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ASME PTC 6 - Testing Steam Turbines

Steam turbines are widely used in power generation, industrial applications, and marine propulsion. They convert thermal energy from steam into mechanical work, which can then be used to drive generators, pumps, compressors, or propellers. The performance of steam turbines is affected by various factors, such as steam quality, inlet and outlet conditions, load, speed, and design features. Therefore, it is important to measure and evaluate the performance of steam turbines under different operating conditions and compare them with the design specifications or contractual guarantees.


To provide a standard and reliable method for testing steam turbines, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has developed a performance test code (PTC) for this purpose. The ASME PTC 6 provides procedures for the accurate testing of steam turbines. It is recommended for use in conducting acceptance tests of steam turbines and any other situation in which performance levels must be determined with minimum uncertainty. It may be used for testing of steam turbines operating either with a significant amount of superheat in the initial steam (typically fossil-fueled units) or predominantly within the moisture region (typically nuclear-fueled units).

Objectives and Scope of ASME PTC 6

The main objective of ASME PTC 6 is to provide a uniform and consistent approach for conducting and reporting steam turbine tests. The code contains rules and procedures for the conduct and reporting of steam turbine testing, including mandatory requirements for pretest arrangements, instruments to be employed, their application and methods of measurement, testing techniques, and methods of calculation of test results. The code also contains procedures and techniques required to determine enthalpy values within the moisture region and modifications necessary to permit testing within the restrictions of radiological safety requirements in nuclear plants.

The scope of ASME PTC 6 covers all types and sizes of steam turbines, such as condensing, noncondensing, extraction, admission, reheat, and cogeneration units. The code applies to both single-shaft and multi-shaft configurations, as well as to single-valve and multi-valve arrangements. The code does not cover gas turbines, hydraulic turbines, or wind turbines.

Performance Parameters and Testing Levels

The performance parameters that may be determined from a code test include: (a) heat rate, (b) generator output, (c) steam flow, (d) steam rate, (e) feedwater flow. Heat rate is the ratio of heat input to power output. Generator output is the electrical power delivered by the generator. Steam flow is the mass flow rate of steam entering or leaving the turbine. Steam rate is the ratio of steam flow to power output. Feedwater flow is the mass flow rate of feedwater entering or leaving the turbine.

The code defines four levels of testing: A, B, C, and D. Level A is the most accurate and comprehensive level of testing, which requires the use of high-precision instruments and rigorous methods of measurement and calculation. Level A testing is typically used for contractual acceptance tests or performance guarantees. Level B is a less accurate but still reliable level of testing, which requires the use of good-quality instruments and reasonable methods of measurement and calculation. Level B testing is typically used for routine performance tests or performance monitoring. Level C is a simplified level of testing, which requires the use of basic instruments and approximate methods of measurement and calculation. Level C testing is typically used for preliminary performance tests or performance estimates. Level D is a qualitative level of testing, which requires the use of visual or audible indicators and subjective methods of measurement and evaluation. Level D testing is typically used for operational checks or troubleshooting.

Pretest Arrangements and Agreements

Before conducting a code test, it is necessary to make pretest arrangements and agreements between the parties involved in the test. The parties may include the owner, the operator, the manufacturer, the contractor, the consultant, or any other entity that has an interest in the test results. The pretest arrangements include selecting the test objectives, scope, level, methods, instruments, personnel, schedule, budget, safety measures, and contingency plans. The pretest agreements include defining the test conditions, parameters, uncertainties, corrections, guarantees, acceptance criteria, reporting format, and dispute resolution procedures.

The code provides guidance and examples for making pretest arrangements and agreements during the engineering phase and prior to the test. The code also provides sample forms and checklists for documenting the pretest arrangements and agreements. The code emphasizes the importance of mutual understanding and cooperation among the parties to ensure a successful and satisfactory test.

Test Conduct and Reporting

The code provides detailed instructions and recommendations for conducting and reporting a steam turbine test. The code covers the following aspects of test conduct and reporting:

  • Test preparation: This includes installing, calibrating, and verifying the instruments; preparing the test site and equipment; conducting pretest checks and inspections; and establishing the test procedures and data acquisition system.

  • Test execution: This includes starting, stabilizing, and adjusting the test conditions; collecting, recording, and validating the test data; conducting test runs and repetitions; and performing post-test checks and inspections.

  • Test analysis: This includes processing, correcting, and averaging the test data; calculating the test results and uncertainties; comparing the test results with the guarantees or specifications; and identifying and explaining any deviations or anomalies.

  • Test reporting: This includes preparing, reviewing, and approving the test report; presenting and discussing the test results and conclusions; resolving any disputes or disagreements; and archiving the test records and documents.

The code provides sample forms and tables for presenting the test data, results, uncertainties, and comparisons. The code also provides sample formats and contents for preparing the test report. The code requires that the test report should include a summary of the pretest arrangements and agreements, a description of the test conduct and analysis, a presentation of the test results and uncertainties, a comparison of the test results with the guarantees or specifications, a discussion of any deviations or anomalies, and a statement of the test conclusions and recommendations.


ASME PTC 6 is a comprehensive and authoritative standard for testing steam turbines. It provides a uniform and consistent method for measuring and evaluating the performance of steam turbines under various operating conditions. It is widely used in the power generation industry for conducting acceptance tests, performance monitoring, performance improvement, troubleshooting, and research and development. It is also recognized by other organizations and authorities as a reference for steam turbine testing. ASME PTC 6 is an essential tool for ensuring the quality, reliability, efficiency, and safety of steam turbines.


  • [ASME PTC 6 - Steam Turbines - Performance Test Code]

  • [ZABC37 Essentials PTC 6 - Testing Steam Turbines - ASME]

  • [Performance Test Codes (PTCs) by ASME]


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