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Working OF Babcock And Wilcox Boiler

In the present days, the branch of Mechanical Engineering delves on two majors. The first on the stage in Design and Manufacturing followed by Thermal in the second. As we hear the word THERMAL, the only equipment we get into our mind is Boiler. Today, this post is about Babcock& Wilcox boiler and you can gain a lot of information about it.

There are many types of Boilers. Babcock and Wilcox Boiler is a water tube boiler which is mainly used in steam power plants. Steam power plants operation is based on fluid flowing inside the tubes absorbs heat from hot gases which flow over the tubes. The same way, in Babcock and Wilcox boiler water gets circulated inside the tubes where hot gases flow over the tubes. These types of boilers are mainly helpful for usage in stationary and marine engines. These types of boilers are also used in Royal Navy’s.

Babcock and Wilcox

Babcock and Wilcox boiler consists of mainly the following parts. The working of the parts are also mentioned in the below –

Steam and water drum (boiler shell)-

One half of the horizontal drum is filled up with the water and steam remains on the other half of the drum. The size of the drum varies with the use and operation.

Water tubes-

Water tubes are situated between the drum and furnace in a position to promote water circulation. So these are placed in an inclined position.

Uptake header and down corner (or down take header)-

The drum is connected at one end to the uptake-header by some short tubes and at the other end to the down-corner by some long tubes. The water tubes mentioned above are connected to uptake header and down corner


Grate is place where coal is fed in. Coal is fed to this through the fire door.


A Furnace is a device used for high temperature heating. In this Babcock and Wilson boiler, the furnace is placed below the uptake-header.


The only function of the fire brick baffles is to deflect the hot flue gases produced in the boiler.

Super heater-

Super heater is a device which converts any type of steam into dry steam. The boiler is fitted with a super heater tube which is used in the conversion and is placed just under the drum.

Mud box-

Mud box is provided at the bottom end of the down comer. The mud or dust particles in the boiler are collected in the mud box and can further be removed.

Inspection doors-

As the name indicated Inspection, Inspection doors are provided for inspection of the boiler. These are also used to clean the boiler.

Working of Babcock and Wilcox Boiler-

This boiler is preferred as its efficiency is much greater than that of any Fire tube boiler. Its efficiency is in the range of 60%-80%. First the water is fed from outside source to the drum through the feed check valve. Water gets collected in the drum through this valve. The hot gases flows through tubes of water. Water gets heated by gases coming from the furnace. Due to heating, the density of water decreases and the water move upwards in the tube and finally it gets converted into steam. This is the complete process and it gets repeated continuously.


  1. The steam generation capacity of this Babcock and Wilcox Boiler is very high and it is about 2000 to 40000 Kg/hr.
  2. The tubes gets corroded easily. So it must be replaced. The replacement of the defective tubes is very easy.
  3. The Space occupied by this boiler is very less when compared to any Fire tube boilers.
  4. These are the only boilers which are used in power stations for generating large quantity of steam for power generation.


  1. Initial cost of this boiler is very high.
  2. Maintenance cost of this boiler is also very high.
  3. The water level must be observed and maintained carefully as there is a flaw of overheating.
  4. It is suitable only for fresh water. Impure and sedimentary water produces overheating and may also lead to bursting of the tubes.
  5. The spare parts are not widely available.


This is a leading tech in the World War- 2 from BWX Technologies. The Rhode Island residents, Stephen Wilcox and George Herman Babcock are the founders of this boiler and so the name Babcock and Wilcox is given to the boiler. This is all about Babcock and Wilcox boiler.


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