Steam Theory Fundamentals

SKU: C-688Duration: 12 Minutes

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Course Details


Training Time: 12 minutes

Compatibility: Desktop, Tablet, Phone

Based on: Industry Standards and Best Practices

Languages: English, French

Steam is generated by adding enough heat energy to water to change it from a liquid to a gas phase. Latent heat is the heat energy required to accomplish this phase change. The latent heat in the steam can then be used to transfer heat to lower temperature surfaces. When saturated steam gives up its heat, it changes into liquid water called condensate that is at the same temperature as the steam. This module lists safety guidelines for steam generation and distribution systems, describes how steam can be used to transfer heat, and describes the relationship between steam pressure and saturated steam temperature.

Learning Objectives

  • List safety hazards and safe work practices associated with steam generation and distribution systems
  • Define the terms "latent heat," "superheat," "desuperheating," and "condensate"
  • Explain how steam is created in a boiler
  • Describe how steam can be used to transfer heat
  • Explain why superheat is sometimes intentionally added to fresh steam
  • Describe direct contact and indirect contact type desuperheaters
  • Describe the relationship between steam pressure and saturated steam temperature

Key Questions

The following key questions are answered in this module:

What is "latent heat"?
Latent heat is the heat energy that is required to convert a liquid to a gas - for example, liquid water to steam.

Why is it important that steam contains latent heat?
When steam contacts a surface that is at a lower temperature than it, the steam will condense on the surface and transfer its latent heat to that surface

What is superheated steam?
Superheated steam is steam that has been heated above its boiling point (for the current pressure)

Why is superheat sometimes added to steam, and then removed?
Steam is superheated to prevent it from condensing in steam supply piping. Once it reaches its final destination, this superheat is often removed to encourage condensation and improve heat transfer.

Why is it important to try and recover the condensate from steam-heating systems?
Condensate still contains large amounts of sensible heat and it may contain boiler feedwater treatment chemicals, so it reduces costs if it can be recovered and reused.

Sample Video Transcript

Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:

Steam is an invisible gas that is generated by heating liquid water to its boiling point or saturation temperature, at which point, it begins to boil. The heat energy used to convert liquid water to steam is then contained within the steam. So the steam can be used to carry and transfer heat energy to other locations. To utilize this function of steam on a continuous basis, steam must be continuously generated. A steam generation system must provide a continuous and uninterrupted heat source for this conversion. The simplest steam generating equipment is a kettle-type boiler which heats a specific quantity of water. As heat is applied, the water temperature increases. Eventually, for the given pressure, the boiling point or saturation temperature is reached.
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