The Complete Steam Guide

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About Steam

History of Steam

Famous mathematician Hero, also known as Heron was probably the first one to come with a simple steam engine. Hero from Alexandria, also wrote three books on mechanics and properties of air. This dates back to AD. 75.

Fundamental Applications of Steam

Steam is largely used for the purpose of process heating. Using steam for processing heating offers multiple benefits over other heating media. Numerous benefits, simplicity of the system and high efficiency and reliability make steam the first choice for process heating.

Types of Steam

Saturated steam is the steam which is completely dry and has same temperature as the water from which it is formed. When we start boiling the water, its temperature goes on increasing till it reaches the boiling point at that pressure.

Grades of Steam

This article elaborates on different grades of steam and characteristics of each of them.

Plant Steam Contaminants

Clean steam is defined as steam which is free of all kinds of contaminants. There are many different substances, which may be considered as contaminants; in general, they can be classified into four groups

The Quality of Steam

Steam quality plays an important role in determining the quality of final product. At the same time, steam quality is also important to ensure smooth working of the plant and operational efficiency.

What is Flash Steam?

Flash steam is produced when high pressure condensate is discharged to a lower pressure. The word 'flash' describes the way it is formed. At atmospheric pressure, water boils at 100 Deg. C.


Modes of Heat Transfer

Heat flows from higher temperature to lower temperature. Though it looks simple, heat transfer is a quite complex phenomenon.

Barriers to Efficient Heat Transfer

Heat energy is transferred on the virtue of temperature difference. So, when there are two bodies, with different temperatures in contact with each other

Disadvantages of Using Wet Steam

It is always advisable to use dry steam for heating applications. Dryness of steam is measured as expressed as dryness fraction.

Dropwise and Filmwise Condensation

When the heat from steam is transferred either to the product or to the surrounding, the steam condenses on the cold surfaces.

The Process of Combustion

Combustion is a chemical process. It is a reaction between the fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas and oxygen.

Leveraging the Inherent Properties of Steam

Studies across thousands of plants covering diverse sectors show that plants often fail to effectively leverage the properties of steam to their advantage.


Comparison of Coil Type and Shell Type Boilers

A coil type boiler is water tube design, the water travels through the coil and is surrounded with flue gases.

Boiler Efficiency: Introduction and Method of Calculation

It is a well known fact that the initial cost of boiler is a small part of total costs associated with the boiler over its lifetime.

Comparison of Water Tube and Smoke Tube Boilers

The table below gives a brief comparison of Water Tube and Smoke Tube Boilers-

Boiler Safety and Role of Water Levels

Most of the boiler failures can be attributed to low water conditions. For safe boiler operations this must be kept under check.

Improving Direct Efficiency of Solid Fuel Fired Boilers through Automation

Safety and efficiency are always given a prime importance by both boiler manufacturers and steam users.

What is a Boiler: Introduction to Boilers

A boiler is an enclosed vessel that provides a means for combustion and transfers heat to water until it becomes hot water or steam.

Types of Boilers and Boiler Classification

Different types of boilers are available in the market, which are manufactured by different manufacturers.

Boiler Feed

Feed Water Composition

In order to generate steam on a constant basis, boiler should be continuously supplied with water, called as feed water.

Introduction to Boiler Scales

As all of us are aware, in a boiler, steam formation takes place because of heat transfer from fire side to water side.

Effect of Presence of Dissolved Gases in Feed Water

The most harmful of the dissolved gases is oxygen, which can cause pitting of metal. Very small amount of oxygen can cause severe damage

Working of Water Softner

Water softeners are specific ion exchangers that are designed to remove ions, which are positively charged.

Boiler Efficiency

Understanding Boiler Stack Losses

Constant combustion takes place inside a boiler furnace. In order to burn the fuel, oxygen is required.

Indirect Boiler Efficiency

The method most standards (including IS8753, BS845 etc.) follow is the indirect efficiency calculation method.

Reasons for Gaps Between Direct and Indirect Efficiency

As we are aware, boiler efficiency can be stated in two different ways, one being direct and another, indirect.

Variation in Boiler Efficiency with Load

As we are aware, boiler efficiency can be stated in two different ways, one being direct and another, indirect

Benefits of Online Boiler Efficiency Monitoring

In case of boilers, cost of buying a new boiler is small compared to the amount of money spent in operating the boiler year on year.

Steam Distribution

Why is steam Pipe sizing important? How is it done?

Steam Pipes Sizing or Correct sizing of steam lines reduces pressure drop and radiation loss.

Warm-up and Running Load

During start up the steam pipework is cooler than the steam. This leads to heat transfer from the steam to the pipe

Carryover and its Causes

When any solid, liquid or vaporous contaminant leaves the boiler drum along with the steam, the phenomenon is called as carryover.

Ideal Steam Generation and Distribution Pressures

Steam pressure is governed by certain factors as mentioned below:

Why is it important to flush steam lines?

Flushing of steam piping is an activity which is often neglected but can damage the components of steam system.

Importance of Air-venting

During the period of shutdown, steam and condensate are removed from the system and the space inside is occupied by air.

Water Hammer: Causes, Effects and Solutions

Water hammer is a commonly observed phenomenon taking place during a fluid flow. Presence of water hammer can be easily

Pressure Reducing & De-superheating Stations

Pressure reducing & de-superheating stations are used to reduce pressure and de-superheat the steam at the exhaust

Air Pollution

Introduction to air pollution control

In most of the industries, steam is used as a medium for transferring energy. Steam is generated by the combustion of various types of fuels.

Mechanical Dust Collectors

Mechanical dust collectors, often called cyclones or multiclones have been used extensively to separate large particles from a flue gas stream.

Fabric Filters

Fabric filters, also commonly referred to as bag houses, are used in many industrial applications. They operate similar to a vacuum cleaner.

Electrostatic Precipitators

Electrostatic Precipitators (ESPs) are relatively large, low velocity dust collection devices. ESPs remove particles similar to that of static

Steam Traps

Essential Characteristics of Process Steam Traps

Steam traps hold the steam and drain out the condensate. When in service, a steam trap has to perform against many odd conditions.

Stall: Introduction, Causes and Solutions

Stall in heat exchangers is one of the frequently faced problems while operating steam systems. The word stall literally means to suddenly stop working.


Types of Valves

Ball valve is a quarter turn operated valve. The closure member is a spherical plug with a through hole. When the valve is in open state

Types of Actuators

In case of manually operated valves, human force is used to actuate the steam which in turn moves the closing element.

On-Off Valves and Control Valves

On-Off valve operates only in two modes- it is either fully open or fully closed. A tap to fill overhead tank is a good example of on-off valve.

Steam Trapping

Steam Trap: The Complete Guide

A Steam Trap is an integral part of a steam system. Steam traps play the important role in maintaining the productivity and efficiency of steam system.

Air Locking (Air Binding) in steam traps

Air Locking impedes continuous evacuation of condensate and hence impedes heat transfer.

The Correct Installation of Steam Traps

Correct installation of steam traps is as crucial as correct selection of steam traps. Many times, it has been observed that correctly selected steam traps often fail due to wrong installation.

Why Do Steam Traps Fail?

Steam trap failure is a topic of worry for many plant managers. Failure of steam traps hampers the performance of steam system and is a safety hazard as well.

The Real Cost of Steam Trap Failures

Finding out failed steam traps and fixing them up can avoid the wastage of steam and improve the productivity and performance of the steam system.


Introduction to Steam Tracing

In addition to its widespread application in the above industries, steam trace heating is also used on a smaller scale by factories and docks etc.

Critical Tracing

Where the product temperature is critical, to prevent solidification of the product in the pipeline, or where the temperature of the product

Condensate Recovery

Benefits of Condensate Recovery

Recovering condensate help in many ways. Following are a few benefits of recovering condensate and mixing it with make up water in a feed water tank-

What is Condensate Recovery?

The condensate if recovered and reused can be useful for the plant but if it is not treated appropriately can be hazardous to the maintenance of the plant.

Recommendation for Designing Discharge Lines from Steam Traps

The exact calculation of the line size would be complex and probably inaccurate due to the number of variables.

Methods of Condensate Recovery

nlet pressure of the steam trap can be used as the driving force for transportation of condensate to the collection tank at positive differential pressure.

Sources of Condensate Contamination

In a well maintained, properly operating boiler system, condensate is almost pure water with low conductivity and minimal dissolved solids.

Introduction to Condensate Contamination Detection System

Whilst it is desirable to return the maximum amount of condensate to the boiler, it is essential to ensure that it is clean.

Steam Metering

Differential Pressure Type Flow Meters

Flow metering is very critical as it enables the users to monitor and hence control the use of utilities like steam, water etc.

Velocity Type Flow Meters

In case of a fluid flow, the relation between volumetric flow and velocity of fluid can be defined as-

Positive Displacement Type Flow Meters

Positive displacement type flow meters divide the fluid in measured portions and then pump it.