The boiler pipe is just another seamless pipe. However, the use of boiler pipes is specific to completing industrial operations efficiently. Boiler pipes can carry gases, hot water, and steam from one place to another, allowing the manufacturing units to function correctly. Boiler pipe manufacturers specially build the pipes for high-pressure and temperature usages. You can see the use of these pipes in superheaters, heat exchangers, steam pipelines, etc.
Even though manufacturers specially produce these pipes for using them in energy devices, they often come across some challenges they must overcome. However, if pipe fabricators can mitigate the issues, they can increase the efficiency of the pipes by 90%. The key is to maintain the pipes properly.
Let us check out the common problems manufacturers come across.
As you know, boiler pipes carry steam from one place to another. Sometimes, droplets of water carrying steam move from their designated place through the seamless tubes. As a result, ‘wet steam’ forms, which is nothing but water with steam. We call this phenomenon priming.
Now, if manufacturers face issues with priming, the first problem they will notice is that the boiler system will start to overheat. Also, since all the system parts are not supposed to come in contact with water or steam, including any in non-designated areas can cause corrosion. Once the corrosion sets in, it can rapidly spread across the system.
In spite of choosing superior-quality boiler tube material, the system may need some quality issues when priming happens. Priming can cause a reduction in production, which in turn affects heat transfer rates. Also, the system consumes more power to generate the same amount of steam. As a result, priming can harm the boiler system so severely that it may not last as long as it is supposed to.
Both chemical and mechanical causes are responsible for the problem, including improper design of the boiler pipes, using highly alkaline water for generating steam, the inclusion of soap-like elements in water, using a higher level of water, etc.
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As you can understand from the name, a layer of foam appears on the top surface of the water. Chemicals present in the boiler tube material can cause the formation of foam. For example, oils, alkalis, soap-like chemicals, etc., are responsible for producing foam on the top layer of water when the water starts to boil. The formation of foam lowers the surface tension of the water leading to contamination.
In addition, foaming can also cause the water level to fluctuate, which in turn can cause scaling.
A small issue, such as the formation of bubbles on the water surface, can lead to serious problems like foaming. However, since the water is either boiling or reaches a near-boiling temperature, the bubbles on the surface do not break. Rather, the boiling water keeps producing more bubbles.
Boiler pipe manufacturers can use castor oil, which is an anti-bubble or anti-foaming element, to prevent bubbles from developing. The neutralizing effect of castor oil maintains the surface tension. Pipe fabricators can also get rid of elements that can cause foamings, such as alkalines and oils, before using the boiler system.
Since boiler pipes withstand extreme pressure and temperature for a prolonged period, the system develops thermal stress. In addition, some manufacturers use something other than high-quality stainless steel to produce these pipes. As a result, the system develops cracks or other damage.
To diminish this issue, you should invest in good-quality pipes. Only trusted manufacturers produce the toughest seamless tubes using superior-quality stainless steel or other non-corrosive metal alloys. Furthermore, when manufacturers produce the pipes using superior-quality stainless steel, constant exposure to such high heat cannot lead to fatigue in the system. Hence, you can use the boiler system for much longer without worrying about thermal stress setting in.
Corrosion is one of the most difficult challenges manufacturers need to deal with. When the pipes become physically damaged because of pitting action, you can say that the boiler tube material has started to erode. As you know, water has oxygen. When the oxygen in the boiling water causes electrochemical action, it causes the pipes to decay.
Once the pipes start to disintegrate, it is difficult for the pipe producers to reverse the process. Corrosion can lead to breakage of the pipes, can harm the joints and rivets, can increase the cost of maintenance and repairs, and a lot of other issues.
The most effective solution to this issue is to add chemical elements like sodium sulfide, hydrazine, etc., that prevents electrochemical action from taking place. Manufacturers can also choose mechanical aeration under vacuum conditions and high temperatures to alleviate this issue.
If you are working in an industrial environment, you may need to invest in a boiler system. Purchasing boiler pipes from a reputable boiler pipe manufacturer can safeguard you from a lot of the problems discussed above. However, to ensure that your boiler system works efficiently and lasts long, you not only need to maintain the system but also must invest in high-quality steel pipes.
If you implement targeted solutions, you can eliminate the risk of damaging your boiler system. Also, you must regularly service and maintain the boiler pipes to avoid scaling, product build-up, foam accumulation, etc. Regular maintenance can also prevent corrosion.