A Pelton wheel is an impulse-type water turbine invented by American inventor Lester Allan Pelton in the 1870s. The Pelton wheel extracts energy from the impulse of moving water, as opposed to water's dead weight like the traditional overshot water wheel. Many earlier variations of impulse turbines existed, but they were less efficient than Pelton's design. Water leaving those wheels typically still had high speed, carrying away much of the dynamic energy brought to the wheels. Pelton's paddle geometry was designed so that when the rim ran at half the speed of the water jet, the water left the wheel with very little speed; thus his design extracted almost all of the water's impulse energy—which allowed for a very efficient turbine.
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