In this article, we shall learn the definition, working principle, types, application, pros and cons of Jet condensers. We have provided a PDF download link for the same.
What is a Condenser?
A condenser is a device used in industries to convert steam into water. The condenser removes heat from the steam and gives it to the coolants, thus converting the hot steam into liquid known as condensate.
Principle of Working of a Condenser
A condenser works on the principle of heat transfer (heat energy always flows from a higher temperature to a lower temperature). It transfers heat from hot steam from the compressor to the coolants and converts it into water.
What is a Jet Condenser?
A jet condenser is a type of condenser in which steam and cooling water is mixed up in a chamber, where the steam is converted into liquid form and known as condensate. This condensate is then used for many other industrial purposes.
Types of Jet Condensers
There are 3 basic types of jet-condensers which are as follows
- Low-level Jet Condenser
- Parallel Flow Jet Condenser
- Counterflow Jet Condenser
- Barometric Jet Condenser or High-level Condenser
- Ejector Condenser
Parallel Flow Jet Condenser
As the name suggests in a parallel flow jet condenser the steam and water enter from the top of the condenser and hence flow parallel to each other, this is because the air pump creates a vacuum due to which there is a flow of water and steam. During the flow of water and steam, the heat from the steam gets transferred to the flowing water as we know heat always flows from a higher temperature to a lower temperature.
The condensate produced is collected at the bottom of the condenser. The perforated trays and air pump is used to make the process faster. There is an extraction pump located at the bottom which is used to transfer the condensate to the hot well. After passing through the hot well condensate is sent to the boiler. The design of a parallel flow jet condenser is quite simple when compared to other types of condensers.
Counter Flow or Low-Level Jet Condenser
As we can see the word “counter” itself says that the flow of steam and water are opposite to each other. In a counter-flow jet, condenser steam comes into the chamber from below and the cooling water comes from the top. The air pump creates a vacuum that forces cooling water into the condenser.
Water being heavy falls down and steam being light rises through perforated trays. The falling water gets stored in the perforated trays. As soon as cooling water meets steam on its way, the process of heat transfer takes place as the result of which condensate gets accumulated in the bottom.
This condensate is drawn out with the help of a pump into the hot well. The condensate is drawn out from the hot well. The equipment required for the construction of the counterflow jet condenser is less costly and simple. The quantity of cooling water required is less.
Barometric or High-Level Jet Condenser
Barometric or high-level jet condenser works much similarly to counter-flow condensers. There are a few changes in the basic structure, there is a long discharge pipe from where the condensate passes and accumulates in the hot well.
The air pump and injection pump force cooling water from the top of the condenser and the steam is forced from below, again steam being light rises and water being heavy falls down through perforated trays. Heat transfer between water and steam takes place producing condensate which gets settled down.
Unlike other condensers, there’s no need for a pump to extract the condensate. The potential energy of condensate is high enough to make it fall this is because of the long discharge pipe.
In the Ejector type jet condenser, the steam and cooling water mix and pass through a few metal cones. These metal cones increase the time taken by the water to come down, thus increasing the time of heat transfer. The steam enters into the condenser through a non-return valve (the steam can only go in and can’t come out of the valve).
Steam and cooling water get mixed properly while passing through the cone where the heat transfer process takes place. There are no pumps used as the area of the cross-section does not get narrow. The condensate gets collected into a hot well.
Applications of Jet Condenser
- It is a direct type of condenser hence used for condensing vapors in evaporators.
- It is also used for condensing vapors in vapor pans.
- They are used in some thermal power plants to condense steam or hot air.
Advantages of Jet Condenser
- The construction of this condenser is easy to understand and hence does not need many skillful workers.
- Because of the simple design installation cost is low.
- Less amount of water or coolant is required.
- Jet condensers are quite small in size therefore they acquire less area.
- The maintenance cost is quite low.
- Unlike other condensers, the cooling water and steam mix together physically in these condensers.
Disadvantages of Jet Condensers
- Condensate waste cannot be reused here.
- The air pump used in jet condensers requires high power.
- Vacuum efficiency is quite low therefore there’s a requirement for the pump to circulate water.
- The water pumps used also require high power to operate.
- The efficiency of such condensers is low because of their compact size.
- The capacity is also low that’s why jet condensers are not used for heavy industrial purposes.
- The cooling water should be free from impurities which is not the case here.
- In a situation, if the extraction pump fails in the case of low-level jet condensers the condenser may get flooded.
In conclusion, jet condensers are devices used in thermal power plants and chemical processing plants to convert exhaust steam back into water for reuse. They work on the principle of the venturi effect and come in two main types, surface condensers and direct contact condensers.
While they have several advantages, such as being highly efficient and easy to operate, they also have some disadvantages, including the need for a large amount of cooling water and susceptibility to corrosion and erosion. Overall, the selection of a condenser for a particular application should take into consideration the specific requirements and limitations of the process.