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Boiler Make-up Water Sources: Typical Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), mg/L less than 1500 1500 to 10000 greater than 10,000 35000-60000

Salinity Classes Fresh Water Brackish (Well or Aquifer) Water Brines Seawater

Feedwater Impurities: 1. Dissolved gases such as oxygen & carbon dioxide, which lead to corrosion. 2. Dissolved solids which are usually inorganic salts of calcium & magnesium 3. Dissolved organics (oil, organic chemicals) that can foul Heat Transfer areas. 4. Microbiological & macrobiological organisms 5. Particulate matter such as suspended solids (mud). 6. Caustic which can cause caustic embrittlement of steel. Scale & Deposit forming impurities are: - Calcium Ions - Magnesium ions - Silica - Phosphates (likely to be generated by chemical treatment) - Iron & Copper Water analyses are conventionally expressed for both cations (+ve charged ions) and anions (-ve charged ions), in parts per million by weight (ppmw) except for hardness & alkalinity, which are usually expressed in ppw of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). These ppmw values can be converted to a common basis such as milliequivalents/liter. this permits the summation of oppositely charged ions such that total cations will equal total anions. Cation & anion meq/liter can be converted to ppmw CaCO3. Total hardness is defined as the sum of calcium and magnesium ions in ppw of CaCO3. Total alkalinity is the sum of CO3-2, HCO3-1, and OH-1 ions in ppw of CaCO3.

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CHEMICAL FORMULA None. Usually expressed in Jackson Turbidity Units

DIFFICULTIES CAUSED MEANS OF TREATMENT Imparts unsightly appearance to water , Coagulation, Settling & filtration deposits in water lines, process equipment, boilers & so on; interferes with most process uses Decaying organic material and metallic ions Coagulation, filtration, chlori-nation, causing color may cause foaming in boilers; adsorption by activated carbon hinders precipitation methods such as iron removal, hot phosphate softening; can stain product in process use




Calcium, magnesium, barium, Chief source of scale in heat exchange Softening, distillation, internal boiler and strontium salts expressed as equipment, boilers, pipe lines, and so on; water treatment, surface active CaCO3 forms curds with soap; interferes with dyeing agents, reverse osmosis, electrolytes Bicarbonate (CHO3-1), carbonate Foaming & carryover of solids with steam; embrittlement of boiler steel; bicarbonate (CO3-2) and hydroxyl (OH-1) and carbonate produce CO3 in steam, a expressed as CaCO3) source of corrosion. H2SO4, HCl etc., expressed as Corrosion CaCO3 titrated to methyl-orange end-point CO2 Lime & lime-soda softening, acid treatment, hydrogen zeolite softening, demineralization, dealkalization by anion exchange, distillation, degasifying. Neutralization with alkalies


Free Mineral Acid

Carbon Dioxide


Hydrogen ion concentration defined as pH = log (1/H+1) SO4 Cl-1 NO3-1


Sulfate Chloride Nitrate

Corrosion in water lines & particularly steam Aeration, deaeration, neutralization & condensate lines with alkalines, liming & neutralizing amines. pH varies according to acidic or alkaline pH can be increase by alkalies & solids in water; most natural waters have a decreased by acids. pH of 6.0-8.0 Adds to solids contents & increase corrosive Demineralization, distillation, character of water. reverse osmosis, electrodialysis Adds to solids contents & increase corrosive Demineralization, distillation, character of water. reverse osmosis, electrodialysis Adds to solids contents, but is not usually significant industrially; useful for control of boiler metal embrittlement. Not usually significant industrially. Demineralization, distillation, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis Adsorption with magnesium hydroxide, calcium phosphate or bone black; Alum coagulation, reverse osmosis, electrolytes.






Fe+2 (ferrous); Fe+2 (ferric)

Scale in boilers & cooling water systems; Hot process removal with insoluble turbine blade deposits due to silica magnesium salts; adsorption by vaporization. highly basic anion exchange resins, in conjunction with demineralization, distillation. Discolors water on precipitation; source of Aeration, coagulation & filtration, deposits in water lines, boilers etc.; lime softening, cation exchange, interferes with dyeing, tanning, paper manu- contact filtration, surface active facture. agents for iron retention. same as iron Scale, sludge & foaming in boilers; impedes heat exchange; undesirable in most processes. Corrosion of water lines, heat exchange equipment, boilers, return lines, etc. Cause of "rotten egg" odor; corrosion. Corrosion of copper & zinc alloys by formation of complex soluble ion. Conductivity is the result of ionizable solids in solution; high conductivity can increase the corrosive characteristics of a water. same as iron Baffle Separators, strainers, coagulation & filtration, diatomaceous earth filtration. Deaeration, sodium sulfite, corrosion inhibitors, hydrazine or suitable substitutes. Aeration, chlorination, highly basic anion exchange. Cation exchange with hydrogen zeolite, chlorination, deaeration, mixed-bed demineralization. Any process which decreases dissolved solids content will decrease conductivity; examples are demineralization, lime softening. Various softening processes such as lime softening & cation exchange by hydrogen zeolites will reduce dissolved solids; demineralization; distillation; reverse osmosis; electrolytes. Subsidence, filtration, usually preceded by coagulation & settling.

Manganese Oil

Mn+2 Expressed as oil or chloroform extractable material, ppmw O2


Hydrogen Sulfide Ammonia



Expressed as micromhos, specific conductance

Dissolved solids


"Dissolved Solids" is a measure of total amount of dissolved matter, determined by evaporation; high concentrations of dissolved solids are objectionable because of process interference & as a cause of foaming in boilers. "Suspended Solids" is the measure of undissolved matter, determined gravimetrically; suspended solids, plug lines & cause deposits in heat exchange equipment, boilers etc. "Total Solids" is the sum of dissolved & suspended solids, determined gravimetrically.

Suspended Solids


Total Solids


See "Dissolved Solids" & "Suspended Solids".

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Blowdown: All dissolved & suspended solids entering a boiler with the feedwater remain in the drums and tubes as steam is generated. The continual addition of feedwater produces higher & higher concentration of solids in the boiler water. A point can be reached beyond which operation is completely unsatisfactory. this situation may be caused by dissolved solids, silica content or alkalinity. Every boiler has a limit above which scaling, foaming & carryover occur. In order to keep boiler water concentrations below this limit, some of the concentrated boiler water must be removed from the unit as blowdown.

The intermittent or manual blowdown is taken from the bottom of the mud drum. This blowdown is mainly intended to remove any sludge formed in the boiler water. Both suspended & dissolved are present in the water. These must be removed to prevent solids from settling & caking on the heat transfer surfaces. the manual blowdown should be used approximately once per day for a few seconds to remove suspended solids which may have settled in the mud drum. A continuous blowdown system helps to keep the boiler water within the concentration limits on a relatively constant basis. Removing a small stream of water continuously saves water, chemicals, and heat. The heat in the continuous blowdown water can be recovered in a heat exchange system installed in the blowdown system. The continuous blowdown connection is usually located below the low water level in the steam drum. Proper regulation of boiler blowdown is very important in boiler operation. Too little blowdown allows the concentration of suspended and dissolved solids to become too great, resulting in scale formation and carryover of impurities in the steam. Too much blowdown wastes fuel and feedwater. Globe valves with position indicators allow for accurate control of the blowdown rate. Boiler concentration limits to control corrosion and fouling in the boiler vary as a function of the operating pressure. In some cases, the blowdown from a high pressure boiler may be suitable for makeup to a lower pressure boiler. Steam that is dirty and wet can cause deposits in superheaters, turbines, and control valves. A good separation of water and steam must occur inside the boiler steam drum to produce clean and dry steam. Most boilers have effective mechanical separators in the boiler steam drum when the water boils smoothly. When boiler water primes (high level) or foams, however, impurities are carried over in the steam. While water priming and foaming are partly controlled through careful operation of the boiler drum level and chemical injections, respectively, they are highly dependent on maintaining proper boiler blowdown. Some blowdown systems have automated blowdown control based on a continuous conductivity measurement of boiler water. Conductivity is a measure of the dissolved solids in the boiler water. The blowdown system must safely dispose of the flashing steam and hot liquid as previously discussed.

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Cycles of Concentration: A dissolved salt entering the boiler system will not leave the boiler in the steam. The dissolved salt will concentrate in the boiler water as steam is formed. The dissolved salt concentration can be controlled to a given level by adjusting the blowdown rate. A simple mass balance on the salt will demonstrate this principle. The mass of salt entering the boiler is the mass of boiler feed water (BFW) times the concentration of the salt. Since there is no salt in the steam, the mass of salt leaving the boiler is the mass of blowdown (BD) times the concentration of salt in the BD as shown in the figure below. The concentration of salt in the blowdown will be the same as the concentration of salt in the steam drum. The cycles of concentration (CC) is defined by the concentration in the blowdown divided by the concentration in the boiler feedwater which is equal to the BFW rate divided by the blowdown rate. The percent blowdown is defined as the blowdown rate divided by the BFW rate times 100. The cycles of concentration is the inverse of the percent blowdown multiplied by 100. The steam drum (blowdown) concentration can readily be controlled by blowdown rate since they are directly related.

X = (FBD / FBFW) *100 FBFW*CBFW = FBD*CBD CBFW / CBD = FBD / FBFW = X / 100 CC = CBD / CBFW = 100 / X where: FBFW = Feedwater flow, kg/h (lb/h) FBD = Blowdown flow, kg/h (lb/h) FSTM = Steam flow, kg/h (lb/h) CBFW = Solids concentration in boiler feedwater, ppm CBD = Solids concentration of blowdown (circulating boiler water), ppm CC = Cycles of concentration, dimensionless X = % blowdown, percent of boiler feedwater


Deposits are most likely to occur in the riser tubes. The concentration of dissolved solids will be greater in the riser tubes than in the steam drum because some water has been vaporized. The steam drum concentration is controlled at a level that minimizes deposits in the riser tubes. Care should be exercised in use of % blowdown because some use % blowdown to mean % of steam and not BFW as defined here. Example: Water is fed into a boiler from a DM water plant. The chloride specification of this water also controls the solids specification. The chloride content of the steam drum water must be 10 ppm by weight. The boiler feedwater has a chloride content of 0.2 ppm by weight. The boiler produces 200,000 kg/h of steam. Calculate the BFW & Blowdown rates. Calculations: CBFW = CBD = FSTM = 0.2 10 200000 kg/h

FBD / FBFW = CBFW / CBD = X /100 FBD / FBFW = FBD = 0.02*FBFW 0.02 1 2

FBFW = FSTM + FBD From 1 & 2 0.98*FBFW = FSTM = FBFW = FBD =

200000 Boiler Feedwater quantity Blow down quantity

204081.6 kg/h 4081.6 kg/h

Prepared Ankur Srivastava by: Chemical Engineer Email:

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