- Steam Theory
- 1. Basics of Steam
- 2. Steam Heating
- 3. Basics of Steam Traps
- 4. Steam Trap Selection
- Steam Trap Selection: How Application Affects Selection
- Steam Trap Selection: Understanding Specifications
- Steam Trap Selection: Safety Factor and Life Cycle Cost
- Traps and Orifices Part 1
- Traps and Orifices Part 2
- Casting vs. Forging
- Applications of Different Types of Steam Traps
- Don't Get Steamed : Selecting Steam Trap Design
- Understanding Steam Traps
- Compare Two Fixed Orifice Venturi Products to a Variable Orifice Free Float Steam Trap
- 5. Steam Trap Problems
- 6. Steam Trap Management
- 7. Water Hammer
- Water Hammer: What is it?
- Water Hammer: The Mechanism
- Water Hammer: Cause and Location
- Water Hammer: In Steam Distribution Lines
- Water Hammer: In Equipment
- Water Hammer: In Condensate Transport Piping
- Identifying Water Hammer Using a Thermal Camera
- Mitigation of Water Hammer in Vertical Flashing Condensate Transport Piping
- Stop Knocking Your Condensate Return
- Steam Trap Management: Do Something; Anything. Please!
- 8. Risk Mitigation
- 9. Steam Quality
- 10. Steam Distribution
- 11. Condensate Recovery
- Introduction to Condensate Recovery
- Returning Condensate and When to Use Condensate Pumps
- Condensate Recovery: Vented vs. Pressurized Systems
- Condensate Recovery Piping
- What is Stall?
- Methods of Preventing Stall
- Cavitation in Condensate Pumps
- Steam Heat Exchangers are Underworked and Over-Surfaced
- Allocate New Plant Focus to Steam System Design—Part 2
- 12. Energy Efficiency
- Tips to improve steam plant efficiency
- Advice on Winter Preparation for Steam Systems
- Insulating Traps
- Steam Compressors
- Why Save Energy?
- Management Strategies for Conserving Energy
- Recovering Steam Clouds and Waste Heat
- Waste Heat Recovery
- Boiler Energy Saving Tips
- Steam Line Energy Saving Tips
- Steam-Using Equipment Energy Saving Tips
- Handle Steam More Intelligently
- Optimize the Entire Steam System
- Use Available Data to Lower System Cost
- 13. Compressed Air / Gas
- 14. Other Valves
Wet Steam vs. Dry Steam: The Importance of the Steam Dryness Fraction
Did you know that boilers do not generate 100% saturated steam (dry steam)? When a steam boiler heats up water, bubbles breaking through the water surface will pull tiny water droplets in with the steam. Unless a superheater is used, this will cause the steam supply to become partially wet (wet steam) from the added liquid.
Steam Dryness Fraction
The steam dryness fraction is used to quantify the amount of water within steam. If steam contains 10% water by mass, it's said to be 90% dry, or have a dryness fraction of 0.9.
Steam dryness is important because it has a direct effect on the total amount of transferable energy contained within the steam (usually just latent heat), which affects heating efficiency and quality.
For example, saturated steam (100% dry) contains 100% of the latent heat available at that pressure. Saturated water, which has no latent heat and therefore 0% dryness, will only contain sensible heat.
Steam Dryness = 100% - [% Entrained Water] (by mass)
Calculating the Total Heat of Wet Steam
Steam tables contain values such as enthalpy (h), specific volume (ν), entropy (s), etc. for saturated steam (100% dry) and for saturated water (0% dryness), but typically not for wet steam.
These can be calculated by simply considering the ratio of steam to water, as described in the equations below:
Specific Volume (ν) of Wet Steam
ν = X • νg + (1 - X) • νf
- X = Dryness (% / 100)
- νf = Specific Volume of Saturated Water
- νg = Specific Volume of Saturated Steam
Specific Enthalpy (h) of Wet Steam
h = hf + X • hfg
- X = Dryness (% / 100)
- hf = Specific Enthalpy of Saturated Water
- hfg = Specific Enthalpy of Saturated Steam - Specific Enthalpy of Saturated Water
Specific Entropy (s) of Wet Steam
s = sf + X • sfg
- X = Dryness (% / 100)
- sf = Specific Entropy of Saturated Water
- sfg = Specific Entropy of Saturated Steam - Specific Entropy of Saturated Water
The wetter the steam, the lower the specific volume, enthalpy, and entropy will be because the dryness percentage is a factor of the 100% condition. Since steam dryness has a significant effect on all these values, to enable greater heating efficiency it is crucial to supply steam that is as close to being 100% dry as possible.
The Relationship Between Steam Dryness and Enthalpy
Steam Dryness Decreases During Transport
During transport, radiant heat loss from piping causes part of the steam to lose some of its latent heat and revert back to water, thereby decreasing steam dryness.
Water Droplets Entrained in Steam
Since wet steam not only affects heat transfer efficiency, but can also cause erosion of piping and critical equipment such as turbine blades, it is highly recommended to take preventative measures such as using a steam separator to remove the entrained condensate and by following the advice written in these articles:
Can steam dryness rise above 100%? It might seem unlikely, but actually it can. When steam is more than 100% dry it is called superheated steam. This type of steam is created by adding heat above the saturated steam threshold. The added heat raises the steam’s temperature higher than its saturation point, allowing the amount of superheat to be easily determined by simply measuring its temperature.
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