What is a steam trap?
Steam traps are a type of automatic valve that filters gas condensate (ie liquid vapor) and incompressible gases.
In industry, steam is regularly used for heating or as a driving force for mechanical power.
Steam traps are used in such applications to ensure that steam is not wasted.
The American National Standards Institute defines steam traps as follows:
A valve that automatically separates the gas condensate from the vapor chamber and holds it firmly to hold the vapor, allowing the steam to flow at a controlled or set speed if necessary.
Also, most steam traps pass incompressible gases to retain steam.
Why are steam traps installed?
When water evaporates, steam is formed.
For the evaporation process to occur, water molecules must be given enough energy to break the bonds between the molecules (hydrogen bonds).
This energy given to convert liquid to gas is called “latent heat”.
Steam-based heat processes use latent heat and transfer it to a specific product.
In other words, “liquid vapor” is able to do what steam is not.
Therefore, if the “liquid vapor” is not removed as quickly as possible from the steam pipe or in a heat exchanger, the heat efficiency will be affected.
For more details on the steam heating mechanism, read the following article on steam heat transfer.
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