Steam System Water hammer
1. STEAM AND CONDENSATE WATERHAMMERWater hammer is never normal in the steam and condensate system and must be always considered extremely abnormal and totally unacceptable in today’s plant operation. Water hammer is not only a system issue; it is primarily a safety issue. Understanding the nature and severity of water hammer in a steam and condensate system will allow plants to avoid it’s the safety issue and destructive forces.A greater understanding of steam system waterhammer will help the plant to implement the necessary changes in steam system design, start-up, maintenance, operation and installation to eliminate waterhammer. This will additionally help provide maximum safety for plant personnel, reduce maintenance cost, and reduce system downtime.In its most severe form, water hammer can injure or even cause fatalities to plant personnel.Unfortunately, 82% of the steam systems in North America are experiencing some type of water hammer. Many mistakenly believe that water hammer is unavoidable and a natural part of steam and condensate systems but this statement is entirely false. If the system is properly designed and correctly operated, water hammer in any form will not occur. It is possible to have high-pressure steam systems operating without water hammer and enjoy a long operational life from the steam components.In Figure 1, the red circles show improper connection to the condensate header which will generate a thermal shock type of waterhammer. Instead of connecting into the side of the condensate header, the returns should enter in the top of the manifold (condensate header).
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