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FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

STEAMDRUMWATERLEVELMEASUREMENT

A. Introduction.Boilersteamdrumwaterlevelisoneofthemostimportantpowerplantparameters
tobothmeasureandcontrol.Controloftheproperwaterlevelintheboileriscriticalforsafe
operationoftheboiler.Ifthelevelistoolow,boilertubeswillbedamagedbyoverheating.Ifthe
levelistoohigh,steamseparatorswillnotfunctionproperly,temperaturecontrolwillbedifficult,
andthesuperheatertubesandturbinecouldbedamagedbymoistureorwatertreatment
chemicalcarryover.Inaddition,poorlevelcontrolwillalsoadverselyaffectthedrumpressure
control.Theslidingoperatingpressureofmodern3drumHeatRecoverySteamGenerators,along
withfrequentstartupandshutdown,hasaddedtothechallengeofselectingthepropermixof
instrumentsandmaintainingcorrectwaterlevelsunderallconditions.

Althoughinstrumentsfordrumwaterlevelmeasurementhavebeenaroundforwellovera
hundredyears,itisimportanttounderstandtheoperatingprinciples,installationrequirements,
strengthsandweaknessesofeachtechnology.Toignoretheseconsiderationscanleadto
misapplication,increasedmaintenance,poorinstrumentperformance,andunsafeoperation.

TheASMEBoilerandPressureVesselCodeSectionIestablishestherequirementsforsteamdrum
waterlevelmeasurementinfiredsteamdrums.Theprimaryfocusoftheserequirementsissafe
boileroperation.Maintenance,performance,andotherspecificapplicationissuesarenot
addressed.

Thereareadozenormoreleveltechnologiesthatcouldbeconsideredforthisapplication.The
purposeofthispaperistoreview5oftheproventechnologiescurrentlyavailableforhigh
pressuresteamdrumwaterlevelmeasurement.ThesewillbecomparedwiththecurrentASME
Section1requirements(2010codeedition),andalsoevaluatetheinstallation,performance
characteristics,strengthsandweaknessesofeach.

B. ASMERequirements.TheASMEBoilerandPressureVesselCodeSectionIparagraphPG60lists
themajorityoftherequirementsforwaterlevelmeasurementinstruments.Theprimaryfocusis
safeandreliabledrumlevelindicationatalltimes.Thisisanimportantconsiderationinorderto
understandwhychangestothecodearemadeslowlyanddeliberately.Otherrequirements
pertainingtolevelinstrumentsarelistedinPG5(materialsofconstruction)andPG12(water
levelindicatorsandconnectormaterial).TheASMEcoderequirementshavecontinuouslyevolved
overtheyears.Instrumentuse,incidentreportsandperformancehistoryareevaluated.In
addition,InterpretationsarepublishedannuallytoanswerquestionssubmittedtotheASME
codecommitteepertainingtovariouscodesections.Theresultsofthemostimportant
Interpretationsarelaterwrittenintothevariouscodeparagraphstopermanentlyclarify
sectionsthatmighthavebeenconfusingandmisapplied.Belowarelistedthemostimportant
coderequirements.Thisisnotacompletelisting.Iwilllaterlistanddiscussspecificrequirements
andinterpretationsapplicabletoparticularinstrumenttypes.
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FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

TheprimaryrequirementsinASMEPG60(2009)areasfollows:
1. (PG60.1)Allboilershavingafixedwaterlevel(steamandwaterinterface)shallhaveatleast
onegageglass(atransparentdevicethatpermitsvisualdeterminationofthewaterlevel).
2. (PG60.1.1)Boilershavingamaximumallowableworkingpressureexceeding400psi(3MPa)
shallhavetwogageglasses.Insteadofoneofthetworequiredgageglasses,twoindependent
remotewaterlevelindicators(twodiscretesystemsthatcontinuouslymeasure,transmit,and
displaywaterlevel)maybeprovided.
3. (PG60.1.1)Whenthewaterlevelinatleastonegaugeglassisnotreadilyvisibletothe
operatorintheareawherecontrolactionsareinitiated,eitherafiberopticcable(withno
electricalmodificationoftheopticalsignal)ormirrorsshallbeprovidedtotransfertheoptical
imageofthewaterleveltothecontrolarea.Alternatively,anycombinationoftwoofthe
followingshallbeprovided:
a. Anindependentremotewaterlevelindicator
b. Anindependentcontinuoustransmissionanddisplayofanimageofthewaterlevelina
gageglass.
4. (PG60.1.1.2)Whentwoindependentremotewaterlevelindicatorsareinreliableoperation
(continuouslyindicatingwaterlevel),theonerequiredgageglassmaybeshutoff,butshallbe
maintainedintheserviceablecondition.

INTERPRETATIONSAPPLICABLETOTHESEREQUIREMENTS
NotethattheASMEcodeatonetimedistinguishedbetweenlevelindictorstypeswiththedefinition
DirectReadingforvisuallevelgagesandIndirectIndicationforallothertypesofindicators.That
languagehasbeenreplacedinthecurrentcodewithsimplygageglassandremotewaterlevel
indicator.
1. I8313Allowsgaugeglasstobeisolatedwhentworemoteindicatorsused
2. I8602AnewTechnologylevelindicatordoesnotreplacethevisualgage
3. I8650Gageindicationfortherovingoperatorisnotequaltothecontrolroomoperator.Low
wateralarmandtriparenotconsideredindirectindication.
4. I8912Theoperatorsworkareaiswherecontrolactionsareinitiated
5. I8972Anindirectleveldevicewithnopowerisnotagageglass,butcanbeconsidereda
remotelevelindicator
6. I9215Viewingagageglasswithmirrorsisconsideredadirectreading
7. I9269Amagneticlevelindicatormayprovideanindirectlevelreading
8. I9296Amagneticlevelindicatorisnotconsideredtobeagageglass
9. I9504Apressure/temperaturecompensateddpleveltransmitterisaremotelevelindicator
10. I9507ADCSCRTscreencanbearemotelevelindication.Twoareneededtoomitthegageglass,
andtheindicationsmustbecontinuous.
11. I9814Boilerswithdrumsafetyvalvessetunder400psiarenotpermittedtoshutoffthevisual
gage,evenwithtworemoteindicatorsinoperation.

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FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

C. OPERAT
TINGTEMPEERATUREERRORCORREECTION(DEN
NSITYLEVELERROR)
Levelgaagesandotherremotele
evelindicato
orsconnecteedtotheboiiler(exceptdptransmittters)are
notinatotallystaticcondition.Iftheywere,thewaterrtemperatureinthegaggewouldbenear
ambientt.RefertoFFIGURE1.Assteamcondensesinthhegageandconnectingpiping,the
condenssateflowsin
ntothegaugeandheatsit.Asmallaamountofw
waterisalwaaysflowingsslowly
through
hthegaugeaandpiping.

FIGURE1

Anyywaterlevellmeasureme
entdeviceconnectedto
othesteamdrumwillop
perateatattemperatureethatis
belo
owtheactuaaldrumsteaam/watersaaturationtem
mperature.TThislowero
operatingtem
mperaturew
will
causealevelerrrorwithinth
hemeasurem
mentdevice
e.Themeasuurementinsttrumentwilllthenalwayys
indiicatelowertthanthetruedrumwate
erlevel.Waaterlevelgaggesandalltyypesofremotelevelind
dicators
areaffected.FIGURE2belowillustrate
esthiseffecttandtheforrmulasusedtocalculateetheerror.

FIG
GURE2
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FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

Thewaterdensityintheexternalinstrumentishigherthanthesteamdrumwaterdensity.The
externalmeasurementinstrumentwillalwaysindicatelowerthantheTrueDrumLevel.The
magnitudeofthelevelerrordependsonoperatingpressureandheightofthewatercolumn.The
densityofboilerwaterdecreasesasoperatingpressureincreases.Theerrorcanbesignificant,
especiallyasoperatingpressuresexceed2000psi,andonlargesteamdrumswithlongvisibility
gagessuchasusedinHRSGapplications.Althoughsomeinstrumentmanufacturesmaystatethat
theerrorsareinsignificantandchoosetoignorethem,theerrorsaresignificantunderconditions
ofhighsteampressureandhighwaterlevels,andcannotbeignored.

Thereareonlythreebasicmethodsavailabletocorrectfortheseerrors.Dependingonthelevel
technologyinuse,somemethodsaremoreorlessapplicabletovariousinstruments.These
methodsare:
1. Heatthewaterinsidetheinstrumenttoatemperatureclosetothedrumwatertemperature.
2. Physicallymovetheinstrumenttoalowerlocation.Thiswillonlyprovideacorrectionforone
operatingpressureandforonelevelposition.Althoughformultipointlevelindicatorssuchas
conductivityprobeindicators,eachprobecanbeindividuallycorrectedforagivenoperating
pressure.Correctionsarebasedonanestimateoftheinstrumentoperatingtemperature.
3. Correcttheelectricaloutputsignal.Thisistheapproachusedforpressurecompensateddp
leveltransmitters.Itcouldalsobepotentiallyusedtocorrectradarorothertypesorremote
indicatorswithanelectricaloutput.Anadditionalpressure/temperaturecorrectionsignalis
usedtocorrecttheinstrumentoutputtoindicatethetruedrumlevel.

D. LEVELINSTRUMENTSANDASSESORIES
1. VisualLevelGages,DirectlevelMeasurement

AdditionalASMERequirements:
(PG60.1)Thelowestvisiblewaterlevelinagageglassshallbeatleast2abovethelowest
permissiblewaterlevel,asdeterminedbytheboilerManufacturer.
(I9250)Theboilermanufacturerdeterminesthelowestpermissiblelevel
(I9266)SamePG60.1definition
(I8906)GageglassesarepartofBoilerExternalpiping,subjecttoPG60.Weldedgagebodies
maybeprovidedbyamanufacturerwithoutaSection1certificate.
(PG5.5)Theuseofaustenitic(series300SS)alloysteelispermittedforboilerpressureparts
thataresteamtouchedinnormaloperation.ExceptasspecificallyprovidedinPG9.1.1,PG
12,andPEB5.3,theuseofsuchausteniticalloysforboilerpressurepartsthatarewater
wettedinnormalserviceisprohibited.
(PG5.5note1).Austeniticalloysaresusceptibletointergranularcorrosionandstress
corrosioncrackingwhenusedinboilerapplicationsinwaterwettedservice.Factorsthat
affectthesensitivitytothesemetallurgicalphenomenaareappliedorresidualstressand
waterchemistry.Susceptibilitytoattackisusuallyenhancedbyusingthematerialina
stressedconditionwithaconcentrationofcorrosiveagents(e.g.chlorides,causticorreduced
sulfurspecies).Forsuccessfuloperationinwaterenvironments,residualandappliedstresses
4|P a g e

FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

musstbeminimizzedandcare
efulattentio
onmustbeppaidtocontinuouscontrrolofwater
chem
mistry.
(PG12.1)Gagegglassbodyaandconnecto
ormaterialsshallcomplywithaManufacturers
stan
ndardthatde
efinestheprressuretemperaturerattingmarkedontheunit.Thematerrialsused
mayyincludeaussteniticstain
nlesssteelsaandnickelbaasedalloys.

DensityErrorCo
onsideration
ns:Visualgaugesaretyppicallypositionedwithou
utconsideraationfor
denssitylevelerrror.Thesew
willindicatecorrectlyatlowpressurre,withincreeasingerrorras
presssureincreasses.Iftheggaugemustb
bedensityccorrectedttherearesevveralapproaaches:
1. Heatthewate
H
erinthegauggewithanadditionalpipe connectedto
othesteamd
downcomer(referred
toassteamh
t
eatingortem
mperatureequalization).
2. Installthegau
ugeinalowerposition,calculatedforoonepressureandoneindiccatedlevel.
rtatthegauggeshowingth
3. Provideacha
P
heamountoffcorrectionaatvariousopeeratingpressu
ures.

a. ReflexGages
R
s.SeeFIGUR
RE3.These
egageshaveegroovedglassthatapp
pliestheprin
nciplesof
lightreflectionandtranssmissiontod
developaW
White/Blackiimage,indicatingthewaater
level.Maxim
mumoperatingsteamprressureistyppically350p
psi.SeeFIGU
URE4that
demonstrate
d
esthisoperaatingprincip
ple.

FIG
GURE3

FIG
GURE4

AdditionalA
A
ASMERequirements:
(PG60.1)Ga
(
ageglassasssemblieshavvingmultipleesections,w
whetheroftu
ubularoroth
her
construction
c
n,shallbede
esignedinsu
uchamanneerthatwilleensureamin
nimumof1(25mm)
5|P a g e

FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

overlapofal
o
lladjoiningssectionsinw
whichthewaaterlevelmaaybevisible,exceptthatported
orREFLEXga
o
agesthatuse
erefractionoflighttoa idreadydetterminationoftheliquid
dlevel,
mayomitth
m
erequireme
entforoverlappingsectiions.
(I0438)Des
(
scribessame
erequireme
entsasabovee.

b. FlatglassGag
F
gesandTubularGlassGages.FIGUR
RE5.Thesegagesrelyo
ontheabilityytosee
thewater/st
t
teaminterfaace(meniscu
us)insidetheegageglass..Tubularglaassgagesop
perateat
lowpressure
esandbecom
mefragileassglasslengt hincreases.Designpreessurewilllim
mitthe
safeglasslen
s
ngth.Flatglaassgauges,aalsocalledArmoured,,canoperateathigher
pressures.
p

WEBNO
OT
PERMITTTED

FIG
GURE5FIGURE6

AdditionalASMEERequireme
ents:FIGUREE6
etransversestructuralm
members(crosswebbingg)asa
(PG60.1)Gagegglassdesignsthatutilize
meaanstostrenggthenthebo
odyofthegaage,whicha renotcontinuousoverttheentireveertical
lenggthofthegageglass,are
enotpermittted.Note:TTransverseo
orcrossweb
bstructural
strengtheningm
memberswillcauseareasalongthellengthoftheegageglasswheretheliquid
levelcannotbereadilydete
erminedbecaauseofmaskingshadow
wscausedbyythepresenceofthe
transversemem
mbers.Reflexxtypedesignsthatutilizzedsolidmeembersbehindtheglassthatare
conttinuousoverrtheverticallengthofth
heglass,anddfrontlitbyyeitherambientorprojeected
sourrcesasapplicable,areno
otprohibited.

P
es.FIGURE7.Thesegaugescanopeerateatveryyhighsteampressuresb
because
c. PortedGage
areaisredu
thewindow
t
uced.Thegaagebodyiscconstructedinatrapezo
oidshape.The

6|P a g e

FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

illuminatorw
i
willprojectaaREDandGREENlightthhroughthep
portstoprovideaRED/G
GREEN
indicationof
i
fdrumwate
erlevel.

GURE7
FIG

AdditionalA
A
ASMERequirements:
(PG60.1)Po
(
ortedgageso
orreflexgaggesthatuserefractiono
oflighttoaid
dready
determinatio
d
onoftheliquidlevel,maayomittherequiremen
ntforoverlap
ppingsections.
FIGURE8illu
F
ustratesthisoperatingp
principleanddtheimaged
ddisplayed.

FIGUR
RE8

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FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

(I0708)Ah
(
handheldligghtsource(fllashlight)heeldbehindaportedgageedoesnotsaatisfy
therequirem
t
mentthatthegagebeeq
quippedtopprovideobviiousvisualdiscriminatio
on
betweenwa
b
aterandvapo
orintheind
dividualsectiions.
Note:ARED
N
/GREENillum
minatordesignedforpr operdisplayyofthelevelinthebico
olour
gaugeMUST
g
TbeusedtosatisfythisA
ASMErequirrement.

2. WatterColumns..FIGURE9.ThisillustrattionisfromASMESectio
onI,figureP
PG60.Thesse
columnsareuse
edasaninte
erfacebetwe
eenthesteamdrumand
dthevisualggaugeandp
provide
enefits:
theffollowingbe
a.
a Allowsfo
ormismatch
hbetweendrrumandvisuualgagecon
nnectioncen
nters
b.
b Providessafixedandrigidpointttoinstalltheegageisolationvalves
c.
c Preventssexcessiveccondensateffromflowinggthroughth
hegageandoverthegagge
window,reducingorrobscuringtthevisibility .

FIG
GURE9

AdditionalA
A
ASMERequirements:
(PG60.2.3)E
(
EachwaterccolumnshallbefurnisheedwithaconnectionofatleastNPSS3/4
(DN20)toin
(
stallavalveddraintoasafepointoofdischarge.
PG60.3.1)G
P
Gageglassesthatarereq
quiredbyPG
G60.1shallb
beconnecteeddirectlyto
othe
shellordrum
s
moftheboillerortoaninterveningw
watercolum
mn.Whentw
wogageglasssesare
required,bo
r
othmaybecconnectedto
oasinglewaatercolumn..

8|P a g e

FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

(PG60.3.2)Thelowere
edgeofthessteamconneectionbetweeenawatercolumn,gaggeglass
oraustenitic
o
cstainlesssteelornickelbasedalloyywaterlevelsensingdeviceintheb
boiler
shallnotbe
s
belowtheh
highestvisiblewaterleveelinthegageglass.Theereshallben
nosagor
offsetinthe
o
pipingthatwillpermitttheaccumullationofwatter.
(PG60.3.3)T
(
Theupperedgeofthew
waterconnecctionbetweenawaterccolumn,gageglass,
oraustenitic
o
cstainlesssteelofnickellbasedallow
wwaterleveelsensingdeeviceandtheeboiler
abovethelo
shallnotbe
s
owestvisible
ewaterleve linthegageeglass.Nop
partofthisp
pipe
connections
c
shallbeabovvethepointtofconnectiionatthewaatercolumn
n.
(PG60.3.4)C
(
Connectionssfromthebo
oilertothew
watercolum
mnshallbeaatleastNPS1
1(DN25)

3. Cond
ductivityPro
obeSystemss.FIGURE10
0Thesedeviccesmeasureelevelusingtheprincipllethat
thecconductivityyofwateran
ndsteamare
esignificantllydifferent. Theconducctivityprobeeacts
likeanon/offsw
witch.Alow
wvoltageisappliedtoth eprobetiptthatisinsulaatedfromth
he
columnbody.TThereturnsiggnalismeassuredbyaneelectronicciircuit.Steam
mappearsassan
open
ncircuit,wh
hilewatershortsthepro
obetogrounndandappeaarsasacloseedcircuit.TThe
cond
ductivitypro
obesarelocaatedatvario
ouslocationssinaprobecolumntop
providediscrrete
indiccationsofdrrumwaterle
evel.

FIG
GURE10

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FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

AdditionalA
A
ASMERequirements:
(I0122)Aus
(
steniticmate
erials(seriess300SS)cannnotbeused
dforlevelin
ndicators
(I0125)Con
(
nductivityprrobetypelevelcolumnsscannotuseausteniticm
materials.

DensityErro
D
orConsideraations.Asdiiscussedearrlier,watertemperatureeintheprob
be
columnwill
c
belowerthaanthedrum
mwatertempperature,causingadenssitylevelerrror.
Probelocatio
P
onscanbeindividuallyccorrectedtooimprovetheaccuracyo
oftheindicaated
drumlevela
d
ataspecifico
operatingprressure.Proobesathighlevelsreceivvemorecorrrection
thanprobes
t
atlowlevels.Measurementerrorssareintrodu
ucedwheno
operatingat
pressuresot
p
therthanthe
enormaloperatingpresssure,andin
nparticularw
whenatcold
dstartup
conditions.
c

erentialPresssure(dp)Trransmitters.FIGURE11. Theseproductsprovideea420mAsignalto
4. Diffe
indiccatedrumle
evelandaremostcomm
monlyusedfoordrumleveelcontrol.TTheyoperateeby
meaasuringthed
differenceinpressurebe
etweenthellevelofwateerinthedru
umandthew
waterin
astaaticcolumn,alsocalledttheReferen
nceLeg.Asscanbeseenfromthed
diagram,low
wdrum
wate
erlevelspro
oducehighdeltap,andh
highdrumw
waterlevelsp
producelow
wdeltap.Acccurate
andrepeatablemeasurementsthatareunaffectedbychangesinboilerpreessureare
challengingsincetheinstrum
mentsoperaateatthousaandsofpsib
boilerpressu
ure,butmusst
meaasureonlyinchesofwate
erpressuredifferential,oftenlessthanonepsidifferential..To
achieveaccuracy,highpresssuresystemsmustbePPressureCom
mpensated,meaningth
hatthe
operratingpressu
ureismeasu
uredandthe
eindicatedddrumlevelisscorrected.Multivariab
ble
denssitycompensatedtransm
mittersareaalsoavailableethatmeasuredifferen
ntialpressuree,
abso
olutepressure,andproccessorwetlegtemperatture.Measu
urementsan
ndcalculatio
ons
with
hinonedevicceshouldreduceerrors..

FIG
GURE11
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FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

AdditionalASMERequirements
(I9263)Acomputerterminalleveldisplaycanbeselectedondemand,providedthe
secondremotelevelindicatoriscontinuous,withonevisualgaugeinserviceandvisibleto
theoperator.
(I0119)Thesamesignalalgorithmcanbeusedfortworemoteindicators

DensityErrorConsiderations:FIGURE12Thedrumlevelindicatedtotheoperatorisa
calculatedvaluebasedonthefollowingmeasurementsandassumptions:
a. dptransmittermeasurement
b. Pressuretransmittermeasurement(requiredforpressurecorrection)
c. Referencelegheight
d. Referencelegtemperature
e. Variablelegtemperature
f. Steamandwaterdensitycalculationattheoperatingpressure

LP=
HP=
DP=
DP=
DP=

H1D1 + H2D2 + H4D4


H3D3 + H4D4
HP - LP
(H3D3 + H4D4) - (H1D1 + H2D2 + H4D4)
H3D3 - H1D1 - H2D2

D1= STEAM DENSITY


D2= DRUM WATER DENSITY
D3= REFERENCE LEG DENSITY

NOTE: DISTANCE X MUST BE SUFFICIENT SO


THAT T IS AT AMBIENT TEMPRATURE

FIGURE12

Significantlevelindicationerrorsareintroducedwhentheassumptionsusedinthelevel
calculationformulasdonotagreewiththeactualparameters.Errorsarealsointroduced
duetoinstallationmistakes.Thesensinglinesfromtheboilertothedpinstrumentshould
beslopedtopreventformationofgaspocketsanderroneouslevelreadings.Toobtainthe
bestaccuracy,temperaturesinthereferenceandvariablelegsmustaccuratelyestimated.
FIGURE12showstheidealdptransmitterinstallationthatintroducestheminimum
numberofvariablesintotherequiredequations.
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FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

Inaddition,
I
FIGURE13b
belowillustraatesthattheedensityofwaterandd
densityofsteeam
approachea
a
achotheraspressureinccreases.Th iswillexaceerbateanyerrorsinthed
drum
waterlevelc
w
calculation.

FIGUREE13

TABLE1belo
T
owwillbeussedtoillustrrateanumbberofexamp
plesofdptraansmittererrrors
introducedb
i
byinaccurateassumptio
ons.

LINE
NO
O.
1
2
3

LINE
NO
O.
4
5
6
7

REF
LEG
TEMP
DEGF
120
120
120

STM
PRESS
P
PSIA
2500
2
20
2500
2

STM
TEMP
DEGF
668
228
668

H1
INCH
12
12
12

D1
D
LB//FT3
7.6
658
0.0
0498
7.6
658

H2
INCH
36
36
24

D2
LB/FT3
34.97
59.42
34.97

H33
INCCH
488
488
488

D3
LB/FT3
61.71
61.71
61.71

Y
INCH
0
0
12

TEEMP
TTY
DEEGF
0
0
5565

DP
INCHES
25.86
25.86
25.86
25.86

REF
LEG
TEMP
T
DEGF
D
120
50
120
120

STM
PRESS
PSIA
2500
2500
20
2500

STM
TEMP
DEGF
668
668
228
668

D1
D
LB//FT3
7.6
658
7.6
658
0.0
0498
7.6
658

D2
LB/FT3
34.97
34.97
59.42
34.97

H3
INCH
48
48
48
48

D33
LB/FFT3
61..7
62..4
61..7
61..7

Y
INCH
0
0
0
12

DY
LB/FT3
0
0
0
44.96

H
H2
IN
NCH
366.01
377.24
222.72
166.25

12||P a g e

DY
LB/FT3
0
0
44.96

DP
INCHES
25.86
13.20
22.46

FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

FromFIGURE12,Theformulaforthetransmitterdpis:

1) Dp=H3D3H1D1H2D1

Notethat:H1=H3H2

ReplacingH1intheDpformula,theformulacanbesimplifiedas:

2) Dp=[H3(D3D1)+H2(D1D2)]/62.3

IftheDpisknown,theheightofwaterinthedrumcanbecalculatedfrom:

3) H2=[62.3(DP)H3(D3D1)]/D1D2

Theunitsintheseformulasare:
Dpinchesofwaterpressure
Height(H):Inches
Density(D):lb/ft3
Conversionfactor:62.3

EXAMPLE1:Referencelegtemperaturelowerthanestimated.Comparelines1,4,andline
5intheTABLE1.Theassumptionsare:
Steamdrumpressure:2500psia
Reflegheight,H3,48inches
Referencelegtemperature:120F
Drumwaterlevel,H2,36inches
Thecalculateddpmeasurementis25.86inchesofwater(TABLEline1).Thisisconfirmed
inline4.Ifthemeasureddpis25.86,thecalculateddrumlevel(H2)is36.01

But,iftheactualreferencelegtemperatureis50Finsteadoftheassumed120F,theeffect
ofthiserrorisshowninline5ofthetable.Withthedptransmittermaintainingdrumlevel
controlat25.86,theactualdrumlevelwillbeat37.24.Anerrorof1.23.

EXAMPLE2:Nopressurecompensationofthedptransmitter.
Assumethesameconditionsasabove,withthedptransmittersettomaintainadrumlevel
of36whentheboilerisat2500psi.(Line1andline4).
Ifnopressurecompensationwasavailableduringboilerstartup(Tableline6),atadrum
pressureof20psithedrumwaterlevelwouldbeat22.72,anerrorof13.3.

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FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

EXAMPLE3:DPtransmittervariablelegconnectedtothebottomofthedrum.TheFIGURE
14belowshowsthisinstallationmethod.

FIGURE14.Variablelegoffbottomofdrum

LP=
HP=
DP=
DP=
DP=

H1D1 + H2D2 + H4D4


H3D3 + H4D4
HP - LP
(H3D3 + H4D4) - (H1D1 + H2D2 + H4D4)
H3D3 - H1D1 - H2D2

D1= STEAM DENSITY


D2= DRUM WATER DENSITY
D3= REFERENCE LEG DENSITY

Assumingthesameboilerconditionsasthefirsttwoexamples,butH2drumlevelnow
includestheYcomponentthatwillbeatalowertemperaturethanthesteamdrum
watersaturationtemperature.
AssumeforthisinstallationthatYis12inches,andthiswaterinthislineissubcooled
100Fbelowthesaturateddrumwatertemperature(waterat565F).Theeffectofthis
changeisshowninLines#3and#7.
ThedrumlevelfromLine#7willbethetotalofYandthecalculatedH2,or28.25.This
isanerrorof7.75fromthesetpoint(36).

5. MagneticFloatIndicators.FIGURE15.Thesedevicesconsistofastainlesssteel(orothernon
magneticmaterial)pipechamberandaninternalfloat.Thefloatisalsononmagnetic,but
containsaringofmagnets.Themagnetswithinthefloatoperateamagneticindicatorlocated
ontheoutsideofthepressurechamber.Theindicatoriseitherasinglefollower,oraseries
offlagsthatrotateandchangecolourasthefloatmagnetspassby.Thefloatmagneticring
willcollectcorrosionparticles(iron/steel)fromthewaterandthefloatmustberemovedand
cleanedperiodically,dependingonwaterquality.Floatsmustbecomelargeraspressure
increasesduetothereductioninwaterdensity.

14|P a g e

FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

STAINLESS STEEL
CHAMBER WALL

INDICATING
FLAGS

FLUX
RING
LIQUID
LEVEL

FLOAT
MAGNETS

FLOAT

FIGURE15

AdditionalASMERequirements:
(PG60.1.1.4)Independentremotelevelindicatorsthatcontainsensingdevicesthat
includeamagneticallycoupledfloatinsideanonmagneticcylindricalpressurechamberto
utilizethroughthewallsensingoffloatpositionshallberestrictedtotherequirementsof
PG12.2.Thedesignandconstructionofsuchdevicesshallincludeprovisionsforeaseof
cleaningandmaintenance.Attachmentofanycontroldevicesforuseotherthan
indicatingwaterlevelisprohibited.

(PG12.2)Boilershavingamaximumallowableworkingpressurenotexceeding900psi(6
MPa)mayusealternativemethodsforindependentremotewaterlevelindicatorsorwater
levelsensingdevices(seePG60).Thesensingdevicesmayincludeamagneticallycoupled
floatinsideanonmagneticcylindricalpressurechambertoutilizethroughthewallsensing
offloatposition.Thepressurechamberstressesshallmeettheappropriaterequirements
ofPG27andPartPW,andshallberestrictedtothematerialgradeslistedinPG12.3

DensityErrorConsiderations:Aswithothermanometertypeindicators,thedifference
indensitybetweenthewaterinthedrumandthewaterinthemagneticfloatcolumnwill
causealevelindicationerror.Theerrorincreasesasthemeasuredlevelincreases.Higher
pressuresandlongervisibilitieswillcreatelargererrors.Itispossibletocorrectforthis
erroratoneoperatingpressureandoneindicatedlevel(typicallythezeroposition)by
15|P a g e

FOSSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

calculatinga
c
acorrectedffloatposition
nbasedonffloatweight,,floatdisplaacedvolume,and
averagewat
a
tertemperatturewithintthechamberr.Howeverr,errorsareintroducedatother
operatinglev
o
velsandoth
heroperatinggpressures.

Example:Op
E
peratingPresssurediffere
entthancalcculation.

FIGUREE16

Assumethat
A
tthemagnetticfloatpositionisdesiggnedforano
operatingprressureof90
00psia.
Assume:Ste
A
eamdrumle
evel(Hd)of3
36inches.
MaagGaugesub
bcoolingof100Ffromthedrumw
watertemperrature.
Theheighto
T
ofthewaterinthegauge
eis:

Hg=Hd(Dd
H
Ds)
Ds)/(Dg

Thetablebe
T
elowshowsttheindicatio
onerrorwheenoperatedat300psia

PRESSS
PSIA

900
300

TEMP
F

532
417

Hd
INCH

36
36

Dd
LB/FT3

47.10
52.92

Ds
LB/FT3

2.00
0.65

TEMP
P
GAUGE,,Tg
F
432
317

Dgg
LB/FFT3

52.3
36
56.7
75

H
Hg
INC
CH

32..24
33..54

Thistaableshowstthattheleve
elinthefloatchamberw
willchangeb
by:
33.5432.
3
24=1.30

Inaddition,thebuoyan
ncyoftheflo
oatwillincre
ease,raisinggtheposition
nofthefloat,andaddin
ng
furthererro
or.
16||P a g e

FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

6. GuidedWaveRadarLevelIndicators.FIGURE17Comparedwiththeothertechnologiesinuse,
thisoneisrelativelynew.Guidedwavetechnologysendsaradarpulsedownaprobeinstalled
inanexternalcolumn.Thepulsereflectsoffthesurfaceofthewaterbackuptheprobeand
tothesensor.Thetransittimeistranslatedintoadistance,andbasedondimensionsofthe
installation,thewaterleveliscalculated.Thisdeviceproducesacontinuousreading(420mA
signal)ofthewaterlevel.Theadvantageofthismethodoverothertypesofradarsensorsis
thattheprobeguidestheradarpulseandconcentratesboththepulseandthereturnsignal
energy.Effectivelytransmittingtheradarpulsethroughthelongguideandthroughthe
pressurecontainmentboundarytotheelectronicsrequiresspecializedsealsandconstruction.

FIGURE17

DensityErrorConsiderations.Aswithotherdevicesusingawatercolumnconnectedtothe
steamdrum,thewaterinthecolumnwillbecolderandconsequentlyatalowerlevelthanthe
steamdrumtemperature.Iftheactualwatertemperatureinthecolumnismeasured,it
wouldbepossiblefortheelectronicstocalculateandapplyacorrectionfactortotheindicated
level.

Anadditionalconsiderationaffectingindicationaccuracyisthesignificantchangethatoccurs
indielectricconstantsofwaterandsteamaspressureandtemperaturechanges.Theradar
pulsereflectionisactuallycausedbydetectingtheimpedancechangebetweenthewater
andsteam.Anychangeinthesevalueswillaffectthepulsetransittime,andtheindicated
level.Thetablebelowshowsthisaffect.

17|P a g e

FOSSILPOWERSYSTEMSINC.

TEMP(F) PRESSURE LIQDENS. VAPOR


DIELECTRIC DIELECTRIC ERROR
(PSIA)
(LB/FT3) DENSITY CONS,LIQ CONS,VAP %
(LB/FT3)
100
0
61.99
0.0029 73.95
1.001
0.0
400
247
53.65
0.537
34
1.069
3.4
600
1543
42.32
3.74
18.04
1.461
21

ThedielectricconstantsofWaterandSteamapproacheachotheraspressureincreases.Programswithin
theelectronicscancompensateforthischangeandmaintainthelevelindicationaccuracy.

E. CONCLUSION
TheASMEBoilerandPressureVesselCodeliststherequirementsforsteamdrumlevelgauges
andindicatorstoensuresafeoperationoftheboiler.Directreadingvisuallevelgaugesare
requiredoneveryboiler.Thesecanbecomplimentedwithotherindirectinstrumentsto
attainthegoalofsafeandefficientboileroperation.Buttoattainthisgoal,instrumentsmust
beproperlyselectedforthedesignconditions,installedproperly,calibratedproperly,and
maintained.Ifanyoneoftheserequirementsisignored,performancewillbedegraded.All
instrumentshaveinherentstrengthsandweaknessesbasedonthetechnologyemployedto
measurelevel.Theseinstrumentcharacteristicsshouldbethoroughlyunderstoodbytheuser,
orindicationswillbemisleading.Aprudentandconservativeapproachistousesome
combinationofthedifferentproventechnologies.Theindependentindicationsthese
instrumentsgivewillthenprovideconfidencethattheboilerisalwaysoperatedinasafe
condition.

F. REFERENCES
1. Liptak,BelaG.,InstrumentEngineersHandbook,ThirdEdition1969
2. Kalix,D.A,DensityLevelErrorandItsCorrectioninBoilerDrumLevelIndication,ISA
ConferenceOctober1995
3. Boyes,W.SomeThingsdoexactlywhattheyaresupposedto,ControlMagazineFeb2004
4. Evely,D.P.,HeatRecoverySteamGeneratorDrumLevelMeasurementSourcesofError,ISA
jointPOWID/EPRIconference,2004
5. Gilman,J.BoilerDrumLevelControl,ISAJuly/August2010

DavidKalix,P.E.CopyrightC2011FossilPowerSystems,Inc.
FossilPowerSystemsInc.AllRightsReserved
10MosherDrive,Dartmouth,27July2011
NovaScotia,Canada
B3B1N5
(902)4682743

18|P a g e