Boiler design

Sections of a steam locomotive showing the many fire-tubes which carry the hot gases of the fire through the boiler to heat the water and so create steam.

Boiler design is the process of designing boilers used for various purposes. The main function of a boiler is to heat water to generate steam. Steam produced in a boiler can be used for a variety of purposes including space heating, sterilisation, drying, humidification and power generation. The temperature or condition of steam required for these applications is different, so boiler designs vary accordingly.

Modern design benefits

Boiler in the steam technology center at College of Engineering, Pune

Modern boiler design offers several benefits. In the past, improper design of boilers has caused explosions which led to loss of life and property. Modern designs attempt to avoid such mishaps. Further, mathematical modeling can determine how much space a boiler will need and the type of materials to be used. When the design specifications of a boiler are determined, design engineers can estimate a cost and time schedule for the construction.

Boiler design may be based upon:

Accessories and mountings are devices which form an integral part of boiler but are not mounted on it. They include economizers, superheaters, feed pumps and air pre-heaters. Accessories help in controlling and running the boiler efficiently. Certain common mountings (specifically those required by the Indian Boiler Act) include:


  1. Brad Buecker (2002), Basics of boiler and HRSG design, p. 59, ISBN 978-0-87814-795-3
  2. "Elements of Workshop Technology", S Hajra Choudhury, Nirjhar Joy


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