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Cochran Boiler: Parts, Working, Advantages, Mountings [PDF]

In this article, you learn what is Cochran boiler? And its parts, working principles, applications, advantages, and disadvantages of Cochran boiler.

What is Cochran Boiler?

Cochran boiler is a vertical, multi-tube boiler generally used for small capacity steam generation. The Cochran boiler is made in different sizes of evaporative capacities ranging from 150 to 3000 kg per hour and working pressure up to 15bar.

The Cochran boiler consists of an external cylindrical shell and a firebox. The shell and firebox are both hemispherical, the hemispherical crown of the boiler shell gives maximum space and strength to withstand the pressure of steam inside the boiler. The hemispherical crown of the firebox is also advantageous for resisting intense heat.

The firebox and a combustion chamber are attached through a short pipe. The flue gases from the combustion chamber flow to the smokebox through a number of tubes. The gases from the smokebox escape to the atmosphere through the chimney. The combustion chamber is lined with firebricks to withstand intense heat.

A manhole near the top of the crown on the shell is provided for cleaning. At the bottom of the firebox, there is a grate and the coal is fed in through the fire hole, which is kept closed by a fire door.

Rea: Steam Boilers: Parts, Types, Advantages, Application.

Parts of a Cochran Boiler

The following are the main parts of a Cochran Boiler:

  1. Boiler shell
  2. Combustion chamber
  3. Grate
  4. Furnace
  5. Fire tubes
  6. Fire hole
  7. Chimney
  8. Manhole
  9. Flue pipe
Cochran Boiler

1. Boiler Shell

It is made up of steel plates bent into a cylindrical form and riveted or welded together. The ends of the shell are closed by means of endplates. A boiler shell should have enough capacity to include water and steam.

2. Combustion Chamber

The combustion chamber is the space, usually below the boiler shell, meant for burning fuel in order to generate steam from the water contained in the shell.

3. Grate

The grate is a platform, in a combustion chamber, upon which fuel is burnt. The grate generally consists of cast iron bars that are spaced apart so that air (required for combustion) can pass through them. The surface area of the grate, over which the fire takes place, is called the grate surface.

4. Furnace

It is the space, above the grate and below the boiler shell, in which the fuel is actually burnt. The furnace is also called a firebox.

5. Fire Tubes

It is a horizontal tube placed between the combustion chamber. The flue gases from the combustion chamber flow to the smokebox through the number of fire tubes. These fire pipes help in the exchange of heat from hot flue gases to water.

6. Fire Hole

The fire hole is provided at the bottom of the combustion chamber to fire the fuel inside the furnace.

7. Chimney

A chimney is provided at the top of the boiler connected to the smokebox. The exhaust gases coming out of fire tubes pass through a smokebox and escape to the atmosphere through a chimney.

8. Man Hole

A manhole is provided for the cleaning, repairing, and inspecting of the boiler shell.

9. Flue Pipe

The firebox and the combustion chamber are connected through a short pipe called flue pipes. The hot flue gases from the grate insert into the combustion chamber through the flue pipe.

Read Also: What are the different Boiler Mountings and Accessories?

Working of Cochran Boiler

Coal is supplied into the grate through a fire hole and burnt. Ash formed during burning is collected in the ash-pit provided just below the grate and then it is removed manually.

The hot gases from the grate pass through the combustion chamber to the horizontal fire tubes and transfer the heat to the water by convection. The exhaust gases coming out of fire tubes pass through the smokebox and escape to the atmosphere through a chimney.

The smokebox is provided with a door for cleaning the fire tunes and smokebox. The working pressure and steam capacity of the Cochran boiler are 6.5 bar and 3500 kg/hr respectively.

Cochran Boiler Mountings and Accessories

Following are the Important mounting of Cochran boiler:

  1. Water level indicator
  2. Pressure gauge
  3. Safety valve
  4. Stop valve
  5. Blow off valve
  6. Feed check valve
  7. Fusible Plug

1. Water Level Indicator

The water level indicator is an important fitting, which indicates the water level inside the boiler. It is a safety device, upon which the safe working of the boiler depends.

2. Pressure Gauge

The pressure gauge is used to measure the pressure of the steam inside the steam boiler. The pressure gauge is fixed in front of a steam boiler.

3. Safety Valve

The safety valve is an instrument attached to the steam boiler for preventing explosions due to excessive internal pressure of steam. Thus, a safety valve ensures safety to a boiler from being damaged due to excessive steam pressure.

4. Stop Valve

The function of a stop valve is to control flow within the boiler and to stop it completely when required.

5. Blow off Valve

The function of a blow-off valve is to remove periodically the sediments deposited at the bottom of the boiler while the boiler is in operation and to empty the boiler while it is to be cleaned or inspected.

6. Feed Check Valve

The function of a feed check valve is to control the flow of water from the feed pump to the boiler and to prevent the backflow of water from the boiler to the pump when the pump pressure is less than the boiler pressure or when the feed pump ceases to work.

7. Fusible Plug

The function of the fusible plug is to put off the fire in the furnace of the boiler when the water level falls below an unsafe level and thus avoids the explosion, which may take place due to overheating of the tubes and the shell.

Applications of Cochran Boiler

Following are the applications of Cochran boiler:

  1. These types of boilers are used in various industries to perform process applications.
  2. Cochran boilers are also employed in chemical processing divisions.
  3. They are also installed in pulp and paper manufacturing plants.
  4. Most of the time they are applied on refining units.
  5. They are often employed in power generation plants where large amounts of steam need to be produced.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cochran Boiler


  1. Low initial installation cost.
  2. It requires less floor area.
  3. Easy to operate and handle.
  4. Transporation of Cochran boiler is easy.
  5. It can use all types of fuel.


  1. Low rate of steam generation.
  2. Inspection and maintenance are difficult.
  3. High room head is needed for its installation due to the vertical design.
  4. It has a limited pressure range.


How Cochran boiler works?

In the Cochran boiler, coal is put into the furnace through a fire hole. The air then enters the combustion chamber through the atmosphere and the fuel exits the fire hole. Heat is exchanged from the flue gases in the fire tubes to the water.

What are the applications of Cochran boilers?

Cochrane boilers are employed in power generation plants where there is a large volume of steam with a pressure higher than about 500 kg/s. 160 bar and higher temperatures reach 550o C. Most of the time, they are employed in refining units.


As you know Cochran boiler is a vertical, multi-tube boiler commonly used for small capacity steam production. It is low in cost and easy to operate and handle. This boiler uses any type of fuel.

If you have still any doubts about the “Cochran Boiler” you can contact us or ask in the comments.

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About Saif M

Saif M. is a Mechanical Engineer by profession. He completed his engineering studies in 2014 and is currently working in a large firm as Mechanical Engineer. He is also an author and editor at www.theengineerspost.com

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