What is Superheated Steam?
Superheated steam occurs when heat energy is added to saturated steam that is not in contact with liquid. When the heat energy is added, the steam temperature is increased above the saturation temperature. Superheated steam is referred to as ‘dry’ steam meaning it contains no water droplets. This effect can also occur when the pressure of saturated steam is reduced through a pressure control valve.
Superheated steam is preferred in steam turbine applications and is commonly used in main supply steam distribution systems to reduce the number of drip traps and the possibility of water hammer and pipe erosion. Consideration needs to be taken when sizing steam lines and equipment selection due to the elevated steam temperature and increased volume of superheated steam. Saturated steam, or steam with less than 50 F of superheat, is recommended for most process applications to allow for the most efficient use of the steam heat energy.