Advancement on a Comprehensive Theory of Condensers

Harpster, J.W.
“Advancement on a Comprehensive Theory of Condensers” ISA POWID, San Diego, CA, June, 2002.


The importance of having knowledge of the performance of all subsystems in any process is undisputed. The optimization of a process is dependent on the response of each component to external perturbations which can be numerous and are unique to each component. Such is the case for the turbine exhaust steam surface condenser found in most power generating plants around the world. The lack of a detailed understanding of internal behavior of gas mixtures on the shell side of condensers is now recognized uniquely as being the primary reason for responsible engineers to think of condensers as their “biggest job-related headache.”

The results of a new condenser model and theory that explains condenser behavior response to various amounts of noncondensables and the cause of dissolved oxygen uptake in condensate is reviewed. New advancements coupling the model with direct measurement of air in-leakage and its impact on dissolved oxygen, contribution to excess condenser back pressure, effects on a condenser with variable exhauster capacity and identification and quantification of tube fouling will be presented. Impact of a multi-sensor probe condenser diagnostic instrument on the model development and condenser measurement is also presented.

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