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Application Data Sheet 00800-0100-3055

Boiler Drum Level Transmitter Calibration

Condensing Pot
s = 7.33 lb/ft3 Po = 2,425 psig

60” hmax = 31.5

H = 33
amb = 105 °F (41°C)
w = 35.49 lb/ft3 o = 61.93 lb/ft3
hmin = 1.5 in.


level- drum

FIGURE 1. Boiler Steam Drum

INTRODUCTION Measurement of boiler steam drum level using a

differential pressure transmitter must take into
Steam Drum Level is both a critical and difficult account certain physical properties of the fluid.
measurement to make. Control of the water level in
the drum must be precise. A water level that is too • The Steam drum contains a two-phase
high can result in water carryover into the steam mixture of water and steam at saturation
piping. A level that is too low can expose the conditions.
generating tubes (down comers), preventing the • The densities of water and steam vary with
water in the drum from cooling the furnace tubes, saturation temperature or pressure.
possibly damaging them. • The density of saturated steam above water
Several factors make this measurement difficult to must be considered, as well as the density of
saturated water in the drum.
obtain. The steam drum itself may not be perfectly
level, and even at steady state conditions, This application data sheet offers a method for
considerable turbulence in the drum can cause the calibrating transmitters that takes into account
level to fluctuated. In addition, a changing rate of these factors.
water inflow and steam outflow adds to the
potential for measurement error.
Boiler Drum Level Transmitter Calibration

PROCESS The first step in the calibration is to define the

process variables (shown in Figure 1):
Figure 1 shows a simplified sketch of the process. Po = Static pressure in the steam drum at the top
Note that level, as we define it, is measured in units tap
of length—in this case, inches. Differential pressure,
on the other hand, is measured in inches of water Ph = Static pressure at the high side of the
column differential pressure. The two are transmitter
sometimes confused, but do not refer to the same Pl = Static pressure at the low side of the
thing transmitter
A column of water one inch high under one set of s = Density of saturated steam at operating
operating conditions dose not exert the same conditions
hydrostatic head pressure as a column of water of
the same height under another set of conditions. w = Density of saturate water at operating
Our objective is to measure differential pressure conditions
and “read” it as a unit of length. o = Density of water in the “wet” or reference leg
The steps necessary to define the transmitter H = Distance between the high and low drum
calibration use the thermodynamic operating taps
conditions of pressure and temperature, the
geometry of the steam drum, and the equation of h = Drum water level (measured from the bottom
continuity. Note that this calibration assumes only tap)
one set of operation conditions. In real practice, hmax = Maximum water level allowed (measured
operating parameters change with boiler load and from the bottom tap)
other factors, such as ambient temperature. For
that reason, three element feedwater control hmin =Minimum water level allowed (measured
systems often require that the drum level from the bottom tap)
measurement be compensated for deviations from C
design operating drum pressure. It is also L =Center line of the steam drum
convenient to know the drum level during start-up V =Vertical distance from the bottom tap to the
of the plant—that is, from 0 psig to full operating transmitter
pressure. This dynamic pressure and temperature
compensation would require a separate
computational device.

Rosemount Inc.

SOLUTION 4. Solve the equation:

The specific volume of the saturated water at
From the equation of continuity: 2,425 psig is 0.02817 ft3/lb,  w = 35.49 lb/ft3
Ph = Po +(H – h) (s) + h(w) + V(o)

The specific volume of the saturated steam at
Pl = Po + H( o) + V(o) 2,425 psig is 0.1364 ft3/lb, s = 7.33 lb/ft3

The specific volume of the saturated water at
Thus, P = H(s – o) + h(w – s) 105 °F is 0.01615, o = 61.93 lb/ft3.
This equation calculates the differential pressure on To convert all units to consistent inches of water
the transmitter. The differential pressure is highest column, correct the above formula to reference
when the drum water level is lowest, and the conditions. to do this, divide by o.
differential pressure is lowest when the level is At hmin the transmitter output will be 4mA dc.
highest. Therefore, the transmitter zero must be

elevated so that an increasing level results in an P = (H[s – o] + hmin [w – s]) ÷ o
increasing output signal. = [33(7.33 – 61.93) + 1.5(35.49 – 7.33)] ÷ 61.93
To perform the calibration, use a table of

thermodynamic properties of steam and the P = –28.41 inH2O
following steps:
This is the required zero elevation of the
1. Determine hmin and hmax. These are the transmitter.
minimum and maximum water levels allowed
for safe operation of the boiler. They are At hmax: (Transmitter output will be 20 mA dc)
measured from the bottom tap of the steam 
P = [33(7.33 – 61.93) + 31.5(35.49 – 7.33)] ÷
drum. 61.93
2. Using the saturated steam tables, find the 
P = –14.77 inH2O
values of w and s at the drum operating
pressure. For o use the value for compressed Therefore, the span of the transmitter:
water in the reference (wet) leg at the expected 28.41 – 14.77 = 13.64 inH2O Differential
ambient temperature and the drum operating Pressure
pressure. If the compressed water table is not
available use the reciprocal of the specific Finally check the zero elevation and span against
volume of saturated water at the ambient the transmitter specifications to ensure the chosen
temperature. Since water is nearly transmitter can be calibrated to the required values.
incompressible, this provides reasonable
accuracy for the drum measurement. SUMMARY
3. For this example assume: With the drum level transmitter properly
• The inside diameter of the steam drum is 60 calibrated, the midpoint of the actual readout range,
inches typically –15 to 15 inches, is zero, or mid-scale. This
• H = 33 inches (83.82 cm) generally corresponds to the desired set point for
the drum level controller. However, in some
• Po = 2,425 psig (design operating pressure) applications the set point may be less than zero and
• Tambient = 105 °F (41 °C) depends on the user’s experience with a particular
• hmin = 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) boiler.
• hmax = 31.5 inches (80.01 cm) If you have any questions about selecting
• The desired level readout is –15 to 15 inches transmitters for drum level or other applications,
(a standard indicator faceplate range) please contact your Rosemount representative.

Part no. 00809-0100-4256/4257 Model 1151DP
Alphaline® Differential and High Differential
Pressure Transmitters
Part no. 00800-0100-3011 Level Measurement 3
Drum Level Worksheet

Drum pressure (Po)

Distance between taps (H)


Minimum water level (hmin)

Maximum water level (hmax)

Density of water in drum (w)

(Reciprocal of specific volume of saturated water at drum pressure)

Density of Steam in drum (s)

(Reciprocal of specific volume of saturated steam at drum pressure)

Density of water in reference leg (o)

(At ambient temperature)
[H (s – o) + hmin (w – s)] ÷ o
Pmin = [ ( – )+ ( – )]÷

Pmin = This is the zero elevation.

(Transmitter output will be 4 mA.)

[H (s – o) + hmax (w – s)] ÷ o

Pmax = [ ( – )+ ( – )] ÷

Pmax =
(Transmitter output will be 20 mA.)

Span = Pmax – Pmin =

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Rosemount Inc.
8200 Market Boulevard
Chanhassen, MN 55317
Tel 1-800-999-9307
Fax (952) 949-7001
© June 13, 2001
Product documentation available at...
Rosemount, Inc.
¢00800-0100-30557¤ INT

U. S. A.

00800-0100-3055, Rev. BA, 6/01