Column Design
CrisAnne A. Juangco III
BS Chemical Engineering
200910339
Engr. Elaine Mission
This paper will discuss the
design principles, consideration and
criteria that are inputted in
designing a typical sieve extractor
column.
SCOPE
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 2
Table of Contents
Equipment Description ................................................................................................................ 3
Design Principles ........................................................................................................................... 3
Design Considerations ................................................................................................................. 3
Design Criteria ............................................................................................................................... 6
Design Calculations ..................................................................................................................... 7
Tray Hydraulics ........................................................................................................................... 7
Point Efficiency Calculation .................................................................................................... 9
Murphree Tray Efficiency Calculation .................................................................................... 9
Column Efficiency ................................................................................................................... 10
References: ................................................................................................................................. 12
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 3
Equipment Description
The sieve tray extractor resembles a sieve tray distillation column. Downcomers
and slots are provided to guide the vapor and liquid phase and enables the two phase
to come in contact thus aiding mass transfer process.
Design Principles
The approach to 100% efficiency is governed by three (3) mechanisms, occurring
in sequence:
1. Formation of drops at the sieve tray perforations. As stated, a significant
amount of total mass transfer occurs during this process. Factors
governing transfer rate include surface created (drop size), interfacial
tension, wettability of the tray material,, and rate of drop formation (flow
rate through the perforations).
2. Rise of drops through the crossflowing phases. Mass transfer resistances
inside and outside of the drops must be considered, and the approach to
free rise velocity of the drops must be taken into account. Distance of
drop travel, a function of tray spacing, influences the amount of mass
transferred.
3. Coalescence of drops under the tray. The contribution of this mechanism
to the total mass transfer is usually quite small.
Design Considerations
The input data required in the design calculations include density, viscosity,
surface tension, diffusivity, and flow rate of the liquid stream, as well as density, diffusivity
and flow rate of the vapor stream, this information can be obtained by performing tray
totray distillation calculations; several commercial computer packages are available
for this purpose (e.g. PRO II, ASPEN PLUS, HYSIM).
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 4
1. Tray Spacing. This is set by maintenance requirements and also by support
structure design in largediameter columns. Sufficient crawl space must be
provided for tray cleaning and repair. From these considerations, the minimum
tray spacing is about 12 in (30 cm) for column diameter less than 5 ft (150 cm),
and 18 in (45 cm) for column diameter greater than 10 ft (300 cm).
2. Downcomer Area. The downcomer area at the top is sized such that the velocity
of the ascending vapor bubbles exceeds the downflow velocity of the liquid. The
size is related to the stability of the froth in the downcomer and determined by
the residence time required for achieving the separation of the twophase
mixture. For nonfoaming systems, such as lower alcohols, a residence time of 3 s
is sufficient, where for extremely high foaming systems, such as caustic
regenerators, 9 s is required.
To prevent the liquid coming off the bubbling area from splashing against
the column wall, the minimum downcomer width is 5 in (12.7 cm). Also the
minimum side chord length should be 60% of the column diameter. This is
required to maintain good liquid distribution on the tray.
Since the separation of the vaporliquid mixture is complete at the bottom
of the downcomer, a sloped downcomer can be used to maximize the active
tray area. In this case, the downcomer area at the bottom should be about 60%
of that at the top.
3. Column Diameter. The column diameter can be calculated once the tray
spacing and downcomer area have been specified. The Fair correlation is
recommended. The vapor flooding velocity can be calculated using equation:
(
)
(
)
Where: CSB is the SoudersBrown coefficient, ρL and σL are liquid density and
surface tension, respectively, and ρv is the vapor density. UN,f is based on the net
area, AN, which is the active area plus one downcomer area.
CSB can be calculated using:
(
)
(
)
(
)
Where: FIV=(L/V)(ρv/ρL)
0.5
, TS is tray spacing in feet, L and V are mass flow rates of
the liquid and vapor. The CSB is valid for trays with a fractional hole area greater
than 10%. For areas of 8% and 6%, CSB should be multiplied by 0.9 and 0.8,
respectively.
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 5
Knowing UN,f and the total vapor flow rate, the column diameter can be
calculated by assuming that the column will be operated at lower vapor
velocity, ,say 80% of the flood point.
4. Number of Flow Passes. This is set to allow the tray to operate at weir loading that
does not result in excessive weir crest. The weir loading can be calculated once
the column diameter and downcomer are determined. The optimum weir
loading is 46 US gallons per minute and the mazimum loading is about 20.
Downcomer choking, which cause liquid buildup on tray, may occur if the
maximum value is exceeded. Increasing the number of flow passes provides a
solution to this problem (see fig.2). however, shorter liquid flow path and possible
maldistribution of liquid and vapor streams in multipass trays which results to low
efficiency. As a rule of thumb, the use
of multipass tray is often necessary for
largediameter columns.
5. Tray Geometry. This is chosen so
that hydraulic and efficiency
calculations can be performed to
arrive at optimum design. The
following parameters must be
specified for tray design calculations.
Tray Thickness. The choice of material
for the fabrication of trays is
dependent mainly on the corrosion
properties of the process fluids. In
general, tray thickness is about gauge
10 (0.134 in; 3.40 mm) for carbon steel
and gauge 12 (0.109 in; 2.77 mm) for
stainless steel. For economic reasons,
the holes are punched, which
dictates that the thickness must be
less than the hole diameter.
Hole diameter. Small holes with diameter in the range of 3/16 to ¼ in (4.766.35 mm)
give better hydraulic and mass transfer performance than the large ones in the range
of ½ to ¾ in (12.719.0 mm). However, largehole trays are cheaper and show more
resistance to fouling.
Hole area. The area is normally in the range of 516% of the bubble area. Lower hole
area allows the tray to operate at higher efficiency and turndown ratio, but at the
expense of higher pressure drop. Since the operating pressure of the column dictates
Figure 1. Tray Layout
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 6
the maximum allowable pressure drop, the hole area is selected according to the type
of service. Recommended values are 510% for pressure and 1016% for vacuum
operations,
Hole areas below 5% are not used because the distance between holes
becomes excessive and liquid channeling may occur. However, the distance can also
be adjusted by changing the hole diameter. In general, the hole pitch should not be
larger than 2.5 in (6.35 cm). On the other hand, if the hole areas are greater than 16%,
significant weeping and entrainment may coexist and the design equations may not
apply under these conditions.
Weir design. Outlet weirs are used to control the froth height on the tray. For most trays,
the outlet weir height is about 14 in (2.510 cm) and the downcomer clearance is 0.5 in
(1.25 cm) smaller than outlet weir height to ensure a positive downcomer seal.
Design Criteria
The tray should be designed for maximum throughput. However, owing to
inaccuracies in the design equations and fluctuation of process conditions (e.g. flow
rates, temperature and pressure), safety factors are needed to ensure stable column
operation at all times.
1. Jet Flood Safety Factor (JFSF). This is defined as the ratio of vapor velocity
required to entrain the entire liquid flow (Umax) to the operating velocity (Uop).
Typical JFSF value is 1.2.
2. Turndown Ratio. For various reasons, the column may be operated at a reduced
throughput. Weeping is encountered if the vapor velocity can no longer support
the liquid in the tray. Although flow dynamics permit stable operation as long as
dumping is avoided, tray efficiency suffers because weeping reduces the vapor
liquid contact. The turndown ratio is the ratio of the design vapor flow rate to the
flow rate that permits some weeping without seriously affecting the tray
efficiency. Recommended weepages at turndown conditions for vacuum and
pressure operations are 3% and 7%, respectively.
3. Downcomer Area Safety Factor (DCASF) and Downcomer Backup Safety Factor
(DCBUSF). The liquid handling capacity of a tray is determined by downcomer
design and tray spacing. The DCASF determines the approach of the top
downcomer area to the minimum area required for vaporliquid
disengagement. The DCBUSF determines the approach of the downcomer froth
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 7
height to the downcomer depth that is equal to the sum of tray spacing and
outlet weir height. Safety factor in the range of 1.52.0 are recommended.
4. Pressure Drop. The pressure drop across an operating tray should be specified if it
affects the number of equilibrium stage requirements for the separation. This is
often the case of vacuum operation. Stable operation can be obtained at
pressure drop of 13 in (2.57.6 cm) of liquid per tray for vacuum an 25 in (5.1
12.7 cm) for pressure operations.
Design Calculations
Knowing the design considerations and criteria, a design calculation is done to
analyze the performance of the sieve tray column which includes:
Tray hydraulics (i.e. pressure drop, flow regime, froth density and
entrainment and weeping factors)
Point efficiency
Murphree tray efficiency
Column efficiency
Tray Hydraulics
Pressure Drop Calculation in Vapor Phase
The pressure drop in the vapor phase across a sieve tray is calculated using:
Where dry pressure drop is given by:
(
)
And g is acceleration due to gravity, h1 is the liquid height or holdup in m, ug,h is
the vapor velocity in the hole in m/s, CD is the drag coefficient, and ρG, ρ1 are the
densities of the vapor and liquid, respectively. The ρ1gh1 represents the static head due
to the liquid holdup on the tray. Hence, the liquid height, h1 must be predicted from
correlations that depend on the weir geometry. One such equation that predict the
liquid height is given by:
(
)
Where Hw is the weir height in m, p is the pitch of the holes in the sieve plate in
m, FP is the flow parameter which can be computed using:
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 8
(
)√(
)
And b is the weir length per unit bubbling area in m. Also, CD is a function of the flow
conditions near a hole and is dependent on the liquid present on the tray. It is
correlated by:
[ (
)
]
Pressure Drop Calculations in the Liquid Phase
The liquid is transported down through the downcomer. The capacity of the
downcomer should be should be sufficient to handle the liquid load without becoming
the rate limiting factor, i.e. without the liquid backing up the downcomer to a
significant extent. The extent of liquid backup (hdc) can be estimated from:
Where ht is the pressure difference between points a and b in the vapor phase that is
necessary to keep the vapor flowing upwards, hL refers to the effective clear liquid
height on the tray deck that must be overcome by the liquid in the downcomer, and
had refers to the pressure loss due to the liquid flow under the downcomer apron. Note
that ht is necessary to keep the upward flow of vapor, but acts as pressure differential
that works against the natural liquid flow in the downcomer. If this pressure differential is
large, the liquid will back up more in the downcomer. These points out the coupling
between the pressure loss in the vapor phase through the tray deck area and the liquid
flow in the downcomer. An optimal design must balance these two factors carefully. hL
and ht can be estimated from the correlation:
Where hda is in mL of liquid and Uda is the velocity under the downcomer apron in m/s.
Froth Height and Density Calculations
The froth density (or the twophase density) has been measured using gamma
ray techniques. The average liquid volume fraction on a sieve tray, defined as ε

=h1/hb is
correlated by:
*
(
)
(
)
+
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 9
Where, hb is the froth or bed height in m and ug is the vapor velocity on
bubbling area in m/s. The constant c1 and n depend on the type of flow regimes. In the
spray regime, c1 is 265 and n is 1.7, while in mixed/emulsion regime, they are 40 and 0.8,
respectively. This requires one to estimate the flow regime to be expressed under a
given set of operating conditions.
Point Efficiency Calculation
The point efficiency (EOG) is related to the overall number of transfer units by:
The overall transfer units (NOG) can be correlated to data free of weeping and
entrainment only for froth and spray regimes:
(
) (
)
.
/
.
/
Here λ=mG/L is the separation factor,
√
is superficial Ffactor in
kg
0.5
/m
0.5
S, tG = hf/us is the vapor phase contact time in s, and hf is the froth height in m.
note that this correlation combines the geometrical parameters such as φ, the
fractional perforated area, Ab the bubbling area, the system properties such as
densities (ρL, ρG), diffusivities (DL, DG), viscosity (µ), interfacial tension (σ) in N/m,
molecular weights (ML, MG) and operating conditions such as flowrates (L,G). This
correlation appears to predict the point efficiencies to within 5% of experimental data
over a wide range of pressures.
Murphree Tray Efficiency Calculation
The point efficiency is based on a detailed examination of mass transfer at
vapor/liquid interface. The ideal equilibrium tray assumption used in the McCabeThiele
method asserts that the flow condition on a tray is homogenous everywhere. If that
were true, the point efficiency would be the same everywhere in the tray. But there is
strong evidence that the flow is not homogenous, the degree of inhomogeneity is very
evident in largediameter columns. Information about flow profile must be integrated
with point efficiency to predict Murphree tray efficiency. This will apply to longhitudinal
mixing only and is given by:
()
( )* ,( ) +
* ,( )+
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 10
Where:
*(
)
+
And Pe is the Peclet number, defines as Pe=Z1
2
/DEt1. Here Z1 s the length of the liquid
travel, or the distance between the two weirs and t1 is the liquid residence time. The
effective diffusivity is given by:
√
Where DE is in ft
2
/s, uG is superficial velocity in ft
3
/s divided by active bubbling area in ft
2
.
As the Peclet number becomes large, this model predicts efficiency enhancement
much large than unity. In large diameter columns (large Z1) the Peclet number can
tend to take large value which would suggest significant efficiency enhancements.
Effect of Entrainment on Murphree Tray Efficiency
The effect of entrainment on the Murphree tray efficiency is estimated from:
[
]
Where:
Where e is the entrained liquid in mol/hr. liquid entrainment in spray regime is:
(
)
(
)
Where Hs is tray spacing in m, hb is bed height, ug,h is vapor velocity in the hole
in m/s and u1 is the horizontal liquid velocity.
Column Efficiency
Weeping Point Determination
When the vapor velocity is too small, the liquid on a tray deck can flow down
through a holes on the sieve plate, instead of the downcomer, which is preferred path
for the liquid. If weeping is significant, then it results in mixing of liquid streams between
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 11
neighboring trays, thus degrading the performance of the column. The need to avoid
weeping places a limit on the minimum vapor velocity which is computed by:
Mixed/free bubbling regime
√
[
]
Emulsion flow regime
√
Where
√
(
is the capacity factor at the weep point in m/s, and F is the
fractional hole area per unit bubbling area. Note that weeping will seldom occur in
spray regime as vapor velocities are sufficiently large under design conditions.
Extensions to Multicomponent Systems
The methods already discussed is developed largely using experimental data
for binary systems. The question of whether they can be applied to multicomponent
systems can be examined as follows:
Tray hydraulics factors such as pressure drops, flow regimes, froth densities,
etc, depend only on the fluid mechanics of the twophase mixture on
sieve trays; hence one can expect the correlations to be useful for
multicomponent mixtures as long as mixture properties for densities,
viscosities, interfacial tensions, etc. are used.
The point efficiency (and hence the Murphree tray efficiency) depends
on the mass transfer resistance on each component species in each
phase. Since the diffusivity and the equilibrium ratios (or the slope of the
equilibrium curve,m) could vary for each species, the point effciency will
be different for each species. Thus, complicating the design calculations.
Issues Relating to Scaleup of Efficiency Data
Since the point efficiency data and correlations are based on local
conditions, they should, in principle, remain valid on all scales. They are then integrated
with flow conditions to predict the overall tray efficiency. However, correlations such as
Murphree efficiency becomes variant in some scales thereby a detailed computational
fluid dynamics can provide a detailed flow information to be used in design
calculations.
SIEVE TRAY EXTRACTOR COLUMN DESIGN 12
References:
Chuang, K.T. and K. Nandakumar (2000). Tray Columns: Design. Canada: Academic
Press, p 11351145
Fair, J. R. and J. L. Humphrey (1983). LiquidLiquid Extraction Process. Texas: Fifth
Industrial Energy Technology Conference, ESLIE8304130, vol 2.
King, C.J. (1980). Separation Processes. New York: McGraw Hill Book Co
Treybal, R.E. (1980). MassTransfer Operations. New York: McGraw Hill Book Co., 3
rd
ed.