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# 8/20/13

The expansion vessel : Tempco Blog

The expansion vessel
When we talked about storage tanks in thermal plants we meant of course open tanks. Storage tanks also function as “expansion vessels”. The expansion tank has a dual function: thermal and hydraulic. From a thermal point of view its function is to allow water, which is an incompressible fluid, to expand or contract. In order for this to be possible it is necessary for the fluid to be in contact with a gas that can compensate for the expansions and contractions of the fluid. There are three possible configurations: open atmosphere vessel; closed vessel, containing water and air (or other inert gas) without any for of separation (selfpressurization or pressurization with air or gas that is inserted from the outside); closed vessel with a separating membrane between the water and an inert gas (nitrogen)

The volume of the expansion vessels can be calculated by using the following expressions: for a vessel that is open to the atmosphere:

for a closed vessel without a diaphragm:

for a closed vessel with diaphragm:

where: V v = the volume of the expansion vessel (L) V w = the volume of the inside the plant (L) v 1 = the specific volume of the cold water at a lowest temperature t1 (m3 / kg) v 2 = the specific volume of the water at the highest temperature t2 (m3 / kg) α = the coefficient of the expansion of metals (see table) - per steel α = 1,2 . 10- 5 (1/K) - per copper α = 1,65 10- 5 (1/K)

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com/3432/the-expansion-vessel/?doing_wp_cron=1376980215. 10 °C t2 = the water’s maximum flow temperature 85 : 90 °C In superheated water systems the temperature t2 can reach ​ up to 130 ° C and beyond. t2 = the minimum functioning temperature. 7°C . 35°C . for example. In hot water systems the reference temperatures are predominantly: t1 = the temperature during filling.tempcoblog. The water’s specific volumes are shown in the following table. Instead in cooling water circuits: t1 = the maximum water temperature that can be reached when the system is not functioning.8/20/13 The expansion vessel : Tempco Blog ∆t = t2 – t1 (°C ) P a = absolute atmospheric pressure (bar) P i = initial absolute pressure at the lowest temperature t1 (bar) P f = absolute pressure while functioning at the highest temperature t2 (bar) The expression: V w [(v 2/v 1) – 1] – 3 α∆t (L) represents the volume variation.5700790882110595703125 2/10 . www.

the vessel’s capacity must be at least twice the water’s expansion volume in order to prevent water from leaking due to possible overflow during the heating phase and is fed back into the vessel again during the cooling phase. www. The illustration shows the accessories that the vessel must be equipped with.tempcoblog. the pressure is equal to the vessel’s air pressure which is increased or decreased by the liquid located above or below. Open expansion vessel The vessel and the safety tubes must be protected from freezing temperatures. Open expansion vessel As can be see by its expression. Pressure values at the insertion point of different types of expansion vessels.com/3432/the-expansion-vessel/?doing_wp_cron=1376980215. thus making it possible to eliminate one or more boilers. At the point in which the vessel is inserted in the circuit. As far as systems using many boilers is concerned it is good practice to provide each with its own boiler expansion vessel.5700790882110595703125 3/10 .8/20/13 The expansion vessel : Tempco Blog From a hydraulic point of view the expansion tank determines and sets the system’s pressure reference.

“Safety standards for appliances containing hot liquids under pressure”). . . . .for the expansion or loading pipe which must enable the speedy filling of the boiler using water from the vessel.tempcoblog. the safety pipe must be able to vent any vapor produced in the boiler. the illustration of the connection of the expansion tank with filler and safety pipes is typically used in the German DIN standard and the diameters of the tubes. can be calculated by using the following expressions: .a pressure gauge with flange for the checking pressure gauge.a thermometer with an inlay for the checking thermometer .5700790882110595703125 4/10 . The hot water heating systems that use open expansion vessels. www. with a functioning pressure that does not exceed 5 bar. as a result of this standard.automatic adjusting thermal switch.in the event of overheating. The illustrations below show some possible connection diagrams.com/3432/the-expansion-vessel/?doing_wp_cron=1376980215. .a safety pipe between the vessel and the generator that has a diameter equal to its virtual length and to the generator’s thermal power (see.automatic blocking thermal switch.8/20/13 The expansion vessel : Tempco Blog Expansion vessels for three specific generators.where P is the power of the generator or generators expressed in kW. should be provided with: .

5700790882110595703125 5/10 . a safety pipe that is sized for the nominal capacity of all the generators can be used. the pipes that connect each generator to the safety pipes must be installed with three-way valves using a passage cross section that is not smaller than the valves on the generator’s security tube.com/3432/the-expansion-vessel/?doing_wp_cron=1376980215.tempcoblog. only the connections of each generator to the normal safety tube can be sized for the single power. This ensures the connection between the generator and the atmosphere either via the safety pipe or via the vent tube. Should it be necessary to separate the generators from the expansion vessel. Connecting the expansion vessel with loading and safety tubes. Should there be many heat generators which run the same plant.8/20/13 The expansion vessel : Tempco Blog Connecting the open expansion vessel to a boiler. www.

if a heating body goes into depression. is considered a choking device and must consequently be installed in areas away from the connections with the vessel. www.tempcoblog.com/3432/the-expansion-vessel/?doing_wp_cron=1376980215. for example. Another important aspect that should be taken into consideration is installing the pump with respect to the boiler: suction (when sending) or under pressure (when returning). Installation instructions and pressure diagram.8/20/13 The expansion vessel : Tempco Blog Connecting two heating generators to only one safety tube. above all. in fact. The vent tube must be conveyed in order to prevent it from causing to persons in case there is water discharge. which can penetrate. that tube throttling should not be carried out on the open vessel plant’s two safety pipes: therefore. we should pay close attention because the circulation pumps must be installed in the water distribution network in a way that both physical and technical functions can be carried out. There are no safety requirements regarding this issue: the problem is solved by taking into consideration that no point in the network should be in depression. a pump. In order to verify the pressure of the piping network’s critical points it is necessary to check the diagram of the pressures along the circuit and to check the installation instructions. whatever type it may be. Start pump. The piping networks. with respect to the vessel’s circuit connection point. As far as the position of the circulation pump is concerned. through the control valve’s stuffing box. are never perfectly sealed against air. Systems with a functioning pressure exceeding 5 bar must have a secondary automatic blocking thermal switch independent from the other switch. It should be noted. Let’s look at the following two examples of a start pump and a return pump.5700790882110595703125 6/10 .