how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

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kennyGWSR
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how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby kennyGWSR » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:01 pm

for my science as level portfoilo i am doing an experiment on how the hardness of water affects a locomotives boiler over time. i cannot seem to find anything online so i thought i would ask on here. does the water have to be really soft or hard? i will be collecting samples of water from different ares where railways are/used to have been (e.g Llanidloes)

help would be greatful :)

cheers kenny
60089 Felstead :)
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poliss
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby poliss » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:29 pm

Locomotives must use soft water. This is achieved by either pre-treating in a water softening plant or adding water softening blocks to the the loco tender or tank.
See http://www.kiwionrails.net/Trains/Water_Quality.html
A Google for steam locomotives "water softening" (with the quotes) will give you better results.

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stuartp
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby stuartp » Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:32 pm

It's exactly the same process as makes your kettle fur up in hard water areas - when you heat the water Calcium Carbonate dissolved in it comes out of solution and deposits itself all over the heated surfaces reducing the efficiency of the boiler.

Soft water can be just as bad if it's been collected off a peat moor though. The peat makes it slightly acidic which will corrode the boiler rather than furring it up.

At least I think that's the case, it's been a while since I did 'O' level chemistry !
Portwilliam - Southwest Scotland in the 1960s, in OO - http://stuart1968.wordpress.com/

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kennyGWSR
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby kennyGWSR » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:20 pm

right thanks, now next question, do you know how they test for it?
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poliss
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby poliss » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:28 pm

Hard water areas are known. In the deep South of England the water is hard. Up here in Newcastle the water is soft.

b308
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby b308 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:18 pm


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PeterH
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby PeterH » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:29 pm

The water around Watford is very hard, so much so, the water comes out of the tap white!
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6C
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby 6C » Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:36 am

The water in my local area either comes from the hills of North Wales around Lake Bala - or from local springs (aquifers) in the local sandstone.

The local porous rocks have the effect of filtering the water - so water is lovely and soft..naturally.

Basically a boiler will still need a washout for maintenance purpose - but with a soft water area - the periods between washouts can be greatly extended.
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beatnik69
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby beatnik69 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:11 pm

Could they not just have put a great big marble in it? (does anyone still do this by the way?) :lol: The water round our way is so hard it comes out of the tap with a flick-knife. :lol:

NorthernMonkey
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Re: how does the hardness off water affect boilers?

Postby NorthernMonkey » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:05 pm

Water Hardness is a big pain for most of the preserved railways

All locos are emptied every 28 days, and washed out. Washout plugs are located round the firebox and in the front tube plate. Into these, you stick a very high pressure hose and blast all the crap out, which comes out the bottom, from the mud hole doors.

SVR tackles this by a running a massive reverse osmosis plant on site, so they have to wash out less, as washing out takes the loco out of service for a few days ( 2 days to cool, 1 day to wash, empty and refil, and another day to warm up slowly. Heating and cooling them too quickly causes stress on firebox.)


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