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pH value
Thermal Prepared by :
M.A.K. S. Pathan
Necessity of feed water treatment:
The natural water contains solid, liquid and gaseous
impurities and therefore this water cannot be used for
the generation of steam in the boilers.
Presence of silica in boiler feed water is harmful as silica
tends to mix along with steam and get deposited as
glassy and hard deposits on the turbine blades.
Most of natural water contains dissolved salts(Ca & Mg),
that can’t be removed by filtration and would form a
sludge or scale on heating surface if left in the feed
Due to overall ill effects caused to plant parts (Turbine,
boiler & condenser) by feed water impurities, treatment
is necessary.
Impurities in water:
The impurities in well water are much greater than
that in river or lake water. In this manner impurities
are varying continuously from place to place.
The major classification of water impurities is shown

1. Undissolved and suspended solid materials.

2. Dissolved salts and minerals.
3. Dissolved gases.
4. Other materials (as oil, acid).
1. Undissolved and suspended
a) Turbidity and sediment. Turbidity in the water is
suspended in soluble matter including coarse
particles (mud, sediment, sand etc.) that settle
rapidly on standing. The turbidity of feed water
should not exceed 5 ppm. Their presence is
undesirable because heating or evaporation
produces hard stony scale deposits on the
heating surface and clog fluid system.
b) Sodium and potassium salts. These are
extremely soluble in water and do not deposit
unless highly concentrated. These accelerate the
corrosion as they are alkaline.
c) Chlorides. Most of these cause increased
corrosive action of water.
2. Dissolved salts and minerals:
Calcium and Magnesium salts. These are present in
the water in the form of carbonates, bicarbonates,
sulphates and chlorides. The presence of these salts
is recognized by the hardness of water. It ca be
temporary or permanent. These can’t just be
removed by boiling because they form hard scale
on Dissolved
a) Oxygen. Its presence is highly objectionable as it
is corrosive to iron, zinc and other metals. It
causes corrosion and pitting of water lines,
boilers and heat exchangers.
b) Carbon dioxide. The CO2 content in water causes
corrosion of steam, water and condensate lines.
It also helps the corrosive action of Oxygen.
4. Other materials:
a) Free mineral acid. Usually present in the form of
sulphuric or hydrochloric acid and causes
corrosion. The presence id reduced by
neutralization with alkalies.
b) Oil. Generally the lubricating oil is carried along
with the feed system. It causes sludge, scale and
foaming in boilers. It is generally removed by
strainersTheandscale formation
baffle and corrosion are the
main ill effects due to impure water. The scale
formation reduces the heat transfer rates and
clogs the follow passages and endangers the life
of the equipments by increasing the temperature
above some limit. The corrosion reduces the life
of plant rapidly.
pH value of water:
The pH is a number denoting the degree of acidity or
alkalinity of a substance.
It is derived by measuring the amount of hydrogen ion
(H+) in grams per litre of solution.
E.g. Pure water ionizes to produce 10^-7 grams of H2
ions per litre. Therefore, any substance producing 10^-7
grams of hydrogen ions per litre is considered to be a
neutral solution.
The greater the amount of hydrogen ion present in
solution its acid reaction becomes stronger.
Other solution producing less hydrogen ions than pure
water will be alkaline.
The pH value of all the solutions is accommodated
pH role in corrosion:
The corrosion rate of iron in the absence of oxygen is
proportional to pH up to a value of 9.6.
The oxygen in the water unites with the ferrous
hydroxide to form ferric hydroxide. This reaction lowers
the pH of the solution and tends to stimulate corrosion.
The pH value of water should be maintained greater than
9.6 to reduce the corrosion effects.
The required alkalinity of feed water is adjusted by
adding soda ash, caustic soda or trisodium phosphate.
As long as the alkalinity is high enough, the iron
hydroxide (self composed surface) remains insoluble and
acts as a protective layer.
pH role in scale formation:
The calcium hardness alkalinity and pH are inter related
variables in scale control. Calcium carbonate is one of
the most troublesome deposits responsible for scale

From various analysis it is determined that water at a

particular temperature with different pH would posses
different calcium hardness.

Therefore, water with the same calcium hardness may

have different scale forming tendencies.
Thank you very

M.A.K. Pathan