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Book Review: Steam Turbine Performance and Condition Monitoring

Also, if someone had asked me a few years ago if I needed another book on a vibration topic, I would have answered in the negative. Part of my answer would have been attributable to fear of too much mathematics. Not that I lack appreciation for, or even lost, my somewhat dated---and perhaps even elementary---understanding of the subject of vibration analysis, but today’s treatises are often too academic for my comfort. And so, I always believed that the world needed an infusion of practical know-how, a value-adding replacement strategy for lost talent, and solid training tools for generations of computer-savvy people who have trouble connecting with real-life machinery reliability (or unreliability) issues and events.


This book satisfies a true need; it answers questions. It represents an outstanding text and is written by an experienced and thoroughly practical engineer and university lecturer. Ray Beebe knows and elaborates on underlying theories when and as needed; he is truly connected to reality. As an exceptional writer-engineer, he conveys the practical aspects of vibration monitoring needed by industry to make up for the wisdom that took its leave whenever industrial plants suffered from early retirements and became handicapped by a regrettable attrition of expertise.

And the text has focus. Instead of delving into consultant-devised generalities on vibration, it concentrates on the total condition monitoring of steam turbines, a turbo-machine category that has been neglected because it seems complex. Mechanical drive steam turbines often operate at variable speeds; variable speeds do not make it any easier to interrogate or interpret complex vibration signals. Ray Beebe realized that an introduction to steam turbine performance is helpful and his book satisfies this need as well. I believe this text sufficiently covers all relevant vibration monitoring and analysis topics. It elaborates where elaboration is useful and adds value throughout.

Case histories will enlighten the reader on anything of importance, from leakage monitoring to the detection of mineral deposits on blades; from the determination of design-related root causes of vibration to diagnostic routines practiced by the author in his distinguished career.

This book is a text that begged to be written. It constitutes knowledge transfer of the highest order. I consider it a marvelous blend of straightforward practical experience and structured analytical approaches. I envy the readers who have access to it today and wish I would have held it in my hands a long time ago.

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