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Revamping of Distillation Column

Distillation is a widely used method for separating mixtures based on differences in the conditions required to change the phase of components of the mixture. To separate a mixture of liquids, the liquid can be heated to force components, which have different boiling points, into the gas phase. The gas is then condensed back into liquid form and collected.

Basic structure of distillation columnFig. 1 Basic structure of distillation column

Types of distillation include simple distillation, fractional distillation (a special type of distillation designed to separate a mixture of two or more liquids that have different boiling points), and destructive distillation (a chemical process through which unprocessed materials are subjected to decomposition by heating them and thereby producing 'cracks' in the relatively large molecules).

Key Factors of Distillation

The first, and most critical, step in successful distillation system revamping is understanding the factors that affect vapor-liquid equilibrium is essential for successful modeling of this key interaction. Except for the diameter and height of the distillation column, the performance of a distillation column is determined by many factors, for example: feed conditions, reflux ratio, state of trays (packings), column operating pressure, etc.

  • Feed conditions

The state of the feed mixture and feed composition affects the operating lines and hence the number of stages required for separation. It also affects the location of feed tray. During operation, if the deviations from design specifications are excessive, then the column may no longer be able handle the separation task.

  • Reflux ratio

Reflux ratio is the ratio between the amount of reflux that goes back down the distillation column and the amount of reflux that is collected in the receiver (distillate). The higher the reflux ratio, the more vapor/liquid contact can occur in the distillation column. So higher reflux ratios usually mean higher purity of the distillate. It also means that the collection rate for the distillate will be slower.

  • State of trays (packings)

Industrial distillation columns use either trays or packing to promote vapor-liquid contact in separating the components of liquid mixtures to the desired purity. The actual number of trays required for a particular separation duty is determined by the efficiency of the plate, and the packings if packings are used. Thus, any factors that cause a decrease in tray efficiency will also change the performance of the column including fouling, wear and tear and corrosion, etc. Common types of trays include bubble-cap trays, valve trays, and sieve trays, while the packings include metal, ceramic and plastic packing.

  • Column operating pressure

Pressure has a major impact on phase equilibrium in terms of relative volatilities, column temperatures and the existence of azeotropes, which affect energy requirements, utility costs and process configurations. Thus, selection of the operating pressure of a distillation column is one of the most important design decisions.

Why Choose Us

As with decades of experience in chemical products and technical service, Alfa Chemistry has become a trustable supplier in petroleum and chemical industry, food and beverage industry, pharmaceutical and bio-technology industry, etc. We can offer revamping of distillation column services including equipment improvement and process optimization. Please feel free to contact us for a better solution to your distillation column.

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We try our best to meet all the needs of our customersAlfa Chemistry has many years of experience in chemical products and technical servicesWe quote a competitive price to save the cost for customers
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