If you know anything about boilers, you know that they are specialized mechanical machines that are designed to produce pressurized steam. Steam happens to be an essential raw material that keeps the wheels of our economy turning.
It helps make our lives easier and more convenient in numerous ways; it helps produce electricity that we use to power our homes and industrial plants and contributes to the production of vinyl and plastic that’s used in our automobiles, among many other things.
Even though there’s a wide variety of boiler designs in the market, the basic working principles are more or less the same. When water is heated inside the boiler, it generates pressurized steam. This steam then travels through pipes to different industries.
In this blog post, we’ve prepared a quick guide to help you learn all you need to know about the mechanics of a steam boiler system.
Table of Contents
What Are the Components of a Steam Boiler?
Typically, a steam boiler is a closed cylindrical container that’s made with steel. It has sufficient capacity for the steam as well as the water that needs to be heated for the application. A steam boiler primarily comprises a furnace, mountings, shell, grate, water space, refectory, scale, and other accessories.
The vapor generated inside a boiler is sometimes delivered at low pressure to cotton mills and sugar industries. It’s recommended that a boiler should at least have the capacity to hold ten liters of water and the working pressure should be 3.4 kilogram-force per centimeter squared.
How Does a Steam Boiler Operate?
Generally, the liquids used to generate steam are stored inside the steam boiler. They are heated by applying heat energy at varying levels of pressure depending on the size and specifications of the vessel or by burning the fuels. In the end, the steam produced is supplied to different industrial plants through specialized pipes.
It’s important to note a few conditions that should be maintained in a boiler at all times. The water container should lock properly, and the vapor should be delivered in predetermined conditions such as rate, pressure, quality, and temperature.
Steam boilers basically operate through a combustion reaction that occurs between air and fuel. Once the heat from the steam is transferred to the specific heating application, the steam is condensed back into water. This may get collected and supplied to the boiler for use via a condensate return line.
This system doesn’t only save the amount of water being consumed but also the necessary chemicals because the condensate evaporates away any dissolved solids.
Types of Steam Boilers
As we’ve established, boilers are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes and they can be classified on the basis of fuel type, operating pressure, and design. They usually come in either a water-tube or fire-tube heating design, and they are designed to either operate on natural gas or use a dual-fuel option.
Steam boilers that come in a dual-fuel design is where the plant can simply switch between natural gas or heating oil (or propane) as required. Needless to say, each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
In search of a company that provides reliable energy management and services focused on boiler systems? Connect with us at Campbell-Servey! Our intelligent solutions are just what you need to build an industrial steam boiler system that operates effectively for your industry need.
Water Tube vs. Fire Tube
The water-tube boiler is a specific type of boiler. The primary function of this steam boiler is to heat the water tube to generate the vapor. When the right number of water tubes are used, a bigger heating surface can be achieved quite easily.
The movement of water inside this system is relatively fast, which is why the heat transfer rate is also quite high, resulting in maximum efficiency. This boiler is quite popular in large thermal power-stations and utilizes freshwater as well as water treatment plants to make sure the quality is maintained at all times.
A fire-tube boiler, on the other hand, may be designed with a number of tubes to produce and supply hot gases. The tubes are submerged in the water inside a single closed container and then heated up to convert the water into vapor. Since both the water and vapor is in the same container, this boiler isn’t able to generate steam at high pressure.
It’s important to note that most traditional boilers employ a fire-tube design in which hot fuel gas flows through tubes that are surrounded by water. A water-tube design essentially works in a completely opposite way; the water flows through tubes that are surrounded by hot fuel gas.
Water-tube boilers are found to be surprisingly more efficient for most applications because they’re able to generate steam in a matter of minutes and need a lot less to power up the system. They’re also a lot more compact, operate on far less fuel, and may be configured modularly to automatically power on or off based on demand.
Why Is Water Treatment Necessary?
If you’re satisfied with your steam boiler, the easiest way to ensure that it will work smoothly and efficiently for a long time is by supplying it with appropriate chemical water treatment. All boilers are made with carbon steel. Even though carbon steel is a durable metal, it still requires regular maintenance so you can get the most out of your boiler.
Water treatment is a main part of boiler maintenance process that involves adding chemicals into the water to inhibit corrosion, which is precisely why it’s critical to the long-term efficiency of your boiler system.
You need to understand the basics and mechanics of steam boiler systems before you can determine the right boiler for your application. If you’re interested in installing a relatively low-maintenance and high-efficiency boiler system in your factory or industrial plant, feel free to get in touch with us at Campbell-Sevey.
We specialize in steam system installation, training, and assessments and will help you find the right system that will be the perfect match for your facility’s purposes.