AskDefine | Define penstock

Dictionary Definition



1 regulator consisting of a valve or gate that controls the rate of water flow through a sluice [syn: sluicegate, sluice valve, floodgate, head gate, water gate]
2 conduit that carries a rapid flow of water controlled by a sluicegate [syn: sluice, sluiceway]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A sluice or pipe which allows the controlled flow of water from behind a dam, typically routing it to a turbine of a power plant.

Extensive Definition

A penstock is a sluice or gate or intake structure that controls water flow, or an enclosed pipe that delivers water to hydraulic turbines and sewerage systems. It is a term that has been inherited from the technology of wooden watermills.

In hydro-electric systems and dams

Penstocks for hydroelectric installations are normally equipped with a gate system and a surge tank. Flow is regulated by turbine operation and is nil when turbines are not in service. Maintenance requirements may include hot water wash, manual cleaning, antifoulant coatings, and desiccation.
Penstocks are also used in mine tailings dam construction, the penstock is usually situated fairly close to the center of the tailings dam and built up using penstock rings, these penstock rings control the water level letting the slimes settle out of the water, this water is then piped back under the tailings dam back to the plant via a penstock pipeline.

In watermills

See: Watermill.

Similar structures

Similar structures which are not enclosed are head races or leats (non elevated), and flumes (elevated).
penstock in Malayalam: പെന്‍‌സ്റ്റോക്ക് പൈപ്പ്

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

aboideau, air lock, chute, dock gate, eaves trough, flood-hatch, floodgate, gate, guide, gutter, head gate, lock, lock gate, pentrough, shoot, sluice, sluice gate, tide gate, trough, water gate, weir
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