A turbine is a rotary mechanical device that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work. A turbine is a turbomachine with at least one moving part called a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades so that they move and impart rotational energy to the rotor. Early turbine examples are windmills and water wheels.
Gas, steam, and water turbines usually have a casing around the blades that contains and controls the working fluid. Credit for invention of the steam turbine is given both to the British engineer Sir Charles Parsons (1854–1931), for invention of the reaction turbine and to Swedish engineer Gustaf de Laval (1845–1913), for invention of the impulse turbine. Modern steam turbines frequently employ both reaction and impulse in the same unit, typically varying the degree of reaction and impulse from the blade root to its periphery.
The word "turbine" was coined in 1822 by the French mining engineer Claude Burdin from the Latin turbo, or vortex, in a memoir, "Des turbines hydrauliques ou machines rotatoires à grande vitesse", which he submitted to the Académie royale des sciences in Paris. Benoit Fourneyron, a former student of Claude Burdin, built the first practical water turbine.