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Comment PDF Heat Transfer

A window into kettle reboiler secrets

By Chemical Engineering |

Thermosiphon reboilers are the new standard in petroleum refineries and chemical plants. Nevertheless, approximately 50% of the world’s reboilers are kettles. In the realm of heat transfer, kettle reboilers have not been understood well. Last month, at ChemInnovations, however, Pete Parker, FRI’s president and my supervisor, cracked the knowledge barrier with insight from nothing other than windows. FRI has a long successful history of employing windows on distillation columns. It was just a matter of time before FRI would add windows to one of its heat exchangers. Dr. Parker’s presentation described how FRI installed windows on an industrial-size kettle reboiler. FRI’s low-pressure reboiler includes about 200 U-tubes and employs steam within those tubes to boil hydrocarbons in a 3-ft-dia. shell. Professors Bell and Whiteley, of Oklahoma State University, consulted regarding the exact placement of the windows. Lucky Wilson, of the May edition of this column entitled “Low Cost Bidding”, performed the cutting and the welding on the reboiler, which regularly operates as high as 165 psia. As far as we know, nobody has ever put windows on an industrial-size reboiler before. The results debunk a host of…
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