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BOILER WATER CONDITIONING

Objective : The main objectives of Boiler water conditioning are -


1. Prevention of scale formation inside the heat transfer surface of Boiler tubes and Drum.
2. Prevention of corrosion of metal of feed water circuit, water wall tubes, Drum internals
and super heater tubes and turbine blades .
3. Maintain the purity of Main Steam with proper PH so that super heater tubes and turbine
Blades are kept free from any deposition (Silica, Iron oxide and calcium carbonate.)

Scales are generally formed due to ingress of Calcium and magnesium ions into the boiler
system through feed water either due to condenser cooling tube leakage or in rare case due to
contamination of D.M. Plant. Cooling water contains high concentration of salts specifically Calcium
bicarbonate and Magnesium bi carbonate. These bi carbonate ions are converted into carbonates of
Calcium / Magnesium under the influence of heat inside boiler and becomes insoluble in water. Due to
decrease in solubility Calcium carbonate adhere to the water wall tube or Boiler drum surfaces. Finally
these CaCO3 scale impedes normal heat transfer through the metal surfaces of the boiler tube and
ultimately failure of the tube due to overheating.

DOSING OF TRI SODIUM PHOSPHATE (T.S.P.)

To maintain a residual phosphate in drum water, we add TSP directly in the drum. T.S.P. also
helps in maintaining the desired PH of the boiler water.
Function of residual phosphate in boiler water is to eleminate scale formation on heat
transfer surfaces by reacting with any accidental ingress of calcium/ Magnesium ions which are
responsible for formation of CaCO3 and MgSiO3 ( Hard and strongly adherent scales). MgSiO3 is formed
in the boiler in presence of silica,sodium hydroxide and magnesium carbonate formed from Magnesium
bi carbonate as stated earlier.

Example:
Ca(HCO3)2 + Na3(PO4) = Ca3(PO4)2 +CO2 + H2O
Mg(HCO3)2 +Na3PO4 = Mg(PO4)2 +CO2 + H2O

The final product, calcium phosphates and Magnesium phosphates are loose sludges which
are easily removed by C.B.D. Thus formation of scales on heat transfer surfaces are eleminated.
The second action of T.S.P. is to develop a better PH in the boiler water which helps in
minimizing corrosion of tube metal of boiler as well as Drum surfaces.

In case of Air cooling condenser , chances of ingress of calcium and magnesium ions is nil.
Hence addition of Phosphate (T.S.P) in the boiler water is questioned. Yet we add T.S.P. in the Boiler
drum water to maintain the proper PH (9.2 – 10.2) considering boiler drum pressure 90-95 Kg/cm2.
Following chemical reaction takes place while hydrolysis of Tri Sodium Phosphate takes
place.

Na3PO4 + H2O <=> Na2HPO4 + NaOH

NaOH maintains the PH of Boiler water to encounter any corrosion and protects
magnetite layer. The suitable PH for Drum water is 9.0 - 9.8 for high pressure (> 100kg/cm2) and 9.5
to 10.5 for low/ medium pressure (<100 kg/cm2)
FEED WATER CONDITIONING

Deposition of Iron Oxide/Cupric oxide takes place in the heat transfer surface of Boiler due to
continuous ingress of Iron and Copper ions with feed water. We can minimize Iron pick-up and copper
pick-up from the feed water system by good feed water conditioning.

1. Dosing of Ammonia/ Morpholine : Feed water contains high amount of CO2 . This CO2 gas on
reaction with water generates Carbonic acid which decreases the PH of feed water . Following reaction
takes place.
CO2 + H2O = H2CO3

Above Carbonic acid suppresses the PH of feed water. To neutralize the action of acidic nature of water
due to presence of carbon di oxide, we regularly add Ammonia/Morpholine and simaelneously helps in
increasing the PH of the feed water. The desired PH of feed water in case of all Iron System is 9.2 - 9.6.
And in case of bi metallic metallurgy of copper and iron the range is 8.8 - 9.2 because ammonia is
aggressive to copper. Corrosion rate of copper increases with ammonia in presence of dissolved oxygen.

H2CO3 + NH4OH = (NH4)2CO3 + H2O


2. Dosing of Hydrazine
Dissolved O2 is much more corrosive than dissolved carbon di oxide. Removal of dissolved
oxygen is done mechanically in two stages and finally it is done chemically by dosing Hydrazine.
Mechanically in the condenser it is (Oxygen) removed through ejector as a non condensable gas under
vacume. And in the second stage we further remove it in the Deaerator simply by deareation of feed
water with the help of steam. All these deaerations are done mechanically. Yet some dissolved oxygen
can’t be removed. Traces of dissolved oxygen still remains in the feed water in the ppb level is removed
chemically by dosing Hydrazine in the feed water at Boiler feed pump suction.

N2H4 + O2 = H2O + N2

The corrosive action of oxygen can also be encountered with the help of dosing Sodium
Sulphite. It is better oxygen scavenger than Hydrazine . But it has some demerits also. Sodium sulphite
on reaction with oxygen produce Sodium sulphate which increases the dissolved solids of boiler water.
But in case of Hydrazine ,the product is a passive gas Nitrogen which makes no harm in the heat
transfer surfaces. In case of boiler with low drum pressure where TDS is not a matter of concern,
sodium sulphite can be added for scavenging (removing) dissolved oxygen

Na2SO3 + O2 = Na2SO4
STEAM PURITY

To maintain the health of superheater tubes and Turbine blades clean from any deposition of foreign
matter detrimental to each equipment we are to follow some guidelines with respect to Boiler water
parameters. Each parameter is discussed below:

T.D.S. : First, we are to understand what is T.D.S. In a solution (Water) when one salt is
dissolved, the salt will be partly / fully converted into it’s respective ions depending upon the nature of
the salt. These ions are carrier of electricity. Hence the water will be conductive and as such electrical
conductance is measure of the TDS present in water. More the total dissolved solids in boiler water
more will be the volatility rate of the salt with steam and finally deposition of different salts in the
evaporative system like super heater and turbine blades. Low pressure zones ie L.P. Blades are much
more prone to such depositions. Volatility rates also depends upon system pressure. More the system
pressure more will be the volatility.

SILICA ( SiO2 ) : Above phenomenon is also applicable to silica and it is very much sensitive in
presence of system pressure. Carryover of silica from liquid phase to steam phase is much effective as
the system pressure increases. Allowable limit of silica in steam is 0.02 ppm. If we can maintain this
limit stringently both Super heater and Turbine blades will be safe from the deposition of silica.