Steam or condensation turbines operate with fossil fuels, solar power, biomass or nuclear power in order to provide the steam required for a steam generator. The steam is fed via pipes to the turbine. Modern plants operate in the temperature range from 600 to 700 degrees Celsius and at a pressure of 250 to 350 bar. Such plants can achieve an output of 1600 megawatts for which, in most cases, several partial turbines operate with a common shaft.
As with all power production plants, the requirements relating to efficiency, reliability, environmental compatibility and profitability also increase when steam is used. When operating at full load, the individual components of steam turbines are exposed to enormous physical stresses. For example, the blade tips of 1400 mm long turbine rotor blades reach speeds of
500 metres per second, which is approximately one and a half times the speed of sound.