Jonval turbine

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A Jonval turbine, built in 1885. It was in service for about 100 years in a Geneva pump station, where energy in the form of pressurized water was produced for the local industry. Over pressure in the network was released through the world-famous Jet d'Eau. In total, 17 such turbines were operating in the pump station.[1]

The Jonval turbine is a water turbine design invented in France in 1843, in which water descends through fixed curved guide vanes which direct the flow sideways onto curved vanes on the runner.[2] It is named after Feu Jonval, who invented it.[3] The Jonval incorporated ideas from European mathematicians and engineers, including the use of curved blades.[4] This new turbine failed to satisfy the public interest in seeing the water wheels in action, which was likely accepted as a minor drawback at that time.[5]

This type is efficient at full gate, but at partial gate it is less efficient than a Francis turbine.[6] The usual orientation of the wheel was horizontal and the first devices were even alternatively named as "horizontal water wheels". However, some sources mention turbines with both vertical and horizontal shafts.[7]

N.F. Burnham, an American turbine manufacturer, patented numerous improved designs in the second half of 19th century. His turbines had greater efficiency than the Jonval, especially at partial gate, and fewer maintenance problems.[8]


  1. ^ The explanation table, attached to the Jonval turbine in Schiffbau, Giessereistrasse 5, 8005, Zurich, Switzerland
  2. ^ Jonval Water Turbine. English heritage thesaurus Archived 2007-06-23 at the Wayback Machine..
  3. ^ "Rebirth on the River". Pennsylvania Gazette. University of Pennsylvania. January–February 2000. Retrieved 2012-08-16.
  4. ^ Huge Gears, Silent 94 Years, Get New Duties: Telling the Tale of How Humans Affect Nature
  5. ^ Tuomi Forrest. "Clean, Green, Machine: Philadelphia's Fairmount Water Works, 1800 - 1860". Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  6. ^ "The Kinne Collection of Water Turbines" (PDF). The American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 1999-06-19. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  7. ^ Charles George Warnford Lock (1890). "Mining and Ore-Dressing Machinery". Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  8. ^ W.H. Burnham (March 28, 1891). "N.F. Burnham and His Life Work". Scientific American Supplement (795). Archived from the original on February 17, 2012.