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Importance of Boiler Chemicals Water Treatment

Since I have written my experience visiting a boiler manufacturing company recently, I think it is good if I follow up with another article related to boiler. This time, it is about the importance of boiler water treatment chemicals. I remembered monitoring the boiler man blended and poured some chemicals (from Nalco) to be injected into the boilers.

[Flash back: Some of my boiler experience story (explosion) for you to read. Boiler Explosion Part 1 & Boiler Explosion Part 2.]

Do you know that like cooling tower, a boiler also requires chemical treatment for various reasons. When I was a process engineer, I got the opportunity to learn about the chemical water treatments for utility boiler and cooling tower. There are various chemicals with specific functions. The chemicals, which I will explain below will imperatively preserve the life of a utility boiler (in this case a low pressure boiler). A low pressure boiler in this case is one which is less then 200 psi. We shall look upon several chemical parameters, namelu the amines, alkalinity, sulfites and phosphates or polymers of the boiler water.

Amines are used to increase the condensate pH to a range of 7.8 to 8.7. When generating steam, carbonic acid forms and as a result your steam pH is low. Amines are volatile and when introduced into the steam header or boiler water, amines will increase the condensate pH. A low pH will lead to excessive condensate pipe corrosion.

Alkalinity is used to increase the boiler water pH to above 10.5. This serves three purposes. pH above 10.5 will decrease your overall corrosion rates, it will keep a 3:1 ratio of total alkalinity to silica, and it allows the polymer to react with calcium. A 3:1 ratio keeps silica from plating in the boiler. A low pH will result in an over general corrosion appearance on your boiler tubes.

Sulfites are used to remove any dissolved oxygen from the water. Dissolved oxygen enters the boiler in make up water or as air is sucked into the system. Dissolved oxygen is extremely corrosive to your tubes and localized pits will form, ultimately resulting in premature tube failure. Maintain a 20 to 40 ppm residual of sulfite in your boiler water.

Phosphates and polymers are used to react with any calcium in the water. The polymer attaches itself to the calcium. The polymer and calcium then is able to exit the boiler through the surface or bottom blowdown. Phosphate reacts with the calcium and sinks the calcium to the bottom of the boiler. When using phosphates you must perform boiler blowdown daily to release the phosphate and calcium. Failure to use a polymer or phosphate will result in calcium build up on the tubes or as some call it boiler scale. This will decrease the over boiler efficiency and will drastically increase your fuel cost.

It is vital to note that water expands 100,000 times when it change from a liquid to vapor phase. A typical home water boiler 30 gallon system has enough energy to throw a 2,000 pound car over 100 feet in the air if catastrophically failed.

First Image credited to: www.johnstonboiler.com. Second Image credited to http://www.indiamart.com (Example of Nalco Chemical for boiler water treatment).


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posted by zaki yamani @ 7:07 PM, , links to this post

IEM Technical Visit to Mechmar Boiler

Last November I joined a group of Institution Engineers Malaysia (IEM) members for a technical visit trip to Mechmar Boiler in Pasir Gudang, Johor, Malaysia. This was the first time I visited a boiler manufacturer company. Honestly I was thrilled to learn and explore how a boiler is made and what the factory looks like. I mean the production plant site. In total there were about 20-30 engineers from IEM. The program started at 9.30 am up to 12.30 pm.


Some information about Mechmar Corporation (Malaysia) Berhad

Mechmar Boiler was established over 30 years ago. Currently, Mechmar Boiler is the leading industrial boiler and pressure vessel manufacturer within the Asian Pacific region.

With a core emphasis on superior engineering and strict manufacturing quality standards, Mechmar continually strives and meets the ever increasing expectations of today’s customers for reliable heat, power or steam generation at an economical investment cost.

Mechmar wide product range serves to meet the heat, steam or power needs of our customers regardless of their industry and location. Their products are the result of years of continuous and rigorous detailed engineering and dedication to providing quality in our manufacture and in our service to our customers.

The headquartered of Mechmar is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mechmar’s engineering team reinforces their commitment to their customers by providing sound engineering input with attention to detail. With two world class manufacturing and fabrication facilities in South East Asia both of which are ISO9001 certified by Lloyds, we meet this commitment with speed and at competitive prices. (Information taken from Mechmar official website).

Products manufactured by Mechmar

Here are the list of products manufactured by Mechmar Corporation (Malaysia) Berhad:

Oil/Gas-Fired Boiler
  • Titan HT
  • Titan AS
  • Titan MB
Solid Fuel-Fired Boilers
  • Titan MCC
  • Titan MCH
  • Titan BD
  • Titan MTH
-Heat Recovery Boiler
-Various Custom Made Boilers
-Reconditioned boilers

For more comprehensive list of products, please click here.

The factory administrator of Mechmar Boiler gave us some explanation on the history and business of the company.

A nice pen as souvenir for the IEM delegates. Luckily they provided a free pen because I forgot to bring my own pen.

This is the view in the production facility of Mechmar Boiler
One of the oil/gas fired boiler nearly completed

That's me with some nice background in the Mechmar Boiler facility

Taking a group photo together in the boiler manufacturing plant




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posted by zaki yamani @ 6:48 PM, , links to this post

Interview By Petroleum Africa Magazine: Trends in Plate Heat Exchangers

I was approach by Mr Chikezie Nwaoha, a friend from Nigeria and also a Downstream Correspondent of Petroleum Africa Magazine. He is also a Contributing Editor for Control Engineering Asia Magazine and Contributing Editor for PetroMin. Somewhere last year, if I'm not mistaken in July 2011, he emailed me with intention to interview me about cooling tower. The reason for this is because previously I have co-written a book chapter with him about Cooling Towers which will published in a book titled 'Process Plant Equipment Operation, Reliability and Control'. The book which is published by John Wiley will be ready this coming May 2012. I'm so excited and cannot wait to get my hands on this new book. My contribution is in Chapter 5.

Instead of the topic cooling tower, I said why not you interview me about Plate Heat Exchanger because it is my favourite equipment. Well, he said yes. He can interview me about Plate Heat Exchanger. Well, the interview when well and it was published soon in November 2011 in the Downstream Focus section in Petroleum Africa Magazine page 30-33 (4 pages).


- Please click the photo to enlarge -


I'm not sure if I'm allowed to place the interview article here. If I have the permission, I'll make it available for download.

Here is a partial shot from the 3rd page.


- Please click the photo to enlarge -

I hope I can contribute more like this in future. If you want to read Petroleum Africa Magazine, you can try it out and subscribe it here.


...................................................................................................................
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Have you downloaded my free "Choosing Alternative Fuel" Ebook? If not, then please download it here. It's Free and on top of getting the free ebook, you'll get eCourse on Alternative Fuel. It's a good and easy way to add more valuable information to yourself.




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posted by zaki yamani @ 6:02 PM, , links to this post

Impressive Ph.D Stories

Today, one of my colleague, Fawzi from Libya defended his Ph.D thesis. If my calculation is correct he submitted his draft thesis to our supervisor after 2 years and 7 months. In general that is very fast duration for a Ph.D student. I'm so proud of him and his success kind of boosted my motivation. Few months before that (last year) another Ph.D student in my research group, Jawaid Akhtar from Pakistan also successfully defended his thesis and earned the title "Dr". So, within a space of 6 months, 2 Ph.D students in Chemical Reaction Engineering Group (CREG) graduated and earned their doctorate degree. Once again I would like to humbly congratulate them.

Recently, I met a lecturer while servicing my MPV. We chatted about his experience doing his Ph.D knowing I'm still in the battle. I know him and he is not the boosting or snobbish type of person. He told me that, he managed to publish 8 journals while doing his Ph.D. Yep, you heard that right. 8 journals and not 8 conference papers. Wow! I was impressed. I asked him, "How long did you take to do your Ph.D?". He responded, "I took 2 and a half years". Once again...Wow!!! That is very impressive. His VIVA took a mere 15 minutes only. The examiners just asked him some very general questions. The reason for that is because there is nothing more to be asked as he has already published massively. Indeed so good. That reminded on another ex-CREG member, my colleague, Dr. Istadi whom if I'm not mistaken published 6 or 7 journals while doing his Ph.D. But he took 4 years to complete his study. This guy, sitting next to me in the workshop, published 8 journals (with impact factor) in 2.5 years!!!

I asked him, "How did you manage to do it?" His answer was simple. He met his supervisor each week and reported whatever work he has done. In another angle, he said that his supervisor is very strict and ordered him to meet him on a weekly basis. He added that his supervisor asked him to produce 1 journal every quarterly. That answered how he can produced 8 journals in 2.5 years.

2 days ago, I met another colleague who is currently doing Ph.D in Korea. He is also a staff in the UTM. He has basically completed his Ph.D. However, he has not defended his research yet because the university in Korea only allow students to have VIVA after he or she managed to publish 3 journal papers. So far he has managed to complete his thesis and published 2 journal papers within a period of 2 years and 9 months. Another impressive record. I asked him how he did it. How he managed to complete so fast? He said that he has to work from morning till night each and everyday. He walked to the university with his wife (who has completed her Ph.D) every morning and returned together at night. They have 3 daughters who are staying in Malaysia. Since the cost of living is extremely high in Korea, they have to school their daughters in Malaysia. That means they are separated from their kids. Both of them has the drive and goal to finish the Ph.D as fast as possible so that they can be united back with their 3 beautiful daughters. Well, that's another amazing Ph.D success story.

What about me? It has been already 2.5 years for me. I'm still working and struggling on my Ph.D. One of my journal is under review. Another one is on the way. There are another 3 journals that I have to publish but they are not ready yet. I have 3 conference papers published already and 1 scopus journal in hand. I have another 1 month of experimental work to do. I have some thermodynamic modelling to work on. Comparing myself with the stories above, I'm no where yet. Nevertheless, I'm not giving up. I'm fighting to end this battle by this year, if God will. Please pray for me.

For those of you who are is currently doing Ph.D, keep up the believe and spirit. Planning is very crucial. Remember the saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". For those who are in the 4th or 5th year or more (some of you are my colleagues), don't worry. Just do it. Be persistent and put in more effort. We know Ph.D is full of unexpected problems. The challenge is how we act to the test.

So, in conclusion, some aspects that are very crucial in ensuring success and speed in our Ph.D are as follows:

  • Always meet and report your work to your supervisor. At least once a week.
  • Set a goal and reason why you want to complete your Ph.D. That will drive and motivate you to finish your study.
  • Publish your work in reputable journals with impact factors. That's like an insurance policy during the VIVA.
I'm trying to fulfill all there imperative points above. Let's do it.

I strongly believe this story is motivating and inspiring although it is short. If you like it, I appreciate it very much if you can share it by LIKE it below (with Facebook).


-------------------------------------------------------------------
FREE Recommended magazines to get you updated with current engineering news

Have you downloaded my free "Choosing Alternative Fuel" Ebook? If not, then please download it here. It's Free and on top of getting the free ebook, you'll get eCourse on Alternative Fuel. It's a good and easy way to add more valuable information to yourself.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:01 PM, , links to this post

The Author

zyz

I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!


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