Separation processes

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Title: Separation Processes

Authors: Nick Pinkerton, Karen Schmidt, and James Xamplas

Date Presented: February 9, 2014 /Date Revised: February 1, 2014

Contents

Introduction

Essentially all chemical processes require the presence of a separation stage. Most chemical plants comprise of a reactor surrounded by many separators. Separators have a countless number of jobs inside of a chemical plant. A separator can process raw materials prior to the reaction, remove incondensable gases, remove undesired side products, purify a product stream, recycle materials back into the process, and many other jobs that are essential to the process.

Chemical engineers must understand the science of separation and the variety of ways that separation can take place. There are many ways to perform a separation some of these including: distillation, absorption, stripping, and extraction. The science of separation revolves around the presence of two phases that are in contact and equilibrium [1].

History

Theory

Gas Separators

Distillation

History

Vapor-Liquid Equilibrium

Flash Distillation

Flash Distillation is one of the simpler separation processes to be employed in a chemical plant. The main premise of flash distillation is that a portion of a liquid feed stream vaporizes in a flash chamber or a vapor feed condenses. Vapor-liquid equilibrium will cause the vapor phase and the liquid phase to have different compositions. The more volatile component of the mixture will compose of a larger portion of the vapor. This simple separation is easy to manufacture but does not result in large degrees of separation.

Flash distillation requires a feed stream that is pressurized and heated and then passed through a valve into a flash drum. The large pressure drop across the valve will result in a partial vaporization of the fluid. Vapor will be removed overhead from the flash drum while the remaining liquid will collect at the bottom of the drum and be removed. Most flash drums will contain an entrainment eliminator which is a screen that prevents liquid from being carried into the vapor effluent. The drum pressure, pdrum, of should be below the critical pressure of the liquid mixture so that a liquid phase can exist. Critical pressure can be calculated by:

p=x

Column Distillation

Theory

McCabe-Thiele Diagrams

Stages

Tray Type

Sieve
Bubble Cap

Weir

Batch Distillation

Column Sizing

Absorption

References

  1. Wankat, P.C. (2012). Separation Process Engineering. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.
  2. Towler, G.P. and Sinnot, R. (2012). Chemical Engineering Design: Principles, Practice and Economics of Plant and Process Design.Elsevier.
  3. Biegler, L.T., Grossmann, L.E., and Westerberg, A.W. (1997). Systematic Methods of Chemical Process Design. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.
  4. Peters, M.S. and Timmerhaus, K.D. (2003). Plant Design and Economics for Chemical Engineers, 5th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  5. Seider, W.D., Seader, J.D., and Lewin, D.R. (2004). Process Design Principles: Synthesis, Analysis, and Evaluation. New York: Wiley.
  6. Turton, R.T., Bailie, R.C., Whiting, W.B., and Shaewitz, J.A. (2003). Analysis, Synthesis, and Design of Chemical Processes Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.