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Boiler as a Thermodynamic System: Heat Production and Distribution

By Jasmin Shakespeare Subscribe to RSS | February 6th 2012 | Views:
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The universe is a vast space that includes exclusive physical systems. Also called thermodynamic system, a physical system enables exchanges of work, heat, or matter across it to produce, maintain, or reduce energy. The space engulfing the system, called surroundings or environment, may also affect the exchanges of elements in the system. Any machine or equipment is a good example of a thermodynamic system. Exchanges of elements occur to yield a desired outcome.

The boiler is a machine that best utilizes the mechanisms of thermodynamics. Its main purpose is to boil water and use it to apportion heat around the system. It requires combustion or any heat source adequate to give the necessary heat to meet the system's demand. The machine itself or the elements in it do not directly include the system but the properties of those elements that make the exchanges possible. For example, the changes in water temperature when permeating tubes influence the functionality of a boiler.

The total energy being distributed and shared throughout the system is called enthalpy. Because of the environment, not all the enthalpy in a system can be used. A substantial part of it is wasted. To enhance the effectiveness of a system, such as the boiler, enthalpy must be saved. In a boiler, performance is measured by the volume of water heated with respect to the volume of fuel at a certain timeframe. If the heat formed through combustion boils the water filled in the boiler longer than the expected time, then the system is ineffective.

For that reason, the only way to improve the efficiency in a boiler is to speed up heating the same volume of water using the equal amount of fuel. At first, it looks impossible since an increase in heat is expected without modifying the properties of any element present in the system. Unless an additional element is utilized, there is no chance of changing any rate. This is the reason why boiler designs today already contain a heat reclaimer or economizer.

An economizer in boiler is not always a foreign element that stems from the environment of a boiler system. It is an additional component that functions to preheat water before being replenished in the boiler. That way, the water is partly or already considerably heated before being actually heated in the boiler, thereby lessening fuel consumption.

A Boiler economizer does not apply heat from the environment. It seizes the wasted steam and uses its enthalpy to preheat the water. Such a device reduces not only the fuel consumption, but also the waste production.

Jasmin Shakespeare - About Author:
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