Understanding the Boundary Layer Turbine"

Created on Monday, 01 November 2010 23:13

bladeless turbine printThe boundary layer turbine actually goes by a few different names. Perhaps the most popular moniker is the Tesla turbine, however it is also called the cohesion type turbine, Prandtl layer turbine, and bladeless turbine. Ludwig Prandtl’s name appears because he is credited with discovering the “boundary layer.” In Nikola Tesla’s design, the boundary layer turbine contained a series of smooth discs. These were narrow and flat, and could be created to different diameters to allow more surface area and alter the amount of power generated. The boundary layer turbine design had a lot of potential, offering stability (provided the discs would not warp), versatility, and effective operation.


Efficiency of the Boundary Layer Turbine

The boundary layer turbine can be extremely efficient, however that all depends on three main components. The design’s inlet nozzle, disk geometry, and outlet nozzle have a huge impact on how well the turbine operates and produces energy. The discs must be spaced exactly right and constructed to the right dimensions. The nozzles are also important, determining overall efficiency of the turbine. When the exit nozzle is too large, the horsepower capabilities go up but efficiency goes down.



What Does the Boundary Layer Turbine Do Today?

Tesla TurbineThe boundary layer is used in many ways, most of which are focused on cleaner operation and green energy production. The turbines can be implemented in many renewable energy generating tasks, such as thermal solar, tidal, and hydro electric power production. The task is similar in each, but the source varies. Boundary layer turbines are also capable of reusing waste heat produced by conventional diesel generators. The waste heat is turned into additional energy without consuming additional fuel, significantly increasing efficiency of both generators.


What Does the Future Hold for the Boundary Layer Turbine?

Many projects are under way to see how the boundary layer turbine can help us live cleaner. From powering ships to producing power for families, the boundary layer turbine could become a highly sought after technology. Already it has been used to improve how we generate electricity. The turbine is also being tested on vehicle engines, which could lead to a functional, commercially produced electric car. During Tesla’s lifetime, durable materials were not readily available. It took the following decades to produce the right components, like Kevlar, that could strengthen his design and reduce the chances of warped or damaged discs (which was a weak point at the time). Now that we have access to these materials, there is no telling how much potential the boundary layer turbine has.