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Development of Watertube boiler - how they work

Various Advantages
: The watertube boiler is employed for high-pressure, high-temperature, high-capacity steam applications, e.g. providing steam for main propulsion turbines or cargo pump turbines. Firetube boilers are used for auxiliary purposes to provide smaller quantities of low-pressure steam on diesel engine powered ships.



The construction of watertube boilers, which use small-diameter tubes and have a small steam drum, enables the generation or production of steam at high temperatures and pressures. The weight of the boiler is much less than an equivalent firetube boiler and the steam raising process is much quicker.

Design arrangements are flexible, efficiency is high and the feedwater has a good natural circulation. These are some of the many reasons why the watertube boiler has replaced the firetube boiler as the major steam producer.

Early watertube boilers used a single drum. Headers were connected to the drum by short, bent pipes with straight tubes between the headers. The hot gases from the furnace passed over the tubes, often in a single pass,

Water tube boiler

Fig:Water tube boiler arrangement


A later development was the bent tube design. This boiler has two drums, an integral furnace and is often referred to as the 'D' type because of its shape . The furnace is at the side of the two drums and is surrounded on all sides by walls of tubes. These waterwall tubes are connected either to upper and lower headers or a lower header and the steam drum. Upper headers are connected by return tubes to the steam drum. Between the steam drum and the smaller water drum below, large numbers of smaller-diameter generating tubes are fitted. These provide the main heat transfer surfaces for steam generation. Large-bore pipes or downcomers are fitted between the steam and water drum to ensure good natural circulation of the water.

In the arrangement shown, the superheater is located between the drums, protected from the very hot furnace gases by several rows of screen tubes. Refractory material or brickwork is used on the furnace floor, the burner wall and also behind the waterwalls. The double casing of the boiler provides a passage for the combustion air to the air control or register surrounding the burner,

The need for a wider range of superheated steam temperature control led to other boiler arrangements being used. The original External Superheater 'D' (ESD) type of boiler used a primary and secondary superheater located after the main generating tube bank . An attemperator located in the combustion air path was used to control the steam temperature.


ESD II & ESD III type boilers

The later ESD II type boiler was similar in construction to the ESD I but used a control unit (an additional economiser) between the primary and secondary superheaters. Linked dampers directed the hot gases over the control unit or the superheater depending upon the superheat temperature required. The control unit provided a bypass path for the gases when low temperature superheating was required. In the ESD III boiler the burners are located in the furnace roof, which provides a long flame path and even heat transfer throughout the furnace.


ESD III monowall boiler

Fig:ESD III monowall boiler

In the boiler shown in Figure above, the furnace is fully water-cooled and of monowali construction, which is produced from finned tubes welded together to form a gaslight casing. With monowali construction no refractory material is necessary in the furnace. The furnace side, floor and roof tubes are welded into the steam and water drums. The front and rear walls are connected at either end to upper and lower water-wall headers. The lower water-wall headers are connected by external downcomers from the steam drum and the upper water-wall headers are connected to the steam drum by riser tubes. The gases leaving the furnace pass through screen tubes which are arranged to permit flow between them. The large number of tubes results in considerable heat transfer before the gases reach the secondary superheater. The gases then flow over the primary superheater and the economiser before passing to exhaust.

The dry pipe is located in the steam drum to obtain reasonably dry saturated steam from the boiler. This is then passed to the primary superheater and then to the secondary superheater. Steam temperature control is achieved by the use of an attemperator, located in the steam drum, operating between the primary and secondary superheaters.


Radiant-type boilers

Radiant-type boilers are a more recent development, in which the radiant heat of combustion is absorbed to raise steam, being transmitted by infra-red radiation. This usually requires roof firing and a considerable height in order to function efficiently. The ESD IV boiler is of the radiant type. Both the furnace and the outer chamber are fully watercooled. There is no conventional bank of generating tubes.

The hot gases leave the furnace through an opening at the lower end of the screen wall and pass to the outer chamber. The outer chamber contains the convection heating surfaces which include the primary and secondary superheaters. Superheat temperature control is by means of an attemperator in the steam drum. The hot gases, after leaving the primary superheater, pass over a steaming economises This is a heat exchanger in which the steam—water mixture is flowing parallel to the gas. The furnace gases finally pass over a conventional economiser on their way to the funnel.


Reheat boilers

Reheat boilers are used with reheat arranged turbine systems. Steam after expansion in the high-pressure turbine is returned to a reheater in the boiler. Here the steam energy content is raised before it is supplied to the low-pressure turbine. Reheat boilers are based on boiler designs such as the 'D' type or the radiant type.

Double evaporation boiler

A double evaporation boiler uses two independent systems for steam generation and therefore avoids any contamination between the primary and secondary feedwater. The primary circuit is in effect a conventional watertube boiler which provides steam to the heating coils of a steam-to-steam generator, which is the secondary system. The complete boiler is enclosed in a pressurised casing.





Summarized below marine boiler detail Info pages:

  1. Requirement for various boiler types - water tube boilers and more
  2. The watertube boiler is employed for high-pressure, high-temperature, high-capacity steam applications, e.g. providing steam for main propulsion turbines or cargo pump turbines. Firetube boilers are used for auxiliary purposes to provide smaller quantities of low-pressure steam on diesel engine powered ships.....

  3. Fire tube boilers working principle and operational procedure
  4. The firetube boiler is usually chosen for low-pressure steam production on vessels requiring steam for auxiliary purposes. Operation is simple and feedwater of medium quality may be employed. The name 'tank boiler is sometimes used for firetube boilers because of their large water capacity. The terms 'smoke tube' and 'donkey boiler are also in use....

  5. Exhaust Gas Boilers And Economisers working procedure
  6. The use of exhaust gases from diesel main propulsion engines to generate steam is a means of heat energy recovery and improved plant efficiency.The auxiliary steam installation provided in modern diesel powered tankers usually uses an exhaust gas heat exchanger at the base of the funnel and one or perhaps two watertube boilers .....

  7. The use of boiler mountings
  8. Watertube boilers, because of their smaller water content in relation to their steam raising capacity, require certain additional mountings: Automatic feed water regulator. Fitted in the feed line prior to the main check valve, this device is essential to ensure the correct water level in.the boiler during all load conditions. Boilers with a high evaporation rate will use a multiple-element feed water control system ....

  9. Purity of boiler feedwater
  10. Most 'pure' water will contain some dissolved salts which come out of solution on boiling. These salts then adhere to the heating surfaces as a scale and reduce heat transfer, which can result in local overheating and failure of the tubes. Other salts remain in solution and may produce acids which will attack the metal of the boiler. An excess of alkaline salts in a boiler, together with the effects of operating stresses, will produce a condition known as 'caustic cracking'. This is actual cracking of the metal which may lead to serious failure.....

  11. The steam-to-steam generator working principle and operational procedure
  12. Steam-to-steam generators produce low-pressure saturated steam for domestic and other services. They are used in conjunction with watertube boilers to provide a secondary steam circuit which avoids any possible contamination of the primary-circuit feedwater. The arrangement may be horizontal or vertical with coils within the shell which heat the feedwater.....

  13. How to control combustion in a marine boiler
  14. The essential requirement for a combustion control system is to correctly proportion the quantities of air and fuel being burnt. This will ensure complete combustion, a minimum of excess air and acceptable exhaust gases. The control system must therefore measure the flow rates of fuel oil and air in order to correctly regulate their proportions.....

  15. Safe boiler operation - Preparations & raising steam
  16. All boilers have a furnace or combustion chamber where fuel is burnt to release its energy. Air is supplied to the boiler furnace to enable combustion of the fuel to take place. A large surface area between the combustion chamber and the water enables the energy of combustion, in the form of heat, to be transferred to the water.....

  17. Fuel oil burning process - various design burners
  18. Marine boilers currently burn residual low-grade fuels. This fuel isstored in double-bottom tanks from which it is drawn by a transfer pump up to settling tanks. Here any water in the fuel may settle out and be drained away.

  19. Boiler arrangement - combustion process - supply of air
  20. Combustion is the burning of fuel in air in order to release heat energy. For complete and efficient combustion the correct quantities of fuel and air must be supplied to the furnace and ignited. About 14 times as much air as fuel is required for complete combustion....

  21. Ordinary spring-loaded safety valve and improved high-lift safety valve for a marine boiler
  22. Safety valves are fitted in pairs, usually on a single valve chest. Each valve must be able to release all the steam the boiler can produce without the pressure rising by more than 10% over a set period.....

  23. Correct working level for marine boilers - use of water level gauges
  24. The water level gauge provides a visible indication of the water level in the boiler in the region of the correct working level.

  25. How to maintain water level in a marine boiler ?
  26. A modern high-pressure, high-temperature watertube boiler holds a small quantity of water and produces large quantities of steam. Very careful control of the drum water level is therefore necessary. The reactions of steam and water in the drum are complicated and require a control system based on a number of measured elements......

  27. Safety precautions for working with marine boiler
  28. All boiler controls, regulators, alarms and trips must be tested regularly in accordance with the applicable Planned Maintenance System and maker’s recommendations. Each test is to be recorded with the signature of the Engineer Officer who conducted the test....





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