Surface condenser

Surface condenser image

Surface condenser

A surface condenser is a commonly used term for a water-cooled shell and tube heat exchanger installed to condense exhaust steam from a steam turbine in thermal power stations. These condensers are heat exchangers which convert steam from its gaseous to its liquid state at a pressure below atmospheric pressure. Where cooling water is in short supply, an air-cooled condenser is often used. An air-cooled condenser is however, significantly more expensive and cannot achieve as low a steam turbine exhaust pressure (and temperature) as a water-cooled surface condenser.

Surface condensers are also used in applications and industries other than the condensing of steam turbine exhaust in power plants.

Contents

Purpose

In thermal power plants, the purpose of a surface condenser is to condense the exhaust steam from a steam turbine to obtain maximum efficiency, and also to convert the turbine exhaust steam into pure water (referred to as steam condensate) so that it may be reused in the steam generator or boiler as boiler feed water.

Why it is required

The steam turbine itself is a device to convert the heat in steam to mechanical power. The difference between the heat of steam per unit mass at the inlet to the turbine and the heat of steam per unit mass at the outlet from the turbine represents the heat which is converted to mechanical power. Therefore, the more the conversion of heat per pound or kilogram of steam to mechanical power in the turbine, the better is its efficiency. By condensing the exhaust steam of a turbine at a pressure below atmospheric pressure, the steam pressure drop between the inlet and exhaust of the turbine is increased, which increases the amount of heat available for conversion to mechanical power. Most of the heat liberated due to ...read more

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