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THEORY OF

COMBUSTION
BY
T.M.JOARDAR
Rapid Chemical combustion of oxygen with
the cumbustible elements of final to produce
heat may be the defination of
COMBUSTION.

THEORITICAL AIR FOR COMBUSTION:


Theoritical air may be defined as the
quantity of air which actually takes part in
combustion. Since substances unite
chemically in definite proportions by weight
the theoritical quantity of air required can
be calculated if the weight & chemical
formula of the combustible is known.
In practice , more than the theoritical
quantity is required for complete combustion
.
The quantities of oxygen required for
combustion can be precisely calculated as
shown in the following paragraphs and then
the quantity of air required can be
calculated since atmosphare contains.
21% O2 & 79% N2 by volume and 23.2% O2 &
76.8% N2 by weight.
The Nitrogen plays no useful part in the
combustion process. In practice it is an
extremely expensive passenger which carries
away heat to the Boiler stack.
CONSIDER THE COMBUSTION OF CARBON TO
CARBONDIOXIDE:
C+O2 = CO2 + Heat (8106.433 kcal/kg )
12 gms + 32 gms = 44gms

Therefore 12gms carbon = 32 gms oxygen = 44


gms of CO2 or
1gm carbon+ 2.67gm oxygen = 3.67gms of CO2 .
As the oxygen required most come from the
atmosphare, which consists of 23% oxygen &
76.8% nitrogen by weight. Hence to supply
2.67gms of oxygen will required
2.67x100 = 11.5gms of air
23.2
The products of combustion will be 3.67gms of
CO2 8.83gms of N2 ( 11.5 2.67 )
Alternately, if insufficient oxygen is supplied
incomplete combustion will be the result, carbon
burns to carbon monoxide thus,
2C+O2 = 2CO+Heat ( 2417.12 kcal/kg )
24gms+32gms=56 gms CO, or
1gm of C+1.33gms of O2=2.33gms of CO
To supply 1.33gms of oxygen will
require1.33x100=5.75gms of air
23.2
The product of combustion 2.33 gms of CO and
4.42gms N2
Note the tremendus heat loss of incomplete
combustion, Loss = 5689.31 kcal/kg (8106.433-
2417.12 )
COMBUSTION OF HYDROGEN:
2H2 + O2 = 2H2 O + Heat(34078.31 kcal/kg)
4 + 32 = 36
1 + 8 = 9gms
Therefore air will required
8x100 = 34.48gms
23.2
The total production of combustion will be 9gms H2 O
(water vapour ) and 26.48 gms of N2
COMBUSTION OF SULPHUR:
S + O2 = S O2 + Heat(2183.29kcal/kg)
32+ 32 =64
1gm + 1gm = 2gms
To supply 1gm of oxygen will require
1x100 =4.431gms
23.2
The product of combustion will be 2gms S O2 and 3.431gms
of N2
EXCESS AIR AND CO2:
The combustion calculation explained above show the theoretical amount of air
required for perfect combustion that is combustion with zero excess air.
In practice, perfect combustion can not be achieved. For the reaction to take
place efficiently, the molucles of oxygen must be in actual physical contact with
the others of combustible and with only the theoretical quantity of air proves
impossible.
Atmosphere contains almost four times the amount of nitrogen molecules
compared to the essential oxygen molecules. The nitrogen molecules hinder the
physical contact between the combistibles and the oxygen and as the
combustion reaction proceeds , there are fewer free oxygen molecules available
and on increasing amount of CO2,SO2, and H2O molecules being produced. These
conditions make it even more difficult of the remaining combustible atoms to
make physical contact with oxygen molecules, but the problem is alleviated by
supplying a quantity of air in excess of the quantity required for perfect
combustion , the quantity used being a compromise between heat unit lost due to
incomplete combustion and heat units carried away by excess air to the stac.
In modern power stations , CO2 or O2, recorders are used which gives an
accurate indication of the amount of excess air on the boiler.
Consider the conditions before and after the perfect combustion of one kg of
carbon.
From fig-A it can be seen that the maximum theoretical CO2 reading that can be
obtained is 21%. Now consider the combustion of one kg of carbon with 100%
excess air.

79%N2
BEFORE COMBUSTION 100%
EXCESS AIR
21%
O2

1kg
Carbon
PRODUCTS OF COMBUSTION
79%N2 79%N2, 10.5%O2, & 10.5%CO2

10.5%
O2
10.5% AFTER COMBUSTION 100% ExCESS
CO2
CARBON
CONSUMED
PRODUCTS OF COMBUSTION
79%N2, 21%CO2
79%N2

21%
CO2
AFTER PERFECT COMBUSTION
1kg Carbon
COMBINED
As previously stated ,a combustible will combine
with oxygen in accordance with specific law, and
any additional oxygen that is supplied, over and
above this specific quantity will not be consumed,
and will appear in the flue gases as free oxygen.
The fact that zero excess air result in 21% CO2
reading (zero O2 reading) and 100% excess air
results in 10.5% CO2 reading(10.5% O2 ) suggests
that boiler say 15.5% CO2 is being supplied with air
somewhere between these two extreemes. A simple
calculation can determine the amount of excess air
required.
The maximum theoretical CO2 for carbon as has
been stated is 21%. The usual accepted maximum
theoretical CO2 for bituminus coal is 18.5%. A good
modern P.F water tube boiler will operate with CO2
of about 16.5% which means excess air of about
19% and oxygen about 5%.
Figures for oil firing vary considerably from those
of coal because of the higher percentage of
hydrogen in the fuel. The theoretical maximum
percentage of CO2 is about 15.8% and this will
give entirely different figure for excess air as
shown below.
WHEN BURNING OF TYPICAL FUEL OIL
%CO2 %Excess air %O2 in dry flue gas
15.8 0 0.0
15.0 5 1.0
14.0 12 2.0
12.0 20 5.0
10.0 54 7.7
8.0 12 10.8
Four conditions must accomplished to burn fuels
properly, namely-
i) High flame temperature
ii) Turbulent mixing of air and fuel
iii) The correct ratio of fuel and air
iv) Enough time to complete the burning
process.

HIGH FLAME TEMPERATURE:


The ignition energy comes from the fuel already
burning in the furnace. The furnace flame
temperature must be high enough to ignite the
raw incoming fuel and air. Ignition raises the
temperature of both fuel and air to the level
where they quickly react with each other to
produce heat.
TURBULENT MIXING OF AIR & FUEL:
For a complete combustion of the fuel
through mixing of the fuel & air is necessary.
This is achieved by creating turbulence.
Turbulence is created by injecting part of
combustion air at high speed across the
normal direction of flow of combustion gas.

CORRECT RATIO OF FUEL TO AIR :


Ratio of supply of both air and fuel must be
closely regulated to achieve the proper air
fuel ratio. The optimum air fuel ratio is that
valu at which no combustible gases appear in
gases leaving the furnace.
ENOUGH TIME TO COMPLETE THE
BURNING PROCESS:
Sufficient time must be allowed to complete
the burning process inside the furnace. This
is a matter of properly designing the furnace
dimensions.

METHODS OF FIRING & COAL BURNERS:


In older boiler s of smaller capacity coal is
burnt on traveling grates. This requires small
chips of coal.
The combustion efficiency is very poor.The rate of
evaporation is limited. Fluctuations of load demand
could not be met satisfactorily.
As the load demand has increased , larger size
boiler with pulverised firing have come in to
existence.

Advantage of pulverised fuel firing:


i)The quantity of excess air can be controlled &
kept down to small percentage, thus producing high
combustion temperature and efficiency.
ii)The lower grades of coal can be burnt more
efficiently than by most other firing method.
Iii)The boiler is flexible(i,e) the rate of
firing can be quickly changed to meet varying
loads.
iv)The P.F. boiler will burn a wider variety of
coals with less troubles than with other
methods.
The pulverised coal is fired in suspension in
modern boilers of the present day thermal
station.There are four methods in practice.
They are :- i)Vertical or downshot
ii)Horizontal
iii)Tangential or corner
VERTICAL OR DOWN SHOT FIRING :
Low volatile coal should be fired in vertical
direction. As low volatiles coal burn with long flame,
the turbulent burners are not required. Intimate
mixing of coal & air is obtained by admitting coal in
a thin stream surrounded by air. The majority of
the air is introduced through the front wall at
right angles to the flame path.

HORIZONTAL FIRING:
This type of firing is ideally suited for bituminous
coals having good percentage of volatile matter.
The flame is short. The turbulence is created by
the burner design. The burners are situated along
with width of the furnace in tires. Burners are of
fixed type & have oil burners at the centre of the
coal burners.
TANGENTIAL FIRING:
The burners are provided at the four
corners of the furnace in tiers. The
combustion takes place at the central
turbulent zone. The burners are of turbulent
type. The coal & air are thoroughly mixed at
the central zone by admitting air & coal from
the same corner. It also been equipped with
the tilting arrangement by means of which all
the burners at all four corners can be tilted
by an equal angle there by shifting the
location of combustion zone either up or
below. The angle of tilt is generally 300
above abd below the horizontal.
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