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Fire tube boiler vs Water tube boiler

Fire tube boiler vs Water tube boiler

Boiler is a closed vessel used to produce steam. Industrial boilers mainly can be classified as a fire tube and water tube boilers. The difference between fire tube boiler and water tube boiler depends on many factors. These factors include mode of firing, steam pressure, feed water quality, maintenance/ operational cost, water/steam circulations, etc. etc. To understand the Fire tube boiler vs Water tube boiler, following are the main comparison between Fire tube boiler and Water tube boiler.

Fire tube boiler:

  1. Hot gases pass inside the tubes and water circulates outside the tubes
  2. Generate low-pressure steam up to 24.5bar
  3. Steam generation rate low i.e. 09 tons per hour
  4. More floor area required i.e. about 8m2 per ton per hour of steam generation
  5. The overall efficiency of the boiler is up to 75%
  6. Difficult to transport
  7. Difficult in erection
  8. Tubes and drums of fire tube boilers are larger in size
  9. Boiler furnace area very difficult to altered to meet the fuel requirements
  10. Cope reasonably with a sudden increase in load for a shorter period
  11. Water circulation is not in a definite direction in fire tube boilers
  12. Mode of firing is internal
  13. Low initial cost and more compact
  14. Operating cost low
  15. Low maintenance cost
  16. Less bursting chances
  17. Bursting produces great risk to the whole boiler as well as a boiler attendant
  18. More in weight for a given size
  19. More thermal stresses in the boiler parts
  20. Fire tube boiler parts are not easily accessible for inspection, cleaning and repairing 
  21. Feedwater treatment is not necessary because overheating due to scale does not burst the thick shell
  22. Less skilled boiler attendant required to operate this boiler
  23. Not suitable for large power plants, mostly used in the process industry (sugar mill and textile industry)
  24. Simple vertical boiler, Cochran boiler, Lancashire boiler, Cornish boiler, scotch boiler, locomotive boiler, and Velcon boiler are the examples of fire tube boiler.

Water tube boiler:

  1. Water circulates inside the tubes and hot gases circulates outside the tubes
  2. Generate high-pressure steam up to 165bar
  3. Steam generation rate high i.e. 450 tons per hour
  4. Less floor area required i.e. about 5m2 per ton per hour of steam generation
  5. The overall efficiency of this boiler is up to 90% with economizer
  6. Easy to transport
  7. Easily erected because of various parts of the water tube boiler can be separated
  8. Tubes and drums of water tube boilers are smaller in size
  9. Boiler furnace area easily altered to meet the fuel requirements
  10. Suitable for fluctuating loads, respond quickly to change in steam demand
  11. Water circulation well defined in these boilers
  12. Mode of firing is external
  13. Initial cost high
  14. High operating cost 
  15. High maintenance cost
  16. More bursting chances
  17. Bursting does not produce any destruction to the whole boiler. Thus these boilers are sometimes called safety boilers
  18. Less in weight
  19. Less thermal stresses in the boiler parts due to the quick circulation of water (uniform temperature)
  20. Water tube boiler parts easily accessible for inspection, cleaning and repairing
  21. Feedwater treatment is necessary because the small deposition of scale inside the tubes causes blocking, overheating and bursting of tubes
  22. Skilled boiler attendant required to operate the boiler
  23. Used for large power plants
  24. Babcock and Wilcox boiler, Stirling boiler, La-Mont boiler, Benson boiler, Loeffler boiler are the examples of water tube boilers
Difference between fire tube boiler and water tube boiler
Fire tube boiler vs Water tube boiler

 

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