4 Effects Of High Temperature Steam On Pipes

In this article, I will share the effects of high-temperature steam on pipes.


There is a need to know what high-temperature steam can do to pipes if one needs a way to prevent these problems.


The steam from the boiler unit is going to have high temperatures because it’s constantly exposed to very high temperatures.


Since the pipes are made from metals, they are going to be affected by the high temperatures of the steam.


Be it mild steel or wrought iron that is used to create the pipes, they are still going to come across these effects as long as they are exposed to steam of high temperatures.


Without wasting time, let me share what you should know about the effects of high-temperature steam on pipes.


These are the effects of high-temperature steam on pipes;

1. It decreases the allowable stress value.

The pipes that are designed to be used in steam distribution piping systems will require to have a limit of allowable stress value.


This is to ensure that the pipes under certain temperatures will be able to withstand the thermal stress caused by the steam temperatures.


Some of the materials used to create these steam distribution pipes have allowable stress value that makes them great over others.


The choice of material matters when it comes to the design and construction of steam pipes.


The allowable stress value of the material used to create the steam pipes should be higher.


The value being higher will allow the pipes to withstand the thermal stresses at wide ranges of temperatures.


The effect of high-temperature steam is that it tends to decrease the allowable stress value thus making the pipes struggle to withstand the high temperatures of the steam.


As the temperature of the steam increases, so does the allowable thermal stress also decrease.


If the material used to construct the pipes is not of the required material, the pipes will end up capturing and bursting while conveying steam at extremely high temperatures.


2. It accelerates oxidation and corrosion.

The high temperatures of steam accelerate oxidation of the pipes which will eventually bring about corrosion.


The steam pipes are usually designed to withstand high temperatures by adding a layer that prevents them from coming in contact with the air or moisture.


With the increased temperatures of the steam, this layer that covers the outer and inner parts of the pipe will start disintegrating.


This means that the pipes will be left vulnerable to corrosion because the air and moisture content will come in touch with the pipe material.


That is why you will find out that pipe materials that are exposed to high temperatures tend to corrode easily compared to those exposed to low temperatures.


The high temperature of the steam accelerates oxidation which will leave the pipes naked thus making corrosion inevitable.


If the pipes are exposed to high steam temperatures this is something you should be prepared to come across.


And that is why inspection and maintenance of these pipes are needed frequently.


3. It produces expansion.

If you expose any metal to heat it’s going to expand. When we are talking about pipes used in steam distribution lines, they are made of metals.


Mild steel, cast iron, brass and wrought irons are mostly used to create the pipes that are used in steam distribution.


So the effect of high temperature of steam is going to be experienced.


These pipes will need to be installed appropriately and fixed with an aim to allow expansion when the steam is being conveyed in them.


Any engineer should take the necessary measures when designing and installing the steam pipes to make them able to handle the expansion that is going to be caused by the high temperatures.


The expansion of pipes when are exposed to high steam temperatures is something that is going to happen and there is no way to prevent that.


The design and installation of these pipes should give room for expansion when they are exposed to high steam temperatures.


4. It makes the pipe material creep.

This is another effect of high temperatures on steam pipes.


As the pipes are exposed to high temperatures they will rack up heat.


If the temperatures are going to keep on increasing it’s possible that the pipe material will creep.


The steam temperature from the boiler will keep on increasing whether you like it or not.

If the steam produced by the boiler is used to drive steam turbines, it will need to be superheated so that it can be highly thermally charged.


You might like this: Advantages Of Using Superheated Steam


This tells that the temperatures of the steam will keep on increasing as long as the boiler unit is operational.


This will end up causing the pipe material to creep. This is an effect that needs prevention by controlling the temperatures of the steam pipes.


That can happen by ensuring the steam temperatures don’t exceed the designated value and allowing proper ventilation of the steam pipes.




These are the effects of high steam temperatures on pipes, there is a need to find a way to decrease these effects or stop them eventually if it’s possible.


The steam pipes being exposed to these effects will decrease their useful life, and heavy maintenance will be needed which will keep on increasing the overall cost of the power plant operations.


Some of the effects can’t be prevented, so one has to be ready to combat these effects once they start taking charge.


This is just a summary of what happens when pipes are exposed to high steam temperatures.


Thanks for reading, if you have any suggestions or questions just leave a comment. See you in my next article.


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