STEAM TRAP

‡ A steam trap is a device used to discharge condensate and non condensable gases with a negligible consumption or loss of live steam. Most steam traps are nothing more than automatic valves. They open, close or modulate automatically. Others are based on turbulent 2phase flows to obstruct the steam flow. ‡ The three important functions of steam traps are: ‡ Discharge condensate as soon as it is formed. ‡ Have a negligible steam consumption. ‡ Have the capability of discharging air and other noncondensable gases.`

allowing steam to flow at a controlled or adjusted rate. Steam tps are used in such applications to ensure that steam is not wasted. Most steam traps will also pass noncondensible gases while remaining tight to live steam. condensed steam) and noncondensable gases such as air without letting steam escape.e. or if necessary. steam is used regularly for heating or as a driving force for mechanical power.‡ Steam traps are a type of automatic valve that filters out condensate (i. ANSI defines steam traps the following way: ‡ steam trap . In industry. .Self contained valve which automatically drains the condensate from a steam containing enclosure while remaining tight to live steam.

and close when there is only steam present. condensate is effectively removed and steam is blocked. ‡ Steam traps work best when sized specifically for the application they are used on. waste energy (use steam). however an over sized steam trap will wear quickly. ‡ Mechanical steam traps basically open when condensate needs to be removed. and if drastically over sized can cause process issues. Generally it is better to over size as they will still discharge condensate when present and close when steam is present.BASIC OPERATION ‡ The earliest and simplest form of steam trap is a disc or short solid pipe nipple with a small hole drilled through it installed at the lowest point of the equipment. Since steam condensate will collect at the lowest point and this hot liquid is about 1200 times smaller in volume and denser than live steam. .

steam has given up its latent heat). When the work is done (i.e. ‡ Steam-based heating processes use latent heat and transfer it to a given product. the water molecules must be given enough energy that the bonds between the molecules (hydrogen bonds.For What Purpose are Steam Traps Installed? ‡ Steam is formed when water vaporizes to form a gas. This energy given to convert a liquid into a gas is called 'latent heat'. In other words. condensate does not have the ability to do the work that steam does. In order for the vaporization process to occur. Heating efficiency will therefore suffer if condensate is not removed as rapidly as possible. .) break. whether in steam transport piping or in a heat exchanger. etc. steam condenses and becomes condensate.

‡ The first steam trap to make an appearance was a bucket type steam trap. The types developed in the early years of steam traps were a metal expansion type in the 1860¶s. a valve to automatically remove condensate was developed and this was the birth of the steam trap. which was first put into use in 1966. developed in the first half of the 1800¶s. . Cross-sectional views and summaries of each type of steam trap are found below.The History of Steam Traps ‡ Removing condensate by manually operating a valve is not only very bothersome. then an impulse type quite a bit later in the 1930¶s. ‡ The cross-sectional views show the present-day versions of each type of trap. but it also leaks steam. and finally in the 1940¶s the disc type with which we are all familiar was developed. The latest technology is the free float trap. As the number of applications that use steam grew.

the valve at the top opens and closes to intermittently discharge condensate.The cross-sectional views show the present-day versions of each type of trap. Current Inverted Bucket Type By means of the buoyancy of the cylindrical bucket. in early bucket type traps the top of the µbucket¶ was open (Open Bucket Type). . Unlike the trap shown in the cross-sectional view (Inverted bucket Type).

closing the valve located to the end of the rod. When the ambient temperature fluctuates the shape of the bimetal element changes. .Current Bimetal Type At the beginning. controlling the opening and closing of the valve and the discharge of condensate. This type of trap is no longer used in the present day. having been superceded by bimetal type traps. Two types of metal with different heat expansion rates are combined into a bimetal element. a straight metal rod was used which could expand when the temperature became high.

the adjustment screw is used to set the amount of steam that flows in through the flange on the piston valve and the amount of steam that flows out the hole down through the center of the piston valve. The upward and downward movement of the piston valve opens and closes the valve opening. intermittently discharging condensate. Current Disc Type Pressure fluctuations in the chamber above the disc valve result in the opening and closing of the disc valve .Current Impulse Type From the outside.

.1966 ± Free Float Type Current Free Float Type Condensate is continually discharged while the size of the valve opening is controlled at all times by the amount of buoyant force acting upon the tightly-sealing float. The original floats were attached to a lever. but modern-day floats are spherical with the float itself acting as the valve.

. ‡ Thermodynamic (TD) traps. ‡ Temperature traps. ‡ Venturi (orifice) traps.TYPES ‡ Steam traps can be split into four major types: ‡ Mechanical traps.

Mechanical traps operate in direct relationship to condensate levels present in the body of the steam trap.Mechanical traps ‡ They have a float that rises and falls in relation to condensate level and this usually has a mechanical linkage attached that opens and closes the valve. . Inverted bucket and float traps are examples of mechanical traps.

‡ They have a valve that is driven on / off the seat by either expansion / contraction caused by temperature change. BiThermostatic traps and bimetallic traps are examples of temperature operated traps. Thermostatic traps. In most circumstances this is not desirable as condensate needs to be removed as soon as it is formed. They differ from mechanical traps in that their design requires them to hold back some condensate waiting for it to cool sufficiently to allow the valve to open.Temperature traps. .

Thermodynamic (TD) traps. ‡ Thermodynamic traps work on the difference in dynamic response to velocity change in flow of compressible and incompressible fluids. This essentially makes a TD trap a "time cycle" device: it will open even if there is only steam present. As the steam starts to condense. the pressure against the disk lessens and the trap cycles. static pressure above the disk forces the disk against the valve seat. The static pressure over a large area overcomes the high inlet pressure of the steam. this can cause premature wear. it can cause the trap to be locked shut . As steam enters. If non condensable gas is trapped on top of the disc.

Because of this.Venturi (orifice) traps. . ‡ This type works in a turbulent two-phase flow regime. the amount of live steam escaping the orifice is negligible. Internally it consists of a venturi type valve with a certain shape. Condensate is fully discharged while eventual steam also tries to pass the venturi. But while traversing the venturi towards the low pressure zone the steam expands and chokes the throughput together with the slow condensate.

An efficient trap saves money by minimizing trap testing. Rapid wear of parts quickly brings a trap to the point of undependability. air and CO2 out of the system as quickly as they accumulate. 2. Corrosion resistance. downtime and associated losses. 3. Long life and dependable service. In addition. the trap must also provide: 1. repair. for overall efficiency and economy. Minimal steam loss. . Working trap parts should be corrosionresistant in order to combat the damaging effects of acidic or oxygen-laden condensate. cleaning.What the Steam Trap Must Do? The job of the steam trap is to get condensate.

Venting CO2 at steam temperature will prevent the formation of carbonic acid. and solids may carry over from the boiler. CO2 venting. Even particles passing through strainer screens are erosive and. Air must be vented for efficient heat transfer and to prevent system binding. Dirt is an ever-present concern since traps are located at low points in the steam system. 6. Condensate picks up dirt and scale in the piping. 5. the steam trap must be able to operate in the presence of dirt. . Therefore. the steam trap must function at or near steam temperature since CO2 dissolves in condensate that has cooled below steam temperature.4. 7. Air can be present in steam at any time and especially on start-up. Operation against back pressure. Pressurized return lines can occur both by design and unintentionally. Air venting. therefore.Freedom from dirt problems. A steam trap should be able to operate against the actual back pressure in its return system.

1 MPa] ./1000 kg) Steam leakage (kg/h) = A² x B x C A = Size of hole (mm) B = 4 (Constant) C = Absolute steam pressure (MPa) [Gauge pressure + 0./yr) = A*B*C /1000 A = Steam leakage (kg/h) B = Operation hrs (h/yr) C = Steam unit cost (Rs.Cost of losses (Rs.