Posted: 6 November 2000

Rotary engine that converts the energy of a moving stream of water, steam, or gas into mechanical energy. The basic element in a turbine is a wheel or rotor with paddles, propellers, blades, or buckets arranged on its circumference in such a fashion that the moving fluid exerts a tangential force that turns the wheel and imparts energy to it. This mechanical energy is then transferred through a drive shaft to operate a machine, compressor, electric generator, or propeller. Turbines are classified as hydraulic, or water, turbines, steam turbines, or gas turbines. Today turbine-powered generators produce most of the world's electrical energy. Windmills that generate electricity are known as wind turbines.