Steam traps are found throughout facilities that require steam to heat process fluids, to provide comfort heating, or to provide energy for work/equipment use (e.g. rotating equipment, like steam-driven turbines).
As steam travels through facility piping, energy is lost and steam condenses. When steam condenses, steam condensate is formed. This condensate must be evacuated from the steam lines. Why? If the condensate remains, it can travel at high velocities alongside steam and cause erosion, water hammer (hydraulic), and even a thermal shock (i.e. thermal water hammer created where hot steam collapses rapidly after interaction with cooler condensate). Condensate within a steam system can also cause damage to process equipment, or corrosion if the system is shutdown and air is introduced.
Condensate is often removed immediately after steam-using equipment, such as process or unit heaters, are used through distribution lines via the use of drip-pockets and often via manifolded systems where steam-based heat tracing exists. Steam traps prevent live steam from discharging to the atmosphere or from passing into the lower pressure condensate return system. Steam traps should also be designed to remove incondensable gases from the steam system, and to ensure condensate is discharged when it forms. To learn more about steam systems and steam trapping, visit the TLV Steam Tutorial page here.
What type of steam trap is best? Not all steam traps are alike and different applications may require different technologies. TLV offers a variety of trap technologies including thermodynamic, thermostatic, and mechanical. Historically, mechanical traps were based on float and lever technology (where a float is attached to a lever that opens a valve to discharge condensate). However, TLV has refined steam traps manufacturing and technology so that links and levers – common points of wear – are no longer required. TLV’s Free Float technology offers a modulating discharge to accommodate varying condensate flow rates, a variety of applications including process equipment, heat tracing, drip trap applications, and more – all utilizing a linkage-free float-style design.
To learn more about TLV Free Float technology, click here to view these animations (videos are located at the bottom of the page):
• Video 1: Free floats with a bi-metal air vent
• Video 2: Cast iron, carbon and stainless steel traps with the X-element air vent
Or, download this brochure detailing a variety of TLV traps capable of providing solutions for ½” tracing lines, or process applications requiring capacities of 366,000 lb/hr: Free Float Steam Traps
“The TLV free float adjusts quickly to changes in condensate flow, ensuring rapid discharge and maximum process efficiency. Unaffected by backpressure, the TLV free float is ideal wherever condensate is recovered.”
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