# A Catechism of the Steam Engine eBook

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267. Q.—­If to increase the perimeter of a flue is virtually to diminish the length, then a tubular boiler where the perimeter is in effect greatly extended ought to have but a short length of tube?

A.—­The flue of the Nile steamer if reduced to the cylindrical form would be 35-1/2 inches in diameter to have the same area; but it would then require to be made 47-3/4 feet long, to have the same amount of heating surface, excluding the bottom as non-effective.  Supposing that with these proportions the heat is sufficiently extracted from the smoke, then every tube of a tubular boiler in which the same draught existed ought to have very nearly the same proportions.

268. Q.—­But what are the best proportions of the parts of tubular boilers relatively with one another?

A.—­The proper relative proportions of the parts of tubular boilers may easily be ascertained by a reference to the settled proportions of flue boilers; for the same general principles are operative in both cases.  In the Nile steamer each boiler of 55 horse power has about 497 square feet of flue surface or 9 square feet per horse power, reckoning the total surface as effective.  The area of the flue, which is rectangular is 990 square inches, therefore the area is equal to that of a tube 35-1/2 inches in diameter; and such a tube, to have a heating surface of 497 square feet, must be 53.4 feet or 640.8 inches in length.  The length, therefore, of the tube, will be about 18 times its diameter, and with the same velocity of draught these proportions must obtain, whatever the absolute dimensions of the tube may be.  With a calorimeter, therefore, of 18 square inches per horse power, the length of a tube 3 inches diameter must not exceed 4 feet 6 inches, since the heat will be sufficiently extracted from the smoke in this length, if the smoke only travels at the velocity due to a calorimeter of 18 square inches per horse power.

269. Q.—­Is this, then, the maximum length of flue which can be used in tubular boilers with advantage?

A.—­By no means.  The tubes of tubular boilers are almost always more than 4 feet 6 inches long, but then the calorimeter is almost always less than 18 square inches per horse power—­generally about two thirds of this.  Indeed, tubular boilers with a large calorimeter are not found to be so satisfactory as where the calorimeter is small, partly from the propensity of the smoke in such cases to pass through a few of the tubes instead of the whole of them, and partly from the deposit of soot which takes place when the draught is sluggish.  It is a very confusing practice, however, to speak of nominal horse power in connection with boilers, since that is a quantity quite indeterminate.

## EVAPORATIVE POWER OF BOILERS.

270. Q.—­The main thing after all in boilers is their evaporative powers?

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