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Bubble Cap Plate

Distillation Column
Presented By:-
Sanjeev Kumar 040430
Biochemical Engineering
IV year
Kumaon Engg. College,Uttarakhand
Distillation is a unit operation in which the constituents of a
liquid(mixture) solution are seperated using thermal energy.
Basically the difference in vapour pressures (volatilities) of
different contituents at the same temperature is responsible
for such a seperation.
In distillation, the phases involved are :
Liquid and vapour or gas and the mass is transferred from
both the phases to one another.
The basic requirement for separation of components by
distillation is that the composition of the vapour be different
from the composition of the liquid with which it is in
When a solution containing two volatile substances is heated up, one of
them will be present in the vapour above the solution in greater
quantities than the other. This is the basis on which distillation is based.
Distillation operates on the fact that the vapour of a boiling mixture will
be richer in the components that have lower boiling points. Therefore,
when this vapour is cooled and condensed, the condensate will contain
more volatile components. At the same time, the original mixture will
contain more of the less volatile material. Distillation columns are
designed to achieve this separation efficiently.
• Distillation is commonly encountered in CHEMICAL
separating the liquid mixture into its component
• Examples of distillation:
• Seperation of ethanol & water mixture
• Production of absolute alcohol from 95%ethanol
using benzene
• Seperation of petroleun crude into gasoline, kerosene,
fuel oil, etc.
Reflux Consideration
• Reflux Ratio(R)
Ratio of flow return as reflux to flow of the top product
taken off.
• Total Reflux
condition when all condensate is return to the column.
• Minimum Reflux
ratio at which the infinite numbers of stages are required for the
desired separation.
• Optimum Reflux
reflux ratio between total and minimum reflux ratio, requiring a
finite number of plates.

• Carried in two ways:

• 1:The liquid mixture to be seperated is
heated to create a vapour. Allthe vapour
formed is condensed in condenser and
withdrawn as product. As there is no
reflux,products of relatively low purities are
• 2:The liquid mixture to be seperated is
heated to create a vapour ,all the vapour
formed is condensed in a condenser. A part
of the condensed liquid is returned to the
distillation system(as reflux) and the
remaining part is withdrawn as product.
Common Methods Used In
Distillation Practise

• 1: Differential or simple distillation

• 2: Flash or equilibrium distillation
• 3:Rectification or fractionation
Out of these three ,distillation with
rectification is the most important.The
first two methods are carried out without
reflux and the third one is carried out
with reflux.
Important terms used in designing
• Bubble Point
It is the temperature at which the liquid mixture
of a given composition starts to vaporize as the
temperature is increased.

Condition at which the net transfer of material
ceases for a given set of operating conditions
•Relative Volatility
Define as the ratio of concentration ratio of A to B in vapour phase to that
in liquid phase.

R.V (αAB) = (YA/YB) / (XA/XB)

αAB = (Vapour pressure of A / Vapour pressure of B)

• The q value
Is the ratio of energy required to convert 1 mole of feed to
saturated vapour to the molal latent heat of vaporization
• Distillation with rectification makes use of either
plate(tray)column or packed towers, for intimate
phase contacting,the former being more common. In
plate columns, the process of mass transfer is
stagewise and in packed towers/columns the process
of mass transfer is continuous.
• Aplate column is a vertical column which consists of
a number of plates. In this column, liquid enters from
the top,flows over every plate and from plate to plate
ultimately comes down
Various plates used for phase
contacting are:

• 1:Bubble cap plate/tray

• 2:Sieve plate and
• 3:Valve plate.
Bubble-Cap Plates

The most common gas disperser for cross-flow plates has been
the bubble-cap. This device has a built-in seal which prevents
liquid drainage at low gas flow rates. Gas flows through a
center riser, reverses the flow under the cap, passes downward
through the annulus between riser and cap and finally passes
into the liquid through a series of openings or “slots” in the
lower side of the cap.
A schematic representation of bubble-cap plate.
Basic requirements of a plate contacting stage are that it should:

• Provide good vapour – liquid contact

• Provide sufficient liquid hold–up for good mass transfer.

• Have sufficient area and spacing to keep the entrainment and

pressure drop within acceptable limits.

• Have high efficiency

Bubble-cap distillation column
1) Drain valve
2) Heating mantle
3) Reboiler
4) Bubble-cap column
5) Bubble-cap plate
6) Vacuum connection
7) Overhead condenser
8) Reflux divider
9) Top product sampling valve
10) Product line
11) Product cooler
12) Vacuum cork
13) Top receiving funnel
14) Vacuum and vent cork
15) Bottom receiving funnel
16) Product outlet valve
17) Condensate return valve
18) Product recycle valve
19) Reboiler thermometer
Schematic general Plate design algorithm

1. Given Feed Flow rate

F = 20 L/hr = .02 m3 / hr

• weight fractions of alcohol (let ethanol) in feed,

distillate and waste are:
Xf = 0.35 Xd = 0.95 Xw = 0.05
• Density of mixture ρ = 914.6 Kg/m3

• Hence feed flow rate F = 0.02 X 914.6

= 18.292 Kg / hr
2. Calculation of flow rates of distillate and Waste:

By applying overall material balance and material balance

for ethanol

• Distillate flow rate D = 6.096 Kg / hr

• Waste flow rate W = 12.194 Kg / hr

• Impurities (let present only in waste) I =1.829 Kg /hr

3. Calculation of number of theoretical stages (NTS):

• Mole fractions of ethanol

XF = 0.174 XD = 0.881 XW = 0.02

• Liquid-vapor data for ethanol – water mixture

X .019 .072 .096 .124 .166 .234 .327 .397 .508 .520 .573 .676 .747 .894

Y .17 038 .44 .47 .51 .54 .58 .61 .65 .66 .68 .74 .78 .89

T◦C 95.5 89.0 86.7 85.3 84.1 82.7 81.5 80.7 79.8 79.7 79.3 78.7 78.4 78.2
Assuming 2/3rd of the feed is liquid and reflux ratio is given
R = 2.9
q = 2/3 = 0.666
• slope of rectifying section operating line(L/V) = 0.743
• intercept on y-axis by this line = 0.225
• intercept on y-axis by q line = 0.515

From equilibrium curve:

• Slope of bottom operating line (L’/V’) = 1.60

• NTS = 14 (including reboiler)

4. Calculation of vapor and liquid flow rates:
F = 18.29 Kg/hr
Mol. Wt. of feed = 22.81 Kg/Kmol

Hence F = 0.799 Kmol/hr

By mass balance on ethanol
• Top product (D) = 0.799 (0.174/0.881) = 0.172 Kmol/hr
• Vapor rate in top section (V) = 0.669 Kmol/hr
• Liquid flow rate in top section (L) = 0.497 Kmol/hr
• Vapor rate in bottom section (V’) = 1.045 Kmol/hr
• Liquid flow rate in bottom section (L’) = 1.672 Kmol/hr
• Bottom Product (W) = 0.672 Kmol/hr
5. Estimation of number of real stages and bottom pressure:

• Top Pressure = 1atm = 101.3 KPa

Assume the column efficiency is 60%
• Now number of real stages required = (14 - 1)/0.6
= 22 (aprx.)
Assume 100mm water pressure drop per plate
• Hence column pressure drop = 100*10-3 *998.2*9.81*22
= 21543 Pa
• Estimated bottom pressure = (101400 + 21543)Pa = 122843Pa
= 1.23 bar (17.84Psia)
• From steam table, Bottom Temp.
T = 223F (106˚C)
6. Physical properties
 For bottom section
• Density of vapor = 0.72Kg/m3
• Density of liquid = 954Kg/m3
• Surface tension = 57*10-3 N/m

 For top section: 95% alcohol

Assume data (can be obtain from PPDS)
• Density of vapor = 2.05Kg/m3
• Density of liquid = 753Kg/m3
• Surface tension = 23*10-3 N/m
7. Calculation of column diameter:
Flooding velocity calculated form given physical properties and
liquid-vapor flow factor , for a assumed plate spacing of 0.15m.
• For bottom u = 3.38 m/s
• For top u = 1.78 m/s

Assuming maxi. Vapour velocity 85% of flooding velocity

• Bottom u’ = 3.38*0.85 = 2.87 m/s
• Top u’ = 1.78*0.85 = 1.51 m/s

Now maxi. Volumetric flow rates

• Top = 1.7*10-2 m3/ s
• Bottom = 7026*10 -2 m3/ s
Hence net plate area required
• Bottom Ap = 2.528*10-2 m2
• Top Ap = 1.133*10-2 m2
Assuming 12% downcomer area
Column cross sectional area
• Top Ac = (2.528*10-2 )/(100 - 12) = 2.87*10-2 m2
• Bottom Ac = (1.133*10-2 )/(100 - 12) = 1.287*10-2 m2

Now column diameter

Top Dc = 0.1912 m
Bottom Dc = 0.1284 m
Mean diameter of column = 0.1594 m
8. Plate specification

• Cap dia of bubble cap (6.5% of plate dia) = 0.0104 m

• Riser dia(65% of cap dia) = 6.76*10-3 m

• Weir length(75% of plate dia) = 0.11955 m

• total riser area (20% of cross sectional area of column) =

0.574*10-2 m2

• Downcomer area for each plate(12% of the total plate area) =

0.344*10-2 m2