Turbine Motors work by harnessing the energy of a continuous flow of steam which passes through them. More specifically, drilling fluid travelling down the drillstem is deflected by the blades of a stator which is connected to the housing. This deflected fluid then flows over the blades of a rotor, which causes the drive shaft itself to rotate. The blades of both the rotor and stator are configured in the same way as a standard ventilation fan, but with the blades positioned in reverse. This is because a fan is designed to propel air outwards with a motor, whereas a turbine requires an input of air or liquid to turn its motor.
Mud or drilling fluid is pumped down the drillstring from the surface, until it enters the power section of the turbine. It then comes into contact with the stator blades, which cannot move since they are fixed to the turbine housing. The fluid’s momentum is therefore redirected to the rotor blades. This then moves the drive shaft to the drill bit, causing it to rotate. When the rotor blades perform their exit turns, the liquid is then directed into the next rotor/stator stage. Each turbine may include up to 400 of these stages, although a more typical figure is 100-250. Every stage will transmit the same amount of torque to the drive shaft, and uses up an equal amount of the total energy.