Sturdy Steam Traps: An Engineering Component for Efficient Machinery
Ever since people started using steam as an energy source, engineers have always strived to keep steam machinery working at peak efficiency. However, steam had the tendency to mix with the condensate it came from, as well as with non-condensable gases. The result was that steam-dependent machines would lose efficiency when fed steam mixed with such materials; fortunately, this problem was solved by the creation of sturdy steam traps.
A steam trap is a device added to steam-powered machinery that effectively removes condensate and non-condensable gases from a pipeline without letting steam escape. This allows machines to use steam in its purest form. With this in mind, many steam trap suppliers, such as A.L.B. Industrial Supplies Inc., offer clients the following popular steam trap models:
Inverted Bucket Trap
According to experts, the inverted bucket steam trap was one of the first models of steam traps ever invented. Despite the fact that the first inverted bucket trap was introduced centuries ago, it is still a popular choice because of its simple, yet effective, design.
This type of steam trap combines the principles of density and buoyancy to drain condensates and non-condensable gases. Inside the steam trap, a valve is connected to a small ball. When the mixture of steam, non-condensable gas, and condensate enter the trap, condensate causes the ball to float, opening the valve. The condensate is then promptly drained.
As the condensate is drained, a small temperature-sensitive seal is exposed to the mixture of steam and non-condensable gas. This seal reacts to the temperature of the gas surrounding it, and because non-condensable gas is cooler than steam, the seal allows it to pass.
According to an article from The Engineering Tool Box:
There are two basic designs for the thermostatic steam trap, a bimetallic and a balanced pressure design. Both designs use the difference in temperature between live steam and condensate or air to control the release of condensate and air from the steam line.
In an [sic] thermostatic bimetallic trap it is common that an oil filled element expands when heated to close a valve against a seat. It may be possible to adjust the discharge temperature of the trap – often between 60oC and 100oC.
These are only three of the many types of steam traps available on the market. If you need to have steam traps installed on your machines, do not hesitate to contact a steam trap supplier to help you decide on a steam trap that best fits your needs.
(Article Excerpt and Image from Steam Trap Selection Guide, The Engineering Tool Box)