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Unit Operations and Separation Processes

Lecture 4
Calculation of Height of Gas Absorption Column and Material Balance for Plate Towers

Characteristics of an Absorption Tower


Let us consider gas liquid absorption tower
operated in a counter current design mode
We can define the following quantities;
moles of solute gas per mole of inert gas in the gas
phase
moles of solute gas per mole of solute free liquid in
liquid phase
Area of interface between the two phases is unknown
Interfacial area per unit volume of column

Characteristics of an Absorption Tower


Equation (11)
NA = k G (PAG PAi) = k L (CAi CAL)(11)
Can be rewritten as follows;

NAdZa = kGa(PAG PAi)A dZ(31)


= kLa(CAi CAL)A dZ
where:
NA= kmol of solute absorbed per unit time and unit interfacial
area,
a = surface area of interface per unit volume of column,
A = cross-sectional area of column, and
Z = height of packed section.

Absorption Tower (Counter current flow)

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Calculation of Column Height based on conditions in the gas


film

Assumptions
Gm = moles of inert gas/(unit time) (unit cross-section of tower),
Lm = moles of solute-free liquor/(unit time) (unit cross-section of tower)

Y = moles of solute gas A/mole of inert gas B in gas phase, and


X = moles of solute A/mole of inert solvent in liquid phase.

where
Molar ratios of the diffusing material in the gas and liquid
phases are Y and X respectively,
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Calculation of Column Height(Gas film conditions)


Over a small height dZ, the moles of gas leaving the gas
phase will equal the moles taken up by the liquid.
This behaviour is described by
AGm dY = ALm dX.(32)
But
AGmdY = NA = kGa(PAi PAG)A dZ...............(33)
(a) Substituting for PAG in terms of gas partial pressure and moles of solute gas
(b) Rearranging Gm dY in terms of partial pressure and moles of solute gas
(c) And integrating the height of column Z required to achieve a change from Y1
(bottom of column)to Y2 (top of column)

Calculation of Column Height(Gas film conditions)

Z (Height of column required to achieve a change in


Y from Y1 at the bottom to Y2 at the top of the
column is;
Z=

.(34)

kG is assumed to be constant throughout the


column

Calculation of Column Height(Liquid film conditions)


Over a small height dZ, the moles of gas leaving the gas
phase will equal the moles taken up by the liquid.
This behaviour is described by
ALm dX = kLa(CAi CAL)A dZ...(35)
where

Concentration C (moles of solute per unit volume of liquid).


If CT = (moles of solute + solvent) (volume of liquid), then:
CA
CT CA

moles of solute
moles of solvent

=X
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Calculation of Column Height(Liquid film conditions)

Z (Height of column required to achieve a change in


Y from Y1 at the bottom to Y2 at the top of the
column is;
Z=

X2 dX
Lm
..
X
kLaCT 1 XXi

(36)

kL and CT is assumed to be constant throughout the


column

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Plate Towers for Gas Absorption


Sieve trays and bubble cap columns are similar to
those used for distillation
Preferred to packed towers when;
the load is excessive; diameter of column > 2m
there is likelihood of deposition of solids which could
choke packed tower
liquid flow rate is very high and could cause flooding in
packed towers

Ratio of liquid rate to gas rate is higher with plate


towers than in distillation however, plate
efficiencies are lower than with distillation
equipment

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Definition of Tower Characteristics

Lm is the molar rate of flow per unit area of solute free liquid
Gm is the molar rate of flow per unit area of inert gas
n refers to the plate numbered from the bottom upwards (and
suffix n refers to material leaving plate n)
x defines the mole fraction of the absorbed component in the
liquid
y defines the mole fraction of the absorbed component in the gas

s is the total number of plates in the column.


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Material Balance for Absorbed Component for Plate Towers

Material balance for the absorbed component from


the bottom to a plane above plate n gives:

Gmyn + Lmx1 = Gmy0 + Lmxn+1.(37)

Material leaving plate

+1 + y0 - x1 ..(38)
yn
=

14

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Number of Transfer Units/Height of Transfer Units


Height (HOG ) of an overall transfer unit for a Packed Column
Gm
= HOG =
.(39)
KGaP
where Gm is the molar gas flow rate
KGa is the overall transfer coefficient
P is the partial pressure of Gas
Number of transfer units (NOG) in a Packed Column is
expressed as an integral value of the change in composition
of the gas in the column per unit driving force
y2 d
..
y1 ye

where y is mole fraction of A in gas phase


ye is mole fraction of A at equilibrium

(40)

Height of Column (Z)


No of Transfer units

Height of Column
(NOG) =
Height of Transfer Unit

Therefore column height (Z) = NOG x HOG

Z
HOG