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Turbine designers know that the best solution from the energy standpoint is maximum expansion of the gas, even to cryogenic temperatures, but the inability of the materials to operate/survive in those conditions has resulted in the standard compromise. Turbines are capable of large ratios, but are limited by the physical phenomenon of condensation. Condensation will always occur when the energy extracted from a gas causes its temperature to fall.  As the gas/vapor passes thru its saturation temperature at the prevailing pressure, droplets of liquid form, this fog no longer exhibits the flow characteristics of a gas in the turbine. The high speed blades impinge on the liquid droplets, and this causes erosion of the turbine components. Turbine operators and designers have observed and understood this since the early days, and have taken steps to eliminate the "problem".



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Updated: 09/11/10 21:05