Succesfully Downsize Trayed Columns

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Andrew W. Sloley
The Distillation Group, Inc.*
P.O. Box 10105
College Station, Texas 77842-0105

Brad Fleming
Jaeger Products, Inc.*
4035 Schilling Way
Dallas, Texas 75237

Printed in
Chemical Engineering Progress
March 1994

Abstract copyright Andrew W. Sloley

Techniques for the design and sizing of new trayed distillation columns are abundant in the literature. So, too, are the guidelines for modifying towers for operation beyond their original design range. Reducing capacity of distillation trays merits at least as much consideration. Indeed, lack of knowledge and experience in this area causes many tower failures and misdesigned columns. In this article, we present some practical design considerations, based on field experience, for tower trays operating at loadings dramatically lower than normal for a particular design. General considerations cover liquid and vapor hydraulics and flow behavior. Case studies are included for three typical units: a refinery vacuum crude still, a petrochemical superfractionator, and a steam stripper.

10 pages.
Electronic version available in Adobe PDF format file 013.PDF 1716k.

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* Current affiliation.

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