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Everything listed under: Vacuum

  • Test Your Knowledge: Which Device Is It?

    Which of the following helps minimize water hammer, helps drains condensate, and minimizes temperature swings?

    1. Inverted Bucket Steam Trap
    2. Vacuum Breaker
    3. Fluid Air Coil
    4. Mechanical Condensate Pump
    5. Pilot Operated Regulating Valve

    And the answer is...

    2. Vacuum Breaker

    A Vacuum Breaker is a simple, reliable device that allows air to enter a steam piping system when a vacuum is induced. When a steam system shuts down, the remaining steam condenses into water, which takes up a much smaller volume than the original steam. This creates a vacuum, which can lead to water hammer and tube damage if not relieved of in a timely way. 

    Check out this video which shows the proper use of a vacuum breaker in a steam system.

    Here are our top 4 reasons for including a vacuum breaker in your system:

    1. It helps allow for complete condensate drainage under all operating conditions: on/off or modulating applications. 
    2. It helps minimize water hammer. 
    3. It helps minimize temperature swings and uneven temperatures. 
    4. It helps minimize product waste.

    All heat transfer components, whether shell-and-tube exchanger, plate-and-frame exchanger, air heating coil or any other device, require vacuum breakers. As the video shows, because the condensate piping after our coil is clear glass, you can watch condensate backing up into the coil without a vacuum breaker.  Once the vacuum breaker is allowed to operate, the coil can remain free of condensate under all operating conditions, which eliminates many issues that can shorten equipment service life and/or cause operation problems.

    The footage for that video was taken in our Steam Training Room located in Minnetonka, Minnesota, where we have regular training classes.  We utilize a steam boiler, glass piping, and functional glass-bodied steam traps to describe and demonstrate a variety of steam basics and advanced concepts in the 4 main areas of a steam system: Generation, Distribution, Utilization, and Condensate Return.

    Contact us for more information on the proper use of vacuum breakers or sign up for our Steam Energy Conservation seminars to learn more. 


  • Troubleshooting Vacuum Operation of an Inter-After Condenser Unit in an Ethylene Plant

    A system of compressors powered by surface condensing steam turbines is inherent in the operation of a typical ethane cracker unit. These turbines run by extracting work from high-pressure steam, while a surface condenser condenses the turbine's exhaust to both maximize compressor horsepower and recover valuable condensate.

    In an ethane cracking unit, a troubleshooting study was undertaken to investigate an inter-after condensing unit and vacuum instability in the surface condenser. The troubleshooting study, summarized in this article by Graham, consisted of field observations, equipment review, trial runs and data collection. Click to see the complete details of the study and what it discovered. 

  • Coping With Vacuum – The Importance of Ejector Systems in Urea Plants

    The following article was recently published by Jim Lines and appeared in the June 2017 issue of World Fertilizer magazine. 

    Ejector systems are critical to the final concentration of a urea solution. Regardless of the end product, whether produced by granulation or prilling, ejector systems establish evaporator pressures that permit the removal of water to concentrate the urea solution at temperatures sufficiently low enough to minimize biuret formaton. 

    There are several process technologies for urea production. Saipem/Snamprogetti, Maire Tecnimont/Stamicarbon, Toyo Engineering Corp., Casale and NIIK offer the most frequently used. For each process technology, the ejector systems are critical to plant throughput and product quality. While critical to the success and profitability of a urea plant, ejector systems are viewed as not generally well understood. The thermodynamics of ejector performance in not widely known and the vacuum condensers within an ejector system cannot be designed with conventional heat exchanger software. 

    This article provides a deeper review of ejectors and vacuum condensers in urea concentration processes so that specifiers, evaluators, purchasers and users of this critical process equipment understand the salient considerations necessary to provide reliable plant performance. Download the complete article that covers:

    • Ejector systems for urea concentration processes
    • Steam supply conditions
    • Ejector performance curve
    • Variables that affect ejector performance
    • Booster ejector flushing
    • Vacuum condensers
    • Ammonia emission from ejector system
    • Numerous charts and equations

    Click to download the complete article "Coping With Vacuum" by Jim Lines, Graham Corp. 

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