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CL-405 Gas Handling Equipment


McCabe, Smith, Harriott Unit Operations of Chemical

Towler and Sinnott Chemical Engineering
Stanley M. Walas Chemical Process
Equipment: Selection and

Gas Handling Equipment

Gas handling equipment is used to transfer gases;

they generate just enough pressure
- To overcome line friction
- To raise or lower pressure to some required
operating level in the connected process

Gas Handling Equipment (Contd 1)
Fans, Blowers and Compressors are the commonly
used gas handling equipment. Classification is mainly based
on discharge pressure
Fans accept gases at near atmospheric pressure and
raise the pressure by around 130 to 1500 mm wc
Blowers raise the pressure of gases to an intermediate level,
usually to less than 4 kg / cm2 g
Compressors are used where higher pressures are
required. In modern terminology, the term
compressors includes blowers.
Vacuum pumps and steam jet ejectors are used to
generate vacuum
Large Fans are the commonly used centrifugal
Operate on the same principle as centrifugal pumps
Fan impellers are mounted in light sheet metal casings
Their impeller blades typically curve forward
In ventilating fans, nearly all of the added energy goes
to increase velocity and almost none to pressure
Since the change in density in a fan is small,
incompressible flow equations used for centrifugal
pumps can be applied to fans
Fans (Contd)

Impellers for centrifugal fans

The two major type of compressors are positive
displacement and rotodynamic
Positive displacement cover
- Reciprocating piston
- Rotary (screws, lobes)
Dynamic cover
- Centrifugal (radial flow)
- axial flow
Compressors work in the region of compressible flow
A proper selection is essential to meet the typical

needs of each industry

Compressors (Contd 1)

Compressor types based on

operating principles
Compressor operating ranges
Centrifugal Compressors

Dynamic compressor is a continuous flow compressor

widely used in chemical and petroleum refinery
industry. Also widely used in iron and steel industry
and on offshore platforms.

- Characterised by rotating impeller to add velocity

and pressure to fluid

- Made up of one or more stages; each stage

consists of an impeller as the rotating element
and a stationary element, the diffuser
Centrifugal Compressors (Contd 1)
In centrifugal compressor, the fluid flow enters the
impeller in the axial direction and is discharged from
the compressor radially at a right angle to the axis of
rotation. The gas flows through a circular chamber
(diffuser) in a spiral path where it loses velocity and
increases pressure.
Pressure rise depends on RPM and impeller diameter
Maximum permissible speed is limited by the strength
of the materials of the blade and the sonic velocity of
the fluid

Centrifugal Compressors (Contd 2)

Section of a Compressor
Centrifugal Compressors (Contd 3)

Multistage centrifugal compressors are used for higher

pressure applications

A Multistage compressor compresses the gas to the

required pressure in multiple stages; it contains a
series of impellers on a single shaft operating at high
speed in a massive casing.

Internal channels lead from the discharge of one

impeller to the inlet of the next

Centrifugal Compressors (Contd 4)

Capacities could be as high as 340,000m3/hr at the

inlet. Outlet pressures could be as high as 20 atm.
Inter-stage cooling is required on the high pressure

Centrifugal compressors can be driven by electric

motor, steam turbine or gas turbine

Centrifugal Compressors (Contd 5)

Section of a
three stage

Centrifugal Compressors (Contd 7)
- Higher efficiencies compared to reciprocating
- Gives lubricant free air
- Does not require special foundations much less
- High initial cost
- High rotational speed requires special bearings and
sophisticated vibration and clearance monitoring

Compressor operating ranges
Axial flow Compressors

Mainly used for applications where the head required

is low with high intake volume of flow

Do not significantly change the direction of the flow

stream; fluid flow enters and exits the turbine in an
axial direction (parallel with the axis of rotation)

Axial flow Compressors (Contd 1)
Compresses the gas by first accelerating the fluid and
then diffusing it to increase its pressure
Gas flow is accelerated by a row of rotating airfoils
(blades) called the rotor, and then diffused in a row of
stationary blades (stator); stator converts the velocity
energy gained in the rotor to pressure energy.
There is no change in flow direction
One rotor and one stator make up a stage in a
compressor. Inter stage cooling is generally not
Driver of axial flow compressor can be steam turbine
or electric motor
Axial flow Compressors (Contd 2)

Compressor operating ranges
Positive Displacement Compressors

Delivers a fixed volume of gas at high pressures

Two types Rotary and reciprocating compressors

Rotary compressor
- Commonly used for discharge pressures
up to about 6 Kg/cm2 g
- Derives its pressurizing ability from the spinning
component which is eccentric to the casing

Positive Displacement Compressors (Contd 1)

- Pressure of a gas is increased by trapping it

between vanes which reduce it in volume as the
impeller rotates

- Common types are lobe and screw compressors

- Units are compact, relatively inexpensive and

require minimum operating attention and

Positive Displacement Compressors (Contd 2)

A lobe type compressor with two lobes

Positive Displacement Compressors (Contd 3)

A screw compressor

Positive Displacement Compressors (Contd 4)
Reciprocating compressor
- Relatively low flow rate, high pressure machines
- Uses the positive movement of piston within a
cylinder to move gas from one pressure level to a
higher pressure level
- Single acting when the compressing is
accomplished only on one side of the piston,
double acting when it uses both sides of the piston
- These machines operate the same way as
reciprocating pump; important differences are
prevention of leakage is more difficult and
temperature rise is important.
Positive Displacement Compressors (Contd 5)

Reciprocating compressor (Contd)

- Maximum compression ratio is around 3 per stage,

and any number of stages can be provided with

- Discharge temperatures are normally kept below

150oC by providing adequate cooling

Positive Displacement Compressors (Contd 6)

Double acting two stage recip with intercooler

Positive Displacement Compressors (Contd 7)
- simple design
- easy to install
- lower initial cost
- special machines can reach extremely high
- higher maintenance cost due to many moving
- Potential vibration problems

Design Considerations for Compressors

Fluid properties
- Gas composition Component name,
molecular weight, boiling point
- Corrosiveness e.g. H2S
- Fouling tendency : flushing
- Liquid in the gas stream
- Inlet pressure and temperature
- Discharge pressure and temperature

Design Considerations for Compressors (Contd 1)
Mechanical design of compressor
- Casing & cylinder Maximum Allowable Working
Pressure (MAWP)
- Casing & cylinder Maximum Allowable Working
- Piping flange and rating
- Shaft and piston rod seal
- Process Compression Stages Requirement of side
Utilities available and their specs
Vacuum Producing Equipment
Vacuum Pump
- A compressor that takes suction at a pressure
below atmospheric and discharges against
atmospheric pressure is called a vacuum pump
- Hence, any type of blower or compressor
reciprocating, rotatory or centrifugal can be
adapted to vacuum practice by modifying the
- Recips are effective for absolute pressure down to
about 10 mmHg; Rotary vacuum pumps can lower
the absolute pressure to 0.01 mmHg
Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 1)

First choice for chemical process industries when

high vacuum is not required is liquid ring vacuum
pump. While normally water is used as the sealing
medium, other medium can also be used

Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 2)

Liquid Ring Seal


Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 3)

Steam Jet Ejectors

- Vacuum can also be produced by the action of
flowing fluids
- Steam jet ejectors are commonly used in
process industries. A 5-stage steam jet ejector
system can produce vacuum as low as 0.05

Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 4)

Advantages of Steam Jet Ejectors

- No moving parts
- Quiet
- Easily installed
- Readily adaptable to handling corrosive
vapour mixtures.
- Comparatively expensive to operate
when cost of steam is high
Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 5)

Steam Jet Ejector

Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 6)

Multi Stage Ejectors

- As many as six ejectors are needed for
low pressures.
- Inter-stage condensers are deployed for
the sake of steam economy.
- Frequently these condensers are
barometric type
- The tail pipe of the condensers are sealed
with a ~10 m pipeline water in a seal pot

Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 7)

- Barometric condensers are feasible only if the

temperature of the water is below its bubble point at
the prevailing pressure in a particular stage.
Common practice require the temperature to be
about 3 C below the bubble point. Alternative is to
use surface condenser. Or to avoid a condenser
between in the early stages

- Most commonly, steam used is at 7 atm with 5 8

C superheat to avoid corrosive effect of liquids on
the throat of the ejectors
Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 8)

Two stage ejector

Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 9)

Two stage ejector with

inter-stage barometric

Vacuum Producing Equipment (Contd 10)

Two stage condenser

with surface
condensers inter-
stage and terminal

Drivers for Moving Equipment

Drivers are electric motors, steam or gas turbines

and IC engines
- For loads under 100 kW, motors are mostly used
- Blowers and compressors are advantageously
driven by turbines because the high operating
speeds of 4000 to 10000 rpm are readily obtained
- When fuel is cheap or readily accessible, gas
turbines and IC engines are preferred

Drivers for Moving Equipment (Contd 1)

- Three main classes
- Induction
- Synchronous
- Direct current.
Higher voltages are more efficient, but only in the
larger sizes. Commonly used voltages in Indian
industries are 415 V, 3.3 kV, 6.6 kV, 11kV

Drivers for Moving Equipment (Contd 2)

- Induction motors are most frequently used because

of their simple and rugged construction. They are
constant speed devices 3000 rpm (2 pole), 1500
rpm (4 pole), 1000 rpm (6 pole), 750 rpm (8 pole).
1500 rpm is the most commonly used
- Synchronous motors are used where lower speeds
(less than 750 rpm) are required. They are good for
low speed reciprocating compressors. They are
more costly than induction motor since costs of
control equipment are higher. Hence, only used for
higher power applications

Drivers for Moving Equipment (Contd 3)

- Direct current (DC) motors are mainly used where

fine speed adjustment and a wide range of speed
control is required e.g., plunger pumps, conveyors,

Drivers for Moving Equipment (Contd 4)

Enclosures for motors are laid out by NEC (National

Electrical Code). Some classes of protection are:

Type % of cost Protection Against

above drip
Drip proof Dripping liquids
Weather protected 10 50 Rain, dust
TEFC 25 100 Explosive and non-
Explosion proof 110 140 Flammable and volatile
Drivers for Moving Equipment (Contd 5)

Steam and gas turbines

- Utilize the expansion of steam or gas to deliver
power to a rotating shaft. Salient features are high
speed rotation, adjustable speed operation, non-
sparking, simple controls, flexibility w.r.t. inlet and
outlet pressures

Drivers for Moving Equipment (Contd 6)

Steam Turbines
- Single stage normally used as drivers, normally of
condensing type. For multistage units, steam can
be bled at multiple reduced pressures to provide
steam at various pressures to the plant.

- Need to carry out steam and energy balances for

the plant cannot be overemphasized

Drivers for Moving Equipment (Contd 7)
When gases (other than steam) are used as the
motive fluid, the equipment is called as gas expander.
They are used to recover energy from high pressure
process streams in a plant when the lower pressure
gas is adequate
Gas turbines are the equipment that recover power
from hot combustion gases
IC engines are an excellent choice when low cost fuel
is available. Their installation and operation cost is
low. Example of use is in offshore drilling

Compression and Expansion of Gases

Work to be done to compress a gas

If the compression is isothermal (constant

temperature), then for a unit mass of ideal gas,
Pv = constant

Compression and Expansion of Gases (Contd 1)

And Work to be done (W) is

W = P1v1 ln (P2/P1) (1)
= (RT1/Mw) ln (P2/P1)
W = Work to be done, J/Kg v1 = Initial volume
P1 = Initial pressure P2 = Final pressure
Mw = Molecular weight of gas, in Kg/mol
T1 = Inlet gas temperature, oK
R = Universal gas constant, 8.314 K-1mol-1
Compression and Expansion of Gases (Contd 2)
In industrial compressors, the compression path will be
polytropic, approximated by Pvn = constant
(value of n depends on the design and operation of the
And the general expression for Work to be done (W) is
W = P1v1 (n/(n-1)) [(P2/P1)((n-1)/n) 1] (2)
= Z (RT1/Mw) (n/(n-1)) [(P2/P1)((n-1)/n) 1]
Where Z = compressibility factor (1 for ideal gases)
Energy required to compress a gas can be estimated
by calculating the ideal work and applying a suitable
efficiency value
Mollier Diagram

Mollier Diagram is an enthalpy-pressure-temperature-

entropy chart

Mollier diagram is available for a limited number of

gases such as air, steam, methane

If a Mollier Diagram is available for the working fluid,

Isentropic work can be easily calculated:
W = H2 - H1

Mollier Diagram (Contd 1)

H1 = Specific enthalpy at the pressure and
temperature corresponding to the initial
gas condition,
H2 = Specific enthalpy at the pressure and
temperature corresponding to the final gas

Mollier diagram for steam is given in the next slide

Mollier Diagram for Steam

Example 1

Methane is compressed from 1 bar and 290o K to 10

bar. If the isentropic efficiency is 0.85, calculate the
energy required to compress 10,000 Kg/hr of the gas.
Estimate the exit gas temperature.

Example 1 (Contd 1)

Mollier Diagram for methane

Example 1 (Contd 2)

From the Mollier Diagram,

Enthalpy H1 = 4500 cal /mol
(at P1 = 1 bar, Temp = 290oK)
Enthalpy H2 = 6200 cal / mol
(isentropic path)
Isentropic work = 6200 4500
= 1700 cal /mol

For isentropic efficiency of 85%,

Actual work = 1700/0.85 = 2000 cal /mol
Example 1 (Contd 3)

Hence, actual final enthalpy

H2 = H1 + 2000
= 4500 + 2000
= 6500 cal /mol

Corresponding exit gas temperature is 480oK

Example 1 (Contd 4)

Hence energy required

= moles per hr x specific enthalpy change

= (10,000 x 103 /16) x 2000 cal / mol
= 1.25 x 109 cal / hr
= 1.25 x 109 x 4.187 J /hr
= 5.23 x 109 J /hr

Power = 5.23 x 109 / 3600

= 1.45 MW

Compression and Expansion of Gases (Contd 3)

If Mollier Diagram is not available, it is difficult to

estimate the ideal work required to compress a gas

Energy required to compress a gas can be estimated

by calculating the ideal and applying a suitable
efficiency value

For reciprocating compressors, isentropic work is

normally used, (n = ) in Eqn.2, along with efficiency
from fig. 3.7

Compression and Expansion of Gases (Contd 4)

For centrifugal work,

the polytropic efficiency given in fig. 3.6 is used,
and in Eqn. 2
n = 1/(1 - m)
m = ( 1) / ( x Ep)

where Ep is the polytropic efficiency

Compression and Expansion of Gases (Contd 5)

Compression and Expansion of Gases (Contd 6)

Example 2

Estimate the power required to compress 1000 m3 / hr

of air from ambient conditions to 200 KN / m2 g using a
single stage reciprocating compressor
P1 = 1 atm
= 101.33 KN /m2 absolute
P2 = 200 + 101.33
= 301.33 KN/m2 absolute
for air, = cp / cv = 1.4

Example 2 (Contd 1)
Take inlet temperature of 30oC
At that temperature, specific volume
v1 = (22.4/29) x (303/273)
= 0.8573 m3/Kg
Work W = P1v1 ((/(-1)) [(P2/P1)((-1)/) - 1] (Eqn.2
with n= )
W = 1.0133 x 105 x 0.8573 x [1.4/(1.4-1)] x
[ (3.0133/1.0133) ((1.4 1)/1.4) 1]
= 1.0133 x 105 x 0.8573 x 3.5 x (2.9740.286 1)
= 1.0133 x 105 x 0.8573 x 3.5 x (1.366 -1)
= 111.28 KJ / Kg
Example 2 (Contd 2)

Compression ratio (CR)

P2 / P1 = 3.0133 / 1.0133
= 2.974
Isentropic efficiency from Fig 3.7 is 84%
So work required
= 111.28 / 0.84 = 132.476 KJ / Kg
Mass flow rate = flow rate / v1
= 1000 / (3600 x 0.8573) = 0.324 Kg / sec
Power reqd.= 132.476 x 0.324 = 42.9 say 43 KW
Multistage Compressor

Single stage is only used for low pressure ratios

At higher pressure ratios, temperature rise is
too high for efficient operation
Hence for high pressure generation,
compression is split into a number of stages
with intercoolers between each stage
Inter-stage pressures normally selected to give
equal work in each stage

Multistage Compressor (Contd 1)
For a two stage compressor,
compression ratio (CR)in each stage is (P2 / P1) 1/2
and interstage pressure Pi ,is
Pi = CR x P1
For a three stage compressor, CR = (P2 / P1)1/3 and
interstage pressures Pi 1 and Pi 2 are
Pi1 = CR x P1
and Pi2 = CR x Pi1
= CR xCR x P1
and so on
Example 3
Estimate the power required to compress 1000 m3/hr of air from
ambient conditions to 700 KN /m2 g using a two stage
reciprocating compressor with an intercooler
P1 = 1 atm = 101.33 KN/m2 abs
P2 = 700 + 101.33 = 801.33 KN/m2 abs
For air, = cp / cv = 1.4
Compression ratio (CR) in each stage
= (8.0133 x 105 / 1.0133 x 105 )0.5 = 2.812
Therefore, interstage pressure Pi =101.33 x 2.812
= 284.9KN/m2

Example 3 (Contd 1)
Take inlet temperature of 30oC
v1 = (22.4 / 29) x (303 /273)
= 0.8573 m3 / kg
Work for each stage
Work W = P1v1 ((/(-1)) [(Pi /P1)((-1)/) - 1]
= 1.0133 x105 x 0.8573 x (1.4/(1.4-1))
x [ (2.849 /1.0133) ((1.4 1)/1.4) 1]
= 1.0133 x105 x 0.8573 x 3.5 [2.8120.286 1]
= 1.0133 x 105 x 0.8573 x 3.5 [1.344 -1]
= 1.0459 x 105 J/Kg = 104.59 KJ / Kg

Example 3 (Contd 2)
For 2 stages,
W = 2 x 104.59 = 209.18 KJ / Kg
Compression ratio in each stage = 2.812
For Compression ratio = 2.812, = 83% (from fig 3.7)
So work required = 209.18 / 0.83 = 252.02 KJ / Kg
Mass flow rate = 1000 / ( 3600 x 0.8573)
= 0.324 Kg / sec
Power reqd. = 252.02 x 0.324
= 81.65
say 82 KW
Electric Drives

Electric power required to drive a compressor (or

pump) can be calculated from a knowledge of motor
Electric power
Power required by pump or compressor
= ________________________________
Electric motor efficiency

Approximate Efficiencies of Electric Motors

Size (kW) Efficiencies

5 80
15 85
75 90
200 92
750 95
>4000 97

Class Exercise
A three stage reciprocating compressor with
intercoolers is used to compress 1000m3 / hr of air
at 50oC from 100 kN / m2 g to 1800 kN / m2 g.

a) Compression Ratio for each stage
b) Inter-stage pressures

a) P 1 = 100 + 101.33 = 201.33 kN/m2 ab
P2 = 1800 + 101.33 =1901.33 kN/m2 ab
CR for each stage
= (1901.33 / 201.33)1/3 = 2.114
b) Inter-stage pressures
Pi1 = (CR x P1) = 2.114 x 201.33
= 425.61 kN / m2 ab
Pi2 = (CR x Pi1) = 2.114 x 425.61
= 899.74 kN / m2 ab