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COLUMN INTERNALS

Distillation , King in separations , will remain as the


workhorse separation device of the process industries,
even though it is old in the art ,with a relatively mature
technology support base, it attracts research &
professional interest. Without question distillation will
sail into future with clear skies and a strong winds. it
will remain the key separations against which alternate
methods must be judged
Dr.James R. Fair

Why Distillation?
US-Initiative Vision

2020 (1998) for chemical industry

US Department of Energy.
American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
Task of identifying the technical barriers.
The research needs and the priorities of the

chemical industry regarding separation processes.


Goal of winning a leading role in world market.

Most Critical Research Areas Needs


for Distillation
Improved understanding of physical phenomena;
Better in situ sampling.
Analytical and flow-visualization methods.
Better predictive modeling

Distillation Column Design


Primary phase
Secondary phase

Primary Design
Column diameter

Types of tray
Split of tray area
Bubbling area
Downcomer area
Tray vapor & liquid load
Tray spacing
Weir length

Secondary Design
Detailed layout
Control configuration

Column Internals
Packed Bed

Random or dumped packing


Structured packing
Grid
Liquid & Vapor distributor
Bed supports & limiter

Tray type

Bubble cap tray


Sieve tray
Valve Tray
High Capacity trays

Packing Objective
Objectives for maximizing efficiency
To maximize the specific surface area
To spread surface area uniformly.
To promote uniform distribution of vapor & liquid

throughout the bed


To freely drain any liquid so that stagnant liquid pockets
are minimized
To maximize the wetting of packing surface

Objectives for Maximizing Capacity


To maximize The void space per unit column

volume.
To minimize friction (good Aerodynamic
characteristics).
To ensure uniform resistance to vapor & liquid
flow throughout the bed.
To permit easy disengagement of vapor from
liquid.

Other Objectives
To maximize resistance to mechanical deformation

/deformation under the weight of bed.


To minimize cost.
To maximize the fouling resistance.
To minimize the liquid holdup.
To minimize damage during abnormal operation.

Types of Random Packing


First generation packing (Raschig rings, Lessing Rings,

Berl saddles)
Second generation packing(intalox saddles, pall rings,

Hy-pak )
Third generation packing(CMR, Chempak, Nutter rings,

Hckp, fleximax, hiflow rings, Lanpac, Impac etc)


Other miscellaneous random packing (Dinapac, super

Torus VSP, Interpack, Tellerette, maspac, Levapac etc)

Raschig Ring
First

generation random
packing.
made from metals like
carbon steel or very high
alloys such as Monel 400 or
Hastelloy C276.
Special Carbon or Graphite
made are used in specific
applications
Resistant to most acids,
alkalis and solvents at
temperatures as high as
1500 C
Good erosion and thermal
shock resistance.

Pall Rings
Second-generation,

packing.

random

Primarily made of 304SS and

316L SS metal alloys for


quick replacement in kind
from stock materials.

Carbon Steel and specialty

alloys, such as Monel 400 and


Hastelloy C276, made are
used for specific applications

Pall Rings are available in

various sizes such as (mm)


16, 25, 38, and 50.

Saddle Rings

Saddle Rings were originally introduced


to the industry under the product name
IMTP Intalox Metal Tower Packing, a
registered trademark of Koch-Glitsch,
LP.

In terms of performance, i.e., lowpressure drop and high efficiency.

Used in both high pressure as well as


vacuum towers.

Large effective interfacial area,

High mechanical strength

And lower cost due to less metal than


previous generations of random
packing.

Available in various sizes, which give


different combinations of efficiency
and pressure drop

INTALOX
ULTRA Random Packing
Lowest

pressure
highest capacity

drop

and

Highest distillation, absorption,

and stripping efficiency


High strength to weight ratio

IMTP
High Performance Random Packing
High void fraction &well

distributed surface area.


More open shape improves
liquid spreading.
Low pressure drop and high
capacity
High specific heat transfer
coefficient.
High strength to weight
ratio.

BETA RING
High Performance Random Packing
High vapor capacity and low

pressure drop
High efficiency
High liquid handling capacity
Fouling resistant

CASCADE MINI-RINGS (CMRTM)


High Performance Random Packing
L/D=1/3
Open side facing vapor flow,

reduces friction.
High

capacity
pressure drop

High efficiency
Fouling resistant

and

low

HY-PAK
Random Packing
More internal tongues helps

in spread in surface area


Higher capacity and lower
pressure drop than Pall rings
Higher efficiency compared
to Pall rings for the same
capacity.
Higher mechanical strength
than Pall rings

FLEXIRING
Random Packing
Good capacity and low

pressure drop
Higher liquid hold-up and

residence time
Versatile standard packing

Nutter Ring
Efficiency

enhanced by lateral
liquid spreading and surface film
renewal

Superior surface utilization in mass

and heat transfer, allowing shorter


packed bed heights
A

high performance random


packing verified by tests conducted
at Fractionation Research Institute

Mechanical

structure provides
maximum
randomness
with
minimal nesting

Tellerette Random Packing

Performance Comparison of Three


Packing Generations
Improvement in efficiency

or capacity from generation


to generation
Second & Third generation

packing
designed

intelligently

Packing Material
Metals/Alloys
Ceramics
Plastics/polymers

Structured Packing
Wire Gauze Packing
Sulzer wire gauze packing
Goodloe
Hyperfil
Montz

Corrugated Structured Packing


Mellapak
Flexipak
Gempak
Intalox
High Performance
Structured Packing
Max-Pac
Flexiramic

Sulzer Gauze Packing BX and CY


Employed in industry since

40 years for gentle distillation


High separation efficiency

with low pressure drop for


low liquid loads/vacuum
applications
Available

made of wide
pallet of stainless steel, alloys
and thermoplastics

GOODLOE
(structured wire gauze packing)
Multifilament

diameter

of

wire,

fine

knitted

together to form tube type


structure.
Specific

surface area585-

1000ft2 /ft3.
Available

metal,plastic,alloyes
teflon coating

in
with

Hyperfil (Structured Packing)


Made of multifilament of

fine

diameter

wire.

Rolling the knitted wire

structure

in

parallel

vertical layer.
Made of stainless steel,

copper

and

resistant wire

corrosion

Montz

Katapak-SP
Corrugated sheet spreads in a

series of parallel planes.


Packing for reactive distillation

and trickle-bed reactors


High separation efficiency and

high reaction capacity

Mellapak
Universal packing type with

surface area of 250m2

/m3

Suitable for a wide range of

applications for low to very


high liquid loads/ vacuum to
gauge pressure.
Available

made of wide
pallet of stainless steel,
alloys and thermoplastics

FLEXIPAC
Enhanced Structured Packing

Systems for Mass Transfer


Applications Lower Pressure
Drop and up to 40% Higher
Capacity than Conventional
Structured Packing

Structured Packing Vs. Random Packing


Specific surface area vs. packing factor
HETP vs. sp.Surface area
Liquid holdup vs. liquid flow rate
Pressure drop per theoretical stage
Wetting & minimum liquid rate

Specific Surface Area Vs. Packing Factor

HETP vs. Sp. Surface Area

Pressure Drop Per Theoretical Stage

Liquid Holdup Vs. Liquid Flow Rate

Types of Grids
Glitsch C-grid
Koch Flexigrid
Nutter Snap Grid
Perform Grid

FLEXIGRID Structured Packing


Koch-Glitsch FLEXIGRID structured packing is developed primarily

for severe services which are susceptible to fouling, erosion, coking and
high solids content. FLEXIGRID packing is installed in rigid modules
stacked in successive layers with a fixed orientation, which minimizes the
overall pressure drop while simultaneously increasing tower capacity
and/or efficiency.

Applications

Crude Atmospheric Towers


Lube Vacuum Towers
Crude Vacuum Towers
Fluid or Thermal Cracking Fractionators
Coker or Visbreaker Fractionators
Coker Scrubbers
Reactor Off-Gas Scrubber
Gas Quench Towers
Edible Oil Deodorizers
Pollution Control Scrubbers

Grids vs. Packing


Capacity and efficiency

Roughly grids have high capacity and low


efficiency(similar to 2nd & 3rd generation packing)
Pressure drop
3-5times lower then 2in pall ring
Wetting
Grid can achieve high turndown and perform well at
low liquid rate

Grids vs. Packing


Solids handling

Most suitable for solid containing stream & fouling services


Corrosion
Due to thin sheet metal low tendency of oxidation
Maintenance & troubleshooting
Easy to install/remove/maintain
Cost (cost is less then structured packing/ same order as of
random packing)

Packing Hydraulics
Pressure drop flow regimes

Flooding prediction
i.

ii.

iii.

By interpolation( literature supplied by


manufacturer)
Through empirical/ semi-empirical equations
(Kister&Gill correlation, Billet& Schulets
correlation,mersamann correlations)
Graphs (GPDC curve, modified GPDC curve)

Flooding Curve

Pressure drop
Pressure drop is also affected by tower diameter, smaller the

diameter lower the pressure drop.(e.g. literature reports 1020% lower pressure drop in 3ft column diameter then in a
1ft column for same capacity)
Dry packed bed have higher pressure drop then wet bed(510% capacity reduction due to this wetting phenomenon)
Difference in size, shape, geometry of packing supplied by
different manufacturer also have effect on pressure drop.
Pressure drop for foaming system are higher then non
foaming systems.

Factors Favoring Packed Column


Vacuum system

Low pressure drop applications


Revamps

Foaming/emulsion
Corrosive systems

Low liquid hold up

Random Packing Support Grid


These grid-type plates are used in columns with short

bed depths, and where efficient space utilization is


essential, since they take up less tower height than a
Model 101R.The Model 104 is frequently used in the
short packed beds of crude atmospheric and vacuum
towers

Random Packing Bed Limiter


Attached to support rings or bolting clips

above the packed bed, a bed limiter


prevents the loss of packing if high
pressure drop or surge conditions cause
sudden bed expansions.
Lightweight mesh is attached to the bed
limiter to prevent carryover of smallersized packing. Integral bed limiters may
be used with most Koch-Glitsch gravity
distributors, thereby eliminating the need
for a separate bed limiter. This reduces
cost by eliminating one device and its
support ring, and minimizing the risk of
maldistribution caused by liquid splashing
on a separate bed limiter.
The overall height of bed limiters is about
2 inches

Ceramic Packing Hold Down


Koch-Glitsch Hold Down Plates rest

directly on top of the packed bed and


are used exclusively to hold ceramic or
tower packing in place. They are not
recommended for metal or plastic
packing.

The plates inhibit fluidization of the


top layer of packing during tower
operation. Like the bed limiters, they
deliver at least as much throughput
capacity as the packing at low pressure
drops.
The overall height of hold down
plates is usually 3 inches, but can be as
high as 6 inches.

Flashing Feed Distributor


The 300 Flashing Feed Distributor is used to

disengage the vapor phase from a two-phase feed. The


300 consists of two plates: an upper gallery, which is
50% open for vapor disengagement, and a lower plate
for liquid distribution which is similar to a Model
301A. Each plate requires a separate support ring.

The two-phase feed is fed to the upper gallery where


the vapor disengages from the liquid. A 350 Inlet
Deflector Baffle is typically used in front of the feed
nozzle to deflect the feed around the tower wall. Holes
in the bottom of the upper gallery transfer the liquid
to the lower plate where the liquid is distributed over
the packing. The upper gallery height is typically 12
inches, and the spacing between the two plates is also
12 inches. The Model 300 Flashing Feed Distributor is
fabricated in sections for passage through column
manways.

A Narrow Trough Liquid Distributor


Equipped with Drip Tubes.

Lateral Type Liquid Distributor/Spray


Type Liquid Distributor

Orifice Riser Distributor


These are commonly used

in column diameters up
to 48 inches. The number
and size of orifices and
risers will vary according to
the gas and liquid flow
rates. This style of design
is limited to a 4to1 turn
down ratio. Other liquid
distributor types offer
superior turn down ratios.

Trough Distributor
Traditional

Weir V- trough
distributors are used in column 36
inch and larger.

They offer a limited range of

liquid and gas flow turn down at


4to1 ratio.

The liquid is delivered by feed

pipes over the parting boxes. The


parting boxes feed knotched weirs
which distribute the liquid
evenly over the packing bed below.

The units are not subject to fouling

and can handle large amounts of


suspended solids.

ACS High Performance Distributors

Low liquid flow rates,

high liquid viscosity and


high turn down.

Type R Distributors
Their type R is a channel type distributor with the liquid over

flowing through tubes welded into the channel. Solids do not


interfere with this design. Turn down is 1:3, with one stage and
1:10 with a two stage design.

ACS/ Montz Liquid Distributors


The

patented Type S
design is similar to type R
except that at the bottom
of the overflow tube the
flow is directed to a
number of metal fingers
which split the liquid flow
into a number of smaller
streams.
This provides
excellent
distribution
for low liquid density
applications

AccuFlow Inlet Diffusers


When

a simple inlet
diffuser is not sufficient to
provide primary removal
of entrained liquids. When
the Force of Inertia is less
than 2,500 lb/ft2s , then
simple
diffusers
are
satisfactory.

Bed Supports and Limiters


ACS designs it bed supports for

tower
packing
to
allow
for maximum open area with
high liquid and vapor flow.
Bed limiters and supports are

made in bolt together sections


to easily pass through tower
man ways. Exact screen,
holes,
and
expanded
metal patterns are designed in
accordance with packing style.

Redistributor Type
Liquid

collector trays are


arranged between two packing
bed sections in a tower. The
liquid trickling down is collected
by the liquid collector tray and
from here it can be returned to
a liquid distributor or in the area
of the liquid collector tray it is
also
possible
to
install
liquid/vapor
feeds
or
liquid/vapor draw offs