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Introduction ............................................................... 110 H y d r o c a r b o n A b s o r b e r Design ................................ 110 H y d r o c a r b o n Absorbers, Optimization .................. 112 Inorganic Type ........................................................... 113


. mols/hr 4. Total mols absorbed b. one uses equilibrium vaporization constants (K values) similarly to distillation. many parts of this subject have already been covered. R. 2 where n= m Ea = EsAe = Se = Number of theoretical stages in absorber Number of theoretical stages in stripper Fraction absorbed Fraction stripped Effective absorption factor Effective stripping factor Edmister Method (1947). Canned computer distillation programs usually include hydrocarbon absorber options. For designing these. Obtain top and bottom K values.V1 Ln = Lo + AV Se . shortcut hand calculation methods exist. First. Assume theoretical stages and operating temperature and pressure. C. there is hydrocarbon absorption using a lean oil having hydrocarbon components much heavier than the component absorbed from the gas stream. Use Horton/Franklin method to estimate tower temperatures. The Process Engineer's Pocket Handbook. 3. Tray Efficiency 2. 1. 1976. 2. Temperature rise of lean oil (normally 20-40~ c.1 M+I M+I n+l AV V1 Vn V2 (1) Se ES ~ -Se -1 (2) L0 L1 Ln Known L1 = L0 + V2 . in this book it is included here. relative volatility (~) values are generated from the K values. read Ae from Figure 1 at known theoretical trays n. Table 1 Tower Balance Quantity Rich gas entering at b o t t o m Gas Absorbed Lean gas leaving absorber Gas leaving bottom tray Gas leaving tray 2 from top Lean oil Liquid leaving top tray Liquid leaving bottom tray Symbol Vn. For this type design one uses mass transfer coefficients. Gulf Publishing Co.110 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers Introduction A general study of absorption can be confusing since the calculation methods for the two major types are quite different. The 1947 Edmister 1 method using effective overall absorption and stripping factors and the well-known Edmister graphs are very popular for hand calculations. This is shown in Table 2. Hydrocarbon Absorber Design Because of its similarity to distillation. 5. These absorbers may or may not be reboiled. For hydrocarbon absorption the K values are used to generate absorption and stripping factors. However. such as 1. Lean oil rate. The other major type is gas absorption of inorganic components in aqueous solutions.AV Vn =Vn + I(V1/Vn + 1)1/N V 2 . 6. In distillation. Use Horton and Franklin's 3 relationship for tower balance in mols/hr. Briefly. Calculate L1/V1 and Ln/Vn. 1 Equation Known Assumed V1 = Vn + 1 . An excellent write-up on this and the Kremser-Brown-Sherwood methods are on pages 48-61 of Ludwig. Another similarity to distillation is the frequent use of fractionating trays instead of packing. Assume a. Source Branan.V l / ( V l / V n + 1)1/N Ae Ea "- -me n+l Ae . K Values As for distillation. Vol.. 7. for hydrocarbon absorption. This is shown in Table 1. Tower Diameter Calculations 3. Packed towers are used so often for this type that its discussion is often included under sections on packed towers. Knowing required key component recovery Ea. the Edmister absorption method (1947) with a known rich gas going to a fixed tower is as follows: 1.

A light lean oil sustains relatively high lean oil loss.6 o. i / L .3 0. Ae and S e (efficiency functions).6 1.~ o. 5 (7) Similarly S e .5 (8) . SBi -. 12.os. W.9 =.~. 0.0 4.0 5.V 2 ) Top Tray T1 T1= Tn - AT (Vn+ 1 . September."qr~ F 0.~ O"O" l--l* j ! : a)saeNipnimmme=ammeaammm .L 1 / K l i Vl (3) ABi .0 84 .0 3.V. The availability of a suitable (5) (6) 9.95. ~ .~5 1 ~ i~r~_.Ea. (By permission.e 0. but has the advantage of high mols/gal compared to a heavier lean oil. This graph shows the abosrption and stripping factors. 1948. 1947 Series to January. Edmister has developed an improved procedure 4 that features equations combining absorption and stripping functions as follows: V1 . The improved procedure is better for rigorous solution of complicated absorber designs.60 ' " 0.L n / K n i Vn For stripping factors STi -.) Table 2 Tower Temperatures Temperature Rich gas Lean oil Symbol Tn. 11.4 0.~)aVn+l + (1 -. fraction not stripped Vo = Vapor to bottom stripping tray Other symbols are defined in Tables 1 and 2. V~ and L1 are found from Equations 9 and 10.~)a )Vo inlet Temperature rise B o t t o m Tray Assumed T n = Tn+ 1 + AT (Vn+ 1 .40! O~le~ "I"1 = .~)s)ko L1 .l~sLm+.0 Figure 1. Petroleum Engineer.[ST(S B "1"1)+ 0.75 ~ mmmmmm q~ 070 ~ 0. + (1 . K .J--F.65 I mmm " - (se w=.251 '/2 . C.J . Figure 1 and Equations 3-8 are used as before.2511/2 .90 o esl <: 0.Es.'~ I I ]_j~o.8 2.-T-'t'-I-N 1--i""i~-' I i 11 11l I 1I 111 1 1 I1 1 1 i 1 I 1 l II 1I 1 l I L4 1.0 6.$-.~ ~.5 0.o i2 Values of Ae or Se i L.Mcaim mm wmmm V. . fraction not absorbed 0s = 1 . The selection of lean oil for an absorber is an economic study.7 o. ~ ~ o. Ea and Es.Ip_|illlln' l~~i: 1111 I I I I L J . Compare to assumed total mols absorbed and reassume lean oil rate if necessary.Absorbers 111 1.l To AT Tn Equation Known Known 10. Calculate absorption factors for each component i at the top and bottom ATi -.=o . Lean 0il. 0. Calculate mols of each component absorbed. Edmister Method (1957). Read Eai values from Figure 1.~ --r.2 0.Vn K n i / L n (4) L1 = Liquid from bottom stripping tray Lm+l = Liquid to top stripping tray * a -" 1 .0.0 . versus effective values. Edmister. ~"FIl ~ 0. Obtain Aei from Ae - lAB (AT + 1) + 0. o.."L.V l ) (Absorption Section) (Stripping Section) (9) (10) where 8.

The Process Engineer's Pocket Handbook. 1982. the author generally sees a lean oil heavier by about 10-14 carbon numbers. July 18. or subscript for feed f i . 9. 1955. Vol. W. E. Mass Transfer Operations.and Digital-computer Methods. Diab. Branan. J.(L/L')[(1. September. A lean oil 3 carbon numbers heavier than the lightest component absorbed is close to optimum for some applications. December 27. R. W. 2. 2. 8. HydrocarbonAbsorbers. June 1957.(K~//Ki)(L/L')[(1 .." A.. McGrawHill Book Co..sN)+qs(SN -. Natural Gas Processors Suppliers Association. 1972.. B.S n)/(1 . 1979. G. however. Edmister. Optimization This section is a companion to the section titled Fractionators-Optimization Techniques. Inc.E. Absorber tray efficiencies run notoriously low.. In that section the Smith-Brinkley 1 method is recommended for optimization calculations and its use is detailed. For a simple absorber the Smith-Brinkley equation is for component i: where hi. C.S m)]i hi ." Chemical Engineering. Chemical Process Products.. 12. Ludwig..y/x L . 1. July 14.Feed total molar rate. "Designing Gas-Absorption Towers. S. use Equation 1 and if mostly vapor. if the feed is mostly liquid.. Presaturators. 1947 Series to January. "Analyzing Chemical Absorbers and Strippers.. 1972. 10. Norton Company.K'iV'/L' Sni.L ) (1 -. 1384.Sn ) / ( 1 . Petroleum Engineer.Bottoms total molar rate. and Franklin. Gulf Publishing Company. This can easily equal 3-4 actual trays. 6. Journal. 1969. W.Sm )]i Nomenclature (1) (2) f _ (1. Applied Process Design For Chemical and Petrochemical Plants. 7. R. S. and Staton. Norton. A presaturator to provide lean oil/gas contact prior to feeding the lean oil into the tower can be a good way of getting more out of an older tower.. 1940. 5. Chem. E A.SnN-M) -+-hSnN-M (1 -." Chemical Engineering. Vol. "Sorption Processes for Gas Separation. 1976." Chemical Engineering. Rousseau. C. R. James R. 9th ed.S) 1 - S N+I where f i . In natural gas plant operations. W. 2nd Ed. "Absorption and Stripping-factor Functions for Distillation Calculation by Manual.112 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers material has a large influence on the choice. Zenz.anN-M) Wqs( SnN-M ..E f f e c t i v e total molar liquid rate in bottom section . or subscript for bottoms F . Sources 1. Treybal. 4. Edmister. Equation 2. NGPSA Engineering Data Book. November 13. C.. "Calculation of Absorber Performance and Design. Fair.(BXB/FXF)i Smi. 32.Equilibrium constant of component i in top section = y/x K'i-Equilibrium constant of component i in bottom section.correlating factor." Ind. 11.Effective total molar liquid rate in top section L ' . Chemical Process Products Division.Ratio of the molar rate of component i in the bottoms to that in the feed Ki. and Maddox.SmM+I) B . "Absorption.. Eng. This section gives similar equations for simple and reboiled absorbers.. Horton. 1948." Chemical Engineering. R. 3. A presaturator that achieves equilibrium can provide the equivalent of a theoretical tray. New York. Gulf Publishing Co.KiV/L For a reboiled absorber: f_ (1-. 1988. N. hi . Some modem canned computer distillation/absorption programs provide a presaturator option.

C. 1. CO2 in alkaline solutions. ftZ]hr coefficient. Design of Equilibrium Stage Processes. B. ~ Mass Transfer Coefficients. E. Dv . such as Ludwig ~ can provide specific system KGA or KLA data. data for commercially available packings is well documented such as packing factors. it is common practice to calculate only the controlling mass transfer coefficient. These must. Diffusivities. The simplest gas diffusivity relationship is the Gilliland relationship. and for stripping the liquid mass transfer coefficient is usually used. VB = Molecular volumes of gases. MB = Molecular weights of the two gases. This happens when the gas is quite soluble in. Likewise. The Process Engineer's Pocket Handbook.Mol fraction in the liquid Y . be used in conjunction with such things as packing effective interfacial areas and void fractions under operating conditions for the particular packing selected. Inorganic Type Design of inorganic absorbers quite often involves a system whose major parameters are well defined such as system film control. Tables 1-6 show typical KGAdata for various systems and tower packings. A and B P = Total pressure. 1963. Smith. In general. etc. mass transfer coefficient equations. the gas mass transfer coefficient is usually used. etc. General equations for mass transfer coefficients are given in various references if specific system values are not available. If a system is essentially all gas or liquid film controlling. C12-H20. The designer needs to know whether his system is gas or liquid film controlling.. 1976. an absorption is gas film controlling if essentially all resistance to mass transfer is in the gas film. the liquid. 2. Ludwig 1 gives design data for certain well-known systems such as NH3-Air-H20.KGA (known)(Dvunkn~ Dvknown where KCA -. ~ Film Control. Packing manufacturers' data or references. Transfer unit heights are found as follows" Gm H o G -- KGAPAvR Lm H o L -- KLApL .Mol fraction in the vapor Sources 1. MA. however. or reactive with. Vol. HETR HTU.Gas film overall mass transfer lb mols/hr (ft 3) (ATM) Dv -Diffusivity of solute in gas. McGraw-Hill. Gulf Publishing Co. etc. R.. For commercial processes this is known. If KGAvalues are available for a known system.0.Effective total molar vapor rate in bottom section X . Norton 2 states that for gas absorption. ATM VA../2 P(V~/3 + V~/3)2 where T = Absolute temperature. Ludwig 1 gives a listing of film control for a number of commercial systems. Branan. those of an unknown system can be approximated by KCA ( u n k n o w n ) . cc/gm mol Height of Overall Transfer Unit.Absorbers 113 M = Total equilibrium stages below feed stage including reboiler N = Total equilibrium stages including reboiler and partial condenser qs = Fraction of the component in the lean oil of a simple or reboiled absorber S = Overall stripping factor for component i Sm = Stripping factor for component i in bottom section Sn = Stripping factor for component i in top section V = Effective total molar vapor rate in top section V' .0069 T3/2(1/MA + 1/MB ). It is usually easier to find KGAfor the packing used with a specific system than effective interfacial area and operation void fraction.

Pall Rings 2 in.06 0.6 14.11 1.97 1. Pall Rings 389in.78 Packing 1 in.09 1. Pall Rings 189in.0 5.0 3.02 Table 6 Overall Mass Transfer Coefficient CO2/NaOH System s Structured Tower Packings Table 3 Overall Mass Transfer Coefficient CO2/NaOH System 5 Metal Tower Packings K~ Packing Intalox| Structured Packing 1T Intalox| Structured Packing 2T Intalox| Structured Packing 3T (Ib-mol/h * ft s * atm) 4.92 1.11 2.42 2.9 5.18 1. ATM DE --Liquid density.114 Rules of Thumb for Chemical Engineers Table 1 KGA For Various Systems 4 KGA Solute Gas Br2 Cl 2 CI2 Absorbent Liquid 5% NaOH Water 8% NaOH 4% NaOH Water Water Water Water Water 4% NaOH Water Water 11% Na2CO3 Lb mols/(hr 9 ft 3 9 atm) Table 4 Overall Mass Transfer Coefficient CO2/NaOH System s Plastic Tower Packings KGA Packing (Ib-mol/h 9 ft 3 9 atm) 2.9 17.9 19. ft Gm. Lm . lb mols/(hr) (ft 2) KGA.45 where HoG.37 2. Intalox| Saddles 3 in. Raschig Rings 2 in. Pall Rings 2 in. Pall Rings 189in.58 2.82 2.0 4.23 #1 Super Intalox| Packing #2 Super Intalox| Packing #3 Super Intalox | Packing Intalox| Snowflake| Packing 1 in.28 2.76 KGA Packing #25 IMTP| Packing #40 IMTP| Packing #50 IMTP| Packing #70 IMTP| Packing 1 in.06 1.0 12.44 1.0 5.0 5. Raschig Rings 3 in.25 2.94 1.74 3.31 1. lb/ft 3 . Pall Rings CO2 HBr HCHO HCI HCN HF H2S NH3 SO2 SO2 5. Intalox| Saddles 1 in.80 2. Intalox| Saddles 189in. Raschig Rings 189in. Pall Rings 389in. consistent units P A r R -" Average total pressure in tower. Raschig Rings (Ib-mol/h 9 ft 3 9 atm) 2.80 1.88 1.27 1.92 1.9 8.42 2.G a s or liquid mass velocity.10 2.86 2. Intalox| Saddles 2 in.KLA-Gas or liquid mass transfer coefficients.23 2.HOL--Height of transfer unit based on overall gas or liquid film coefficients.89 2.0 2.64 2.0 Table 5 Overall Mass Transfer Coefficient CO2/NaOH System s Ceramic Tower Packings K~ Table 2 Relative KGA For Various Packings 4 Type of Packing Super Intalox| Intalox| Saddles Hy-Pak| Pall Rings Pall Rings Maspac Tellerettes Raschig Rings Material Plastic Ceramic Metal Metal Plastic Plastic Plastic Ceramic Relative KGA 1.63 1.52 3.00 0. Pall Rings #1 Hy-Pak| Packing #189 Hy-Pak| Packing #2 Hy-Pak| Packing #3 Hy-Pak| Packing (Ib-mol/h 9 ft 3 9 atm) 3.19 0.00 1.

2. E. 3. 1965. Strigle. 1983. Houston. C. respectively Sources Y1-Y2 ( Y . Chemical Process Products Division. The Process Engineer's Pocket Handbook. C. For dilute solutions the number of transfer units NoG is obtained by X . expressed as mol fractions Y = Mol fraction of one component (solute) at any point in the gas phase Y* = Mol fraction gas phase composition in equilibrium with a liquid composition.Y *)1 (Y-Y*)2 where ( Y . Process Design for Chemical and Petrochemical Plants.Y * ) I .. Gulf Publishing Co. Vol. 1976.Absorbers 115 Number of Transfer Units. 4.. R. Ludwig. The Process Engineer's Pocket Handbook. Gulf Publishing Co. Vol.Y*): N o G -- In (Y . E.. Texas. R.M o l fraction in the liquid at the same corresponding point in the system as Y 1. Packed Tower Design and Applications. E. R.. Gulf Publishing Co. Norton Company. 2. Branan. Norton Chemical Process Products.. Texas. 2nd Ed. X 1. 5. 2 . Gulf Publishing Co.( Y . Houston. Branan. Vol.. .. 2. 1..Inlet and outlet of the system.Y*) = Driving force. 1994.