ASME-Landmark:Kaplan Turbine


Early 20th century technological development led the country to a new era of industrialization. Within the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania new manufacturing facilities were under construction. The Conewago Falls, near the sixteen foot descent of the Susquehanna River, was chosen as the site of the newly-incorporated York Haven Water and Power Company.

Construction of the power plant began in 1901. By 1904, construction of the first six turbines had been completed and York Haven—then one of the three largest hydroelectric stations in the United States and in the world—was placed in operation. Newer and better turbines (such as the Kaplan type) were gradually introduced and incorporated into the York Haven Plant.

Dr. Viktor Kaplan was the first to apply the principle of a turbine with simultaneously adjustable blades and gates. By 1928 the first automatic adjustable turbine was installed. The Kaplan turbine differs from other wicket-gate turbines because of the design of its top plate and the construction of its runner and shaft. The top plate is shaped so as to form a transition space free from vanes between the wicketgates and the runner, in which the direction of flow of the water is changed from radial to axial. The runner hub carries the movable blades, and the operating connections for moving the blades are located inside the single-piece casting. The Kaplan Turbine in York Haven is one of the three first such machines to be put into service in the United States. See ASME website for more information