How Does a Steam Pressure Gauge Work?

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Design and Function

  • A steam pressure gauge measures the pressure or steam in a boiler or tank. It is designed to give an accurate reading of the PSI (pounds per square inch) that the steam is exhibiting in the tank. It is designed to withstand pressure itself, with components that are strong enough to handle pressure. These include a thick glass covering (usually bezel glass for added strength), metal container and strong measuring device.

Measuring Device

  • A steam pressure gauge operates using a vacuum and a small U-shaped rod made of a coiled wire and sealed in a tube. This rod is hooked up to the vacuum connection inside the pressure gauge. When the pressure inside a tank increases, it affects the U shape of the tube. It forces the tube to pull outwards, expanding at both ends as if it was trying to straighten into a line. It requires a lot of force to make the U rod do this, so if it wants to expand or straighten more, then more pressure is being introduced.

Gage Gears

  • The U tube was encased inside the back of the steam gauge housed in steel. The pressure scale--a circular scale with notches along the edge--is located on the front of the gauge. This is protected by thick glass and sealed in a vacuum. The tube assembly connected to a gear device that moves the pointer around the scale. Two arms attach from the ends of the tube to a rack and pinion gear that slides along the gear attached to the needle pointer. This causes the pointer to move around the scale when the tube expands. More expansion or straightening of the tube results in more movement across the gear, and a higher reading.

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