Steam Heating Systems

steam heating systems

steam heating systems
what is the purpos of a steam trap?

On a steam heating system what does a stean trap do . I have a two line steam system one is live steam feed and the other is a condensate return and this thing called a steam trap is on the return line at the bottom of the heat exchanger . also the return line is below the waterline of the boilor . Thanks for any help with this gurkirpal singh

A steam trap is a device used to discharge condensate and non condensable gases with a negligible consumption or loss of live steam. Most steam traps are nothing more than automatic valves. They open, close or modulate automatically. Others, like venturi traps, are based on turbulent 2-phase flows to obstruct the steam flow.

The three important functions of steam traps are:

1.Discharge condensate as soon as it is formed.
2.Have a negligible steam consumption.
3.Have the capability of discharging air and other non-condensable gases.

The earliest and simplest form of steam trap is a disc or short solid pipe nipple with a small hole drilled through it installed at the lowest point of the equipment. Since steam condensate will collect at the lowest point and this hot liquid is about 1200 times smaller in volume and denser than live steam, condensate is effectively removed and steam is blocked.

Mechanical steam traps basically open when condensate needs to be removed, and close when there is only steam present.

Steam traps work best when sized specifically for the application they are used on. Generally it is better to over size as they will still discharge condensate when present and close or obstruct for live steam. However an over sized steam trap will wear quickly, waste energy (use steam), and if drastically over sized can cause process issues.

Steam traps can be split into four major types:

1.Mechanical traps. They have a float that rises and falls in relation to condensate level and this usually has a mechanical linkage attached that opens and closes the valve. Mechanical traps operate in direct relationship to condensate levels present in the body of the steam trap. Inverted bucket and float traps are examples of mechanical traps.

2.Temperature traps. They have a valve that is driven on / off the seat by either expansion / contraction caused by temperature change. They differ from mechanical traps in that their design requires them to hold back some condensate waiting for it to cool sufficiently to allow the valve to open. In most circumstances this is not desirable as condensate needs to be removed as soon as it is formed. Thermostatic traps, Bi-Thermostatic traps and bimetallic traps are examples of temperature operated traps.

3.Thermodynamic (TD) traps. Thermodynamic traps work on the difference in dynamic response to velocity change in flow of compressible and incompressible fluids. As steam enters, static pressure above the disk forces the disk against the valve seat. The static pressure over a large area overcomes the high inlet pressure of the steam. As the steam starts to condense, the pressure against the disk lessens and the trap cycles. This essentially makes a TD trap a “time cycle” device: it will open even if there is only steam present, this can cause premature wear. If non condensable gas is trapped on top of the disc, it can cause the trap to be locked shut.

4.Venturi (orifice) traps. This type works in a turbulent two-phase flow regime. Internally it consists of a venturi type valve with a certain shape. Condensate is fully discharged while eventual steam also tries to pass the venturi. But while traversing the venturi towards the low pressure zone the steam expands and chokes the throughput together with the slow condensate. Because of this, the amount of live steam escaping the orifice is negligible.

Steam Heat System-noisy vacuum cycle after shutting down the burner

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