Is your tank and heating equipment violently shaking? You may be experiencing steam hammer.
What is steam hammer?
When heating a cold tank of water, the rate at which the steam condenses into the water is relatively rapid. However, as the water is heated, the tendency or rate at which the steam condenses into the water decreases. As this rate decreases, there is a tendency for the individual small steam bubbles to be introduced to recombine into larger steam bubbles. Many of these will float to the top of the tank to be lost to the atmosphere.
However, some of these large bubbles do condense into the water. The condensing of the large steam bubbles can cause many maintenance and performance problems. As these large bubbles reduce, a relatively sizeable volumetric change occurs. The volumetric change translates into a rapid uncontrolled movement of the liquid in the tank. This movement, commonly referred to as hammering, can be very violent and damage the tank and sparging components inside the tank.
Steam hammering not only raises safety concerns if the tank fails but also increases the likelihood of increased maintenance costs. In addition to maintenance and safety issues, the sparging process variability causes problems related to temperature control. The uncontrolled nature of the condensing inside of the tank results in temperature variation, typically causing overheating. This variation can harm processes involving temperature-sensitive materials or methods that require temperature control.
Why is steam hammer happening?
There are multiple reasons why steam hammering issues could be occurring in your facility. For more information, go to our steam hammer webpage by clicking here.
Addressing the Problems and Optimizing the Process.
Steam hammering can be caused by externally modulated heating technologies such as heat exchangers or unsophisticated forms of direct steam injection, such as spargers. Spargers are a standard heating system in tank heating that relies on the facility's steam supply or boiler. A standard sparging nozzle consists of several holes that allow steam to enter the process fluid and heat it to the desired temperature. As the steam from the sparger mixes with the process fluid in the piping or tank, this action may lead to steam hammer or unit vibration. Over time, if steam hammering is unchecked, it is not only dangerous, but it also can be an expensive maintenance problem. But there is a better way of heating.
Eliminating the problems associated with sparging will directly reduce the cost of heating and maintaining temperature in the tank. The Hydro-Thermal Hydroheater uses all available energy in the steam and transfers this energy rapidly and stably. This efficiency reduces the energy and time required to heat the tank and eliminates hammering problems.
Unlike sparging, Hydro-Thermal's Hydroheaters or Jetcookers utilize a single nozzle which focuses the incoming steam and accelerates it to a very high velocity (usually sonic velocity) before it comes into contact with the process fluid. This high velocity helps atomize the steam bubbles and shear the incoming process fluid, which allows for a more complete, efficient heat transfer—almost eliminating steam hammering in the unit.
Advantages of Heating with a Hydroheater
Installing a Hydro-Thermal Hydroheater on a recirculated loop around the tank can resolve all of the sparging issues and add the below advantages.
Hydro-Thermal's patented direct steam injection heaters and skid systems are designed to eliminate steam hammer and vibration, among other benefits. Hydro-Thermal's internally modulated Jetcooker™ utilizes a single nozzle that focuses the incoming steam and accelerates it to a very high velocity (usually sonic velocity) before coming into contact with the process fluid. This high velocity helps to atomize the steam bubbles and shear the incoming process fluid, which allows for a more complete, efficient heat transfer. The result is no steam hammer, precise/uniform heating, and reduced maintenance.