Tesla turbine

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tesla turbine from Tesla's patent specification
Model of a Tesla turbine in cross section

A Tesla turbine (also disk runner turbine ) is a bladeless turbine that of Nikola Tesla invented and patented by him on 21 October 1909th It also finds application as a pump when powered.

Layout and function

A Tesla turbine essentially consists of several circular disks that are as smooth as possible. These are mounted centrally on a shaft at even, small intervals. The fluid is introduced tangentially through nozzles to the outer edge of the disks and accelerates them to close to its own speed. The energy is transferred to the panes through viscosity and adhesion . The fluid is slowed down and deflected towards the center of the pane. Therefore, it flows spirally inwards, wherein it further kinetic energy transferred to the discs. There are openings in the shaft through which the fluid drains. The fluid is then diverted to the outside through bores or recesses in the shaft.

The torque is greatest at standstill and decreases linearly with the speed until it becomes zero at idle speed . That is also the reason why the highest performance is achieved at half idle speed.

The Tesla work machine was said to have pump efficiencies of 95% to 98% and more. This information is based more on the legend of Nikola Tesla than on physical realities. Systematic studies by Warren Rice from Arizona State University confirmed an expected efficiency in the range of 40–60%, with an upper limit of 65%. In practice, the Tesla turbine does not achieve the level of efficiency of today's axial turbines .

The advantages of the Tesla turbine are a simple structure, low vibration levels due to the lack of imbalances and high cycle stability (very high tolerance to load and temperature changes). However, the machine is only vibration-free if the rotors are precisely balanced, as in the case of bladed turbines.

In the industrial context, the Tesla turbine has so far hardly got beyond prototypes and small series (e.g. pumps for poisonous, corrosive or contaminated wastewater), as the high speeds achieved caused the material of the disks to warp to a technically uncontrollable extent. With new materials such as carbon fiber reinforced plastic , these problems have been at least partially solved.

Use as a pump

When used as a pump, the fluid enters the pump in the center via the axis bores and is accelerated by the disks towards the edge. The pump housing should have involute- shaped discharge openings for the fluid to ensure efficient drainage.


  • Franz Ferzak: The Tesla Turbine FFWASP Ferzak, Peiting 2010, ISBN 978-3-9805835-7-2 .
  • Ulrich Heerd (Ed.): Nikola Tesla. His patents . Patent specifications / Collected German and American Patents. Michaels, Peiting 2000, ISBN 3-89539-246-4 (= Edition Tesla , partly in German, mostly in English).

Web links

Commons : Tesla Turbines  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Patent US1061206 : N.Tesla Turbine. Registered October 21, 1909 , published May 6, 1913 , inventor: Nikola Tesla.
  2. ^ Warren Rice: Tesla Turbomachinery , Conference Proceedings of the IV International Tesla Symposium. September 22-25, 1991. Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Belgrade, Yugoslavia