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Facts at your Fingertips: Steam Concepts

By Chemical Engineering |

Steam is commonly used in the chemical process industries (CPI) for process heating, power generation, atomization, cleaning and sterilization, moisturization and humidification, among other applications. This one-page reference provides a refresher for key concepts related to steam. Pressure-temperature relation The properties of steam vary significantly depending on the temperature and pressure conditions to which the steam is subject. Steam produced under higher pressures is of higher temperature and carries more energy, but also requires more heat to generate. Steam with higher energy per unit of mass is said to have higher enthalpy, a thermodynamic property of a fluid that is defined as the internal energy of the fluid added to the product of its pressure and specific volume. Enthalpy is a measure of the available energy of the fluid, and enthalpies have been calculated for a wide range of steam and saturated liquid conditions. These values may be found in steam tables, and can be graphically represented by a temperature-enthalpy diagram (Figure 1). Figure 1. A temperature-enthalpy phase diagram illustrates the behavior of steam and the relationships between steam properties[/caption]   Wet steam region Water can be…
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