You are on page 1of 10

Watertube and Tubular

Heating Boilers
Learning Outcome
When you complete this module you will be able to:
Describe the types of watertube and tubular boilers used in heating systems.

Learning Objectives
Here is what you will be able to do when you complete each objective:
1. Describe the construction of watertube heating boilers.
2. Describe the construction of copper-tubular heating boilers.

BLRS 6015

It consists essentially of a lower and upper header connected by a large number of copper or steel serpentine-shaped tubes attached to the headers with threaded connections. A few types will be discussed in this module.INTRODUCTION Industrial type watertube boilers are seldom selected for low-pressure heating plants except for large building complexes.jpg P Figure 1 Low-Pressure Watertube Boiler 2 BLRS 6015 . 1. The main reasons are the high cost of this type of boiler as compared with the cast-iron or steel firetube boiler. BF_1_0_3. WATERTUBE HEATING BOILERS Watertube Boiler with Serpentine-Shaped Tubes A popular type of watertube boiler is illustrated in Fig. and the need for closer supervision. They are usually supplied as packaged units. especially with regard to water treatment. Specially designed watertube boilers are used for low-pressure heating applications.

This boiler is actually a special version of the industrial "O" type packaged watertube boiler. The lower part of the tubes is exposed to the radiant heat of the fire. The combustion gases travel upwards to the flue between the tubes and give up their heat by convection.jpg P Figure 2 Watertube Boiler with Membrane Waterwalls (Cleaver-Brooks) 3 BLRS 6015 . The entire unit is enclosed by an insulated casing. Even though the gas travel is relatively short. heat transfer is efficient due to the arrangement of the tubes which causes turbulent and intensive scrubbing of the gases around the tubes. The boiler shown in Fig. BF_1_0_4. 1 is a hot water heating boiler. Bent-Tube Watertube Boiler Another type of packaged watertube boiler that has become increasingly popular is illustrated in Fig. and the ease of replacement of a defective tube since no welding or expanding is needed. Advantages of this boiler design are the flexibility of the serpentine-shaped tubes which eliminates expansion and contraction stresses. 3.The combustion chamber of this boiler is below the tubes and is equipped with atmospheric gas burners. 2 and Fig.

giving up their heat to the walls by convection. It is either oil or gas fired and equipped with a forced draft fan.Fig. This boiler can be used as a steam or hot water boiler for low as well as high-pressure service depending on its design pressure rating. BF_1_0_5. the number depending on the capacity of the boiler. However. The combustion gases. A tubular boiler is in principle a watertube boiler. it has one or more continuous coils of copper or steel tubing. The tubular boiler was originally only used in hot water systems. 3 shows an illustration of the boiler complete with casing. this problem has now been overcome. Two such walls are used in each side of the boiler. Instead of having a large number of tubes. thus. However. It consists of a large upper drum. travel between the inner and outer membrane walls on their way to the stack. therefore. the inner walls form the furnace enclosure. it is not equipped with drums or headers. are called “waterwalls”. before being enclosed. When used as a steam boiler.jpg P Large amounts of radiant heat from the fire are absorbed by the furnace walls. the pressure part. Fig. 4 BLRS 6015 . A pump forces water through the coil which is exposed to the hot products of combustion. a small lower drum and a number of bent watertubes which connect the upper and lower drums. 2 shows the basic boiler. the outer walls passageways for the flue gases. The tubes in these walls are spaced apart but connected to each other by steel plating welded to the tubes so that gastight walls (membrane waterwalls) are formed. The tubes are arranged in such a way as to form the furnace enclosure. the hardness forming salts (present in most waters) concentrated in the boiler and formed scale on the inside of the tubing resulting in restriction of the waterflow and overheating of the tube material. and the tubular steam boiler is gaining popularity rapidly. The boiler is enclosed by an insulated steel casing. Front and rear of the boiler are closed by single waterwalls. fittings and controls. firing equipment. after leaving the furnace. the furnace walls are formed by water-filled tubes and. This heat is carried off by the rapidly circulating water in the tubes.

jpg P Figure 3 Watertube Boiler (Cleaver-Brooks) Packaged watertube boilers usually follow one of the three main structural configurations shown in Figs. Most steam production occurs in center furnace-wall tubes entering the drum. and 6. Figure 4 “A” Type Packaged Boiler 5 BLRS 6015 . 5. has two small lower drums or headers. 4. 4.BF_1_0_1. Fig. The "A" type. The upper drum is larger to permit separation of water and steam.

the tubes being bent to allow the burner entry. The more active steaming tubes become risers and enter the drum near the water line. This is largely dictated by the size limitations imposed on rail or road transportation. 6 BLRS 6015 . is also a compact steamer. Transportation limits the height of the furnace. Figure 5 “D” Type Packaged Boiler The "O" type. The boiler is fired between the outer "D" tubes either at the end or at the side. so for equal capacity. a longer boiler is often required. Superheaters and economizers can be added to the "D" type radiant or convection zone with relative ease. The "O" type has a symmetrical design but exposes the least tube surface to radiant heat. Figure 6 “O” Type Packaged Boiler Manufacturers tend to standardize package boiler designs with regard to the outside dimensions of width and height and to vary the length according to the required boiler output rating. Floors of "D" and "O" types are generally tile-covered. Fig 6.The "D" type allows much flexibility of design since the combustion chamber volume can be easily varied.

The Copper-Tubular Boiler A very popular boiler. The lower section consisting of a tightly wound coil which surrounds the combustion chamber. is the copper-tubular boiler of which a cut-away view is shown in Fig. Fins are crimped or bonded on the tubes increasing the heating surface so more heat is absorbed from the hot gases rising from the furnace on their way to the chimney. BF_1_0_2.jpg G Figure 7 Copper-Tubular Boiler (A. The heating surface of this boiler consists of one continuous. 7. 2. extensively used in residential and commercial hot water heating systems and for domestic hot water supply. 7 BLRS 6015 . The upper section consisting of a fin-and-tube type heat exchanger. The coil absorbs the radiant heat of the fire and transfers it to the water. An intermediate section made up of several layers of loosely wound spirals allowing the hot gases to flow freely around the tubing after they leave the furnace. Smith) The heating surface is divided into three parts: 1. 3. small diameter copper tube. Copper is used because it resists corrosion and it has a much faster heat transfer rate than cast iron or steel. O.

instead of using one single. The water is then pumped through the mixing chamber (C) to the heating coil (D). 8 BLRS 6015 . Water circulates at high velocity through the boiler tubing from the top downwards while the hot gases travel upwards. large capacity boiler. The units are available for high as well as low-pressure applications. supplies the combustion air. The boiler is supplied as a packaged unit and is equipped with its own feedwater pump and a steam separator. The boiler can be fired by oil or gas. The Packaged Tubular Steam Boiler Fig. The steam-water mixture is then passed into the thermostat tube (E) and counterflows back across the combustion chamber (F) to the accumulator (G). many designers prefer to use several smaller units in parallel. A liquid flow control (L) is incorporated to prevent burner operation in case of a low water condition. In larger heating systems. Since any salt carried into the boiler with the feedwater stays behind and would concentrate in the boiler water. with the burner placed in the lower part of the furnace section. no cold water is pumped into the hottest section of the boiler. and longer life is assured. 8 shows a basic diagram of a tubular boiler used for steam generation. driven by the same motor driving the feedwater pump. Softened water is used as feedwater to prevent scale forming. A blower. Steam is discharged through the steam discharge valve (M). excessive stresses are prevented. In the single pass heating coil (D) the water is heated to equivalent steam temperature by the combustion gases flowing upward through the coil assembly. The operation of the unit is as follows: Make-up water and returned condensate enter the feedwater inlet (A) and flow to the feedwater pump heads (B). In smaller heating systems a single. Here steam and water are centrifugally separated by the separating nozzle (H). The heating surface consists of one continuous steel tube forming a waterwall of tightly wound coils around the furnace in the lower section and several layers of loosely wound spirals in the upper section. Automatic half-fire modulation is provided to reduce “on-off” cycling during periods of light steam demand. The tubing in the waterwall is protected by steel sheathing against the erosive action of the flames. In this way. The water is drawn from the accumulator (G) by the recirculating pump heads (J) and pumped to the mixing chamber (C) where it blends with the feedwater.The boiler is either gas or oil fired. an automatic blow-down is provided which drains sufficient water off the accumulator to keep the concentration within safe limits. Excess water in the accumulator is returned to the condensate tank through a steam trap (K). copper-tubular boiler is used.

BF1_fig8. Co.) 9 BLRS 6015 .gif Figure 8 Packaged-Type Tubular Steam Boiler (Clayton Mfg.

Supplied as packaged units completely equipped with firing equipment. No special foundation required. Boiler has a minimum of refractory. 4. The main disadvantages of watertube and tubular heating boilers when compared to firetube heating boilers are the higher first cost of most of the watertube and tubular types and their need for closely monitored water treatment. Rapid response to fluctuating loads. Compact. Maintenance cost low. 7. and safety devices. 8. 10 BLRS 6015 . Considerably smaller and lighter than firetube boilers of equal capacity. 2. Very short warm-up period required.Advantages of the Low-Pressure Watertube and Tubular Type Boilers 1. 5. automatic controls. Bent or coil tube design avoids thermal stress and distortion. 3. 6. Safer than firetube boilers in the case of tube failure since the boilers contain very little water and no disastrous explosion could occur.