Superheater TubesIndustrial Boilers America manufacturers and designs superheaters to fit our boiler designs and many other boiler designs.  Even though Most boilers produce steam to be used at saturation temperature; that is, saturated steam. IBA provides Superheated steam boilers that vaporize the water and then further heat the steam in a superheater. This provides steam at much higher temperature, but can decrease the overall thermal efficiency of the steam generating plant because the higher steam temperature requires a higher flue gas exhaust temperature There are several ways to circumvent this problem, typically by providing an economizer that heats the feed water, a combustion air heater in the hot flue gas exhaust path, or both. There are advantages to superheated steam that may, and often will, increase overall efficiency of both steam generation and its utilization: gains in input temperature to a turbine should outweigh any cost in additional boiler complication and expense. There may also be practical limitations in using wet steam, as entrained condensation droplets will damage turbine blades.

Superheated steam presents unique safety concerns because, if any system component fails and allows steam to escape, the high pressure and temperature can cause serious, instantaneous harm to anyone in its path. Since the escaping steam will initially be completely superheated vapor, detection can be difficult, although the intense heat and sound from such a leak clearly indicate its presence.

Superheater operation is similar to that of the coils on an air-conditioning unit, although for a different purpose. The steam piping is directed through the flue gas path in the boiler furnace. The temperature in this area is typically between 1300–1600 degrees Celsius (2372–2912 °F). Some superheaters are a radiant type; that is, they absorb heat by radiation. Others are a convection type, absorbing heat from a fluid. Some are a combination of the two types. Through either method, the extreme heat in the flue gas path will also heat the superheater steam piping and the steam within. While the temperature of the steam in the superheater rises, the pressure of the steam does not and the pressure remains the same as that of the boiler. Almost all steam superheater system designs remove droplets entrained in the steam to prevent damage to the turbine blades and associated piping.

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