanding applications for gas and steam turbine applications.
  • LVDTs are often used in the most extreme conditions (like aerospace) that handle intense pressure and significant vibration or shocks.
  • Operators can obtain detailed information directly from the sensor, helping maintain consistency in operations.

If you are looking for custom, tailored solutions for mission-critical applications such as power generation, industrial, and aerospace environments, contact us today to talk to one of our experts. All our products are manufactured according to ISO 9001:2015, AS9100 Rev D certified processes, and ANAB accreditations giving you confidence in our products’ quality and suitability tailored to your needs.

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