Kumar Rayaprolu

This is a practical desk book on water tube boilers for practicing engineers and a reference book for students of heat and power. It has been written by an experienced boiler professional with an all-round technocommercial background of nearly four decades. Let me hasten to dispel a possible interpretation of a "practical book" as a book dealing with only nuts and bolts. On the contrary, this book delves into the theoretical aspects required for a practic­ing boiler engineer. It tries to recapitulate and build on the forgotten fundamentals of a busy power engineer, providing a higher level of understanding and a wider exposure to various modern boiler and firing technologies.

This book, after providing a brief (but deep) theoretical background of scientific topics involved in boiler technology (namely, heat transfer, fluid flow, combustion, fuels, water, and materials) goes on to describe the different contemporary construction details and thereafter elaborates on the various industrial and utility boilers based on the different combustion systems. Profusely illustrated with design and practical data, it is positioned as a desk book for any boiler engineer, and is meant to be consulted every now and then.

Reader friendliness is most essential for a technical book that covers a lot of ground. There is a lot of design data provided in this book through charts, graphs, guidelines, and comparisons, which are needed by a reader. To make referencing easy, such data are collated and presented as lists of references and useful data in the front matter and appendices that definitely add to the utility of this book for beginners as well as the experienced. They are

• A set of frequently needed process calculations of a boiler

• Glossary providing ready definitions to a number of commonly used (or misused) boiler terms

This book is written with the following people in mind:

• Consultants who require a broad perspective and a peripheral, but accurate, understanding to be able to specify and engineer a boiler plant, both at bid and detailed engineering stages

• Boiler designers who need to deepen their understanding of the fundamentals and construction features

• Operating engineers who need to know the why and how facts about various boil­ers that they encounter

• Project execution professionals who need to know both the macro and micro details of boiler plants

• Graduates and postgraduate students opting for courses in heat power or boiler technology who need practical inputs

In fact, this book should be of interest to any engineer in the field of power who wants to know more about contemporary boilers. Engineers in lower and middle manage­ment levels and who still must battle with technicalities and management issues should find this volume particularly interesting and directly useful.


There has always been a gap in the technical literature of boilers, which is a mature and vastly multidisciplinary subject. Mostly one has to learn about boilers, peripherally, as part of power plants and slowly build knowledge on that platform in practice. It has been even more challenging to learn about industrial boilers, as they have been the poor cousins of utility boilers in relation to available data. Information on boiler parts and sub­systems has always been manufacturer-specific and scattered and scanty. Books such as Steam and Combustion have been of great help, but they are more like handbooks and are OEM specific. There has been no easy route to learn about boilers.

It is this long disjointed process that is intended to be short-circuited with this book by adopting a different route, a different approach.

The difference in the route adopted is that this book makes an effort to fill this gap by providing directly usable, practical reference material on water tube boilers by

1. Judiciously mixing theoretical and practical knowledge

2. Presenting in a compact manner

3. Covering the essential details of both industrial and power boilers

The practical bent of this book can be gauged by a glance at the contents. The structure can be likened to an edifice (Section III) standing on two main pillars (Sections I and II). The pillars are the boiler fundamentals and boiler engineering, whereas the edifice is the firing technology with appropriately customized boilers. Briefly stated,

1. There is a short description of the theoretical aspects of boilers in the five chapters of Section I.

2. This is followed by an elaboration of various parts and subassemblies of the boiler along with the essential auxiliaries in the three chapters of Section II.

3. Boilers with various firing systems including the recent technologies of fluidized bed combustion and heat recovery steam generators are discussed in the six chapters of Section III.

The difference in the treatment of the subject in this book can be summarized as brevity with lucidity, making it possible to enhance the effectiveness of reading and cover a wider area.

This is achieved by

• Very focused and sharp descriptions with bullets and numbering to highlight the subject matter

• Numerous illustrations with appropriate labeling, which goes beyond the accom­panying descriptions

• Presenting data in tabular form to capture, for example, differences or essentials

Every effort is made to avoid repetition. It is expected that the 14 chapters of this book will make relatively easy reading, taking the reader to much higher levels of understand­ing with less fatigue. There is a sincere effort here to lighten the burden of learning an advanced subject.

In an evolution lasting over a century and a half, several firing technologies and numerous boiler arrangements have made their appearance with only a few of them surviving today. The bewildering variety of boilers has been replaced by a limited number of more efficient and competitive models, optimized in recent times by comput­erization and tested for survival by global competition. The boilers are now more fuel flexible, dynamically responsive, and enjoy a better-build quality not only due to more optimized designs, but also due to the availability of superior steels and refractories. This book tries to focus on these aspects in contemporary water tube boilers, keeping the historical background and outdated matter to the bare minimum.

This book maintains its focus on only water tube boilers and their immediate auxiliaries, with no extension to the associated ancillary plants such as coal and ash handling, scrub­bers for gas cleaning, water treatment, and so on. Instrumentation and electricals have not been covered. Manufacturing and erection and commissioning have also been omitted for the same reason. Thus the subject is given a more detailed treatment without increasing the size of this book. Smoke/flue/fire tube and other similar boilers are not included here. Even waste heat boilers, including liquor-fired boilers and refuse-fired boilers, are left out because of limited and special interest. Only boilers of general and wider interest, for both utility and industrial applications, are elaborated here.

Besides the technicalities, the business aspects of each type of boiler are examined to make the presentation of more practical value. Why are the bubbling bed boilers so popu­lar for coal and lignite firing in the developing world, although they have not been sold for over two decades in the developed world? Will circulating bed boilers marginalize the pulverized fuel firing? Such issues are as important and interesting for engineers involved in the technology selection stage.

A vast and continuously evolving subject like boilers cannot be fully captured in terms of its breadth, depth, and latest incremental improvements. However, amidst all this change, the fundamental concepts and configurations remain intact, which is what this book essentially aims to present.

Turning to a personal note, the author considers himself rather fortunate to have started his career in the boiler industry in the late 1960s when boiler making was in its infancy in India. As various boilers were introduced progressively as early entrants in the industry, the author had the opportunity of working closely with various European and American collab­orators in technology transfer and indigenization, and subsequently in boiler development. With nearly four decades of uninterrupted boiler experience, the author can work with various types of industrial and utility boilers—pulverized coal, stoker, oil and gas, bagasse, fluidized bed, black liquor recovery boilers, and heat recovery steam generators behind gas turbines. In his long career, the author worked with boilermakers, power consultants, and EPC contractors making power plants. This experience has helped him develop some deep insights into the total technology of boiler making, which is presented in a simplified manner in this book.

On the whole, the author is fairly satisfied that a large canvas of the subject is covered without losing brevity and crispness. Several friends have contributed in the preparation of this book through their valuable suggestions and painstaking reviews. Yet it is reason­able to expect some errors that may cause minor irritation to the readers. The author shall be grateful to receive feedback on omissions and mistakes to enable corrections in the future.

Finally, the author feels that his efforts will be rewarded only when this book helps serious readers gain better clarity and deeper understanding of the fascinating and vast subject of water tube boilers.

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