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A boiler is a device for heating water and generating steam above

atmospheric pressure. The boiler consists of a compartment where
the fuel is burned and a compartment where water can be
evaporated into steam. The hot water or steam is used to transfer
heat to a process








Schematic overview of a boiler room

Boiler Mountings and Accessories

 Fitting and devices which are necessary for the safety and
control are knows as boiler mountings
 Fitting or devices which are provided to increase the efficiency
of the boiler and help in the smooth working of the plant are
knows as boiler accessories
• Safety valve: It is used to relieve pressure and prevent
possible explosion of a boiler.
• Water level indicators: They show the operator the level of
fluid in the boiler, also known as a sight glass, water gauge or
water column is provided.
• Bottom blow down valves: They provide a means for
removing solid particulates that condense and lay on the
bottom of a boiler. As the name implies, this valve is usually
located directly on the bottom of the boiler, and is occasionally
opened to use the pressure in the boiler to push these
particulates out.
• Continuous lowdown valve: This allows a small quantity of
water to escape continuously. Its purpose is to prevent the
water in the boiler becoming saturated with dissolved salts.
Saturation would lead to foaming and cause water droplets to
be carried over with the steam - a condition known as priming.
• Hand holes: They are steel plates installed in openings in
"header" to allow for inspections & installation of tubes and
inspection of internal surfaces.
• Steam drum internals, A series of screen, scrubber & cans
(cyclone separators).
• Low- water cutoff: It is a mechanical means (usually a float
switch) that is used to turn off the burner or shut off fuel to the
boiler to prevent it from running once the water goes below a
certain point. If a boiler is "dry-fired" (burned without water in it)
it can cause rupture or catastrophic failure.
• Surface blowdown line: It provides a means for removing
foam or other lightweight non-condensable substances that
tend to float on top of the water inside the boiler.
• Circulating pump: It is designed to circulate water back to the
boiler after it has expelled some of its heat.
• Feedwater check valve or clack valve: A no return stop valve
in the feed water line. This may be fitted to the side of the
boiler, just below the water level, or to the top of the boiler. A
top-mounted check valve is called a top feed and is intended to
reduce the nuisance of lime scale. It does not prevent lime
scale formation but causes the limescale to be precipitated in a
powdery form which is easily washed out of the boiler.
• Desuperheater tubes or bundles: A series of tubes or bundle
of tubes, in the water drum but sometime in the steam drum
that De-superheated steam. This is for equipment that doesn't
need dry steam.
• Chemical injection line: A connection to add chemicals for
controlling feedwater pH.

Steam accessories

• Main steam stop valve:

• Steam traps:
• Main steam stop/Check valve: It is used on multiple boiler

Combustion accessories

• Fuel oil system:

• Gas system:
• Coal system:

Other essential items

• Pressure gauges:
• Feed pumps:
• Fusible plug:
• Inspectors test pressure gauge attachment:
• Name plate:
• Registration plate


A water-tube boiler is a type of boiler in which water

circulates in tubes heated externally by the fire. Water-tube boilers
are used for high-pressure boilers. Fuel is burned inside the furnace,
creating hot gas which heats up water in the steam-generating tubes.
In smaller boilers, additional generating tubes are separate in the
furnace, while larger utility boilers rely on the water-filled tubes that
make up the walls of the furnace to generate steam. Interior to the
boiler tubes is the fluid medium to be heated or physically altered;
thus the name "water tube"


Many water-tube boilers operate on the principle of natural water

circulation (also known as 'thermo-siphoning'). This is a subject that is
worth covering before looking at the different types of water-tube
boilers that are available. Figure A helps to explain this principle:
Fig. A Natural water circulation in a water-tube

• Cooler feed water is introduced into the team drum behind a

baffle where, because the density of the cold water is greater, it
descends in the 'downcomer' towards the lower or 'mud' drum,
displacing the warmer water up into the front tubes.
• Continued heating creates steam bubbles in the front tubes,
which are naturally separated from the hot water in the steam
drum, and are taken off.

However, when the pressure in the water-tube boiler is increased, the

difference between the densities of the water and saturated steam
falls, consequently less circulation occurs. To keep the same level of
steam output at higher design pressures, the distance between the
lower drum and the steam drum must be increased, or some means
of forced circulation must be introduced.

Water-tube boiler sections

The energy from the heat source may be extracted as either radiant
or convection and conduction.
The furnace or radiant section
This is an open area accommodating the
flame(s) from the burner(s). If the flames were allowed to come into
contact with the boiler tubes, serious erosion and finally tube failure
would occur. The walls of the furnace section are lined with finned
tubes called membrane panels, which are designed to absorb the
radiant heat from the flame.

Fig B Heat transfer in the furnace or radiant section

Convection section
This part is designed to absorb the heat from the
hot gases by conduction and convection. Large boilers may have
several tube banks (also called pendants) in series, in order to gain

maximum energy from the hot gases.

Fig. C Heat transfer in the convection section

Water-tube boilers are usually
classified according to certain characteristics, see Table

Water-tube boiler classifications

Longitudinal drum boiler

The longitudinal drum boiler was the
original type of water-tube boiler that operated on the thermo-siphon
principle (see Figure 1).

Cooler feed water is fed into a drum, which is placed longitudinally

above the heat source. The cooler water falls down a rear circulation
header into several inclined heated tubes. As the water temperature
increases as it passes up through the inclined tubes, it boils and its
density decreases, therefore circulating hot water and steam up the
inclined tubes into the front circulation header which feeds back to the
drum. In the drum, the steam bubbles separate from the water and
the steam can be taken off.

Typical capacities for longitudinal drum boilers range from 2 250 kg/to
36 000 kg/h.
Cross drum boiler
The cross drum boiler is a variant of the
longitudinal drum boiler in that the drum is placed cross ways to the
heat source as shown in Figure2. The cross drum operates on the
same principle as the longitudinal drum except that it achieves a
more uniform temperature across the drum. However it does risk
damage due to faulty circulation at high steam loads; if the upper
tubes become dry, they can overheat and eventually fail.

The cross drum boiler also has the added advantage of being able to
serve a larger number of inclined tubes due to its cross ways position.

Typical capacities for a cross drum boiler range from 700 kg / h to

240 000 kg/h.

Fig.2 Cross drum boiler

D-type boiler

This is the most common type of small-medium sized

boilers, similar to the one shown in the schematic diagram. It is used
in both stationary and marine applications. It consists of a large
steam drum vertically connected to a smaller water drum (a.k.a.
mud drum) via multiple steam-generating tubes. These are
surrounded by walls made up of larger water filled tubes, which
make up the furnace.
Babcock & Wilcox boiler

This has a single drum, with feed water

drawn from the bottom of the drum into a header that supplies
inclined water-tubes. The water tubes supply steam back into the
top of the drum. Furnaces are located below the tubes and drum.
This type of boiler was used by the Royal Navy's Leander class
frigates. The Y160 variant used on the Batch 3 Leanders (e.g. HMS
Jupiter) also incorporated steam atomisation equipment on the fuel
supply so that the diesel fuel entering the boilers via the three main
burners was atomised into a fine spray for better flame efficiency.
The superheat temperature of the Y160 was controlled manually by
the Boiler Room Petty Officer of the Watch between 7500F and
8500F and the steam supplied to the main turbines was at a
pressure of 550 psi.

Bent tube or Stirling boiler

This type has three upper drums

connected to two lower drums by water tubes. These are mainly
used as stationary boilers. There are also Stirling's that are two
drum, a steam drum and a mud drum. These are used mostly in
industrial settings (Paper Mills, etc). These are also a type of boiler
you will see that will burn multiple fuels, such as bark, bagasse, etc.

Cooler feed water enters

the left upper drum, where
it falls due to greater
density, towards the lower,
or water drum. The water
within the water drum, and
the connecting pipes to the
other two upper drums, are
heated, and the steam
bubbles produced rise into
the upper drums where the
steam is then taken off.

The bent tube or Stirling

boiler allows for a large
surface heat transfer area,
as well as promoting
natural water circulation.

Advantages of Stirling construction, which eliminates fire brick

entirely, are:

• 100% water cooled

• 100% gas tight
• Full protection from dew point corrosion
• Ease of maintenance
• Maximum safety
• Maximum structure rigidity
• Minimum weight
• Fast erection

Yarrow Boiler
This type has three drums in a delta formation
connected by water tubes as shown in fig 9. The drums are linked by
straight water tubes, allowing easy tube-cleaning. This does however
mean that the tubes enter the drums at varying angles, a more
difficult joint to caulk. Outside the firebox, a pair of cold-leg pipes
between each drum act as down comers. Due to its three drums, the
Yarrow boiler has a greater water capacity. Hence, this type is usually
used in older marine boiler applications. Its compact size made it
attractive for use in transportable power generation units during
World War II. In order to make it transportable, the boiler and its
auxiliary equipment (fuel oil heating, pumping units, fans etc.),
turbines, and condensers were mounted on wagons to be transported
by rail.

Thornycroft Boiler
A single steam drum has
two sets of water tubes
either side of the furnace.
These tubes, especially
the central set, have sharp
curves as shown in fig11.
Apart from obvious
difficulties in cleaning
them, this may also give
rise to bending forces as
the tubes warm up, tending
to pull them loose from the
tube plate and creating a
leak. There are two
furnaces, venting into a
common exhaust, giving
the boiler a wide base
tapering profile.
A, D and O type Water tube Boiler
Water tube package boilers
are subdivided into three classes based on the geometry of the tubes.
The .A. design has two small lower drums and a larger upper drum
for steam-water separation. In the .D. design, which is the most
common, the unit has two drums and a large-volume combustion
chamber. The orientation of the tubes in a .D. boiler creates either a
left- or right-handed configuration. It is used in both stationary and
marine applications. It consists of a large steam drum vertically
connected to a smaller water drum (a.k.a. mud drum) via multiple
steam-generating tubes. These are surrounded by walls made up of
larger water filled tubes, which make up the furnace. For the .O.
design, the boiler tube configuration exposes the least amount of tube
surface to radiant heat. Rental units are often .O. boilers because
their symmetry is a benefit in transportation. FiguresA*-C*show tube
configurations for each of these water tube package boiler designs.

Fig. A*. Configuration of tubes for Fig.

B*Configuration of tubes for
.A. package watertube boiler. D. package
watertube boiler.
Fig C* Configuration of tubes for .O.
package watertube boiler.


Water-tube boilers are used in power station applications that


• A high steam output (up to 500 kg/s).

• High pressure steam (up to 160 bar).
• Superheated steam (up to 550°C).
• Again, their ability to work at higher pressures has led to marine
boilers being almost entirely water-tube. This change began around
1900, and traced the adoption of turbines for propulsion rather than
reciprocating (i.e. piston) engines - although water-tube boilers were
also used with reciprocating engines.

Advantages of water-tube boilers

• They have small water content, and therefore respond rapidly
to load change and heat input.
• The small diameter tubes and steam drum mean that much
higher steam pressures can be tolerated, and up to 160 bar
may be used in power stations.
• The design may include many burners in any of the walls,
giving horizontal, or vertical firing options, and the facility of
control of temperature in various parts of the boiler. This is
particularly important if the boiler has an integral super heater,
and the temperature of the superheated steam needs to be
Disadvantages of water-tube boilers
• They are not as simple to make in the packaged form as shell
boilers, which mean that more work is required on site.
• The option of multiple burners may give flexibility, but the 30 or
more burners used in power stations means that complex
control systems are necessary
• Lower tolerance for water quality and needs water treatment

A fire-tube boiler is a type of boiler in which hot gases
from a fire pass through one or more tubes running through a sealed
container of water. The heat energy from the gases passes through
the sides of the tubes by thermal conduction, heating the water and
ultimately creating steam. A fire tube boiler can be either horizontal or
vertical. A fire-tube boiler is sometimes called a "smoke-tube boiler"
or "shell boiler" or sometimes just "fire pipe".