Coil or Tube Seawater Evaporator
This is a modern version of the type used when I was at sea in the 1960s. They used heating coils in those days as opposed to the pipe nest heaters of today. The coils used to become scaled in salt, with the attendant loss in output of distillate.
I was in charge of the vaps and I remember the old Chief coming down to the engine room on my watch and balling me out for the downturn in distillate. We were having problems with the boiler feed water purity (another article will cover the testing and treatment of boiler feed water), so I was blowing down the boiler regularly, which with the associated make-up requirement meant we needed more water pronto.
Anyway I took him up to the vaps and showed him the scaling on the heating coils, reminding him that I was pumping Foss chemicals into the beast to try and break this away.
He pushed me aside and shut off the seawater supply opening up the steam supply which rapidly dried the salt layer on the coils. He then opened the seawater inlet and hey presto – the salt scale cracked and fell of the coils. I used this system several times until I was up for Seconds ticket and examiner wasn’t too pleased to hear of this method, and called the old Chief several unprintable names!
Today we don’t have to resort to these measures as there is an innovative device which uses a material that emits oscillations counteracting the natural seawater oscillations, thereby altering its properties and preventing calcium carbonate scale. (See references section.)
A tube and coil evaporator consists of a steel vessel which has a nest of heating pipes near the bottom of the vessel being fed by steam or hot water from the main engine.
There is a tube condenser cooled by seawater installed near the top of the vessel. A vacuum is drawn in the vessel by air ejectors operated by steam or pressurised seawater.
Seawater is fed into the evaporator just covering the heating pipes. Heat is supplied to the pipes and, this combined with the vacuum conditions begins to boil the seawater producing steam. The steam rises up through a demister into the tube condenser where it is evaporated to distilled water. This is collected and pumped via the salinometer to the storage tanks.
A typical tube condenser is shown below.