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Old 07-23-2010, 07:30 PM   #1
soldstatic
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Default Explosive decompression!!

KABOOM!

I'm in the midst of designing / building my brewing system. I want to do 10 gallon all grain batches, and I want all kinds of flexibility. I'm building a boiler so I can do a steam injected mash type system, and I plan to use this method to also boil in the kettle. Since I'll be turning my boiler on and letting it come up to temp / pressure for a long time, I don't want to have to wait for any sparge water to heat up. Heating up the water for the mash I could do that in the vessel where the grain bed will be then dump the grains in.

So here's the problem. I have water at whatever superheated temp it's at. I forget what it is at the top of my head, but whatever I need to get 10 psi or something. How can I draw WATER (instead of steam!!) out of the vessel, keeping it under pressure? Then I'll obviously mix that crazy hot water with some cold water to get the sparge temp I want, but I'm worried about drawing out too much liquid, or the liquid I draw out turning to steam, and eventually blowing up my house.



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Old 07-23-2010, 07:32 PM   #2
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Why not just steam jacket a liquor tank?



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Old 07-23-2010, 07:38 PM   #3
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cause I want to use the same manifold etc in the mash and in the kettle. and to sanitize some things and to steam my clothes.

Or if you mean to add another vessel to my setup, I don't want to do that because that means I take up more floor space. And I've got a 15 gal vessel I was going to use for the boiler, so I could potentially put plenty of water in there.

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Old 07-23-2010, 07:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soldstatic View Post
KABOOM!

I'm in the midst of designing / building my brewing system. I want to do 10 gallon all grain batches, and I want all kinds of flexibility. I'm building a boiler so I can do a steam injected mash type system, and I plan to use this method to also boil in the kettle. Since I'll be turning my boiler on and letting it come up to temp / pressure for a long time, I don't want to have to wait for any sparge water to heat up. Heating up the water for the mash I could do that in the vessel where the grain bed will be then dump the grains in.

So here's the problem. I have water at whatever superheated temp it's at. I forget what it is at the top of my head, but whatever I need to get 10 psi or something. How can I draw WATER (instead of steam!!) out of the vessel, keeping it under pressure? Then I'll obviously mix that crazy hot water with some cold water to get the sparge temp I want, but I'm worried about drawing out too much liquid, or the liquid I draw out turning to steam, and eventually blowing up my house.

Blowing up ones house is no bueno
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Old 07-23-2010, 07:43 PM   #5
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Building and using DIY steam boilers is a very bad idea and also a very dangerous one. Your worry about blowing up your house is absolutely justified. IMO, it's not at all worth the risk.

Yeah, Kaboom...no sheet!

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Old 07-23-2010, 07:57 PM   #6
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Building and using DIY steam boilers is a very bad idea and also a very dangerous one. Your worry about blowing up your house is absolutely justified. IMO, it's not at all worth the risk.

Yeah, Kaboom...no sheet!
With the proper care I'm confident I can do it just fine. I've got two degrees in engineering, and work in the power industry. I used to design control systems, including valves and distributed control networks, etc etc for power plants. If anyone on this board can do it, I can too. It's just the physics of pulling liquid out, I'm not sure it's possible without relieving the entire pressure that the vessel would have been working so hard to build up.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:01 PM   #7
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Blowing up ones house is no bueno
Just for the record.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:03 PM   #8
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A long, coiled copper tube might help. You need something to cool the water to 100C or less, and to dissipate the pressure. 25' or 50' of 1/4" coiled copper tube, (much like a very old fashioned still), would probably do the trick, and could be misted with water if it overheats. Connect it to a valve with a diptube into the bottom of your boiler, (to pull off the superheated water), and open the valve slowly. You'll get steam at first, but after a few seconds you should just get hot water....mist the coil to keep it cooler than 100C.

You've got expansion on your side. As the water vapor expands, (as it hits atmospheric pressure), it will cool, so it will be self-regulating to a point. Whether the copper tube can dump the rest of the energy fast enough by itself or you need to mist it is something you can certainly determine empirically.

There should be no "explosions". It's just rapidly expanding gas. The tube can easily handle the 10 PSI at the part closest to the boiler, so no worries there. I think this is perfectly safe as long as you don't stick your hand in the steam, (and as long as your boiler is pressure regulated!)

Edit: and once your superheated water has flashed to steam, then condensed back into water (inside the tube), it's perfectly safe, and at atmospheric pressure, so you can connect some silicone tubing to the other end of your copper tube and use it to direct the flow of water.

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Old 07-23-2010, 08:09 PM   #9
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you need a bunch of welding certifications to be able to weld a steam boiler.

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Old 07-23-2010, 08:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by shortyjacobs View Post
A long, coiled copper tube might help. You need something to cool the water to 100C or less, and to dissipate the pressure. 25' or 50' of 1/4" coiled copper tube, (much like a very old fashioned still), would probably do the trick, and could be misted with water if it overheats. Connect it to a valve with a diptube into the bottom of your boiler, (to pull off the superheated water), and open the valve slowly. You'll get steam at first, but after a few seconds you should just get hot water....mist the coil to keep it cooler than 100C.

You've got expansion on your side. As the water vapor expands, (as it hits atmospheric pressure), it will cool, so it will be self-regulating to a point. Whether the copper tube can dump the rest of the energy fast enough by itself or you need to mist it is something you can certainly determine empirically.

There should be no "explosions". It's just rapidly expanding gas. The tube can easily handle the 10 PSI at the part closest to the boiler, so no worries there. I think this is perfectly safe as long as you don't stick your hand in the steam, (and as long as your boiler is pressure regulated!)

Edit: and once your superheated water has flashed to steam, then condensed back into water (inside the tube), it's perfectly safe, and at atmospheric pressure, so you can connect some silicone tubing to the other end of your copper tube and use it to direct the flow of water.


Hm interesting. I'm not sure even 50 ft would cool it below 100C without some kind of cooling. But if that was how I was doing it I could use something akin to a counterflow chiller. Hopefully somehow mix the water coming out at both ends to make 170F. That would probably be a lot better than misting a coil and wasting the heat. Might have to have 3 sources of water to 'mix'. Superheated (cooled to below boiling point), heated (used to do the cooling), and cool (source). That said without a lot of 'cooling' water moving fairly quickly, I don't know if it would be able to absorb enough. But if was done slowly enough on the high pressure side, I might be able to maintain the pressure fairly well since the volume released would be very small.


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