Comptes Rendus
From the water wheel to turbines and hydroelectricity. Technological evolution and revolutions
Comptes Rendus. Mécanique, Volume 345 (2017) no. 8, pp. 570-580.

Since its appearance in the first century BC, the water wheel has developed with increasing pre-industrial activities, and has been at the origin of the industrial revolution for metallurgy, textile mills, and paper mills. Since the nineteenth century, the water wheel has become highly efficient. The reaction turbine appeared by 1825, and continued to undergo technological development. The impulsion turbine appeared for high chutes, by 1880. Other turbines for low-head chutes were further designed. Turbine development was associated, after 1890, with the use of hydropower to generate electricity, both for industrial activities, and for the benefits of cities. A model “one city + one plant” was followed in the twentieth century by more complex and efficient schemes when electrical interconnection developed, together with pumped plants for energy storage.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.crme.2017.05.016
Keywords: Water-wheel, Hydropower, Turbine, Hydraulic energy, Mill, Fourneyron, Francis, Pelton, Kaplan

Pierre-Louis Viollet 1

1 Société hydrotechnique de France, 25, rue des Favorites, 75015 Paris, France
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Pierre-Louis Viollet. From the water wheel to turbines and hydroelectricity. Technological evolution and revolutions. Comptes Rendus. Mécanique, Volume 345 (2017) no. 8, pp. 570-580. doi : 10.1016/j.crme.2017.05.016. https://comptes-rendus.academie-sciences.fr/mecanique/articles/10.1016/j.crme.2017.05.016/

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