marine boiler
Shipping Industry

Types of Marine Boilers and Difference Between Water Tube and Smoke Tube Boilers

This article is to discuss about the various types of marine boilers that are being used or once used to drive the ships or to generate the steam. On the other hand we also discuss about the differences that water tube and smoke tube boiler have among them. Main idea is to make readers aware about the various types of boiler that are used on ships. So let’s read this article in detail.

Different types of marine boilers

Following are the boilers are that are used on ship:
1) Scotch boiler
2) Foster Wheeler boiler
3) Marine Radiant boiler
Read this interesting article on classification of marine boilers
Tangentially fired boiler
Yarrow boiler
6) Babcock & Wilcox boiler
7)     marine boiler
Composit Cochran boiler- Composite boilers are mostly sued on ships because when a ship is in port, the firing is through the burner. But when a ship is en route, then main engine exhaust is used to heat the water in order to generate the required steam.
8)      Thimble tube boiler
9)      Sunrod Boiler
10)  Aalborg Boiler
11)  Spanner  Exhaust Boiler
12)  Double evaporation boiler
13)  La Mont Exhaust boiler

What are Smoke type boilers?

Smoke type boilers as name suggests have smoke or heat flowing through inside the tubes and the water surrounds these tubes. Smoke tube boilers are generally used where there is less demand of superheated steam. Composite boilers that are used on ships are smoke tube boilers only.

What are water tube boilers?

On the other hand in water tube boilers, the water flows inside the tubes and the heat surrounds these tubes. Generally we use the water tube boiler in order to generate the super heated steam like on steam ships etc. the pressure generated on water tubes is always higher the smoke type of boilers. The best example of this type of boiler is the cooker that we use in our home.

 Difference between Smoke and Water tube boilers

Smoke tube boiler
1) Smoke tube boilers are heavy in comparison to the water tube boilers.
2) Its efficiency is low and can only generate low or medium pressure steam.
3) Smoke tube boilers are having less efficient combustion.
4) Generally in smoke tube boilers, the threat of thermal stress is high because water circulation is poor.
5) It consumes more space and generation of steam takes longer time.
6) Furnace and shell of this type of boiler is sometime subjects to deformations and this may result in the hazardous event.
7) Tubes of this type of boiler are generally having the larger diameter and hence they are joined with the help of welding only.
8) Water is scarcity is not a problem in this type of boiler as tubes are always having covering of water and we can use any type of water in order to generate steam.
Water tube boiler
1) These types of boilers have light weight construction.
2)     Efficiency compared of the smoke tube boilers is much higher and those can be used to generate the high pressure steam.
3)     Efficiency of combustion in this type of boiler is always good.
4)     Thermal stresses are less as the water circulation is very good inside the tubes.
5)     Steam generation takes place in short period of time and consumes less space.
6)     Tubes are having small diameter and interference method is sued to fit them.
7)     Water level need to be maintained in order to keep steam coming up.
8)  Quality of water that can be used in this boiler is always higher and better then smoke tube boilers.


Mark Eriscson
Love to write about topics related to maritime sector. Was born in sailor's family, so love to ride on those high seas. In free time i would like to go for a good sunbath and some soothing guitar music. Want to have my own boat one day.

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