Home SCIENCE Steam Hammer – The Causes And Effects of Steam Hammer

Steam Hammer – The Causes And Effects of Steam Hammer

A few things that can go very wrong when you put steam in a pipe…There is a state of H2O equally if not more dangerous when put in pipes. Today on Practical Engineering we’re talking about steam hammer and differential shock.

source/image(PrtSc): Practical Engineering

Steam hammering is the phenomenon which occurs in steam charging in the pipeline while there is a presence of condensate in the line. This is because of sudden drop in pressure of steam as it comes in contact of condensate.Watch the video from
Practical Engineering for more info:

When steam is first supplied to steam distribution piping or steam-using equipment, a metallic and repetitive ‘bang, bang, bang’, or even sometimes a violent ‘boom’ accompanied by vibration may be heard. Most steam users will probably have experienced one of these at some time.


When steam hammer occurs, a momentary abrupt pressure change of over 10 MPa may occur inside the piping.This impact can severely jar piping, equipment or machinery housing, possibly resulting in damage not only to gaskets in junctions, but also to valve flanges or the valves themselves.

The effect of steam hammering can result in following:

  • Cracking of steam traps and pressure gauges
  • Break pipe welds and even rupture piping systems
  • Bend internal system mechanism
  • Causes valve failure
  • Cause heat exchanger equipment tube failures
  • Failure of pipe supports.