Archives :: Technical & Practical

Displaying 281 - 300 of 533 stories.
April 1, 2010
Non-chemical methods for conditioning water for use in cooling towers and boilers have been investigated, marketed and installed for over 100 years. In light of the recent incentives to “go green,” these methods offer engineers, operators and owners the option of replacing corrosive, toxic chemicals with physical or mechanical processes that claim to produce the same or superior results to...
April 1, 2010
The use of appropriate hazardous-area lighting in the chemical process industries (CPI) is a key factor when it comes to improving overall plant safety and worker productivity, and supporting the best maintenance practices. The potentially hazardous conditions associated with many industrial settings place high demands on the lighting fixtures, and it is essential that pathways, walkways and stairways in...
April 1, 2010
As heat exchangers age, their tube thickness decreases because of erosion, corrosion or a combination of both. Installing thin sleeves in tubes in which the tube walls have become so thin that failure is imminent is a maintenance technique useful for extending heat exchanger life. One should consider sleeving when: (1) it would be very costly to replace aged exchangers because of the installation position...
April 1, 2010
The stirred tank reactor with rotating mixers remains the backbone of the chemical process industries (CPI). While mixing is considered a mature technology, it is clear that continued technological development is necessary to achieve the state-of-the-art design demanded by ever-increasing efficiency needs. As worldwide competition forces the CPI to increase the profitability of their production plants, it...
April 1, 2010
Particulate systems are everywhere; they are responsible for bright red sunsets, the texture of chocolate and the rate of drug delivery in the human body. Particulate processing and size control originated back in prehistoric times where mixtures of pigments were finely pulverized and used in the painting of cavern walls. From those primitive beginnings, the use and processing of particulate matter has...
March 1, 2010
Powder agglomeration is used in a wide variety of the chemical process industries (CPI), and a virtually endless number of process options are available. Selection requires engineers to make a substantial number of design decisions, such as the choice between wet or dry processing, the intensity of mixing and shear rates, continuous versus batch operation, cross contamination of products and ease of...
March 1, 2010
The delayed coking process is a fundamental part of the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries, and is among the main technical means for transforming inexpensive heavy oil into more valuable, light-oil products. Delayed coking units are common in petroleum refineries, and the process has been developed significantly as a heavy oil processing method in many countries, including China and the U.S...
March 1, 2010
The solubility of water in the hydrocarbons that comprise crude oil is an increasingly important issue in view of processing, safety and environmental considerations surrounding product quality and equipment sustainability. Water in the reacting hydrocarbon species may result in the formation of undesirable by-products. The presence of water in the product may be detrimental to quality. Water content at...
March 1, 2010
Oxidation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in regenerative thermal oxidizers (RTOs) is the most common process in the chemical process industries (CPI) for removing diluted emissions of VOCs and carbon monoxide from stationary air- pollution sources. Thousands of RTOs operate in automobile, engineered wood, chemical and other industries. RTOs combine gas-phase thermal oxidation of VOCs with...
March 1, 2010
With today’s state-of-the-art digital technology, the sky seems to be the limit for doing everything with one system platform. However, with the exception of a few very specific applications, using a safety PLC (programmable logic controller) for process control is not a good choice. Safety PLCs are designed and optimized to operate in a static environment, where action is only taken when a process...
February 1, 2010
This article describes an algorithm that end users can use to develop a program on a personal computer to assess the technical and economic feasibility of installing a variable frequency drive (VFD) on centrifugal pumps. This simple algorithm serves a variety of useful functions, helping engineers to carry out the following functions: Check the technical feasibility and evaluate whether or not it is...
February 1, 2010
A survey of tower failures [ 1 ] ranks kettle reboilers as the most troublesome reboiler type in the chemical process industries (CPI). Excessive pressure drop in kettle reboiler circuits is the prominent kettle malfunction, causing liquid to back up in the tower base beyond the reboiler return elevation. This high liquid level leads to premature flooding and capacity loss. In almost all the surveyed...
February 1, 2010
Today’s high costs of energy make an energy audit evaluation of process facilities a must. Most plants were designed and built when energy costs were low by today’s standards. This makes facilities that have not been reviewed for energy efficiency in the last few years ripe for large potential savings in energy costs, primarily from fuel and electric power. Typically, projects can be identified...
February 1, 2010
For valves operating in hazardous environments, certification testing is critical to ensure the reliability and safety of the equipment. But this testing process has historically required facilities to shut down and sacrifice valuable production hours to check each valve. Built-in self-test (BIST) capabilities in smart, electronic valve actuators were developed in response to these testing challenges. This...
January 1, 2010
Particulate buildup and other material flow problems are common hurdles wherever dry materials find application in the chemical process industries (CPI). Since manual intervention is costly in terms of downtime, and can be quite hazardous for the personnel involved, dedicated equipment is an attractive way to either prevent or remove flow blockages. Equipment options include vibrators and air cannons and a...
January 1, 2010
Pipe sizing calculations include certain values that are time dependent, such as costs. While some costs rise, others decrease over time. It is the designers task to ensure that the total cost is minimized. For fluid flow calculations, heuristic criteria are often used, which is the main reason why these values must be updated from time to time. In this article, recommended velocities are updated for...
January 1, 2010
The chemical process industries (CPI) invest large amounts of capital each year and spend even more to produce the goods they sell. In 2007, CPI companies large enough to be in the Fortune 500 list invested more than $100 billion of capital and spent more than $1.2 trillion making their products. Most of this money is committed by decisions made in the early stages of process development and plant design...
January 1, 2010
Typical wastewater-treatment plants (WWTP) — both industrial and municipal — consume large amounts of energy, which can represent 50% or more of the facility’s variable operating and maintenance costs. Most employ biological processes that rely on energy-intensive aeration systems whose energy consumption is approximately 0.5 kWh per m3 of effluent treated. This article discusses a...
January 1, 2010
Relief system design is an important engineering activity throughout the chemical process industries (CPI). The main purpose of this task is to design a system that protects process equipment and piping against all possible causes of overpressure. It should relieve the excess pressure safely so as to protect personnel working in the facility from accidents, prevent damage to equipment and adjoining...
December 1, 2009
The desire to move from batch to continuous processes for the production of high-value organic molecules has become more widespread in recent years as evidenced by the increasing number of related studies published in the literature. The benefits of continuous flow include increased product yield, increased utility and energy utilization, improved safety and greater automation. A quest to improve the...
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