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Cyclone Steam Separators

Good quality (dry) steam starts at the boiler and as it travels through the distribution system, changes in temperature, pressure and upset conditions related to feed water treatment and transient loads contribute to generation of condensate. While steam traps will help remove condensate flowing within the pipelines,  cyclone separators are used to remove condensate droplets entrained in the steam flow.  Properly sized centrifugal steam separators can also handle "slugs" of liquid being sent downstream due to clogged strainers and low areas of plumbing.

Slug of condensate being swept downstream

Why Remove Entrained Condensate?

Dry steam is preferred for direct contact applications involving steam powered equipment, cooking and atomization of other liquids because the liquid itself is damaging to the equipment (corrosion) or process (contamination).  High velocity impact of entrained water droplets contribute to erosive damage of critical pipeline components such as pressure reducing valves.  Reclamation of treated boiler water reduces the consumption of boiler treatment chemicals, a significant cost savings.

Steam Applications Protected By Separators include:
  • Steam turbine power generation
  • Jacketed vessels, cooking surfaces, application directly onto food
  • Autoclaves
  • Coils for space and liquid heating
  • Vulcanization of rubber
  • Corrugation of cardboard

Centrifugal steam separator

Cyclone steam separators employ centrifugal force, change in direction and reduction in velocity to ensure 99% of droplets greater than 10 microns do not pass though the separator.  Our cyclone steam separators have no internal moving parts or serviceable components, it is simply a fully welded pressure vessel.  The cyclonic action with droplets and pipe scale continuously scour the inside of the separator keeping it clean and thus there is no maintenance required.  The only cost is the initial procurement and installation of the separator, thereafter they will function reliably and reduce operating costs for decades.

Re-entrainment of separated condensate is prevented by a containment plate which prevents agitation of the pooled condensate by the vortex.  Although this is not  "universal" to centrifugal separator designs, the models we offer all have this critical feature.

Whereas impingement plate style separators have a turndown limit, our centrifugal steam separators have an infinite turn down ratio.  This aspect is critical during start-up and shut down phases of a steam system.

Cyclonic steam separators are designed to handle horizontal and vertical flow paths as well as combinations thereof and our standard materials include cast iron, carbon steel and stainless steel.  We offer other alloys of construction which are commonplace at chemical plants and refineries.

Exhaust heads are a special type of cyclone separator installed at the end of a vent pipe to reduce the opacity and carry-out of vapor contaminated with boiler treatment chemicals.  This treated boiler water can be reclaimed and reused, reducing chemical consumption.  Unlike separators, exhaust heads are not pressure vessels because the outlet is always open to atmospheric pressure.

Use our sizing tool above to determine the appropriate separator size for your application.  Remember that
it is typical to attach smaller size connections to mate with your existing piping but you should never use a separator element size smaller than your existing pipeline; do not reduce the pipeline to install a separator.