How Expansion Tank Works?

Answer

The expansion tank is an air cushion or shock absorber. The tank is partly filled with water from the boiler system. The top part of the tank is packed with trapped air. If the tank is one-third filled with water when the boiler is cold, the water level will rises when the boiler fires. Air is compressible, and can be readily squeezed without increasing pressure radically. It acts like an easily compressed spring. When the boiler is operating at steady state, the expansion tank may be two-thirds filled with water. The expansion tank allows the water to expand when it heats up, without dramatically increasing the system pressure. Water, expands when it's heated. If we didn't have an expansion tank in the system, the water pressure would increase dramatically when the boiler is on. This can cause stress on the apparatus, which makes make the water more difficult to circulate, and may lead to superheated water and steam explosions.
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2 Additional Answers
The expansion tank is filled with air once the heating system is set up. It acts as a large dead-end part of the heating system. As the boiler operates, the air in the tank compresses and the tank may be more than half filled when the system is hot though the air is eventually lost from the conventional expansion tank. When filled with air, the tank is said to be waterlogged. The system loses its shock absorber and when the boiler comes on, the pressure in the system rises quickly. Then the relief valve operates and water leaks out through the discharge pipe from the relief valve. If the valve is missing, its discharge is obstructed and a dangerous high pressure situation can develop.
The expansion tanks work by absorbing excess water pressure, which can be caused by thermal expansion as water is heated, or by water hammer. The vessel itself is a small container divided in two by a rubber diaphragm. An expansion tank is also used in the cooling system of most internal combustion engines, to allow the antifreeze and air in the system to expand with rising temperature and pressure.
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