Improvements in Distillation Design by Dan Summers | AIChE

Improvements in Distillation Design by Dan Summers

Thursday, May 24, 2012,
9:00pm to 10:00pm
Virtual / Online
United States

Distillation has been used for millennia as a means to upgrade the purity of certain chemicals.  I contend that, contrary to popular belief, it is the "World's Oldest Profession."  Since this unit operation has been practiced for so long, numerous people have designated distillation as a "Mature Science" and there will be no more improvements.  This is quite the opposite of what is happening in the distillation industry.

In the past 15 years alone we have seen the commercialization of

  • Packings that can get 40 to 50% more capacity than before,
  • Tray designs that increase tray efficiency 20+% and
  • Trays that get 40% more capacity using forces other than gravity.

Dan's talk will discuss these topics and then will shift the discussion to talk about the Committee he chairs at FRI (Fractionation Research Inc.).  This committee, the Design Practices Committee (DPC), addresses the practical aspects of distillation.  They are in charge of the DPC Handbook at FRI which provides sound practical guidance to engineers regarding such topics as how to get feeds into towers and how to best get liquids and vapors out of towers.  In addition there are "how to" sections on tray blanking, gasketing, leveling, assembly, and installation.  Also there are sections on "how to" design packing distributors.  The committee has also written two important articles for Chemical Engineering Magazine; "Causes and Prevention of Packing Fires" and "Reboiler Circuits for Trayed Towers."  The committee meets twice a year and is constantly updating this handbook with new ideas on how to "Improve Distillation Design."

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