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Chemical Process Technology

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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Why inject steam into fire and flare tip ?
I guess many of you as Chemical or Safety engineer should be aware of the reason. This post is reiterate the response to query raised by a young engineer.

Steam in Fire
Initiate and maintain continuous fire required 3 major elements. There are fuel, oxygen and heat (see famous 3 ring-symbol below).

From chemistry, without any one of the element, a fire will NOT form. Those the first principle in fire fighting is separate or create barrier between them.

As Steam (H2O) is non-combustible When you inject steam into the a fire, it does at least two things

i) Steam expands as it absorbed heat, displace air (oxygen rich) and form a layer of barrier to avoid/minimise the contact between Fuel/Heat and oxygen. This strategy is removal of OXYGEN.

ii) Steam at 100-120 degC @ ATM injected into Fire (>1000 degC ) will have the potential of absorbing heat from fire. Once it gain the heat, it rise and disperse to non-fire region. This is removal of HEAT. Similar on this principle, inject water @ (<>

Steam in Flare
Steam is used in FLARE TIP as smoke suppression. It promote extraction of air from ambient into the flame and increases the combustion efficiency and effectiveness. Nevertheless, steam injected at a proper location (flame zone) and correction direction with correct quantity and proper device will create turbulence and entrain air into the flame zone via steam jets. This improve Oxygen concentration in fire and promote combustion.

In many cases steam will properly injected into the flare in 3 location.
  • Upper - to minimize wind caused irregular flame which potential lead to flame-out
  • Centre - to prevent internal combustion
  • Internal - to entrain air (using external eductor) into flare gas and promote combustion
STEAM helps in put out fire as well as promoting combustion. It is very much subject to how a steam is introduce into fire a well as the quantity.

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posted by Webworm, 11:54 AM


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