CFD simulation of mass transfer efficiency and pressure drop in a structured packed distillation column

M. Haghshenas Fard*, M. Zivdar, R. Rahimi, M. Nasr Esfahany, A. Afacan, K. Nandakumar, K. T. Chuang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

The pressure drop and mass transfer efficiency for two-phase flow in a structured packed column were simulated using a commercial CFD package, CFX version 10. The distillation of the methanol/isopropanol system was carried out in a 0.073 m diameter column, with an element composed of a ceramic structured packing and 0.053 m in height. The Height Equivalent to Theoretical Plate (HETP) value varied from 0.106-0.146 m. Pressure drop experiments were measured with an air/water system. The pressure drops at the flooding and loading points were ca. 173 and 580 Pa/m of packing, respectively. HETPs and pressure drops calculated from the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model were compared to their experimental counterparts. The average relative error between CFD predictions and the experimental data for the prediction of dry pressure drop, irrigated pressure drop and mass transfer efficiency are 20.3 %, 23 % and 9.15 %, respectively. In all cases, the CFD predictions show a good agreement with the experimental data, indicating that CFD is a reliable, cost saving and suitable technique for the design and optimization of separation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-861
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Engineering and Technology
Volume30
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CFD
  • Distillation
  • Packed column
  • Process optimization

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