Design, Testing and Fabrication of a Laboratory Scale Packed Tower for Distillation

Author : Fundador, Erwin Oliver V.
Major Adviser : Alcanzare, Edilberto A.; Demafelis, Rex B.
Committee Members : Movillon, Jovita L.; Acda, Reynaldo I.
Year : 1994
Month : April
Type : Thesis
Degree: BS
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A laboratory scale packed tower was designed, fabricated and tested to process a 2% by mole ethanol water solution to a distillate and bottoms of 30% and 1% respectively at a feed rate of 2.368 moles/min. The packed bed is made up of 1/2-inch clay rashig rings and has a total packed height of 10 inches for the enriching section and 9 inches for the stripping section. In order to distribute the liquid evenly all over the cross-sectional area of the tower, a distributor made from a 1/2-inch stainless steel pipe with perforations of 1/8 inches in diameter was installed. A support plate made of gage 16 stainless steel sheet with punched holes of 1/4 and 1/8 inches in diameter was placed under each section to counteract the weight of the packings and the fluid. The packed column has total height of 34 inches and a diameter of inches.

The preliminary testing was done using a feed of 2% by mole ethanol with a temperature of 31°C and a flowrate of 2.368 moles/min. Results show that the efficiency of the tower at the stated flowrate was 18.3% when compared to the theoretical height. The theoretical height was computed on the basis of the overall mass transfer coefficient based on the gas phase or Koa which is the rate limiting mass transfer coefficient. However, the packed tower was able to produce a distillate of 30.5 % by mole ethanol and bottoms product of 0.96 % by mole ethanol which were the desired concentrations.

Improvements are recommended in the distribution system of the equipment in order to increase the efficiency of the column. Further tests on other packing sizes and stage efficiencies are also recommended to improve the capability and performance of the column.

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