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floating on the surface, which, by means of a light rod passing vertically
through the boiler, shows at what height the water stands. The float is
usually formed of stone or iron, and is so counterbalanced as to make its
operation the same as if it were a buoy of timber; and it is generally put
in connection with the feed valve, so that in proportion as the float
rises, the supply of feed water is diminished. The feed water in land
boilers is admitted from a small open cistern, situated at the top of an
upright or stand pipe set upon the boiler, and in which there is a column
of water sufficiently high to balance the pressure of the steam.

249. _Q._ - What is the cataract which is employed to regulate the speed of
pumping engines?

[Illustration: Fig. 38. ]

_A._ - The cataract consists of a small pump-plunger _b_ and barrel, set in
a cistern of water, the barrel being furnished on the one side with a
valve, _c_, opening inwards, through which the water obtains admission to
the pump chamber from the cistern, and on the other by a plug, _d_, through
which, if the plunger be forced down, the water must pass out of the pump
chamber. The engine in the upward stroke of the piston, which is
accomplished by the preponderance of weight at the pump end of the beam,
raises up the plunger of the cataract by means of a small rod, - the water
entering readily through the valve already referred to; and when the engine
reaches the top of the stroke, it liberates the rod by which the plunger
has been drawn up, and the plunger then descends by gravity, forcing out
the water through the cock, the orifice of which has previously been
adjusted, and the plunger in its descent opens the injection valve, which
causes the engine to make a stroke.

250. _Q._ - Suppose the cock of the cataract be shut?

_A._ - If the cock of the cataract be shut, it is clear that the plunger
cannot descend at all, and as in that case the injection valve cannot be
opened, the engine must stand still; but if the cock be slightly opened,
the plunger will descend slowly, the injection valve will slowly open, and
the engine will make a gradual stroke as it obtains the water necessary for
condensation. The extent to which the cock is open, therefore, will
regulate the speed with which the engine works; so that, by the use of the
cataract, the speed of the engine may be varied to suit the variations in
the quantity of water requiring to be lifted from the mine. In some cases
an air cylinder, and in other cases an oil cylinder, is employed instead of
the apparatus just described; but the principle on which the whole of these
contrivances operate is identical, and the only difference is in the
detail.

251. _Q._ - You have now shown that the performance of an engine is
determinable by the indicator; but how do you determine the power of the
boiler?

_A._ - By the quantity of water it evaporates. There is, however, no very
convenient instrument for determining the quantity of water supplied to a
boiler, and the consequence is that this element is seldom ascertained.




CHAPTER V.


PROPORTION OF BOILERS.


HEATING AND FIRE GRATE SURFACE.

252. _Q._ - What are the considerations which must chiefly be attended to in
settling the proportions of boilers?

_A._ - In the first place there must be sufficient grate surface to enable
the quantity of coal requisite for the production of the steam to be
conveniently burnt, taking into account the intensity of the draught; and
in the next place there must be a sufficient flue surface readily to absorb
the heat thus produced, so that there may be no needless waste of heat by
the chimney. The flues, moreover, must have such an area, and the chimney
must be of such dimensions, as will enable a suitable draught through the
fire to be maintained; and finally the boiler must be made capable of
containing such supplies of water and steam as will obviate inconvenient
fluctuations in the water level, and abate the risk of water being carried
over into the engine with the steam. With all these conditions the boiler
must be as light and compact as possible, and must be so contrived as to be
capable of being cleaned and repaired with facility.

253. _Q._ - Supposing, then, that you had to proportion a boiler, which
should be capable of supplying steam sufficient to propel a steam vessel or
railway train at a given speed, or to perform any other given work, how
would you proceed?

_A._ - I would first ascertain the resistance which had to be overcome, and
the velocity with which it was necessary to overcome it. I should then be
in a position to know what pressure and volume of steam were required to
overcome the resistance at the prescribed rate of motion; and, finally, I
should allow a sufficient heating and fire grate surface in the boiler
according to the kind of boiler it was, to furnish the requisite quantity
of steam, or, in other words, to evaporate the requisite quantity of water.

254. _Q._ - will you state the amount of heating surface and grate surface
necessary to evaporate a given quantity of water?

_A._ - The number of square feet of heating or flue surface, required to
evaporate a cubic foot of water per hour, is about 70 square feet in
Cornish boilers, 8 to 11 square feet in land and marine boilers, and 5 or 6
square feet in locomotive boilers. The number of square feet of heating
surface per square foot of fire grate, is from 13 to 15 square feet in
wagon boilers; about 40 square feet in Cornish boilers; and from 50 to 90
square feet in locomotive boilers. About 80 square feet in locomotives is a
very good proportion.

255. _Q._ - What is the heating surface of boilers per horse power?

_A._ - About 9 square feet of flue and furnace surface per horse power is
the usual proportion in wagon boilers, reckoning the total surface as
effective surface, if the boilers be of a considerable size; but in the
case of small boilers the proportion is larger. The total heating surface
of a two horse power wagon boiler is, according to Boulton and Watt's
proportions, 30 square feet, or 15 ft. per horse power; whereas, in the
case of a 45 horse power boiler the total heating surface is 438 square
feet, or 9.6 ft. per horse power. In marine boilers nearly the same
proportions obtain. The original boilers of the Great Western steamer, by
Messrs. Maudslay, were proportioned with about 10 square feet of flue and
furnace surface per horse power, reckoning the total amount as effective;
but in the boilers of the Retribution, by the same makers, but of larger
size, a somewhat smaller proportion of heating surface was adopted. Boulton
and Watt have found that in their marine flue boilers, 9 square feet of
flue and furnace surface are requisite to boil off a cubic foot of water
per hour, which is the proportion of heating surface that is allowed in
their land boilers per horse power; but inasmuch as in most modern engines,
and especially in marine engines, the nominal considerably exceeds the
actual power, they allow 11 or 12 square feet of heating surface per
nominal horse power in their marine boilers, and they reckon as effective
heating surface the tops of the flues, and the whole of the sides of the
flues, but hot the bottoms. For their land engines they still retain Mr.
Watt's standard of power, which makes the actual and the nominal power
identical; and an actual horse power is the equivalent of a cubic foot of
water raised into steam every hour.

256. _Q._ - What is the proper proportion of fire grate per horse power?

_A._ - Boulton and Watt allow 0.64 of a square foot area of grate bars per
nominal horse power in their marine boilers, and a good effect arises from
this proportion; but sometimes so large an area of fire grate cannot be
conveniently got, and the proportion of half a square foot per horse power,
which is the proportion adopted in the original boiler of the Great
Western, seems to answer very well in engines working with a moderate
pressure, and with some expansion; and this proportion is now very widely
adopted. With this allowance, there will be 22 to 24 square feet of heating
surface per square foot of fire grate; and if the consumption of fuel be
taken at 6 lbs. per nominal horse power per hour, there will be about 12
lbs. of coal consumed per hour on each square foot of grate. The furnaces
should not be more than 6 ft. long, as, if much longer than this, it will
be impossible to work them properly for any considerable length of time, as
they will become choked with clinker at the back ends.

257. _Q._ - What quantity of fuel is usually consumed per hour on each
square foot of fire grate?

_A._ - The quantity of fuel burned on each square foot of fire grate per
hour, varies very much in different boilers; in wagon boilers it is from 10
to 13 lbs.; in Cornish boilers from 3-1/2 to 4 lbs.; and in locomotive
boilers from 80 to 150 lbs.; but about 1 cwt. per hour is a good proportion
in locomotives, as has been already explained.



CALORIMETER AND VENT.

258. _Q._ - In what manner are the proper sectional area and the proper
capacity of the flue of a boiler determined?

_A._ - The proper collective area for the escape of the smoke and flame over
the furnace bridges in marine boilers is 19 square inches per nominal horse
power, according to Boulton and Watt's practice, and for the sectional area
of the flue they allow 18 square inches per horse power. The sectional area
of the flue in square inches is what is termed the _calorimeter_ of the
boiler, and the calorimeter divided by the length of the flue in feet is
what is termed the _vent_. In marine flue boilers of good construction the
vent varies between the limits of 20 and 25, according to the size of the
boiler and other circumstances - the largest boilers having generally the
largest vents; and the calorimeter divided by the vent will give the length
of the flue in feet. The flues of all flue boilers diminish in their
calorimeter as they approach the chimney, as the smoke contracts in its
volume in proportion as it parts with its heat.

259. _Q._ - Is the method of determining the dimensions of a boiler flue, by
a reference to its vent and calorimeter, the method generally pursued?

_A._ - It is Boulton and Watt's method; but some very satisfactory boilers
have been made by allowing a proportion of 0.6 of a square foot of fire
grate per nominal horse power, and making the sectional area of the flue at
the largest part 1/7th of the area of fire grate, and at the smallest part,
where it enters the chimney, 1/11th of the area of the fire grate. These
proportions are retained whether the boiler is flue or tubular, and from 14
to 16 square feet of tube surface is allowed per nominal horse power.

260. _Q._ - Are the proportions of vent and calorimeter, taken by Boulton
and Watt for marine flue boilers, applicable also to wagon and tubular
boilers?

_A._ - No. In wagon and tubular boilers very different proportions prevail,
yet the proportions of every kind of boiler are determinable on the same
general principle. In wagon boilers the proportion of the perimeter of the
flue which is effective as heating surface, is to the total perimeter as 1
to 3, or, in some cases as 1 to 2.5; and with any given area of flue,
therefore, the length of the flue must be from 3 to 2.5 times greater than
would be necessary if the total surface were effective, else the requisite
quantity of heating surface will not be obtained. If, then, the vent be the
calorimeter, divided by the length, and the length be made 3 or 2.5 times
greater, the vent must become 3 or 2.5 times less; and in wagon boilers
accordingly, the vent varies from 8 to 11 instead of from 21 to 25, as in
the case of marine flue boilers. In tubular marine boilers the calorimeter
is usually made only about half the amount allowed by Boulton and Watt for
marine flue boilers, or, in other words, the collective sectional area of
the tubes, for the transmission of the smoke, is from 8 to 9 square inches
per nominal horse power. It is better, however, to make the sectional area
larger than this, and to work the boiler with the damper sufficiently
closed to prevent the smoke and flame from rushing exclusively through a
few of the tubes.

261. _Q._ - What are the ordinary dimensions of the flue in wagon boilers?

_A._ - In Boulton and Watt's 45 horse wagon boiler the area of flue is 18
square inches per horse power, but the area per horse power increases very
rapidly as the size of the boiler becomes less, and amounts to about 80
square inches per horse power in a boiler of 2 horse power. Some such
increase is obviously inevitable, if a similar form of flue be retained in
the larger and smaller powers, and at the same time the elongation of the
flue in the same proportion as the increase of any other dimension is
prevented; but in the smaller class of wagon boilers the consideration of
facility of cleaning the flues is also operative in inducing a large
proportion of sectional area. Boulton and Watt's 2 horse power wagon boiler
has 30 square feet of surface, and the flue is 18 inches high above the
level of the boiler bottom, by 9 inches wide; while their 12 horse wagon
boiler has 118 square feet of heating surface, and the dimensions of the
flue similarly measured are 36 inches by 13 inches. The width of the
smaller flue, if similarly proportioned to the larger one, would be 6-1/2
inches, instead of 9 inches, and, by assuming this dimension, we should
have the same proportion of sectional area per square foot of heating
surface in both boilers. The length of flue in the 2 horse boiler is 19.5
ft., and in the 12 horse boiler 39 ft., so that the length and height of
the flue are increased in the same proportion.

262. _Q._ - Will you give an example of the proportions of a flue, in the
case of a marine boiler?

_A._ - The Nile steamer, with engines of 110 horse power by Boulton and
Watt, is supplied with steam by two boilers, which are, therefore, of 55
horses power each. The height of the flue winding within the boiler is 60
inches, and its mean width 16-1/2 inches, making a sectional area or
calorimeter of 990 square inches, or 18 square inches per horse power of
the boiler. The length of the flue is 39 ft., making the vent 25, which is
the vent proper for large boilers. In the Dee and Solway steamers, by Scott
and Sinclair, the calorimeter is only 9.72 square inches per horse power;
in the Eagle, by Caird, 11.9; in the Thames and Medway, by Maudslay, 11.34,
and in a great number of other cases it does not rise above 12 square
inches per horse power; but the engines of most of these vessels are
intended to operate to a certain extent expansively, and the boilers are
less powerful in evaporating efficacy on that account.

263. _Q._ - Then the chief difference in the proportions established by
Boulton and Watt, and those followed by the other manufacturers you have
mentioned is, that Boulton and Watt set a more powerful boiler to do the
same work?

_A._ - That is the main difference. The proportion which one part of the
boiler bears to another part is very similar in the cases cited, but the
proportion of boiler relatively to the size of the engine varies very
materially. Thus the calorimeter _of each boiler_ of the Dee and Solway is
1296 square inches; of the Eagle, 1548 square inches; and of the Thames and
Medway, 1134 square inches; and the length of flue is 57, 60, and 52 ft. in
the boilers respectively, which makes the respective vents 22-1/2, 25, and
21. Taking then the boiler of the Eagle for comparison with the boiler of
the Nile, as it has the same vent, it will be seen that the proportions of
the two are almost identical, for 990 is to 1548 as 39 is to 60, nearly;
but Messrs. Boulton and Watt would not have set a boiler like that of the
Eagle to do so much work.

264. _Q._ - Then the evaporating power of the boiler varies as the sectional
area of the flue?

_A._ - The evaporating power varies as the square root of the area of the
flue, if the length of the flue remain the same; but it varies as the area
simply, if the length of the flue be increased in the same proportion as
its other dimensions. The evaporating power of a boiler is referable to the
amount of its heating surface, and the amount of heating surface in any
flue or tube is proportional to the product of the length of the tube and
the square root of its sectional area, multiplied by a certain quantity
that is constant for each particular form. But in similar tubes the length
is proportional to the square root of the sectional area; therefore, in
similar tubes, the amount of heating surface is proportional to the
sectional area. On this area also depends the quantity of hot air passing
through the flue, supposing the intensity of the draught to remain
unaffected, and the quantity of hot air or smoke passing through the flue
should vary in the same ratio as the quantity of surface.

265. _Q._ - A boiler, therefore, to exert four times the power, should have
four times the extent of heating surface, and four times the sectional area
of flue for the transmission of the smoke?

_A._ - Yes; and if the same form of flue is to be retained, it should be of
twice the diameter and twice the length; or twice the height and width if
rectangular, and twice the length. As then the diameter or square root of
the area increases in the same ratio as the length, the square root of the
area divided by the length ought to be a constant quantity in each type of
boiler, in order that the same proportions of flue may be retained; and in
wagon boilers without an internal flue, the height in inches of the flue
encircling the boiler divided by the length of the flue in feet will be 1
very nearly. Instead of the square root of the area, the effective
perimeter, or outline of that part of the cross section of the flue which
is effective in generating steam, may be taken; and the effective perimeter
divided by the length ought to be a constant quantity in similar forms of
flues and with the same velocity of draught, whatever the size of the flue
may be.

266. _Q._ - Will this proportion alter if the form of the flue be changed?

_A._ - It is clear, that with any given area of flue, to increase the
perimeter by adopting a different shape is tantamount to a diminution of
the length of the flue; and, if the perimeter be diminished, the length of
the flue must at the same time be increased, else it will be impossible to
obtain the necessary amount of heating surface. In Boulton and Watt's wagon
boilers, the sectional area of the flue in square inches per square foot of
heating surface is 5.4 in the two horse boiler; in the three horse it is
4.74; in the four horse, 4.35; six horse, 3.75; eight horse, 4.33; ten
horse, 3.96; twelve horse, 3.63; eighteen horse, 3.17; thirty horse, 2.52;
and in the forty-five horse boiler, 2.05 square inches. Taking the amount
of heating surface in the 45 horse boiler at 9 square feet per horse power,
we obtain 18 square inches of sectional area of flue per horse power, which
is also Boulton and Watt's proportion of sectional area for marine boilers
with internal flues.

267. _Q._ - If to increase the perimeter of a flue is virtually to diminish
the length, then a tubular boiler where the perimeter is in effect greatly
extended ought to have but a short length of tube?

_A._ - The flue of the Nile steamer if reduced to the cylindrical form would
be 35-1/2 inches in diameter to have the same area; but it would then
require to be made 47-3/4 feet long, to have the same amount of heating
surface, excluding the bottom as non-effective. Supposing that with these
proportions the heat is sufficiently extracted from the smoke, then every
tube of a tubular boiler in which the same draught existed ought to have
very nearly the same proportions.

268. _Q._ - But what are the best proportions of the parts of tubular
boilers relatively with one another?

_A._ - The proper relative proportions of the parts of tubular boilers may
easily be ascertained by a reference to the settled proportions of flue
boilers; for the same general principles are operative in both cases. In
the Nile steamer each boiler of 55 horse power has about 497 square feet of
flue surface or 9 square feet per horse power, reckoning the total surface
as effective. The area of the flue, which is rectangular is 990 square
inches, therefore the area is equal to that of a tube 35-1/2 inches in
diameter; and such a tube, to have a heating surface of 497 square feet,
must be 53.4 feet or 640.8 inches in length. The length, therefore, of the
tube, will be about 18 times its diameter, and with the same velocity of
draught these proportions must obtain, whatever the absolute dimensions of
the tube may be. With a calorimeter, therefore, of 18 square inches per
horse power, the length of a tube 3 inches diameter must not exceed 4 feet
6 inches, since the heat will be sufficiently extracted from the smoke in
this length, if the smoke only travels at the velocity due to a calorimeter
of 18 square inches per horse power.

269. _Q._ - Is this, then, the maximum length of flue which can be used in
tubular boilers with advantage?

_A._ - By no means. The tubes of tubular boilers are almost always more than
4 feet 6 inches long, but then the calorimeter is almost always less than
18 square inches per horse power - generally about two thirds of this.
Indeed, tubular boilers with a large calorimeter are not found to be so
satisfactory as where the calorimeter is small, partly from the propensity
of the smoke in such cases to pass through a few of the tubes instead of
the whole of them, and partly from the deposit of soot which takes place
when the draught is sluggish. It is a very confusing practice, however, to
speak of nominal horse power in connection with boilers, since that is a
quantity quite indeterminate.



EVAPORATIVE POWER OF BOILERS.


270. _Q._ - The main thing after all in boilers is their evaporative powers?

_A._ - The proportions of tubular boilers, as of all boilers, should
obviously have reference to the evaporation required, whereas the demand
upon the boiler for steam is very often reckoned contingent upon the
nominal horse power of the engine; and as the nominal power of an engine is
a conventional quantity by no means in uniform proportion to the actual
quantity of steam consumed, perplexing complications as to the proper
proportions of boilers have in consequence sprung up, to which most of the
failures in that department of engineering may be imputed. It is highly
expedient, therefore, in planning boilers for any particular engine, to
consider exclusively the actual power required to be produced, and to
apportion the capabilities of the boiler accordingly.

271. _Q._ - In other words you would recommend the inquiry to be restricted
to the mode of evaporating a given number of cubic feet of water in the
hour, instead of embracing the problem how an engine of a given nominal
power was to be supplied with steam?

_A._ - I would first, as I have already stated, consider the actual power
required to be produced, and then fix the amount of expansion to be
adopted. If the engine had to work up to three times its nominal power, as
is now common in marine engines, I should either increase correspondingly
the quantity of evaporating surface in the boiler, or adopt such an amount
of expansion as would increase threefold the efficacy of the steam, or
combine in a modified manner both of these arrangements. Reckoning the
evaporation of a cubic foot of water in the hour as equivalent to an actual
horse power, and allowing a square yard or 9 square feet as the proper
proportion of flue surface to evaporate a cubic foot of water in the hour,
it is clear that I must either give 27 square feet of heating surface in
the boiler to have a trebled power without expansion, or I must cut off the
steam at one seventh of the stroke to obtain a three-fold power without
increasing the quantity of heating surface. By cutting off the steam,
however, at one third of the stroke, a heating surface of 13-1/2 square
feet will give a threefold power, and it will usually be the most judicious
course to carry the expansion as far as possible, and then to add the
proportion of heating surface necessary to make good the deficiency still
found to exist.

272. _Q._ - But is it certain that a cubic foot of water evaporated in the
hour is equivalent to an actual horse power?

_A._ - An actual horse power as fixed by Watt is 33,000 lbs. raised one foot
high in the minute; and in Watt's 40 horse power engine, with a 31-1/2 inch



Online LibraryJohn BourneA Catechism of the Steam Engine → online text (page 10 of 34)