Steam, Its Generation and Use Part 45

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The table may be used conversely to determine the pressure drop through a pipe of a given diameter delivering a specified amount of steam by pa.s.sing from the known figure in the left to the column on the right headed by the pressure which is the mean of the initial and final pressures corresponding to the drop found and the actual initial pressure present.

For a given flow of steam and diameter of pipe, the drop in pressure is proportional to the length and if discharge quant.i.ties for other lengths of pipe than 1000 feet are required, they may be found by proportion.


FLOW OF STEAM INTO THE ATMOSPHERE __________________________________________________________________ | | | | | | | Absolute | Velocity | Actual | Discharge | Horse Power | | Initial | of Outflow | Velocity | per Square | per Square | | Pressure | at Constant | of Outflow | Inch of | Inch of | | per Square | Density | Expanded | Orifice | Orifice if | | Inch | Feet per | Feet per | per Minute | Horse Power | | Pounds | Second | Second | Pounds | = 30 Pounds | | | | | | per Hour | |____________|_____________|____________|____________|_____________| | | | | | | | 25.37 | 863 | 1401 | 22.81 | 45.6 | | 30. | 867 | 1408 | 26.84 | 53.7 | | 40. | 874 | 1419 | 35.18 | 70.4 | | 50. | 880 | 1429 | 44.06 | 88.1 | | 60. | 885 | 1437 | 52.59 | 105.2 | | 70. | 889 | 1444 | 61.07 | 122.1 | | 75. | 891 | 1447 | 65.30 | 130.6 | | 90. | 895 | 1454 | 77.94 | 155.9 | | 100. | 898 | 1459 | 86.34 | 172.7 | | 115. | 902 | 1466 | 98.76 | 197.5 | | 135. | 906 | 1472 | 115.61 | 231.2 | | 155. | 910 | 1478 | 132.21 | 264.4 | | 165. | 912 | 1481 | 140.46 | 280.9 | | 215. | 919 | 1493 | 181.58 | 363.2 | |____________|_____________|____________|____________|_____________|

Elbows, globe valves and a square-ended entrance to pipes all offer resistance to the pa.s.sage of steam. It is customary to measure the resistance offered by such construction in terms of the diameter of the pipe. Many formulae have been advanced for computing the length of pipe in diameters equivalent to such fittings or valves which offer resistance. These formulae, however vary widely and for ordinary purposes it will be sufficiently accurate to allow for resistance at the entrance of a pipe a length equal to 60 times the diameter; for a right angle elbow, a length equal to 40 diameters, and for a globe valve a length equal to 60 diameters.

The flow of steam of a higher toward a lower pressure increases as the difference in pressure increases to a point where the external pressure becomes 58 per cent of the absolute initial pressure. Below this point the flow is neither increased nor decreased by a reduction of the external pressure, even to the extent of a perfect vacuum. The lowest pressure for which this statement holds when steam is discharged into the atmosphere is 25.37 pounds. For any pressure below this figure, the atmospheric pressure, 14.7 pounds, is greater than 58 per cent of the initial pressure. Table 68, by D. K. Clark, gives the velocity of outflow at constant density, the actual velocity of outflow expanded (the atmospheric pressure being taken as 14.7 pounds absolute, and the ratio of expansion in the nozzle being 1.624), and the corresponding discharge per square inch of orifice per minute.

Napier deduced an approximate formula for the outflow of steam into the atmosphere which checks closely with the figures just given. This formula is:

pa W = ---- (49) 70

Where W = the pounds of steam flowing per second, p = the absolute pressure in pounds per square inch, and a = the area of the orifice in square inches.

In some experiments made by Professor C. H. Peabody, in the flow of steam through pipes from inch to 1 inches long and inch in diameter, with rounded entrances, the greatest difference from Napier's formula was 3.2 per cent excess of the experimental over the calculated results.

For steam flowing through an orifice from a higher to a lower pressure where the lower pressure is greater than 58 per cent of the higher, the flow per minute may be calculated from the formula:

W = 1.9AK ((P - d)d)^{} (50)

Where W = the weight of steam discharged in pounds per minute, A = area of orifice in square inches, P = the absolute initial pressure in pounds per square inch, d = the difference in pressure between the two sides in pounds per square inch, K = a constant = .93 for a short pipe, and .63 for a hole in a thin plate or a safety valve.

[Ill.u.s.tration: Vesta Coal Co., California, Pa., Operating at this Plant 3160 Horse Power of Babc.o.c.k & Wilc.o.x Boilers]


The rate at which heat is transmitted from a hot gas to a cooler metal surface over which the gas is flowing has been the subject of a great deal of investigation both from the experimental and theoretical side. A more or less complete explanation of this process is necessary for a detailed a.n.a.lysis of the performance of steam boilers. Such information at the present is almost entirely lacking and for this reason a boiler, as a physical piece of apparatus, is not as well understood as it might be. This, however, has had little effect in its practical development and it is hardly possible that a more complete understanding of the phenomena discussed will have any radical effect on the present design.

The amount of heat that is transferred across any surface is usually expressed as a product, of which one factor is the slope or linear rate of change in temperature and the other is the amount of heat transferred per unit's difference in temperature in unit's length. In Fourier's a.n.a.lytical theory of the conduction of heat, this second factor is taken as a constant and is called the "conductivity" of the substance.

Following this practice, the amount of heat absorbed by any surface from a hot gas is usually expressed as a product of the difference in temperature between the gas and the absorbing surface into a factor which is commonly designated the "transfer rate". There has been considerable looseness in the writings of even the best authors as to the way in which the gas temperature difference is to be measured. If the gas varies in temperature across the section of the channel through which it is a.s.sumed to flow, and most of them seem to consider that this would be the case, there are two mean gas temperatures, one the mean of the actual temperatures at any time across the section, and the other the mean temperature of the entire volume of the gas pa.s.sing such a section in any given time. Since the velocity of flow will of a certainty vary across the section, this second mean temperature, which is one tacitly a.s.sumed in most instances, may vary materially from the first. The two mean temperatures are only approximately equal when the actual temperature measured across the section is very nearly a constant. In what follows it will be a.s.sumed that the mean temperature measured in the second way is referred to. In English units the temperature difference is expressed in Fahrenheit degrees and the transfer rate in B. t. u.'s per hour per square foot of surface. Pecla, who seems to have been one of the first to consider this subject a.n.a.lytically, a.s.sumed that the transfer rate was constant and independent both of the temperature differences and the velocity of the gas over the surface. Rankine, on the other hand, a.s.sumed that the transfer rate, while independent of the velocity of the gas, was proportional to the temperature difference, and expressed the total amount of heat absorbed as proportional to the square of the difference in temperature. Neither of these a.s.sumptions has any warrant in either theory or experiment and they are only valuable in so far as their use determine formulae that fit experimental results. Of the two, Rankine's a.s.sumption seems to lead to formulae that more nearly represent actual conditions. It has been quite fully developed by William Kent in his "Steam Boiler Economy". Professor Osborne Reynolds, in a short paper reprinted in Volume I of his "Scientific Papers", suggests that the transfer rate is proportional to the product of the density and velocity of the gas and it is to be a.s.sumed that he had in mind the mean velocity, density and temperature over the section of the channel through which the gas was a.s.sumed to flow. Contrary to prevalent opinion, Professor Reynolds gave neither a valid experimental nor a theoretical explanation of his formula and the attempts that have been made since its first publication to establish it on any theoretical basis can hardly be considered of scientific value. Nevertheless, Reynolds' suggestion was really the starting point of the scientific investigation of this subject and while his formula cannot in any sense be held as completely expressing the facts, it is undoubtedly correct to a first approximation for small temperature differences if the additive constant, which in his paper he a.s.sumed as negligible, is given a value.[83]

Experimental determinations have been made during the last few years of the heat transfer rate in cylindrical tubes at comparatively low temperatures and small temperature differences. The results at different velocities have been plotted and an empirical formula determined expressing the transfer rate with the velocity as a factor. The exponent of the power of the velocity appearing in the formula, according to Reynolds, would be unity. The most probable value, however, deduced from most of the experiments makes it less than unity. After considering experiments of his own, as well as experiments of others, Dr. Wilhelm Nusselt[84] concludes that the evidence supports the following formulae:

_ _ [lambda]_{w} | w c_{p} [delta] | a = b ------------ | --------------- |^{u} d^{1-u} |_ [lambda] _|

Where a is the transfer rate in calories per hour per square meter of surface per degree centigrade difference in temperature, u is a physical constant equal to .786 from Dr. Nusselt's experiments, b is a constant which, for the units given below, is 15.90, w is the mean velocity of the gas in meters per second, c_{p} is the specific heat of the gas at its mean temperature and pressure in calories per kilogram, [delta] is the density in kilograms per cubic meter, [lambda] is the conductivity at the mean temperature and pressure in calories per hour per square meter per degree centigrade temperature drop per meter, [lambda]_{w} is the conductivity of the steam at the temperature of the tube wall, d is the diameter of the tube in meters.

If the unit of time for the velocity is made the hour, and in the place of the product of the velocity and density is written its equivalent, the weight of gas flowing per hour divided by the area of the tube, this equation becomes:

_ _ [lambda]_{w} | Wc_{p} | a = .0255 ------------ | --------- |^{.786} d^{.214} |_ A[lambda] _|

where the quant.i.ties are in the units mentioned, or, since the constants are absolute constants, in English units,

a is the transfer rate in B. t. u. per hour per square foot of surface per degree difference in temperature, W is the weight in pounds of the gas flowing through the tube per hour, A is the area of the tube in square feet, d is the diameter of the tube in feet, c_{p} is the specific heat of the gas at constant pressure, [lambda] is the conductivity of the gas at the mean temperature and pressure in B. t. u. per hour per square foot of surface per degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature per foot, [lambda]_{w} is the conductivity of the steam at the temperature of the wall of the tube.

The conductivities of air, carbonic acid gas and superheated steam, as affected by the temperature, in English units, are:

Conductivity of air .0122 (1 + .00132 T) Conductivity of carbonic acid gas .0076 (1 + .00229 T) Conductivity of superheated steam .0119 (1 + .00261 T)

where T is the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit.

Nusselt's formulae can be taken as typical of the number of other formulae proposed by German, French and English writers.[85] Physical properties, in addition to the density, are introduced in the form of coefficients from a consideration of the physical dimensions of the various units and of the theoretical formulae that are supposed to govern the flow of the gas and the transfer of heat. All a.s.sume that the correct method of representing the heat transfer rate is by the use of one term, which seems to be unwarranted and probably has been adopted on account of the convenience in working up the results by plotting them logarithmically. This was the method Professor Reynolds used in determining his equation for the loss in head in fluids flowing through cylindrical pipes and it is now known that the derived equation cannot be considered as anything more than an empirical formula. It, therefore, is well for anyone considering this subject to understand at the outset that the formulae discussed are only of an empirical nature and applicable to limited ranges of temperature under the conditions approximately the same as those surrounding the experiments from which the constants of the formula were determined.

It is not probable that the subject of heat transfer in boilers will ever be on any other than an experimental basis until the mathematical expression connecting the quant.i.ty of fluid which will flow through a channel of any section under a given head has been found and some explanation of its derivation obtained. Taking the simplest possible section, namely, a circle, it is found that at low velocities the loss of head is directly proportional to the velocity and the fluid flows in straight stream lines or the motion is direct. This motion is in exact accordance with the theoretical equations of the motion of a viscous fluid and const.i.tutes almost a direct proof that the fundamental a.s.sumptions on which these equations are based are correct. When, however, the velocity exceeds a value which is determinable for any size of tube, the direct or stream line motion breaks down and is replaced by an eddy or mixing flow. In this flow the head loss by friction is approximately, although not exactly, proportional to the square of the velocity. No explanation of this has ever been found in spite of the fact that the subject has been treated by the best mathematicians and physicists for years back. It is to be a.s.sumed that the heat transferred during the mixing flow would be at a much higher rate than with the direct or stream line flow, and Professors Croker and Clement[86] have demonstrated that this is true, the increase in the transfer being so marked as to enable them to determine the point of critical velocity from observing the rise in temperature of water flowing through a tube surrounded by a steam jacket.

The formulae given apply only to a mixing flow and inasmuch as, from what has just been stated, this form of motion does not exist from zero velocity upward, it follows that any expression for the heat transfer rate that would make its value zero when the velocity is zero, can hardly be correct. Below the critical velocity, the transfer rate seems to be little affected by change in velocity and Nusselt,[87] in another paper which mathematically treats the direct or stream line flow, concludes that, while it is approximately constant as far as the velocity is concerned in a straight cylindrical tube, it would vary from point to point of the tube, growing less as the surface pa.s.sed over increased.

It should further be noted that no account in any of this experimental work has been taken of radiation of heat from the gas. Since the common gases absorb very little radiant heat at ordinary temperatures, it has been a.s.sumed that they radiate very little at any temperature. This may or may not be true, but certainly a visible flame must radiate as well as absorb heat. However this radiation may occur, since it would be a volume phenomenon rather than a surface phenomenon it would be considered somewhat differently from ordinary radiation. It might apply as increasing the conductivity of the gas which, however independent of radiation, is known to increase with the temperature. It is, therefore, to be expected that at high temperatures the rate of transfer will be greater than at low temperatures. The experimental determinations of transfer rates at high temperatures are lacking.

Although comparatively nothing is known concerning the heat radiation from gases at high temperatures, there is no question but what a large proportion of the heat absorbed by a boiler is received direct as radiation from the furnace. Experiments show that the lower row of tubes of a Babc.o.c.k & Wilc.o.x boiler absorb heat at an average rate per square foot of surface between the first baffle and the front headers equivalent to the evaporation of from 50 to 75 pounds of water from and at 212 degrees Fahrenheit per hour. Inasmuch as in these experiments no separation could be made between the heat absorbed by the bottom of the tube and that absorbed by the top, the average includes both maximum and minimum rates for those particular tubes and it is fair to a.s.sume that the portion of the tubes actually exposed to the furnace radiations absorb heat at a higher rate. Part of this heat was, of course absorbed by actual contact between the hot gases and the boiler heating surface.

A large portion of it, however, must have been due to radiation. Whether this radiant heat came from the fire surface and the brickwork and pa.s.sed through the gases in the furnace with little or no absorption, or whether, on the other hand, the radiation were absorbed by the furnace gases and the heat received by the boiler was a secondary radiation from the gases themselves and at a rate corresponding to the actual gas temperature, is a question. If the radiations are direct, then the term "furnace temperature", as usually used has no scientific meaning, for obviously the temperature of the gas in the furnace would be entirely different from the radiation temperature, even were it possible to attach any significance to the term "radiation temperature", and it is not possible to do this unless the radiations are what are known as "full radiations" from a so-called "black body". If furnace radiation takes place in this manner, the indications of a pyrometer placed in a furnace are hard to interpret and such temperature measurements can be of little value. If the furnace gases absorb the radiations from the fire and from the brickwork of the side walls and in their turn radiate heat to the boiler surface, it is scientifically correct to a.s.sume that the actual or sensible temperature of the gas would be measured by a pyrometer and the amount of radiation could be calculated from this temperature by Stefan's law, which is to the effect that the rate of radiation is proportional to the fourth power of the absolute temperature, using the constant with the resulting formula that has been determined from direct experiment and other phenomena. With this understanding of the matter, the radiations absorbed by a boiler can be taken as equal to that absorbed by a flat surface, covering the portion of the boiler tubes exposed to the furnace and at the temperature of the tube surface, when completely exposed on one side to the radiations from an atmosphere at the temperature in the furnace. With this a.s.sumption, if S^{1} is the area of the surface, T the absolute temperature of the furnace gases, t the absolute temperature of the tube surface of the boiler, the heat absorbed per hour measured in B. t. u.'s is equal to

_ _ | / T / t | 1600 | |----|^{4} - |----|^{4}| S^{1} |_1000/ 1000/ _|

In using this formula, or in any work connected with heat transfer, the external temperature of the boiler heating surface can be taken as that of saturated steam at the pressure under which the boiler is working, with an almost negligible error, since experiments have shown that with a surface clean internally, the external surface is only a few degrees hotter than the water in contact with the inner surface, even at the highest rates of evaporation. Further than this, it is not conceivable that in a modern boiler there can be much difference in the temperature of the boiler in the different parts, or much difference between the temperature of the water and the temperature of the steam in the drums which is in contact with it.

If the total evaporation of a boiler measured in B. t. u.'s per hour is represented by E, the furnace temperature by T_{1}, the temperature of the gas leaving the boiler by T_{2}, the weight of gas leaving the furnace and pa.s.sing through the setting per hour by W, the specific heat of the gas by C, it follows from the fact that the total amount of heat absorbed is equal to the heat received from radiation plus the heat removed from the gases by cooling from the temperature T_{1} to the temperature T_{2}, that

_ _ | / T / t | E = 1600 | |----|^{4} - |----|^{4}| S^{1} + WC(T_{1} - T_{2}) |_1000/ 1000/ _|

This formula can be used for calculating the furnace temperature when E, t and T_{2} are known but it must be remembered that an a.s.sumption which is probably, in part at least, incorrect is implied in using it or in using any similar formula. Expressed in this way, however, it seems more rational than the one proposed a few years ago by Dr. Nicholson[88]

where, in place of the surface exposed to radiation, he uses the grate surface and a.s.sumes the furnace gas temperature as equal to the fire temperature.

If the heat transfer rate is taken as independent of the gas temperature and the heat absorbed by an element of the surface in a given time is equated to the heat given out from the gas pa.s.sing over this surface in the same time, a single integration gives

Rs (T - t) = (T_{1} - t) e^{- --} WC

where s is the area of surface pa.s.sed over by the gases from the furnace to any point where the gas temperature T is measured, and the rate of heat transfer is R. As written, this formula could be used for calculating the temperature of the gas at any point in the boiler setting. Gas temperatures, however, calculated in this way are not to be depended upon as it is known that the transfer rate is not independent of the temperature. Again, if the transfer rate is a.s.sumed as varying directly with the weight of the gases pa.s.sing, which is Reynolds'

suggestion, it is seen that the weight of the gases entirely disappears from the formula and as a consequence if the formula was correct, as long as the temperature of the gas entering the surface from the furnace was the same, the temperatures throughout the setting would be the same.

This is known also to be incorrect. If, however, in place of T is written T_{2} and in place of s is written S, the entire surface of the boiler, and the formula is re-arranged, it becomes:

_ _ WC | T_{1} - t | R = --- Log[89]| --------- | S |_ T_{2} - t _|

This formula can be considered as giving a way of calculating an average transfer rate. It has been used in this way for calculating the average transfer rate from boiler tests in which the capacity has varied from an evaporation of a little over 3 pounds per square foot of surface up to 15 pounds. When plotted against the gas weights, it was found that the points were almost exactly on a line. This line, however, did not pa.s.s through the zero point but started at a point corresponding to approximately a transfer rate of 2. Checked out against many other tests, the straight line law seems to hold generally and this is true even though material changes are made in the method of calculating the furnace temperature. The inclination of the line, however, varied inversely as the average area for the pa.s.sage of the gas through the boiler. If A is the average area between all the pa.s.ses of the boiler, the heat transfer rate in Babc.o.c.k & Wilc.o.x type boilers with ordinary clean surfaces can be determined to a rather close approximation from the formula:

W R = 2.00 + .0014 - A

The manner in which A appears in this formula is the same as it would appear in any formula in which the heat transfer rate was taken as depending upon the product of the velocity and the density of the gas jointly, since this product, as pointed out above, is equivalent to W/A.

Nusselt's experiments, as well as those of others, indicate that the ratio appears in the proper way.

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Steam, Its Generation and Use Part 45 summary

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