A boiler is used for generating steam. It does this by heating
water to its boiling point, after which steam will evaporate
When you boil a kettle of water, you will shut off the fire
or electric power when the water comes to a boil.
No so with a steam boiler. Generation of steam is a continuous
process. Once a boiler is generating steam, it may take quite
a long while before it is stopped. When steam is evaporated
from the water, new water has to be added in to replace the
water given out.
As more and more steam is evaporated, the water becomes more
and more concentrated with salts and other impurities. If you
use your kettle for a long while, you will see some chalky
deposits inside it.
The fresh water supplied to replenish those lost through
evaporation cannot be pure and free from salts. Even minute
quantities of salt in the water will eventually become so
concentrated as to form scales or deposits. The deposits are
usually calcium or magnesium salts.
These scales are very damaging to the boiler because they
interfere with the heat transfer and can lead to overheating
and eventually, boiler rupture.
Soft water is water that contains very little calcium or
magnesium salts. They are used to feed the boilers. However,
they tend to be acidic in nature.
Acidic water tends to corrode. This is not good for the boiler.
Corrosion can weaken the boiler.
By treating the boiler water with chemicals, we can control
the acidity of the water as well as the softness of the water.
This will solve the problem with scales and corrosion, but it
is not the ultimate cure-all.
The boiler water will continue to become more and more
concentrated as the steam evaporates. The next step to take
is to remove the concentrated water and replenish it with
fresh, soft water.
The process of removing the concentrated water is called
Folks, close your ears!
Until next time?
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