(64d) Pressure Drop Measurements on Distillation Columns

Cai, T. J. - Presenter, Fractionation Research, Inc.
Shariat, A. - Presenter, Fractionation Research, Inc.
Resetarits, M. R. - Presenter, Fractionation Research, Inc.

Pressure drops are of major importance on distillation/absorption columns. This paper mainly discusses how to correctly measure, interpret and use pressure drop data. The possible causes of incorrect pressure drop measurements are studied including the effects of pressure tap dimensions, locations, and vapor condensation etc. The effect of the static head of vapor on the pressure drop data and column pressures is evaluated. Variations of sectional pressure drops along the column are investigated based on the experimental data obtained from commercial size distillation columns at Fractionation Research, Inc. (FRI). For a packed column, it is found that the spacing between the liquid distributor and the top of the bed affects the overall pressure drop measurements, which is confirmed by a fundamental fluid dynamics analysis.

Key Words: Distillation, tray, packing, pressure drop,hydraulics