When Fire And Water DO Mix: How A Fire Tube Boiler Works

Sometimes marvels of engineering are just amazing. That is exactly the case with fire tube boilers. These boilers manage to get fire and water to mix when ordinarily water would be the death of fire. Here is how these boilers work.

Filling the Boiler with Water

As you know, most boilers are filled with water. This industrial boiler type is no exception. It is comprised of a series of horizontal cylinder containers installed within each other. In the central-most cylinder, several long tubes connect from one end of the enclosed cylinder to the other. Outside of the whole boiler tank, there is a pump and a plumbing connection to water. This pump pushes water from its plumbing intake source into the boiler. The water fills the boiler, almost to maximum capacity, covering the long tubes deep within the boiler.

Firing It Up

On the front end of this type of boiler, there is a "fire box." It looks more like a covered opening and a smaller connected cylinder, but it is referred to as a box nonetheless. There is a fuel source that ignites this "box." When the "box" is on full blast, it is sending huge jet streams of fire into the tank and through the water, heating the water directly on contact. The jet streams of fire propel themselves all the way to the back end of the tank, where there is an "exit fire box." The exit fire box helps diffuse a little of the flames so that there is a perfect balance of heat within the boiler.

Warming the Water into Steam

At this point, the fire begins to settle down a little because the numerous tubes in the middle have absorbed the heat and are extremely hot. The tubes are very hot; in fact, they begin to vaporize the water around them. These tubes and this action is what gives the boiler its name.

As the tubes continue to vaporize the water, a ton of steam is produced, and the steam floats to the top of the boiler. The steam can either be used to heat part of an industrial plant or as a fuel source for running other machines. This entire process repeats itself until the boiler registers that the water levels are too low for the "fire tubes" to vaporize the water. Then it pumps in more water and starts over again.

For more information, contact your local fire tube boiler manufacturers.