The effect of flow regimes in the distillation of systems containing two liquid phases
Single phase solutions containing three components have been observed to exhibit foaminess near a single to two liquid phase boundary. It was seen, in a sintered plate column under mass transfer conditions, that distillation systems where the liquid appeared as one phase in one part of a column and two phases in another part, exhibited foaminess when the liquid concentration was near the one phase to two phase boundary. Various ternary systems have been studied in a 50 plate. 30mm i.d. Oldershaw column and it was observed that severe foaming occurred in the middle section of the column near the one liquid phase to two liquid phase boundary and no foaming occurred at the end of the column where liquid was either one phase or two phase. This is known as Ross type foam. Mass transfer experiments with Ross type ternary systems have been carried out in a perspex simulator with small and large hole diameter trays. It was observed that by removal of the more volatile component, Ross type foam did not build up on the tray. Severe entrainment of liquid was observed in all cases leading to a 'dry' tray, even with a low free area small diameter hole tray which was expected to produce a bubbly mixture. Entrainment was more severe for high gas superficial velocities and large hole diameters. This behaviour is quite different from the build up of foam observed when one liquid phase/two liquid phase Ross systems were contacted with air above a small sintered disc or with vapour in an Oldershaw distillation column. This observation explains why distillation columns processing mixtures which change from one liquid phase to two liquid phases (or vice versa) must be severely derated to avoid flooding. Single liquid phase holdups at the spray to bubbly transition were measured using a perspex simulator similar to that of Porter & Wong (17). i.e. with no liquid cross flow. A light transmission technique was used to measure the transition from spray regime to bubbly regime. The effect of tray thickness and the ratio of hole diameter to tray thickness on the transition was evaluated using trays of the same hole diameter and free area but having thickness of 2.38 mm, 4 mm, and 6.35 mm. The liquid holdup at the transition was less with the thin metal trays. This result may be interpreted by the theory of Lockett (101), which predicts the transition liquid holdup in terms of the angle of the gas iet leaving the holes in the sieve plate. All the existing correlations have been compared and none were found to be satisfactory and these correlations have been modified in view of the experimental results obtained. A new correlation has been proposed which takes into account the effect of the hole diameter to tray thickness ratio on the transition and good agreement was obtained between the experimental results and the correlated values of the liquid holdup at the transition. Results have been obtained for two immiscible liquids [kerosene and water] on trays to determine whether foaming can be eliminated by operating in the spray regime. Kerosene was added to a fixed volume of water or water was added to a fixed volume of kerosene. In both cases, there was a transition from spray to bubbly. In the water fixed system. the liquid holdup at the transition was slightly less than the pure kerosene system. Whilst for the kerosene fixed system, the transition occurred at much lower liquid holdups. Trends In the results were similar to those for single liquid phase. New correlations have been proposed for the two cases. It has been found that Ross type foams, observed in a sintered plate column and in the Oldershaw column can be eliminated by either carrying out the separation in a packed column or by the addition of defoaming additives.