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# Classification of Steam Boiler

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Steam boilers can be classified in various ways.
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Steam boiler can be classified as follows:
 Classification according to the relative position of hot gases and water:
1. Fire tube or smoke tube boiler: In the fire boilers, the hot gases are inside the tubes
and the water surrounds the tubes.
Examples: Cochran, Lancashire and Locomotive boilers.
2. Water tube boiler: In the water tube boilers, the water is inside the tubes and hot gases
surround them.
Examples: Babcock and Wilcox, Stirling, Yarrow boiler etc.
 Classification according to the position of the furnace:
1. Internally fired boiler: In case of internally fired boilers, the furnace is located inside
the shell.
Examples: Cochran, Lancashire boiler etc.
2. Externally fired boiler: The boiler is known as externally fired if the fire is outside the
shell.
Examples: Babcock and Wilcox boiler, Stirling boiler etc.
 Classification according to the axis of the shell:
1. Vertical boiler: if the axis is vertical, it is called vertical boiler. The vertical boiler
occupies less floor area.
2. Horizontal boiler: If the axis of the boiler is horizontal, the boiler is called horizontal
boiler. The parts of horizontal boiler is can be inspected and repaired easily but it
occupies more space.
 Classification according to the number of tubes:
1.Single tube boiler: If the boiler consist of only one fire tube, then it is called Single
tube boiler.
2.Multi tube boiler: If the boiler consist of more than one fire tube, then it is called
multi tube boiler.
 Classification according to the method of circulation of water and steam:
1.Natural circulation boiler: In natural circulation type of boilers, circulation of water in
the boiler takes place due to natural convention currents produced by the application
of heat.
Examples: Lancashire, Babcock and Wilcox boiler etc.
2.Forced circulation boiler: In forced circulation type of boilers, the circulation of water
is done by a forced pump.
Examples: Velox, Lamomt, Benson Boiler etc.
3.Assisted force circulation boiler
 Classification according to the use:
1.Stationary boiler: Stationary boilers are used for power plant steam, for central station
utility power plants, for plant process steam etc.
2.Mobile boiler: Mobile boilers or portable boilers include locomotive type, and other
small units for temporary use at sites.
 Classification according to steam pressure:
1. High pressure boiler: A high pressure steam boiler is boiler in which steam is
generated at pressure exceeding 15 psig and operates hot water boiler above 160 psig
or 250o F. Application this type usually is used for utility plants, big industrial plants
and process application. A high pressure steam boiler can be named as Power
Boiler, in which design and construction rule following to rules of ASME Boiler and
Pressure Vessel Code Section I – Power Boiler.
Examples: Babcock and Wilcox, Velox, Lamomt, Benson Boiler etc.
2.Medium pressure boiler: The boiler which produce steam at pressures of 20-40
Kg/M
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are called high pressure boilers.
3. Low pressure boiler: A low pressure steam boiler is defined as a boiler in which
steam or other vapor is generated at pressure less than 15 psig or in which hot water
is generated at pressure not exceeding 160 psig or temperature not exceeding 250o F.
A low pressure steam boiler can be named as Heating Boiler, in which design and
construction rule following to rules of ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code
Section IV – Heating Boiler. Low pressure steam boiler are used for generating heat
for industrial use or for heating systems found in healthcare facilities, apartments,
universities, office buildings and historic landmark building. Examples: Cochran,
Cornish, Lancashire and Locomotive boiler etc.

 Classification according to the source of heat:
1.Combustion of solid, liquid or gaseous fuel: Heat supplied to the boiler produced from
the combustion of fuels like coal, petroleum, natural gas or other solid fuel.
2.Electrical or nuclear energy: Heat supplied to the boiler produced from electric heater
or nuclear plant.
3.Hot waste gases of other chemical process: Hot waste gases from chemical reaction
can be used as source of heat.
 Classification according to shape of tube:
1.Straight line boiler: In this type of boiler, fire tubes are straight.
2.Bent type boiler: In this type of boiler, fire tubes are bent in various angle.

According to ASME
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(American Society of Mechanical Engineers), Boiler may be classified
as:
 Section I Power Boilers
1.Process boilers
2.Power boiler
3.High pressure boiler
 Section IV Heating Boilers
1.Commercial boiler
2.Heating boiler
3.Industrial boiler
4.Low pressure boiler

According to another source,
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Boiler can be classified as:
1. Horizontal, Vertical or Inclined Boiler.
If the axis of the boiler is horizontal, the boiler is called horizontal, if the axis is
vertical, it is called vertical boiler and if the axis is inclined it is called as inclined
boiler. The parts of horizontal boiler is can be inspected and repaired easily but it
occupies more space. The vertical boiler occupies less floor area.

2. Fire Tube and Water Tube
In the fire boilers, the hot gases are inside the tubes and the water surrounds the tubes.
Examples: Cochran, Lancashire and Locomotive boilers.
In the water tube boilers, the water is inside the tubes and hot gases surround them.
Examples: Babcock and Wilcox, Stirling, Yarrow boiler etc.

3. Externally fired and internally fired
The boiler is known as externally fired if the fire is outside the shell.
Examples: Babcock and Wilcox boiler, Stirling boiler etc.
In case of internally fired boilers, the furnace is located inside the shell.
Examples: Cochran, Lancashire boiler etc.

4. Forced circulation and Natural Circulation
In forced circulation type of boilers, the circulation of water is done by a
forced pump.
Examples: Velox, Lamomt, Benson Boiler etc.
In natural circulation type of boilers, circulation of water in the boiler takes place due
to natural convention currents produced by the application of heat.
Examples: Lancashire, Babcock and Wilcox boiler etc.

5. Higher Pressure and Low Pressure Boilers
The boiler which produce steam at pressures of 80 bar and above are
called high pressure boilers.
Examples: Babcock and Wilcox, Velox, Lamomt, Benson Boiler etc.
The boilers which produce steam at pressure below 80 bar are called low
pressure boilers.
Examples: Cochran, Cornish, Lancashire and Locomotive boiler etc.

6. Stationary and Portable
The boilers are classified as either stationary or mobile.
• Stationary boilers are used for power plant steam, for central station utility power plants,
for plant process steam etc.
• Mobile boilers or portable boilers include locomotive type, and other small units for
temporary use at sites.

7. Single Tube and Multi Tube Boiler
The fire tube boilers are classified as single tube and multi-tube boilers,
depending upon whether the fire tube is one or more than one.
Examples: Cornish, simple vertical boiler are the single tube boiler and rest of the boilers are
multi-tube boiler.
In another way,
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boilers can be classified in three ways.
 Boilers are commonly subdivided into water tube or fire tube units. These designations
reflect the way the water and combustion gases are designed to pass through the unit.
 Boilers are sometimes classified by their heat sources. For example, boilers are often
referred to as oil-fired, gas-fired, coal-fired, or solid fuel-fired boilers. Coal-fired boilers
can be further divided based on the equipment used to fire the boiler. The three major
coal-fired boiler subclasses are pulverized-coal (PC) fired, stoker-fired, and fluidized-bed
combustion (FBC) boilers.
 Boilers are occasionally distinguished by their method of fabrication. Packaged boilers
are assembled in a factory, mounted on a skid, and transported to the site as one package
ready for hook-up to auxiliary piping. Shop-assembled boilers are built up from a number
of individual pieces or subassemblies. After these parts are aligned, connected, and tested,
the entire unit is shipped to the site in one piece. Field-erected boilers are too large to
transport as an entire assembly. They are constructed at the site from a series of individual
components. Sometimes these components require special transportation and lifting
considerations because of their size and weight.

Boiler can also be classified as:
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1. Back boiler: Back boilers are fitted at the back of gas fires
2. Cast iron boilers: Cast iron boilers can be floor standing or wall mounted, they can be
open flue or room sealed.
3. Combination Boilers: These boilers provide both instant hot water and central heating,
but not at the same time Combination Boilers These boilers provide both instant hot
water and central heating, but not at the same time.
4. Condensing Boilers: These are high efficiency boilers that are so efficient that almost
no waste heat comes out of the flue. They also have a condensation drain as well as a
flue to let the condensation out.
5. Low Water Content Boilers: This type of boiler only holds only a small amount of
water in its copper heat exchanger, (sometimes made of a light cast iron) making it
very economical to run and small in physical size.
6. System Boilers: A system boiler is the modern expression for, basically, a low water
content boiler.

Another classification is given below.
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1. Firetube boiler: Firetube boiler consist of a series of straight tubes that are housed
inside a water-filled outer shell. Firetube boilers are subdivided into three groups.
a. Horizontal return tubular (HRT): Horizontal return tubular (HRT) boilers typically
have horizontal, self-contained firetubes with a separate combustion chamber.
b. Scotch, Scotch marine or shell boiler: Scotch, Scotch marine or shell boilers have
the firetubes and combustion chamber housed within the same shell.
c. Firebox boiler: Firebox boilers have a water-jacketed firebox and employ at most
three passes of combustion gases.
2. Watertube boiler: Watertube boilers are designed to circulate hot combustion gases
around the outside of a large number of water filled tubes. Coal-fired Watertube
boilers are classified into three major categories:
a. Stoker fired units
b. PC fired units
c. FBC boilers.
Package Watertube boilers come in three basic designs: A, D and O type.
a. A type: The “A” design has two small lower drums and a larger upper drum for
steam-water separation.
b. D type: In the “D” design, which is the most common, the unit has two drums and
a large-volume combustion chamber.
c. O type: For the “O” design, the boiler tube configuration exposes the least amount
of tube surface to radiant heat.
3. Electric boiler: Electric boilers can use electric resistance heating coils immersed in
water and are normally very low-capacity units.
4. Cast Iron boiler: Cast iron boilers are fabricated from a number of cast iron sections
that are bolted together. The design of each section includes integral water and
combustion gas passages.
5. Tubeless boilers: Another boiler type that is sometimes used to produce steam or hot
water is the tubeless boiler. The design of tubeless boilers incorporates nested
pressure vessels with water located between the shells.

Steam boilers are also classified
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as to the method of manufacture in following classes:
1. Casting (cast iron boilers): This type of boiler usually use iron, bronze, or brass in
their construction. Cast iron boilers are made in three general types:
a. horizontal-sectional
b. vertical-sectional
c. one-piece
2. Fabrication (steel boilers): This type of boiler usually use steel, copper, or brass, with
steel in their construction. Steel boilers are generally divided into two types:
a. Firetube boiler
b. water-tube boiler

Depending on application,
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boilers are basically two types:
1. Industrial steam generators: Used for production of steam in various chemical
industry.
2. Power generation boilers: Used for production of power through steam engine or
electricity through steam turbine.
Boilers are also classified as:
1. Fire tube boilers: Fire tube boilers have almost become extinct; however this can be
classified as:
a. Locomotive boilers, which ruled rail transportation before diesel and electric
engine came.
b. Industrial boilers, mainly used for green projects where initial steam is
required
c. Domestic use boilers
2. Water tube boilers: Water tube boilers took over when size and capacity increased.
This can be classified depending on type of circulation used to generate steam as:
a. Natural circulation boiler
b. Forced circulation boilers
c. Super critical pressure boilers or zero circulation boiler
Depending on type of firing adopted in boilers they can be classified as:
1. Stoker fired
2. Pulverized coal fired
3. Down shot fired
4. Fluidized bed boilers: Fluidized bed boilers can be now sub classified as:
a. Bubbling fluidized bed boilers
b. Pressurized fluidized bed boilers
c. Circulating fluidized bed boilers.
5. Cyclone fired
6. Chemical recovery boilers
7. Incinerators
Boilers can be classified based on the type of fuel used as:
1. Coal fired boilers
2. Oil fired boilers
3. Gas fired boilers
4. Multi-fuel fired
5. Industrial waste fired boilers
6. Biomass fired boilers
Various types of arrangement are used by designers in designing the boiler for meeting the
end requirement. Hence boilers are classified based on the arrangement as:
1. Top supported boilers
2. Bottom supported
3. Package boilers
4. Field erected boilers
5. Drum type boilers
a. Single drum
b. Bi drum
c. Three drums, but these are presently out of use
6. Tower type or single pass
7. Close coupled
8. Two pass boilers

Another classification can be:
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1. Classification of boiler based on pressure
a. Low Pressure: A steam boiler in which steam is generated at pressure less than 15
psi or a boiler in which hot water is generated at pressure not exceeding 160 psi
and/or temperature not exceeding 250o F
b. High Pressure: A steam boiler in which steam is generated at pressure exceeding
15 psi or a boiler in which hot water is generated at pressure exceeding 160 psi
and/or temperature exceeding 250o F
2. Classification of boiler based on fuel:
a. Gaseous Fuel: A steam boiler is fired by gas. The gas used may be natural gas,
propane gas, etc.
b. Liquid Fuel: A steam boiler is fired by oil. The oil used may be heavy oil known
as Bunker C because of low fuel cost.
c. Solid Fuel: This type of steam boiler is fired by coal, wood, rejected product, etc.
d. Electric Fuel: This type of steam boiler is fired by electricity. Usually used for
research laboratory, food industries, and others where smoke pollution is
prohibited.
3. Classification of boiler based on material:
a. Steel
b. Cast Iron
4. Classification of boiler based on tube type:
a. Fire Tube Boiler: A steam boiler in which the products of combustion pass
through the tubes, which are surrounded by water.
b. Water Tube Boiler: A steam boiler in which the water passes through the tubes
and products of combustion surround the tubes.
5. Classification based on circulation
a. Natural Circulation
b. Force Circulation
6. Classification of boiler based on method of combustion
a. Stoker Boiler
b. Fluidized Bed
c. Pulverized coal
d. Burner-Fired Boiler
e. Waste Heat Steam Boiler
7. Classification of boiler based on type of support
a. Top Supported Steam Boiler
b. Bottom Supported Steam Boiler
c. Middle and Girdle Steam Boiler
8. Classification of boiler based on furnace construction
a. Two Pass Steam Boiler
b. One and a Half Pass Steam Boiler
c. Single or Tower Type Steam Boiler
d. Down-Shot Steam Boiler
9. Classification based on use
a. Power Boiler
b. Process Boiler
c. Hot Water Heating Boiler
d. Hot Water Supply Boiler
e. Industrial Boiler
f. Commercial Boiler
g. Heat Recovery Boiler
10. Classification of boiler based on erection
a. Package Boiler
b. Field Erected Boiler
11. Classification of boiler based on mobility
a. Stationary Boiler: Stationary boiler is a boiler that is placed on permanent
foundation such as boiler for power generation, industries and the others.
b. Mobile Boiler: Mobile boiler is a boiler that is placed on mobile foundation such
as locomotive boiler and cab car.

12. Classification of boiler based on furnace position
a. Internally Fired Steam Boiler
b. Externally Fired Steam Boiler

13. Classification of boiler based on ASME Code
a. Power Boiler - ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Section I
b. Heating Boiler - ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Section IV

14. Classification of boiler based on heat source
a. Conventional Boiler
b. Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG)

i
Introduction to Chemical Engineering, W. L. Badger and J. T. Banchero
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American Society of Mechanical Engineers, www.asme.org http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/boiler-class-
d_907.html
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Issue, Jan 22, 2011, CrazyEngineers Technologies Pvt. Ltd. India
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ìRules for Construction of Power Boilers,î Section I, ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, American Society
of Mechanical Engineers, New York, 1998
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Packaged Boiler Engineering Manual, 2nd ed., American Boiler Manufacturers Association,Arlington, Virginia,
1998
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