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Comment Separation Processes

Distillation Tray Design

By Chemical Engineering |

In a distillation column tray, vapor passes upward through liquid that is flowing across a horizontal perforated plate. Vapor passing through the perforated plate forms a two-phase mixture with the liquid and enables mass transfer contacting. This mixture is typically quite turbulent. Tray design must allow the turbulent liquid to fall away from the rising vapor in the space above the tray, while also enabling the vapor bubbles to rise out of the falling liquid in the downcomer. The downcomer is usually a vertical plate that enables the already contacted froth to travel down to the next tray without remixing with the up-flowing vapor from the tray below. Generally, designing a column tray entails determining the minimum downcomer area that still allows vapor bubbles to rise through the liquid, selecting the number of downcomers, determining the active area, and checking the flow path length to see if a person can pass through a tray manway. These factors are the primary drivers for determining overall tower size. Downcomer area is determined by the maximum recommended downcomer velocity. Divide the volumetric flow of liquid by the downcomer velocity to obtain the downcomer top area. Typically a curve of maximum downcomer…
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