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Centrifugal Pump Lexicon

Boiler feed pump


Boilerfeedpumpsarealsoreferredtoasfeedpumps(seeReactorpump)anddesignedasmultistage
radialflowpumps.(AlsoseeMultistagepump.)
Theyservetofeedasteamgeneratorsuchasaboileroranuclearreactorwithaquantityoffeedwater
correspondingtothequantityofsteamemitted.Today,allboilerfeedpumpsarecentrifugalpumps.
Thedesignofboilerfeedpumpsregardingpowerinput,material,typeofpumpanddriveislargely
governedbythedevelopmentswhichhavetakenplaceinpowerstationtechnology.Thetrendinfossil
fuelledpowerstationsistowardslargerandlargerpowerstationunits(>1000MWin2011).Thishasledto
boilerfeedpumpswithadriveratingof3050MW.
Until1950,theaveragepressureintheoutletcrosssectionofthepump(dischargepressureofthefeed
pump)wasinthe200barregion.By1955theaveragedischargepressurehadrisento400bar.Themass
flowrateswereintheregionof350tonnes/hin1950,comparedto3200tonnes/h(insomeexceptionsup
to4000tonnes/h)today.Boilerfeedpumpsoperateatfluidtemperaturesof160to210C.Inexceptional
casesthetemperatureofthefluidhandledmaybehigherstill.
Feedpumpsfor1600MWnuclearpowerstationsareconstructedformassflowratesofupto4000
tonnes/handfeedpumpdischargepressuresof70to100bar.
Until1950approximately,boilerfeedpumpsweremadeofunalloyedsteelssincethentheyhavebeen
madeofsteelswithachromecontentof1314%.Thischangeofmaterialswasmadenecessarybythe
introductionofnewchemicalfeedwatercompositions.Thedevelopmentofhighstrength,corrosionand
erosionresistantmartensiticchromesteelswithgoodantiseizurepropertiesaswellasthecontinuous
developmentofallpumpcomponents(bearings,shaftseal,pumphydraulicsystem,etc.)pavedthewayfor
presentdayboilerfeedpumpswithrotationalspeedsof4500to6000rpm.
Themassflowratesofcentrifugalpumpsroserapidlyinconjunctionwiththeriseofunitoutputsinpower
stations.Today'sfullloadfeedpumpsforconventional800to1100MWpowerstationunitsareconstructed
withfourtosixstageswithstagepressuresofupto80bar.Feedpumpsfor1600MWnuclearpower
stationsareofthesinglestagetype.
Drive
Inthecaseofconventionalpowerstationsabove500MWfullloadfeedpumpsareincreasinglydrivenby
steamturbines.Inmostcasescondensingturbinesrunningat5000to6000rpmareused.
Electricmotorsusuallydrivepartloadfeedpumps,bothinfossilfuelledandinnuclearpowerstations.
Speedcontrolofelectricallydrivenfeedpumpsiseffectedbyeitherfluidcoupling(e.g.variablespeed
turbocouplings)orbyelectricalclosedloopcontrolsystemsbymeansofthyristors(uptoadriverating
ofapproximately18MWin2011).
Fouroptionsofinstallingboilerfeedpumpdrivesarecommonlyusedatpresent.SeeFig.1Boilerfeed
pump
Thelowspeedboosterpumpis
usuallydrivenbythefreeshaftendof
theturbineviaastepdowngearor
directlybythefreeendoftheelectric
motor.SeeFig.2Boilerfeedpump
Thesingleordoublesuctionbooster
pumpservestogeneratethe
necessaryNPSHRofthesystemfor
thehighspeedboilerfeedpump

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connecteddownstream.Fig.3Boiler
feedpump

Fig.1Boilerfeedpump:ModelwithVPEMRGHPlayout

Fig.2Boilerfeedpump:Arrangementlayoutsoffeedpumpsets

Fig.3Boilerfeedpump:Doublesuctionboilerfeedboosterpump

Design
Forconventionalpowerstationsboilerfeedpumpsaredesignedas:
Multistagebarrelpulloutpumps,seeFig.4Boilerfeedpump
Ringsectionpumps,seeFig.5Boilerfeedpump
Thesetwotypesonlydifferinthe
constructionoftheirpressure
retainingenclosure,whichinfluences
themanufacturingcostsandeaseof
installation.Therearenodifferences
withregardtooperatingreliabilityand
robustnessalsoinabnormal
operatingconditions.Thedimensions
oftherotatingpartsandflow
passagescanbedesignedidentically.

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Twoaspectsofdecidingbetweena
ringsectionandabarrelpullout
pumparedescribedbelow:

Thesmallerthemassflowrateand
thehigherthepressure,thehigher
thematerialandmanufacturingcosts
ofbarrelpulloutpumps.Thisdoes
notapplytothesameextenttoring
sectionpumps.

Fig.4Boilerfeedpump:Barrelpulloutmodelwithtappingstage

Barrelpulloutpumpshavesome
advantagesoverringsectionpumps
whenitcomestorepairingapump
installedinthesystem.Ifarotorhas
tobereplaced,thebarrel(seePump
casing)canremaininstalledinthe
piping.Thisissignificantwithregard
totheavailabilityofapowerstation
unit,ifnofullpumpbackupis
availableorifpumpreplacementis
verytimeconsuming.
Inthecaseofnuclearpowerstations,
singlestagefeedpumpswithdouble
entryimpeller(seeDoublesuction
pump)anddoublevolutecasingare
usuallyadopted.SeeFig.6Boiler
feedpump

Fig.5Boilerfeedpump:Ringsectionmodelwithtappingstage

Castpressureretainingcasingparts
areincreasinglyreplacedbyforged
parts.Asanexample,suchafeed
pumpcouldbedesignedwithaflow
rateofabout4200m3/handahead
ofabout700matarotationalspeed
of5300rpm.SeeFig.5Boilerfeed
pump
Headsofreactorfeedpumpsarein
theregionof800mforboilingwater
reactorsand600mforpressurised
waterreactors.Theflowratesare
abouttwiceashighasthoseofa
comparableboilerfeedpumpina
fossilfuelledpowerstation.

Fig.6Boilerfeedpump:Doublesuctionreactorfeedpumpmadeofcast
iron

Casing
Forboilerfeedpumpstwofactorshavetobeconsideredregardingthewallthicknessofthecasing:the
pressureloadsandthedifferenttemperatureconditionsitneedstowithstand.Thesetwocriteriaare
satisfiedbyadoptingahighstrengthferriticcasingmaterialwhichenablesthewallthicknesstobekeptthin
enoughtoavoidanyoverloadsasaresultoftemperaturefluctuations,yetofadequatethicknessto
guaranteetherequisitesafetyagainstinternalpressure.
Barrelcasing

Thecasingsofbarrelpulloutpumpsandbarrelcasingpumpsareusuallymadeofunalloyedorlow
alloyedductileforgedsteel.Depositweldingisusedonallsurfacesincontactwiththefeedwatertocoat
themwithcorrosionanderosionresistantmaterial.
Inordertoweldthepumpintothepiping,anadaptermustbeprovidedifthematerialsofthenozzlesto
beconnectedarefromdifferentmaterialgroups.
Thedischargeside(dischargepressurecontaining)barrelcoverisfastenedbymeansoflargenon
torquedstuds.Sealingisprovidedbyaprofilejointwhichispressurisedpurelybytheprevailingpressure
(ofuptoseveral100bar)withoutanyexternalforcesactingonit.SeeFig.7Boilerfeedpump

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Ringsectionpumps

Thecasingsofringsectionpumps
arepreferablymadeofforgedchrome
orcarbonsteelplatedwithaustenitic
(ironsolidsolution)material.
Thesealingelementbetweenthe
individualstagecasings(seeStage)
sealsoffbymetaltometalcontact,
theindividualcasingsbeingclamped
togetheraxiallybytieboltsbetween
thesuctionanddischargecasings
(seePumpcasing).
Fig.7Boilerfeedpump:Profilerings

Thermalshockscausingvarious
thermalexpansionsmainlyleadto
additionalloadsonthetieboltsand
sealingsurfacesofthestagecasings.

Acommonfeatureofbarrelpulloutpumpsandringsectionpumpsisthatthegreaterthewallthickness,
thegreaterthethermalstresscausedbythermalshocks,whichinturnreducestheservicelifeofthepump.
Theprovisionofinjectionwateratapressuresituatedbetweenthesuctionanddischargepressureofthe
pumpisafrequentrequirement.Thisistakencareofbytappingwaterfromoneofthepumpstagesofboth
barrelpulloutpumpsandringsectionpumps.
Tappingastageofaboilerfeedpump

Inthecaseofringsectionpumps,apartialflowatanintermediatepressurecaneasilybetappedthrough
atappingnozzleinoneofthestagecasings.SeeFig.5Ringsectionpump
Inthecaseofbarrelpulloutpumps,theinsideofthebarrelisdividedintothreepressurezonessothata
partialflowattherequiredintermediatepressurecanbeledoffdirectlytotheoutside.SeeFig.4Barrel
pulloutpump
Thesealingfunctionistakencareofbyaprofilejointbetweenthedischargeandthetappingpressure,
andbyametaltometaljointbetweenthetappingandtheinletpressure.SeeFig.7Boilerfeedpump
Especiallytheprofilejointallowsagreatdegreeofrelativemotionofthesealingsurface,asrequiredfor
anytemperatureshocks.
Rotordesign
Thepumpshaftofboilerfeedpumpshasaverysmallstaticdeflectionasthebearingsarespacedas
closelyaspossible,theshaftdiameterisrelativelylargeandtheimpellersareusuallyshrunkontotheshaft
(forhighperformance).Thepumpshaftisgenerallyinsensitivetovibrationsandrunssmoothly(see
Smoothrunning)withoutanyradialcontactduringnormaloperation.Thehubdiameteratthebackofthe
impellerisincreasedandtheimpellerinletgeometryisdesignedwithaminimumdiameter,soastoreduce
theremainingaxialforces(seeAxialthrust)whichhavetobeabsorbedbythebalancingdevice.
Therotorsofsinglestagereactorfeedpumpsareevenstifferthanthoseofboilerfeedpumps,andtheir
staticdeflectionissmallerthanthatofmultistageboilerfeedpumps.
Axialthrustbalancing
Someimpellerarrangementsofboilerfeedpumpsforconventionalpowerstationscauseaxialthrustat
theimpellers.SeeFigs.10to12Axialthrust
Themagnitudeofthisaxialthrustdependsonthepositionoftheoperatingpointonthecharacteristic
curve,therotationalspeedandtheamountofwearontheinternalclearances(seeControlledgapseal).
Additionaldisturbingforcescanariseintheeventofabnormaloperatingconditions,e.g.cavitation.
Onlargerboilerfeedpumpstheaxialforcesatthepumprotorarebalancedbymeansofahydraulic
balancingdevicethroughwhichthefluidhandledflows.Thebalancingdeviceisoftencombinedwithan
oillubricatedthrustbearing(seePlainbearing).Asthisbalancingdeviceabsorbsmorethan90%ofthe
axialthrust,arelativelysmallthrustbearingcanbeused.Thebalancingdevicemaycompriseabalance
discwithbalancediscseat,orabalancedrumordoubledrumwiththecorrespondingthrottlebushes.
Axialthrustsarisinginreactorfeedpumpswithdoubleentryimpeller(seeDoublesuctionpump)are
balancedhydraulicallyresidualthrustsareabsorbedbyanoillubricatedthrustbearing.SeeFig.6Boiler
feedpump
Balancingofradialforcesonthepumprotor
Radialforcesarisefromtheweightoftherotor,mechanicalunbalanceorhydraulicradialthrust.Theradial
forcesarebalancedbytwooillubricatedradialbearingsaswellasbythrottlingclearancesthroughwhich

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thefluidhandledflowsinaxialdirection.Suchthrottlingclearancesarelocatedattheimpellerneckonthe
impellerinletside,orinthecaseofmultistageboilerfeedpumpsforconventionalpowerstationsonthe
dischargesideoftheimpeller(interstagebush)andatthebalancedrum.Iftherotorisinanoffcentre
position,arecentringreactionforcewillbegeneratedintheseclearances,whichlargelydependsonthe
pressuredifferenceandtheclearancegeometry(LOMAKINeffect).
TheLOMAKINeffectisseverelyreducedwhen,duetoabnormaloperatingconditions,thefeedwaterinthe
clearanceisnotinapurelyliquidphase(seeCavitation).
Thehydrostaticactionoftheclearancescontributesmoretoreducingshaftdeflectionthanthemechanical
stiffnessdoes.Thesystemisdesignedinsuchawaythatoperatingspeedalwaysremainswellawayfrom
thecriticalspeedoftherotor,allowinghydraulicexcitingforces(particularlyinlowflowoperation)tobe
absorbedinaddition.
Anadditionaldiffuseroradoublevolutecanreduceradialthrust.SeeFig.6Volutecasingpump
Shaftseal
Commonshaftsealsforboilerfeedpumpsaremechanicalseals,floatingringsealsandlabyrinthseals.
Glandpackingsarelesscommonthesedays.(AlsoseeShaftseal).
Warmingupandkeepingwarm
Transientorlowflowoperatingconditionscauseadditionalloadsonboilerfeedpumps.Thisleadsto
additionalstressesandstrainsaswellastodeformationofcomponentswithvariousconsequencesontheir
functionality.
Nowadays,almostallboilerfeedpumpsmustbeabletohandlebothcoldstarts(hightemperatureshock
loads)andsemiwarmstartswithoutanydamage.Inthesestartupprocedureshotfeedwaterabruptly
flowsintothecoldpump,whichresultsintheinnercomponentsheatingupmuchfasterthanthepressure
boundary.Dependingonthefrequencyofstartsandthegradientcurvesofpressureandtemperature
(loadcycles)thiscanshortentheservicelifeofthepump.
Onmachineswithparticularlythickwallstheheatwillpropagatemoreslowlyinthethickwalled
components,thusincreasinginternalstresses.
Contactbetweenpartsoftherotorandthestatorcannot,generally,beruledoutasnarrowclearancesare
usedascontrolledgapseals.Thisappliestotheimpellerneckontheimpellerinletside,thedischarge
sideclearancebetweenimpeller,diffuserandinterstagebushaswellasthebalancingdevicewithseveral
throttlingclearances(dependingonthedesign).
Criticaloperatingconditionssuchastheformationofvapourbubbles,forexample,cannotbecompletely
avoidedintheinletline.Briefcontactbetweenthestatorandtherotorleadstohighunbalanceforcesinthe
narrowclearances.Forthisreasonthematerialpairshavetoberesistantnotonlytocorrosionanderosion
butalsoespeciallytowear(incorporatinggoodantiseizureproperties).Profiledchromesteelsanda
specialclearancegeometryhaveprovensuccessful.
Inoperatingconditionswithaveryloworzeroflow,e.g.intheturninggearmodeofaturbinedrivenboiler
feedpump,temperaturelayersestablishinthefluidhandled,whichmaycausedeformationoftherotors
and,afteraslightdelay,alsoofthenonrotatingcomponents.Oncetheclearancegapsareclosedtherotor
willbesubjectedtoasignificantlyhigherfrictionmoment,leadingtooverloadoftheturninggearandto
standstillofthepump.Inthiscase,thetemperaturewillnolongerbeequalisedattherotor,whichwill
furtheraggravatetherotordeformation.
Thiscanresultinseveralhoursofdowntimeforthepump.Usuallytheonlyremedyistoletthemachine
cooldowntoreduceoreliminatethecriticaltemperaturelayersandthedeformation.
Severalactionscanbetakentooptimisethethermalbehaviourofthepump:
Avoidlargedifferencesintemperatureinandonthepump

Thermallyseparatethecoldareas(shaftsealarea)fromtheareathroughwhichthehotfluidpasses
(hydraulicsystemandbalancingdevice)bymeansofaninsulationchambersystemprovideathermal
sealtopreventconvectionflowsandspecialthermosleeves.
Insulatetheoutsideofthepump.
Warmuporkeepwarmthepumpbymeansofforcedflowthroughthemachine,usuallyviathrottled
pressuresupply.
Temporarilyorpermanentlyinterruptthecoolingwatersupplyintheareaofthemechanicalseal
(secondarycircuit).

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Limittheoperatingparametersforcriticaloperatingconditions(T)(top/bottomofthebarrelcasing)
and/orTbetweencasingandfeedwater.
Reducetheeffectsoflargetemperaturedifferences

Rotatethepumpinstandbymodeusingturninggear.
Employsynchronisedturninggear(minimiseorpreventactualstandstilltime).
Drainwaterfromcriticalthermalareas.
Selectgoodthermalcharacteristicswhenchoosingshaftseals

Fitanoncontactingseal(floatingringseal).
Theabovemeasuresarefrequentlyusedforbarrelcasingpumps(barrelpulloutpumps)astheirouter
dimensions,wallthickness,drive(turbinewithturninggear)andoperatingmodesareconsideredmore
criticalthanthoseofringsectionpumps.Ifpossible,thesemeasuresarealwaysautomatedtosafeguard
theavailabilityofthepumpset.
Minimumflowvalve
Aminimumflowvalve(automaticrecirculationvalve)ensuresaminimumflowrateandthusprevents
damagewhichcouldoccurinlowflowoperationasaresultofeitheranimpermissibleincreasein
temperatureleadingtovaporisationofthepumpcontentorlowflowcavitation.

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