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How does the steam turbine gland sealing system work?

Gland Sealing System(GSS) of a steam turbine - The steam turbine inlet pressure will be in
Hundreds of Bar but when the steam exit , the pressure drops to either well below
atmospheric pressure (Condensing Turbine) or at relatively lower pressure (Extraction
Since the Turbine shaft has to rotate freely there has to has some gap between the shaft and
the turbine casing, from where either Steam will try to escape out or Atmospheric air will try
to sneak in.
As you the diagram explains, During turbine start up the gland seal steam has to be given at
both the ends, so that condensor be isolated from the atmosphere and Vacuum pulling can
be started.
But as the turbine started taking load , steam at inlet side will try to come outside due to
difference of pressure across the gland seals at that point the gland sealing steam can be
stopped to HP end seals and self sealing will be achieved whereas at Low pressure zone the
sealing steam has to be maintained always.
The middle section of the gland seals are usually (for higher rating turbine) connected to
Sealing fan system(gland condenser fan), which sucks air + Steam from the gland seals, and
pumped into a heat exchanger where the steam is condensed and thereafter air will be vent
out into the atmosphere.

What are the consequences of the failure of the gland

condenser fan of steam turbines?
ot much if both the valves
1. The supply valve : The one making low pressure steam from auxiliary steam to supply to
turbine glands
2. The return valve : The one draining the excess pressure from turbine gland to condenser.
are working properly, then all you got to worry is the gland steam leaking upto atmosphere.
Because, if turbine is running, then it has its own leakage that would do self sealing and the
rest will be dumped to condenser, and even then, the remaining is basically dragged into
gland steam condenser.

And that's all the purpose of those fans, just to create enough suction pressure in gland
condenser, so as to extract those remaining vapors and make the system as closed system.

What are the problems that can occur while running a steam
turbine at low inlet steam pressure for long periods?
Turbine is expensive auxillary, the rpms of turbine are about 3000 in magnitude. The ideal
condition for operation of turbine is 540 degree C steam temp at pressure ranging from 107
to 200 ksc. Now suppose if the pressure of steam drops to 90 ksc then it's saturation temp
will also drop as a result the steam quality will degrade i.e. a few steam is now turned into
water vapours. Now this vapours in running turbine when hits the rotating blades they will
cause material erosion which will result in rise of vibration due to mass unbalancing. So low
first stage pressure is generally avoided. Also at time of light up, the turbine is rotated as per
criteria of characterstic curves.

Why is it necessary to ensure that turbine is on barring (turning

fear) before gland sealing steam comes into service?
The durarion for providing gland steam in turbine gland packing, is quiet high, extending
from 1-4 hours , depending on the time taken for turbine warm up.
Supplying steam(of temp around 250-300C) at only one portion may result in uneven
Hence it advisable to rotate the rotor during warm up/ gland supply.

What is differential expansion in a steam turbine?

A steam turbine has a fixed end and moving end. Both the ends are supported on
independent pedestals.
When turbine is in service, superheated steam (temperature above 540 degree celsius) is
admitted into the turbine. Due to heating up of parts of turbine, thermal expansion will take
What we need to consider is that one surface of turbine casing is exposed to atmospheric
temperature of 30 degree celsius while internal surface is exposed to superheated steam.
Due to this temperature differences, the expansion of turbine shaft will not be equal to that
of turbine casing.

Absolute values of turbine-shaft expansion and turbine-casing expansion are measured

using LVDT(Linear Variable Differential Transformer) at the movable end of the turbine.
The difference between these two expansions is called Differential Expansion of a
Numerically :
Differential expansion = change in shaft's length - change in length of turbine casing.
This value is required to be as low as possible. But it will never be equal to zero due to
practical limitations.
Now coming to the importance of this parameter.
The internal features of turbine casing are made in such a way that the gap between turbine
stage blades(moving blades) and the internal feature(fixed blades) lie in the range of 1mm 20mm.
Consider a case where the turbine is loaded(that is superheated steam is admitted) without
prior heating of the casing. In this case, the thermal expansion in shaft will be faster than
compared to that of turbine casing. In such a situation the turbine will start to touch the
casing's internal features in no time and the whole machinery will fail.
This situation is avoided by allowing steam to soak all parts of turbine shaft as well as inner
parts of casing for sufficient time before turbine is loaded. The soaking period depends on
the initial temperature and differential expansion of the turbine. An optimum value of
differential expansion will be such that the turbine-stage blades are almost at equidistant
from closest internal features of casing.
The value of differential expansion also governs how fast a turbine can be loaded/unloaded
to achieve certain power output at generator end.
Thanks for reading. I hope it helps.

Why does the dryness fraction of steam reduce in the final

stages of a steam turbine?

Well, if u r aware of the Rankine cycle then steam at high pr. temp. goes into turbine n come
out with low pr. low temp. son on a t-s diagram the at low temp the vapour dome is bigger.
Since turbine does isentropic work i.e. straight line going down from boiler outlet ends in
vapour dome away from saturated vapour line hence dryness fraction decrease.
PK Nag book on Thermodynamics chapter- Properties of Pure Substance has all these
explanations in very easy language...
I guess dryness fraction reduces as the steam condenses, thereby turning into liquid in the
condenser. And the temperature drop is due to the heat exchanger with which the steam
exchanges heat

How are temperature, pressure, flow rate controlled on steam

Specifics will depend on the type of turbine you're running, but the general concept is the
same. Pressure is controlled by either throttle valves (sometimes referred to as main steam
stop valves) and/or governor valves (sometimes referred to as control valves) on the
In a start-up mode pressure in the turbine is controlled by the throttle valves, which
modulate to maintain a given main steam pressure set point. The governor valves on the
turbine at this time remain wide open. Prior to the turbine being placed on-line (to the
power grid), steam pressure control is swapped over to the governor valves, which will
modulate to maintain main steam pressure, while the throttle valves now remain wide open.
The governor valves allow for more precise control/finer adjustments.
Both temperature and flow are controlled by your main steam pressure set point, which is
maintained by the throttle/governor valves, as stated earlier. Temperature is also controlled
by your firing rate.
When you increase pressure, your flow rate drops due to the added resistance and your
temperature increases due to the water/steam in the boiler tubes experiencing a slightly
longer exposure time to the furnace fires due to the decrease in flow. In start-up mode,
Megawatt output temporarily decreases as a result. Flow rate is then increased again via
opening a series of bypass valves that are placed in line prior to the turbine.
Once you're out of start up mode, your main steam pressure is controlled by the governor
valves on the turbine, temperature is controlled by firing rate and flow is controlled by your
feed-water pumps.
In steam turbine nuthing is there for controlling the Temperature of steam that control has
to be done before steam enters in turbine.

in steam turbine basically we control the flow rate of steam for controlling or maintaining
the power requirements.
For this we have mechanical, hydro mechanical and electronic governing system which
serves for controlling the flow and tripping the turbine in emergency situations.
This system geta feedback from turbine rpm,inlet steam conditions shaft vibration bearing
temperature etc and this signal is sent to servomotor which actuates the inlet steam
governing valves

What is a back-pressure steam turbine?

Back pressure turbine are those turbine in which turbine outlet or exhaust is above
atmospheric pressure.
Back pressure turbines are generally medium pressure turbines in which their exhaust
steam is used in other processes.

Why is steam coming out of turbine first cooled and then

pumped into the heater?
The steam turbine itself is a device to convert the heat in steam to mechanical power. The
difference between the heat of steam per unit mass at the inlet to the turbine and the heat of
steam per unit mass at the outlet from the turbine represents the heat which is converted to
mechanical power. Therefore, the more the conversion of heat per kilogram of steam to
mechanical power in the turbine, the better is its efficiency. By condensing the exhaust
steam of a turbine at a pressure below atmospheric pressure, the steam pressure drop
between the inlet and exhaust of the turbine is increased, which increases the amount of
heat available for conversion to mechanical power. Most of the heat liberated due to
condensation of the exhaust steam is carried away by the cooling medium (water or air)
used by the surface condenser. Surface condenser

What is critical rpm of steam turbine?

Turbine shaft material has its own natural frequency, when turbine rotates on such a speed
that frequency of shaft become close to its natural frequency, machine causes noise & high
vibrations because of resonance due to matching of frequency. Running of Steam
"TURBINE" on this speed is avoided & this is called Critical speed. A turbine may have more
then one critical speed, which may depend upon number of couplings.
A second critical speed is when the Turbine blade tips approach the speed of sound. This

effectively limits the speed of a turbine and explains why power plants tend to have turbines
of the same capacity.

Critical speed of the turbine is the rotor speed at which natural frequency of the assembled
rotor (rotor shaft with discs, blades, shrouding strips etc in assembled condition) becomes
equal to the operating speed. This is usually a expressed as a range (critical speed range).
There are multiple critical speeds. However, the operating speed of the turbine may be
above or below the first / lowest critical speed. Accordingly it is called as a flexible or a rigid

What are the auxiliaries of steam turbine?

1. Lube Oil system
2. Steam and condensate system
3. Condensate and drain system
4. Cooling water system

Steam Turbines: What is the principle of a vaccum breaker?

How is it done?
I'll try to explain the principle and working of Vaccum breaker for the machine on which i
have worked.
Vaccum breaker is a safety instrument provided on the Steam turbine. In case there is major
issue with steam turbine and it has to stop immediately. Turbine will be tripped but since in
operation we are maintaining Negative pressure inside the condenser, it will take long time
come down to rest or to Turning gear speed. Alstom 156MW machine takes around 45
Minutes to touch turning gear speed!! In case of emergency we can wait that long. To avoid
such situation Steam turbines are provided with Vaccum Breaker.

From the above figure, we can see the Vaccum breaker lines are provided with a V.B Valve
and above it there will be a chamber which holds water for positive sealing.
During normal operation , the VB valve will be in closed condition and water will be filled in
the chamber above VB valve ( Level to be maintained ) . In emergency the VB valve will be
opened and the water will be drained to condenser. As soon as the water drains, air will be
pulled inside the condenser , breaking the Vaccum. This air will provide a drag (in fact heavy
drag) and resistance to the turbine blades to bring down the turbine RPM quickly.

What are the interlocks for steam turbine?

By Interlocks, we are ensuring the safety of Steam turbine and its accessories.
Steam turbine and generator together have hell a lot of interlocks for the safety and
reliability of the units. I'll try to cover the major one,
All these interlocks are usually based on the supervisory probes/sensors provided by OEM
to make sure the turbine parameters should not jump the safe limits. And if they act, they
either trip the machine or shutdown it.
1. Bearing Vibration - Probes are provided on almost every bearings for measuring
bearing vibration (sensor type- displacement/velocity/or Acceleration) and they
trip the machine in case high vibration crosses specific limits.
2. Bearing temperature. - High temp. Alarm and then Trip.
3. Differential Expansion (It indicates the relative expansion of Turbine casing and
Turbine rotor - Will have trip limits on both +Ve and -Ve side) and Absolute
Expansion (Measures the expansion of casing relative to Bearing pedestal ).
4. Lube Oil temperature - Alarm - Not trip usually.
5. Lube Oil Pressure- Low pressure trip.
6. Steam parameters - Low steam flow and temperature- Trip.
7. Vacuum deterioration- High Exhaust Pressure-Low Vacuum - Trip.
8. High Hotwell level - Trip.

9. Overspeed - Trip (Usually 3 or 6 sensors - Voting logic - 2 out of 3/ 4 out of 6).

10. High Exhaust temperature - Trip.
11. If Both CEPs (Condensate Extraction pump ) are unavailable - Trip.
12. If Both Vacuum pumps are unavailable - Trip.
13. If upstream Steam source (Boiler or HRSG) Trips - ST Trip.
14. Control/Hydraulic oil pressure ( Operating the Main steam stop and control
valves ) Low- Trip.

What is the relation of turbine rpm and electrical power induced?

The voltage induced in the coil of the generator is directly proportional to the RPM of the
generators rotor (and therefore the turbine RPM if fixed gearing is used) as EMF = [delta
flux] / [delta time] = [delta flux] * [RPM] / 60. This means that if a constant resistance is
used in the circuit, the power output will be the square of any change in turbine speed

How is the lube oil system of steam turbine designed in detail?

The lube oil system of turbine consists of four pumps auxilary oil pump known as aop,
emergency oil pump known as eop, jacking oil pump known as jop and main oil pump
known as mop. Apart from that barring arrangement is giving between lp and Ip turbine for
uniform cooling down of turbine and avoid shaft sagging.
All the pumps are installed inside mainn oil tank i.e. mot. Initially at time of rolling
first the barring gear is operated that rolls the turbine at 210 rpm when vacuum is pulled
and at unpulled vacuum the barring speed is 100-120 rpm.
The soaking of turbine is done at 300 -350 rpm. Soaking is used for uniform
heating. The ESCV of hp and Ip turbines are operated in this condition with hp and lp
bypass in service. When the differential temprature of shaft and casing is about 30-40 we
assume that the turbine is soaked.
The control valve opening is increased till 510 rpm by speed reference and one
should make sure that jop cuts in at this speed with operating pressure of 120 ksc. One
should not down that one pump works at a time. Here jop is working so neither aop nor
other pumps are in service.
The speed ref is than increased to 540 rpm n at this point jop cuts out n aop comes
into action. It will work at 4.6 ksc pressure till 2850 rpm.
In case of aop failure eop operates at pressure of 1.1 ksc with oil filters and coolers
At 2850 rpm aop cuts out and mop comes into action it works at 2.6 ksc pressure.
One should not that mop is mounted on turbine shaft itself. The NPSH of turbine is

provided by two ejectors mounted between mot and mop.

Hope the answer might help you. Prefer the scheme from google images.

Does any turbine exist that have no jacking oil system?

Yes, there are turbines which are not having a jacking oil system. If you think closely than
you will understand that these kind of systems are generally used in high power capacity
turbines as with capacity the Alternator's rotor shaft weight is getting increased. With
increase in weight the Hydrodynamic pressure required to lift the shaft also increases and
hence the Jacking oil system comes into play which will help to lift the rotor at low rpm and
will automatically cut off at higher rpm as soon as the required lube oil pressure is achieved
in the Lube oil circuit.
I hope it was helpful....

How turbine oil system work in power plant?

A single oil supply line lubricates and cools the bearing, governs the m/c and operates the
hydraulic actuators and safety and protective devices.
During start-up & shut-down, aux oil pump supplies the control oil. Once the turbine speed
is more than 2850 rpm, the main oil pump (M.O.P) takes over. It draws oil from main
tank .The lubricating oil passes through oil cooler, before can be supplied to the bearing
(Under emergency, lube oil can be supplied by a DC oil pump).Before the turbine is turned
or barred, Jacking oil pump (2 nos.) supplies high pressure oil to the jack up the TG shaft to
prevent boundary lubrication and also supplies high pressure oil to drive the hydraulic
motor(turning gear)
2)Turbine lubricating oil system
1. Provides a supply of oil to journal bearings to give an oil wedge as the shaft rotates. 2.
Maintains the temperature of turbine bearings constant at the required level. 3. Provides a
medium for hydraulically operating the governor gear and controlling the steam
admission valves. 4. Provides for hydrogen cooled generators a sealing medium to
prevent hydrogen leaking out along the shaft.

3)Main components
1) Main Oil Pump
2)Auxiliary Oil Pump
3) Emergency Oil Pump
4) Jacking Oil Pump
5) Main Oil Tank (MOT)
6) Centrifugal
3.1) Main Oil Pump

This pump is located at the front bearing pedestal of the HP turbine.

It is coupled to the turbine rotor through a gear coupling.
When the turbine is running at a normal speed of 3000rpm, then the desired
quantity of oil to the governing systems and the lubrication systems is supplied
by this pump.
3.2)Auxiliary Oil Pump

Auxiliary Oil Pump can meet the requirements of lubrication system under
emergency conditions
One stage vertical centrifugal pump driven by an A.C. electricmotor.
It has radial impeller and volute casing.
The pump automatically takes over under interlock actionwhenever the oil
pressure in the lubrication system fails belowcertain desired level.
3.3) Emergency Oil Pump

Emergency oil pump has been foreseen by as a back-upprotection to AC driven

standby oil pump.
This is a centrifugal pump, driven by DC electric motor.
This automatically cuts in whenever there is a failure of ACsupply at power
3.4)Jacking Oil Pump:

JOP ensures that there is no metal contact between a journaland the bearing.
Positive displacement pumps that provide high pressure supplyof oil under
strategic journals of the turbo generator and oil liftsthe shaft slightly.
This greatly reduces the static friction and bearing wear.

The JOP can be stopped after the lubricating oil film isestablished between the
shaft and bearings.
Pressure produced is 120 bars
3.5) Main oil tank

The oil used for lubrication is stored in the Mai Oil Tank.
Capacity -20/32 m3.
The Main Oil Tank holds the oil inside the tank for a period longenough to
ensure liberation of air from the oil.
Filters are located inside the tank to filter the oil during itsnormal course.
The oil tank is supported on a framed structure just below theturbine floor at
the left hand side of the turbine.

What is the effect of damaged cyclones in steam drum in water

tube boiler?

Cyclones or agglomerators are part of what are called the "internals" of the steam drum.
The primary function of the steam drum is separate water from steam which prevents
carryover of the condensate into to the steam header (phase separation). Severely damaged
cyclones could effect boiler efficiency as not as much steam will be produced due to poor
phase separation.
If your demisters are damaged in addition to the cyclones being damaged you could have
carryover. The carryover could damage down steam equipment particularly if superheated
steam is needed. Typically though, cyclones can be quite badly damaged and still perform
phase separation. You really don't pieces of the cyclone separators breaking over while the
boiler is under pressure and ending up in your steam piping of damaged your drum and

What is the purpose of the steam drum on a water tube boiler or

What is the purpose of the boiler? Well it is to convert water to steam . In water tube boilers
water goes through the tube and it gets converted to steam. At the end all the water need not
necessarily convert into steam. It might be in a mixed phase of water and steam. Saturated
water might not have got the complete latent heat to convert into steam. Here comes the
drum. Drum acts a reservoir of water and steam and it also separates water from steam.
water is send back to tubes to completely shift to steam.The tube through which the water
steam mixture returns back to the furnce coils is called downcomer. No of times the water
steam mixture goes thru the tubes is generally referred as circulation ratio.

Now coming to the second part of question : Can it work without drum. Yes it can work
without drum it is called once through boilers. Here it is ensured in one single pass of water
through the tubes it is ensured water is fully converted into steam. Also in super critical
boilers. when temp and pressure is greater than super critical conditions there is no mixed
phase. There is no latent heat no phase change from water to steam just super critical
phase. i hope i answered your question.

For what reasons does steam and water coexist inside the boiler
drum without any disturbance?
Apart from Boiler drum, there are number of examples in which two phase coexists in the
same substance, this is either the case of phase transition (consider melting of ice cream, the
scenario in which solid ice and liquid cream are present) and in the other case, the river (or
any other surrounding flow of water) that is in equilibrium with the air's vapor phase.
Similarly, in case of Boiler drum, the steam and water coexists by the same nature as that of
examples depicited above with water taking the ground of the drum and the steam at the top
separated by an imaginary layer.

What is the pressure inside a boiler? What is the effect of

pressure on producing steam?

Your question is a bit too broad because boiler pressure (and temperature) depends on a
variety of factor such as fuel (wood, coal, fuel oil etc), boiler area and configuration,
material, and downstream requirement (engine pressure requirement, turbine requirement,
chemical reactor requirement and other end-user requirement). So I decide to highlight
important boilers on a timeline. Engine is also included as it closely relate to the pressure
produced by the boiler.
But first, let's go through several things
Variable that affects boiler pressure:1) Fuel
Different fuel have different energy content and different flame temperature. Some trasfers
energy differetly like though radiant heat. It also depends on how much you can feed into
furnace and into what furnace geometry. You can even boil water using waste heat and solar
2) Boiler area- The higher the area, the higher the heat flux
4) Boiler configuration - with superheater? with economizer? fire tube or water-tube?
5) Material and thickness - temperature and pressure affect tube integrity
6) Downstream requirement - Smaller locomotive tonnage do not require a such a high
pressure. Also, triple compound engine requires higher pressure than double compound
engine etc.
You also have to keep in mind that sometimes pressure is not the main goal. Other targets
are steam load, efficiency, etc

How do I lower the boiler pressure?

You can either release steam or lower the temperature. Releasing steam reduces the
number of molecules in the boiler. Lowering the temperature (by reducing heat) causes the
molecules to travel slower, which reduces pressure.

What is the difference between pressure vessel and boiler?

A pressure vessel is a closed container designed to hold gases or liquids at
a pressuresubstantially different from the ambient pressure (or simply atmospheric
Gas cylinder in your house is a pressure vessel, an oxygen cylinder that numerous
Boiler's function is just a closed vessel which heat a fluid. Even it need not necessarily boil.
And all boilers need not be a pressure vessel.If the fluid is at atmospheric pressure,its not a
pressure vessel.
but the general boilers(thermal power plants) we see are pressure vessels as they run in
pressures ranging from 95 bar to 255 bar.

What is the difference between a PC boiler and a CFB boiler?

PC (Pulverised Coal) Boiler
The fuel burnt in PC boiler is coal, which is pulverised (grinded into small powder form) in a
coal grinding mill. Pulverised coal is often conveyed to the burners in boiler through
pneumatic means (by forcing coal particles by using moving air) from the coal pulveriser
Some issues with the PC boiler:
1. Coal is combusted at temperatures of about 1600-1800 deg C. At such high temperatures,
NOx, which is a notorious pollutant, is formed.
2. SOx pollutants are carried away in flue gases, which condense to form highly corrosive
sulphuric acid at temperatures around 140-160 deg C. Thus, the exhaust temperature has to
be maintained above this temperature to avoid large-scale corrosion of boiler water tubes.
This limits the boiler energy extraction efficiency and constitutes the largest heat loss from
the boiler.
3. Unburnt coal particles can't be recycled, because there's no economical way to separate
unburnt coal particles from the ash and flue gases.
A typical PC boiler:

CFB (Circulating Fluidised Bed) Boiler

Coal is mixed with sand and limestone/dolomite (to absorb SOx pollutant gases). Coal is
combusted with the help of hot primary air from air pre-heater. However, here, coal doesn't
combust violently resulting into flames, but rather the heat resulting from combustion is
instantaneously exchanged with the water tubes running through the coal-bed-air
suspension bed. Thus, the combustion of coal takes place at a relatively lower temperature
of around 850-900 deg C, necessitating lower thermal insulation of the boiler compared to
PC boiler.
Advantages of CFB boiler:
1. Lower combustion temperature translates into lower thermal insulation needs of the
boiler, directly resulting in savings.
2. As most of the SOx gases are absorbed by the bed, flue gases can be cooled to lower

temperatures than PC boiler, thereby increasing the amount of potential heat exchange.
3. Unburnt coal particles are recycled back with the help of cyclone separators. These
separators separate heavy unburnt coal particles from the lighter ash particles by centrifugal
action. The unburnt coal is then fed back into the bed for combustion. This results in direct
savings on fuel.
A typical CFB boiler:

What is boiler fouiling?

Boiler fouling is basically deposits of salts and other foreign material inside the boiler tube.
Fouling is depends on the percentage of salts and impurities present in the boiler feed
Disadvantages of fouling is the loss of efficiency in boiler as fouling works as insulation so it
creates problem in heat transfer.
For avoiding fouling boiler water is properly treated before feeding in boiler.

What are "Filming Amines" in boiler treatment?

Steam condensate return piping is corroded by low pH condensate (when CO2 is produced
by boiling softened makeup water that contains sodium bicarbonate ).
Filming amines are long carbon chain amines ( basic volatile wax-like liquids ).
Filming amines are added to steam and coat the inside walls of condensate return piping to
protect the iron against corrosion.

What are boiler troubles?

If the boiler feed water contains impurities beyond the prescribed limits they lead to the
following problems.
1. (a) priming (b) foaming (c) carry over
2. Boiler corrosion
3. Scale sludge and formation
4. Caustic embitterment
1. Priming Foaming and Carry Over: when steam is produced rapidly in the boiler some
small droplets of the liquid water are carried along with the steam. The steam with some
small water droplets is called "wet steam ".
Priming: The process of formation of wet steam is called priming. Priming also
starts when level of water rises due to foaming. So priming is generally associated with
Foaming: The formation of foam or bubbles at the water surface in boilers is called
foaming which does not break easily.
Carry over: The phenomenon of carrying of water along with impurities by steam is
called "carry over". This is mainly due to priming and foaming. Priming and foaming mainly
occur together.
2. Boiler corrosion: The "decay" or "disintegration" of boiler material either by a chemical or
electrochemical reaction with its environment is known as "Boiler corrosion".
3. Sludge and scale formation: Boilers are used for steam formation. When hard water is
continuously evaporated in boilers, the continuous evaporation of water increases the
concentration of dissolved salts until the water becomes saturated. Then the salts of Ca++
and Mg++ along with other soluble impurities are precipitated on the inner walls of boilers.
When the precipitate formed is soft, slimy and loose, known as sludge and is hard and
firmly adhering on the inner walls of boilers, known as scale.
4. Caustic embrittlement: This is the phenomenon during which the boiler material
becomes brittle due to the accumulation of caustic substances. It is form of corrosion caused
by high concentration of sodium hydroxide in boiler water. It is most likely to occur in

boilers operating at high pressures, where NaOH is produced in the boiler by the hydrolysis
of some residual Na2CO3 obtained from water softening process like lime soda.
Na2CO3 + H2O = 2NaOH + CO2
The formation of NaOH makes the boiler water caustic. This caustic water penetrates into
the minute hair cracks present in the inner side of boiler by capillary action. When the water
evaporates and the concentration of dissolved NaOH increases progressively which attracts
the surrounding area, thereby dissolving the iron of boiler as sodium ferrate.
Fe + 2NaOH = Na2FeO2 + H2O
Sodium ferrate
Most boilers come with a manufacturers warranty. But after a few years, we experience
some common boiler problems. Such problems can be addressed without the need to call a
heating engineer; others will require the services of a qualified and experienced
professional. Problems like weird noises, drips and leaks, are among the 9 common boiler
problems you should consider:
1. No heat or hot water
2. Leaking and dripping
3. Strange banging, whistling or gurgling noises
4. Pilot light goes out
5. Frozen condensate pipe
6. Thermostat issues
7. Kettling
8. Radiators not getting hot
9. Boiler keeps switching itself off
In case of doubt, its always best to seek professional help from a reputable engineer. To
save your boiler from Blowdown refer the following blog-

What problems can occur if a steam boiler level sensor fails?

Those boiler explosions happened when the overpressure valve was stuck closed, projecting
metal sheets and tubes several miles away !
If you talk about a sensor measuring the level of water in the boiler, then there is two case
depending on your water level control system:
1. The boiler will overflow... This is not very dramatic if there is no water sensitive
devices connected after the boiler. But you will have to clean the steam pipes
and all systems flooded with water.
2. The boiler will run dry... Which can be bad if the boiler is not thermally
protected. If your burner (or whatever device you use to heat the water) only

stops when the required pressure is reached, if there is not water it will never
stops heating, and you will damage the boiler.

What issues can occur if the water treatment process to feed a

boiler is neglected?
ou could also get some nasty corrosion issues, one type of boiler is a steam generator in a
power station. If you were to use normal drinking water in a PWR or AGR for the steam
generator then the chloride would increase the corrosion rate greatly.
I would expect stress corrosion cracking to occur in the steam generators which would then
cause a lot of problems in the plant. A leak in a steam generator in a nuclear plant creates a
path between two systems which should be isomated from each other. During one of the
accidents at A1 the primary loop of the gas cooled reactor was badly contaminated, some
contamination was found in the secondary loop which suggests to me a leak in a steam
Also in a "normal" industrial boiler if the water chemistry goes wrong you can get corrosion
effects, many industrial boilers use very pure water, deoxygenation agents such as hydrazine
/ isoascorbic acid and sometimes steam volatile corrosion inhibitors such as amines to
protect the metal surfaces. If the water chemistry goes wrong then I would expect early
failures of the plant. If you are lucky it would be a failure which stops the plant working
normally, if you were unlucky it would be a failure which results in a steam explosion