What is saturated and superheated steam

Knowing the fundamentals of steam can help your home be more energy-efficient and insulated. When it comes to effectively dispersing heat in residential heating systems, steam is essential. However, not all steam is made equally. The two primary varieties to take into account are superheated and saturated steam.

Steam that is in equilibrium with water at a specific temperature and pressure is known as saturated steam. Imagine a pot of water on the stovetop that is about to boil. It emits steam when it boils. Because there are equal amounts of liquid and vaporized water in this steam, it is saturated. Any additional heat applied to saturated steam will only increase vaporization rather than raise the temperature because it already contains a certain amount of heat energy.

Superheated steam, on the other hand, is steam that has been heated above its saturation point. Just picture taking the pot of boiling water off the burner and keeping the steam it creates hotter. The temperature of the steam rises above the boiling point of water as more heat is applied. As a result, superheated steam is produced, which is entirely vapor and devoid of liquid water droplets. Superheated steam is an effective heating agent because it has a much higher heat energy content than saturated steam.

It’s critical to comprehend the distinction between superheated and saturated steam in order to maximize home heating systems. One kind of steam may need to be used over another, depending on what your heating system can handle. Furthermore, mastering the production and management of these kinds of steam can result in more effective heating procedures, which in turn can save expenses and energy.

Saturated Steam Superheated Steam
Saturated steam is steam that is at the temperature corresponding to its pressure, with no additional heat added or removed. It"s in equilibrium with liquid water. Superheated steam is steam that has been heated beyond its saturation point, resulting in a higher temperature and energy content compared to saturated steam. It"s dry and doesn"t contain any water droplets.

What is saturated steam

Saturated vapor is water vapor that is in thermodynamic equilibrium with boiler water. It is evident from this formulation that there can only be one value for the saturated vapor pressure at a given temperature.

Boiler units generate steam under continuous pressure, using flue gas heat to supply boiler water with heat. The boiler is filled with water, heated to the point of saturation, and when all of the liquid has evaporated, dry saturated steam is formed. These are the sequential steps that form the basis of this process.

The feed water in steam boilers enters the drum after going through the economizer. From it, colder streams rise through rising furnace screens heated by hotter flue gases and fall through unheated pipes due to gravity.

Here, the water temperature hits the saturation point value at the boiler unit’s operating pressure, signaling the start of the vaporization process.

The steam-water mixture moves through the screens and into the drum, where it is separated into water and steam, under pressure created when the density of the mixture falls and approaches that of the water in the downpipes.

At the saturation point, boiler water and water vapor reach thermodynamic equilibrium in a closed heating surface at a constant temperature. The quantity of condensed vapor molecules that return to the water in the boiler drum during a specific period of time will match the quantity of vapor molecules released from the water’s surface during that period.

saturated vapor pressure

The temperature of the boiler water at the equilibrium thermodynamic state determines the saturation pressure within the boiler. The vapor is compressed and the equilibrium is upset as the pressure increases. At first, there is a slight increase in the density of the steam, and more condensate molecules move from the steam medium to the boiler water than the other way around.

Compressing the vapor medium won’t change the number of molecules that leave water per unit of time because it is only influenced by temperature.

It will go on like this until thermodynamic equilibrium is reached and the concentration of returning molecules returns to its starting point. Tnp is therefore directly influenced by the boiler’s saturation pressure.

Table of saturated vapor

The Water Vapor Table lists the properties of dry NP. It indicates T (C), the boiler water’s boiling point, and the pressure (kPa and mmHg.st.) at which this process occurs.

The table may also include additional steam parameters that are specified:

  • specific volume, m3/kg;
  • density, kg/m3;
  • specific enthalpy, kJ/kg
  • specific heat of vaporization, kJ/kg.

Density of saturated steam

The formula determines the NP density.

Z st * (t + 273) / (D st = 216,49 * P)

  • D st is the density of saturated vapor in kg/m3;
  • P- absolute vapor pressure in bars;
  • t is the temperature in degrees Celsius;
  • Z st – compressibility coefficient of saturated steam at P and t.

The compressibility coefficient of saturated vapor at the absolute value of saturated water vapor pressure P, bar is indicated by the symbol "Z st" in this equation. This useful formula holds true for a range of steam pressures between 0.012 and 165 bar and corresponding saturation temperatures between 10 and 360 C.

Humidity of saturated steam

Steam trapped bubbles that burst through the water layer when the boiler unit heats the water. Steam that contains water in the form of tiny water vapor droplets is referred to as wet steam. The ratio in this instance may range from 0 to 1. Steam is regarded as 80% dry or has a dryness fraction of 0.8 if 20% of its volume is water.

Temperature, enthalpy, and specific volume are not included in NP tables for wet NP, but they are for dry NP. It will be necessary to use formulas to determine them, keeping in mind the ratio of the two media:

Volume (v) of wet steam in specific

V = (1 – X) * v f + X * v g

  • X = dryness (% / 100);
  • v f = specific volume of liquid;
  • v g = specific volume NP.

Particular steam enthalpy at dryness X:

H = X * h fg + h f

  • X = dryness (%);
  • h f = specific enthalpy of the liquid;
  • h fg = specific enthalpy of NP.

The values of specific volume, heat content, enthalpy, and entropy decrease with increasing steam wetness. Therefore, each of these values is greatly impacted by the steam’s dryness.

Organizing the processes involved in producing steam in a boiler that is 100% dry is the responsibility of thermal power engineers. To do this, steam and water are separated using specialized separation devices that are installed in the boiler drums.

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Superheated steam

A vapor that is superheated is one that is hotter than its boiling point at the exact pressure at which the temperature readings were taken. Because the temperature of superheated steam can rise while the pressure stays constant, the two variables are independent of one another.

The figure between the saturated vapor curve and the E state in the Ts diagram illustrates the superheating process of water vapor. Enthalpy from the superheated steam tables must be obtained in order to calculate a cycle’s thermal efficiency.

The only method to raise the Rankine cycle’s peak temperature and boost efficiency without raising boiler pressure is through the superheating process. This necessitates incorporating a unique heat exchanger into the boiler design called a superheater.

More heating at a constant pressure raises the temperature and specific volume in the superheater. The most valuable aspect of superheated steam is its enormous internal energy, which can be utilized to drive the turbine blades kinetically and rotate the shaft.

Temperature of superheated steam

Superheated steam (SS) shares some properties with an ideal gas, but not all of them with saturated steam. Because there is no relationship between temperature and pressure, PP can be produced at a specific pressure over a wide temperature range, depending on the steam superheater’s heating area.

The following are some ways that superheated steam is superior to saturated steam:

  • gree equal saturation pressure, it has a much higher temperature;
  • has a large specific volume, which saves energy resources when used;
  • when reduced, it does not condense until the temperature falls below the saturation point at the medium pressure.

Methods of superheated steam temperature control

It is frequently necessary to obtain superheated steam at a precise temperature for technological processes. To eliminate its surplus, three techniques for adjusting the PP’s temperature are typically employed:

  • mixing of different temperature flows, when boiler water or steam coolant of lower heat content is injected into the PP;
  • surface cooling, which consists in redirecting the SR through a system of special heat-exchange apparatuses that act as coolers;
  • Changing the heat flux, realized by changing the temperature or flow rate of the flue gases.

The first technique in thermal power engineering involves injecting feed water or condensate from the turbine generator into the PP flow; this method is most frequently utilized in high-pressure boilers. The secondary superheated steam temperature is typically controlled by injecting saturated steam.

Production of superheated steam

The boiler unit’s steam superheater device generates superheated steam that is hotter than the boiler drum’s saturation temperature. It is one of the more crucial boiler elements since the metal in the structure operates within permissible limits because of the high temperatures of the PP.

The two types of steam superheaters are the intermediate type, which uses the steam that is exhausted in the turbine to heat industrial spaces, and the main type, which operates in the supercritical pressure zone.

Furthermore, superheaters are divided into three categories based on the type of heat input: convective, which is placed in the boiler’s convective part; radiant, which is placed close to the furnace screens; and screen, which is placed in the furnace’s upper section. There are three types of flow patterns for steam and flue gases: mixed, direct, and counter.

Use of superheated steam in engineering

Superheated steam is used in modern steam turbines, and its temperature is much higher than the critical temperature (374C).

Turbines that use superheated steam have higher thermal efficiency. Extra applications for hot steam:

  • Food technology.
  • Curing Technologies.
  • Catalysis / Chemical Processing.
  • Surface drying technologies.
  • Curing Techniques.
  • Energy.
  • Nanotechnology.

Anyone working on heating and insulation systems in their home needs to know the difference between saturated and superheated steam. Because saturated steam can release latent heat, it is perfect for heating applications because it is both saturated with moisture and at its boiling point. However, superheated steam, which is more energetic and arid than ordinary steam and boils above this point, can be useful in some industrial processes.

Understanding the behavior of steam can help homeowners optimize their heating systems for comfort and efficiency. Because saturated steam releases its latent heat upon condensation, using it for heating guarantees optimal heat transfer. Because of this, it is the recommended option for underfloor heating systems and radiators, where comfort demands a constant temperature.

On the other hand, because of its higher temperatures and poorer heat transfer efficiency, superheated steam might not be appropriate for standard residential heating applications. Even so, knowing its characteristics can be helpful, particularly in industrial settings where precise control over energy content and temperature is necessary for operations like chemical reactions or power generation.

Both saturated and superheated steam present issues with insulation. Inadequate insulation can cause saturated steam to condense inside pipes or insulation, which over time can cause corrosion and decreased efficiency. Similar to this, superheated steam can cause problems and jeopardize safety if it comes into contact with insulating materials that are not meant to withstand its high temperatures.

In summary, although saturated steam is still the preferred option for home heating because of its effectiveness and compatibility with conventional heating systems, knowledge of the characteristics of superheated steam is important for a wider range of industrial uses. In order to maximize the advantages of steam-based heating while minimizing any potential disadvantages, proper insulation and system design are essential. Understanding the differences between these two types of steam will help both homeowners and business professionals make well-informed decisions to maximize the efficiency, comfort, and safety of their heating and insulation systems.

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Sergey Ivanov

I like to help people create comfort and comfort in their homes. I share my experience and knowledge in articles so that you can make the right choice of a heating and insulation system for your home.

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