HETP evaluation of structured packing distillation column
Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering
Several tests with a hydrocarbon mixture of known composition (C 8 -C 14 ), obtained from DETEN Chemistry S.A., have been performed in a laboratory distillation column, having 40mm of nominal diameter and 2.2m high, with internals of Sulzer DX gauze stainless steel structured packing. The main purpose of this work was to evaluate HETP of a structured packing laboratory scale distillation column, operating continuously. Six HETP correlations available in the literature were compared in order to
... mpared in order to find out which is the most appropriate for structured packing columns working with medium distillates. Prior to the experimental tests, simulation studies using commercial software PRO/II ® were performed in order to establish the optimum operational conditions for the distillation, especially concerning operating pressure, top and bottom temperatures, feed location and reflux ratio. The results of PRO/II ® were very similar to the analysis of the products obtained during continuous operation, therefore permitting the use of the properties calculated by that software on the theoretical models investigated. The theoretical models chosen for HETP evaluation were: Bravo, Rocha and Fair (1985) ; Fair (1993, 1996); Brunazzi and Pagliant (1997); Carlo, Olujić and Pagliant (2006) ; Olujić et al., (2004). Modifications concerning calculation of specific areas were performed on the correlations in order to fit them for gauze packing HETP evaluation. As the laboratory distillation column was operated continuously, different HETP values were found by the models investigated for each section of the column. The low liquid flow rates in the top section of the column are a source of error for HETP evaluation by the models; therefore, more reliable HETP values were found in the bottom section, in which liquid flow rates were much greater. Among the theoretical models, Olujić et al. (2004) has shown good results relative to the experimental tests. In addition, the former model by Bravo, Rocha and Fair (1985) underestimates HETP values; however, with the modifications proposed in this work, it has achieved more realistic performance prediction, remaining a good choice for gauze packing HETP evaluation. Having the advantage of avoiding the calculation of effective area and mass transfer coefficients, an empirical model proposed by Carrillo and coworkers (2000) was also investigated, showing low deviations compared to the theoretical models tested.