Comparison Between Fire Tube and Water Tube Boiler

Comparison between Fire Tube and Water Tube Boiler can be done in 14 aspects. Those aspects are operating pressure, passage of material type in tubes, rate of steam generation, handling of load fluctuation, floor area requirement, efficiency, operator skills, design, maintenance cost are listed below in the tabular form.

S.NoFire tube boilerWater tube boiler
1In Fire-tube boilers hot flue gases pass through tubes and water surrounds them.In Water-tube boilers water passes through tubes and hot fluegasses surround them.
2These are operated at low pressures up to 20 bar.The working pressure is high enough, up to 250 bar in super critical boilers.
3The rate of steam generation and quality of steam are very low, therefore, not suitable for power generation.The rate of steam generation and quality of steam arebetter and suitable for power generation.
4Load fluctuations cannot be handled.Load fluctuations can be easily handled.
5It requires more floor area for a given output.It requires less floor area for a given output
6These are bulky and difficult to transport.These are light in weight, hence transportation is not a problem.
7Overall efficiency is up to 75%.Overall efficiency with an economizer is up to 90%.
8Water doesn’t circulate in a definite direction.Direction of water circulated is well defined.
9The drum size is large and damage caused by bursting is large.If any water tube is damaged, it can be easily replaced or repaired.
10It requires more floor area for a given output.It requires less floor area for a given output
11Simple in design, easy to erect and low maintenance cost.Complex, design, difficult to erect and high maintenance cost.
12Even less skill operators are sufficient for efficient operation.Skilled operators are required for operation.
13The treatment of feed water is not very essential, as overheating due to scale formation cannot burst thick shell.Treatment of feed water is very essential as small scale deposits inside the tubes can cause overheating and bursting.
14Used in process industry.Used in large power plants.

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