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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines, Steam Boats

Water tube boiler


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  #1  
Old 11-20-2011, 10:03 AM
wagspe208 wagspe208 is offline
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Default Water tube boiler

OK, I have a vertical stationary piece. Thw whole smoke tube boiler seems way more dangerous. Won't hold any where near the pressure, etc. And in general sort of a PITA. Oh, and $$$ to repair. My vertical came with a boiler, but of course I have no idea of the "real" condition.
So, I was watching my local renewable energy channel (I know, bored) and Mike Brown (Solutions) had a steam engine of his running on there. He was powering it with a water tube boiler. Said they would hold tons of pressure (safety), and were very efficient with recycling the water from the exhaust. He eluded to 1000# plus pressure before faliure.... no, I don't want to run 1000# but this seems to provide TONS of safety margain if I want to run 50 to 75#.
So, does anyone have info on building one? Running one? Real life use? Links? Other opinions?
Thanks
Wags
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:21 PM
Phil P Phil P is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

Hi

That is what the average steam cleaner is. A coil of copper tubing in the stack and water is pumped in one end and by the time it gets to the other end it is steam.

That is a simple explanation but pretty much what a water tube boiler is. The boiler it self is quite safe but they require a steam receiver commonly called a “Steam Drum”. These are very common in marine and power plant use.

The ship that exploded in the Miami, Florida Harbor about 7 or 8 years ago failed the steam drum.

Phil P
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:09 PM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

That is what is used in commercial apps. At high pressures,firetubes get very heavy and are hard to economically design.

Bulk of my experience is with watertubes.

Problems: very fussy as to quality of feedwater. This means recycled exhaust has to be cleaned up, as it cannot have any cylinder oil. Less water in boiler, so you really have to pay attention. Need to clean firesides of tubes - We use soot blowers and steam lance. blows particles of soot out stack, and all over. Messy - anyone nearby gets sooted. Usually, inspections are far more rigorous.

Adv - less water means less to heat up to make steam. Less to flash in the event of a failure. Typical failure mode is scale gets on waterside of tubes, one overheats and ruptures. All that happens is a lot of steam and soot blows out the stack. Properly maintained, operated at or below design pressure, steam and mud drums do not fail.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:44 PM
Phil P Phil P is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

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Originally Posted by Power View Post
Properly maintained, operated at or below design pressure, steam and mud drums do not fail.
Any boiler or power system will not fail if properly maintained and operated.

The explosion in Miami killed 8 sailors. The steam drum had a history of problems. I never did hear if there was also an operator problem that may have induced the failure.

Phil P
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:10 PM
Jim Conte Jim Conte is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

Wags,
Here's the scoop on the SS Norway boiler explosion:
http://http://www.smokstak.com/forum...iler+explosion
It was a mud drum ( lower water circulation header ) that let go.
It was known for years to have a crack.
The crack was not repaired, only caulked with soft copper hammered in.
The management ordered forced cooldown by repeated blowdowns, to save money by having the engine crew off duty sooner.
Large pieces of metal and forced temperature changes mean trouble, especially when there is already a faulty spot.

Here are a couple of steamboat hobby links to get you started:
http://www.steamboating.org/ISS/ISShome.html

http://www.pcez.com/~artemis/NASAhome.htm

Small water tube boilers are popular among this group. You can get plans, ideas, operating pointers.

It is true that water tube boilers generally require higher quality water than firetube boilers. On the other hand, many hobby sailors are simply taking their water from what they are sailing in and using a top-notch chemical treatment to keep the scale from forming, sediment loose and flowing and the proper pH to protect the boiler metal ( around 10 ).

If you have a boiler that is questionable, I recommend that you have an ultrasonic thickness survey performed on it. That, combined with an inspection by a code shop's inspector will eliminate any doubt. Can it get expensive ? You Betcha ! This is not a hobby for the poor or financially challenged. If you respect steam to the point of not wanting to mess with something unsafe or questionable, you are blessed with common sense.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:23 PM
LundMachineWorks LundMachineWorks is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

The problem with building a code compliant small water tube is due to ligament requirements where the tubes pass into the drums. The holes become similar to a perforated piece of paper, when there is not adequate material to support the area.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:15 AM
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AndyG AndyG is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

Jeff, would a coupling welded to the drum where the tube enters count as a reinforcement?
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:37 AM
Phil P Phil P is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

Mr. Jim Conte

Thanks for the information.

The link seems not to be working.

My information was word of mouth so I am hesitant to make judgments on that. I was told by one of the “R” stamp shops that it was one of the drums and that it had an unapproved repair. They were not aware of the procedures that apparently attributed to the accident.

Phil P
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:25 AM
Scarborough Billy Scarborough Billy is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

You can find it if you look hard enough, I did.

It wasnt the mud drum, but the middle drum on a 3 drum type water tube boiler.

The report blamed bad inspection by Bearau Veritas, bad practice by the ship owners, and noted that copper had been caulked into pre existing cracks in an attempt to prevent the flaws being picked up. Obviously some of the crew were culpable of this.
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Old 11-21-2011, 12:35 PM
wagspe208 wagspe208 is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

So, what is required to "clean up" the feed water? (meaning removing steam oil if recirculating).
When you say "clean tubes"... water side and fire side... how often is this to be done?
"Water is pumped through the tube" can this be a simple mechanical pump linked to the engine? How do you regulate pressure? Simply by pump speed?
My vertical piece has the original base where the engine mounts to, the boiler also sets on it. It is pretty cool, and I haven't seen many with the base set. (although I don't look a lot either). The boiler is about 24 to 30" x 7' high. It is HEAVY! It has 4 or 5 tubes plugged. The bore and stroke (of the engine) is about 6" x 6" ish. Is this big a boiler necessary?
OK, by "necessary" if I just wanted to run a generator or something like that.
Maybe this is just to labor intensive to run. What ya think?
Oh, I have been to pawnee steam school. The boiler safety thing is the only thing that mildly concerned me. (as it should I guess)
Thanks
Wags
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Old 11-21-2011, 01:32 PM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

what is required to "clean up" the feed water? (meaning removing steam oil if recirculating).
When you say "clean tubes"... water side and fire side... how often is this to be done?


Feedwater quality depends on operating pressure and temperature. 250 psi - they used loofa sponges to clean up water. 950 psi, 1200 degrees superheat, water cannot have any disolved solids. Remember, the water is vaporizing to steam, and leaves the impurities behind where it vaporizes. Impurities quickly coat tube watersides, impede waterside heat transfer, tubes overheat and operate above design temperature.
Impurities and solids cause foaming and frothing, can carryover into superheater stage, and if bad, into engine or turbine.

Fireside tube cleaning depends on fuel and combustion efficiency. Make a lot of smoke - ie Ringleman 5, fireside of tubes gets dirty fast. Obviously, dirty fireside will not cause the tubes to overheat or be damaged. It impedes heat transfer and makes boiler less efficient. In the extreme, will impede flow of combustion gasses, prevent full firing boiler, require shutting boiler down, opening it up and manually cleaning.
If burning coal or bunker C, need to clean more often than when burning diesel. Natural gas fired or propane fired seldom need fireside cleaning. When burning oil, we used soot blowers once a day. Ships - out at sea - never in port. Avoid cleaning when passengers on deck or wind to aft.
Stationary powerplant- late at night, when it cannot be seen so residents in area do not get excited about a normal operating proceedure.
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:02 PM
Jim Conte Jim Conte is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

Wags, If you just go to the ' search ' function on the taskbars at the top of the Smokstak page and enter ' SS Norway explosion ', the postings or threads will be listed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wagspe208 View Post
So, what is required to "clean up" the feed water? (meaning removing steam oil if recirculating). Power did a great job with the loofa sponge explanation. A further step would be to have two Granular Activated Carbon ( charcoal ) filters in series after the loofa sponges. Provide a water sample point in the pipeline between them. The test for water in oil is simple. If you get oil at this point, remove and discard the upstream filter. Move the downstream filter to the upstream position and install a new downstream filter. This will keep oil out of your boiler. You will want to have a surface blowdown connection on your boiler, ' just in case ' oil does get in.

When you say "clean tubes"... water side and fire side... how often is this to be done?

If you use a proper water treatment, it will be done continuously, as you steam, not as an ' out of service, off line ' chore. Not only will a good water treatment keep the boiler clean for optimum heat transfer, fuel economy and performance power, it will establish and maintain the proper chemistry for metal protection and preservation. Water treatment needs to be used all the time, every time, not just a once in a while, if I think of it.

"Water is pumped through the tube" can this be a simple mechanical pump linked to the engine?
How do you regulate pressure? Simply by pump speed?

That is the basic and simple way. You will also want an independent pump to get filled up and started, and as a backup in case the engine driven pump fails. A positive displacement pump will deliver against any pressure, up to the mechanical strength of the drive and pump's pressure parts. In other words, it will pump until something breaks or you open the bypass valve or the relief valve ( better have one ) lifts.

My vertical piece has the original base where the engine mounts to, the boiler also sets on it. It is pretty cool, and I haven't seen many with the base set. (although I don't look a lot either). The boiler is about 24 to 30" x 7' high. It is HEAVY! It has 4 or 5 tubes plugged.

If you have tubes plugged, you have lost heat transfer and steam production capacity. Chances are, the remainder of the tubes are in poor condition, but just haven't failed yet. ( they will soon )

The bore and stroke (of the engine) is about 6" x 6" ish. Is this big a boiler necessary?
OK, by "necessary" if I just wanted to run a generator or something like that.
Maybe this is just to labor intensive to run. What ya think?

Are you planning on going into the ( 1 ) electric generating business, or ( 2 ) to have a standby generator for emergencies or ( 3 ) just for fun. If it's # 1, you better think again. For # 2, you do want reliability when needed, and no messing around.
For # 3, only you can decide how much ' Labor Of Love ' and $$$ you want to put into it.


Oh, I have been to pawnee steam school. The boiler safety thing is the only thing that mildly concerned me. (as it should I guess)
Thanks
Wags
Happy Steaming,
Jim
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  #13  
Old 11-22-2011, 12:16 AM
sftyvlv sftyvlv is offline
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Default Re: Water tube boiler

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyG View Post
Jeff, would a coupling welded to the drum where the tube enters count as a reinforcement?
Don't think code allows couplings (olets) or any other fittings for tube to steam drum connections directly exposed to direct fire and combustion gasses.
Sftyvlv
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