Vacuum distillation increases the amount of the middle distillates andproduces lubricating oil base stocks and asphalt. The feed to the unit isthe residue from atmospheric distillation. In vacuum distillation, reducedpressures are applied to avoid cracking long-chain hydrocarbons presentin the feed.The feed is first preheated by exchange with the products, charged tothe vacuum unit heater, and then passed to the vacuum tower in an atmos-phere of superheated steam. Using superheated steam is important: it
Crude Oil Processing and Production of Hydrocarbon Intermediates
Table 3-1Approximate ASTM boiling point ranges for crude oil fractionsBoiling rangeFractions°F°C
Light naphtha85–21030–99Heavy naphtha190–40088–204Kerosine340–520171–271Atmospheric gas oil540–820288–438Vacuum gas oil750–1,050399–566Vacuum residue1,000+538+
Flow diagram of atmospheric and vacuum distillation units:
(1,3)heat exchangers; (2) desalter, (3,4) heater; (5) distillation column, (6) overheadcondenser, (7–10) pump around streams, (11) vacuum distillation heater; (12)vacuum tower.