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Perforated Plate Efficiency-Effect of

Design and Operating Variables


J. D. HELLUMS, C. J. BRAULICK, C. D. LYDA a n d MATHEW VAN WINKLE
The University of Texas, Austin, Texas

Experimental plate efficiency and pressure drop data were obtained on the n-octane-
toluene system in a 5 plate, 6 in. diam. column at atmospheric pressure. Hole sizes of
1/16, 1/8, and 3/16 in.; 5.68 and 12.5% free areas; xeir heights of 1, 2, and 3 in.; and
plate spacings of 6, 12, 18, and 24 in. were studied. Reflux ratios of one, two, four, five,
ten, and total were utilized to determine the effect on efficiency.
It was found that hole diameter, free area, plate spacing, and a wide range of reflux
ratio had relatively small effect on efficiency and pressure drop; however weir height and
lower reflux showed relatively larger effects on both variables.
Efficiencies and pressure drops were lower than those predicted from published corre-
lations particularly at low flow rates.

Mechanical design features of the and encompassed the variables, reflux tion of plate operation. The dimensions
plates and column and vapor and liquid ratio, and plate spacing which were not of the column and ranges of variables
rates are important variables in estab- studied previously. Data of the effect of studied are given in Table 1. Free area
lishing distillation column performance. weir height were obtained in the range of and downcomer area are in percentage
Efficiency correlations in the literature usual commercial practice, and additional of the column superficial area.
(9,12) include the effects of some physical tests on the effects of hole size and free Plate spacing was varied in multiples
properties but in general do not include area were carried out. of 6 in. by using glass pipe sections of
the effects of design features and vapor As a matter of interest the effect of appropriate lengths. Downcomers were
and liquid rates. Gerster and co-workers composition on efficiency data previously constructed of 1% in. O.D. copper
(4, ii, 6, 7 ) have related gas film and reported (17) was recalculated after tubing. The upper ends of the down-
liquid film efficiencies in terms of liquid carefully resmoothing the relative vola- comers extended % in. above the plates
retention in the froth on both bubble cap tility data of Berg and Popovac (1). The and were machined to allow replaceable
and perforated fractionating plates. The trend showing increasing efficiency with circular weirs of various heights to be
systems studied involved water, water increasing toluene concentration as pre- used. The bottoms of the downcomers
vapor, air, and water, oxygen, and air. viously reported was substantiated at extended to within in. of the plates
The plate diameters were 13 in. and 13 low toluene concentrations. However the below. Plate inlet weirs and splash baffles
ft. Experimental data on the effects of change in efficiency seems to be less than were not used.
design and operating variables by using previously reported, and efficiency seems Plate layout is shown in Figures 2 and
single systems of constant physical to be essentially independent of com- 3. A larger hole spacing was used for the
properties are needed before techniques position in the midrange of concentra- plates of smaller free area, so that
of general applicability for estimating tions. Similar results on the influence of
plate efficiency can be developed. The composition on plate efficiency have been
effect of design and operating variables reported by Wijk and Thijssen (WO), TABLE1. DIMENSIONS
OF COLUMN
AND
on efficiency undoubtedly depends to Volland ( l o ) , and Langdon and Keyes VARIABLES
some extent on system physical prop- ( 1 1 ) . At low concentrations of either
Column Diameter, in. 6
erties. Extensive data on a single system component or near an azeotrope the Plate Spacing, in. 6, 12, 18, 24, 30
can serve to establish the relative low diffusional driving force seems to Number of Plates 5, 5, 3, 2, 2
importance of the variables and can serve
as a basis from which to evaluate the
result in reduced efficiency. Column
terminal concentrations were maintained
Plate Thickness, in.
Weir Height, in.
w%, 1, 2, 3
results of less extensive work on other at the same level for each test in this Hole Diameter, in. 1/16, W,3/16
systems. work to eliminate any effect of composi- Hole Pitch/Diameter
This investigation covers wide ranges tion on efficiency. Ratio 2, 3
of most of the important design and Percentage Free Area
operating variables on the system n-oc- of Holes 5.68. 12.5
EQUIPMENT Percentage Downcomer
tane-toluene. Results of an earlier part Area 7.1
of this program where column diameters The column was constructed of 6 in. Reflux Ratio,. LID
. . 5, 10, total
1,, 2., 4,
of 1.02, 1.83, and 3 in. were used have I.D. glass pipe with accessory equipment Vapor Rate
been reported (17, 18).This investigation (Figure 1). Openings in the insulation Fh. Hole F Factor 1 to 15
was carried out in a 6 in. diam. column were provided to permit visual observa- G,’lb./hr.-sq. f t . 100 to 1400

Vol. 4, No. 4 A.1.Ch.E. Journal Page 465


COLUMN INSIDE QIAMElER7

Iln" DIAYLTER HDL€Sn


8
'/l' DIAMETER -
loooooo oooooo\
,000000000000000
00000000000000 1
(000000000000000
oooooooobooooo I
\ o"o"o"o"o"o"o"o"o"o"o"o"o"o"/

Fig. 2. Hole layout for perforated plates.

PROCEDURE
The n-octane-toluene binary system
was used throughout this investigation
as the test system. The materials and
analytical techniques have been described
(17, 18).
Results of preliminary column tests
showed that steady-state operation could
be reached 90 min. after column startup
CONTROL PANEL
or 30 min. after a subsequent change in
Fig. 1. Distillation column and its accessories. operating conditions. To insure stead-
state operation 2% hr. were allowed
after column start up, and 1 hr. was
substantially the same effective plate
area was covered by perforations in each
case. The holes were drilled on equi-
lateral triangular pitch in all cases. . 50
4 I
30
COLUMN INSIDE DIAMETER 7
b- 20
z
W
u
a 50
W
a
>- 40
u
z
W 30
u
U
20
-I
4"112 50
W
2 40

30

20 I 1 I 1 I 1
HOLES
10
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

F FACTOR THROUGH HOLES, ( F T / S E C ) ( L B / C U F T ) +

A L L POINTS 1" WEIR HEIGtiT


PLATE THICKNESS 0 053" 0 PLATE THICKNESS f'
f' D I A M E T E R HOLES
0 PLATETHICKNESS 2
3" COLUMN -
A PLATE THICKNESS 0.083" 6" COLUtiiQ ---
Fig. 3. Perforated plate layout, 5.68y0free area. Fig. 4. Comparison of 3 and 6 in. columns.

Page 466 A.1.Ch.E. Journal December, 1958


allowed after a subsequent change in (Xd)(l - X*) on efficiency in the stable operating
operating conditions before0 verhead range, but i t does influence the lower
condensate and bottoms samples were n = -log (zD)(l- ’“) (2) limit of effective operation. Thinner
taken. A series of runs over the entire log a Dlates have a sliahtlv wider range of
range of vapor rates were made after Stable operation. Tbe efficiency obtained
each change in a design variable. The One stage was subtracted from the from the smaller column rises abruptly
upper limit of column vapor rate was number computed to account for the to a distinct maximum near the lower
established by the reboiler capacity. reboiler. The remainder was divided by limit of operation and then falls to a
In no case was the column flooding point the number of actual plates in the column nearly constant value a t higher vapor
reached. The lower limit of column vapor t o obtain over-all efficiency. rates. The maximum efficiency obtained
Vapor densities for use in computing is considerably higher than the nearly
rate was established by the quantity of
reflux or distillate which could be metered vapor velocities and F factors were constant value obtained a t higher vapor
effect i d y . calculated by using the ideal gas law a t rates. The efficiency obtained from the
Weeping was observed to a greater or the column average temperature and 6 in. column (dotted lines on Figure 4)
lesser extent in the case of trays of the pressure. Molecular weight was taken as rises more slowly with increasing vapor
larger free area a t all vapor rates utilized. the average of the molecular weight of rate to a much less distinct maximum.
The Smoker equation (16‘) was used the distillate and the molecular weight Except a t low vapor rates the larger
in the efficiency calculations for runs a t of the vapor in equilibrium with the column is more efficient by about 2070
finite reflux, and the Fenske equation (3) bottoms product. The compressibility (6 to 7 absolute units of efficiency).
was used for runs a t total reflux; these factor of the vapor a t column conditions Kirschbaum (10) reported a similar
are consistent in that Smoker’s equation was estimated from charts based on the higher efficiency for a 400 mm. diam.
reduces to Fenske’s equations for the theory of corresponding states to be column in comparison with a 110 mm.
case of total reflux. The two equations about 0.97, which indicates that the error diam. column. Kirschbaum (10) and
are based on assumptions of both introduced by using the ideal gas lam Perry (14) attributed the higher efficiency
is not significant. of larger columns t o an increase in
constant relative volatility and constant
molal overflow. The assumption of Froth height was observed, but sloshing countercurrent effect. Increasing column
of the liquid on the plate made accurate diameter increases vapor flow area by
constant molal overflow is satisfactory
determination of froth height impossible. the second power but only increases liquid
because of the small column temperature
gradient and the small difference in heats Therefore no complete data mere taken flow area across the plate by the first
with respect to this factor. power. Kirschbaum states that the higher
of vaporization of the two components.
The relative volatility varied by as liquid velocity and longer liquid path
much as 25% between column terminal RESULTS* both reduce the effect of mixing of liquid
compositions. For this reason a number on the plate thereby tending to increase
Comparison of 3- and 6-in. Columns
of runs were calculated plate-to-plate efficiency.
by using Berg’s (1) vapor-liquid equi- Data obtained from the 3 in. dmm. The 3 in. column operates more
librium composition data to determine column are shown in Figure 4 and are effectively at lower vapor loads than the
what error might be introduced by compared with data derived from the 6 in. column. The upper limit of operation
assuming constant relative volatility; 6 in. diam. column. The efficiency level should be about the same for both
it was established that no discernible shown is slightly lower than previously columns with the same plate spacing.
error was introduced. The equations give reported (17’) because of a small difference The upper limit is established by the
slightly better reproducibility of results in relative volatility data used in the pressure drop which causes flooding.
than the plate-to-plate method which calculations (as already noted). The data Kirschbaum (10) also noted a narrower
requires repeated readings from a chart. are for a 6 in. plate spacing, 12.5y0 free operating range for larger columns with
Smoker’s equation for the number of area, and a 1 in. weir height. The only respect to throughput.
theoretical stages required in a rectifying design feature other than diameter,
column is Effect of Plate Spacing on Efficiency
I T 7.

(z* - k) 1 -
L [l
- + (a - l ) k ] ( a - 1)(X, - k) defined trend of efficiency with plate
[. - 7 L
1 + (a - l)k2 I spacing over the range of vapor rate
and liquid rate tested is apparent. The

where effect are not detectable within the


precision of the work.
k = *i{l- 1 + X*/
r, which differs between the two columns,
is plate thickness. The 6 in. column
Karim and Nandi (9) tested three
systems at 6 and 12 in. tray spacings.
2 a-1 utilized in. thick plates, whereas the Increasing the spacing greatly increased
3 in. column contained plates 1/16 in.
v
O-I
L (a - 1)
--
2
-
L(a - I)
4Xd1’2 1 thick. Results from a series of tests
where the 3 in. diam. column with
different plate thicknesses was used are
the efficiency for the carbon tetrachloride-
toluene and acetone-water systems but
had little effect on the ethanol-water
system.
shown on the center chart (solid lines). Kirschbaum (10) tested the ethauol-
Plate thickness has no apparent effect water system a t 1.97, 3.94, and 7.88 in.
O < k < l *Tabular material has been deposited as document
- - The column efficiency and
smcings.
5762 with the American Documentation Institute,
operating range were markcdlJTimproved
I n the case of total reflux Smoker’s Photoduplication Service Library of Congress by increasing spacing from 1.97 to 3.94
Washington 25, D. C., Lnd may be obtai,ned fa;
equation reduces to the Fenske equation 963.75 for photoprints of $2.00 for 35-mm. microfilm. in. However the improvement was only

Vol. 4, No. 4 A.1.Ch.E. Journal Page 467


50 I I I I I I I I

40

30

I- 20
z
w
u
m 50
w
a
40
G
0
z
W 30
u
lL
20 I
J

d
[L
50
w
>
0 40

1
30

20 I I I I I I I
& H OI L E S
10
I
F FACTOR T H R O U G H HOLES, ( F T / S E C ) ( L B / C U F T ) ~

o 6" SPACING 0 2 4 " SPACING


A 12'' SPACING 3 0 " SPACING
v 18" SPACING A L L POINTS 1 " WEIR HEIGHT

Fig. 5. Effect of plate spacing on efficiency.

on the order of 3% on increasing plate for perforated plates than for bubble cap time. His work shows that bubble plate
spacing from 3.94 to 7.88 in. Higher plates because the higher velocity be- efficiency is much more influenced by
spacings were not tested. It seems likely tween bubble caps tends t o throw the plate spacing than perforated plate
that little or no change would have been liquid upward. He attributes the decrease efficiency.
found for spacings above 7.88 in. in perforated plate efficiency with in- It may be concluded that for some
As a matter of interest Kirschbaum creasing vapor rate in the stable operating systems including n-octane-toluene plate
noted that entrainment is much lower range to decreased vapor-liquid contact spacing above 6 in. is not an important

50

20

I0
6 HOLES
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
F FACTOR THROUGH HOLES, ( FT/SEC) ( LB/CU F T ) ~
F FACTOR T H R O U G H HOLES, ( F T / S E C ) ( L B / C U F T ) ~
$ WEIRS
o HOLES A HOLES TOTAL
L/D
- - _ _ _ - -
0
.
2"WElRS 3"WEIRS
0

+ HOLES
10
5
A
0 .
A A
b

Fig. 7. Effect of hole size on efficiency. Fig. 8. Effect of reflux on efficiency.

Page 468 A.1.Ch.E. Journal December, 1958


variable over wide ranges of vapor rate. size operate unsatisfactorily at low vapor tending to promote efficiency predominate
In certain other systems plate spacing loads. However the effective operating a t lower ratios.
is indicated to be of much greater range should extend to a somewhat Volland (19) reported results on the
importance. higher vapor load because of lower ethanol-water system in which the effect
pressure drop. of reflux on efficiency is in surprisingly
Effect of Weir Height on Eficiency At the highest vapor rates tested all good agreement with this work on the
three holes sizes yield substantially the n-octane-toluene system. Similarly Wijk
Data a t weir heights of g, 1, 2, and 3 same efficiency, and i t is possible to and Thijssen (20) found that for the
in. in the 6 in. diam. column are shown predict from the shape of the curves that, n-heptane-methylcyclohexane system in-
in Figure 6. Increasing weir height from if still higher rates were tested, the creasing reflux increased efficiency up to
to 3 in. is shown to increase efficiency plates of largest hole size would operate an external reflux ratio of about four,
by about 50% (15 absolute units of with highest efficiency. However there above which there was no effect. Kirsch-
efficiency) in the effective operating are insufficient data at higher vapor baum (10) and Peters (15) reported
range. At low vapor rates weir height velocities to definitely support such a efficiency independent of reflux at rela-
seems to have no effect except in the case conclusion. It was observed that the tively high reflux ratios.
of the 1/16 in. perforations where higher liquid on the plate was agitated into a
weirs yield lower efficiency. Weir height violent side-to-side sloshing at high Effect of Free Area
has no effect when the liquid weeps vapor rates, and that this sloshing was
through the holes as is the case at low considerably less violent for plates of f i e results shown in Figure 9 are for
vapor rates for plates with % and 3/16 larger hole size. plates of 5.68% free area (solid lines) in
in. holes. A liquid level was maintained comparison with results on plates of
Chu and associates (8) and Karim and 12.5% free area (dotted lines). In
on the plates with 1/16 in. holes a t all
Kandi (9) reported effects of hole size addition to free area, plate spacing was
vapor rates tested. The level was suffi-
cient to cause flow over x
weirs resulting in less weeping which
and 1 in.
similar to those shown in this work. varied. An 18 in. spacing was used with
the 5.687, free-area plates, whereas a
may account for the inversion of the Effect of Reflux on Efficiency 12 in. spacing was used with the 12.5%
trend of the curves of efficiency with free-area plates. However spacing has
Results of tests a t external or operating been shown to have practically no
weir height a t low loads on plates with reflux ratios>of five, ten, and total are
1/16 in. holes. influence on efficiency in the ranges of
shown in Figure 8. Parameters are weir variables tested, and this can be con-
Although the experimental results height and reflux ratio at three different
indicate a definite effect of weir height hole sizes. Results of the runs at various sidered a valid comparison. A greater
on efficiency, the extent of the effect reflux ratios appear to fall on the same pitch to diameter ratio was selected for
may be influenced by the lower efficiency general curves as indicated by the band the plates of smaller free area to give
level. Further data a t various efficiency formed by the dotted lines on Figure 8. perforations over substantially the same
levels are necessary before this can be Reflux ratio has no discernible effect on effective plate area in both cases.
proved. Reducing the plate free-area resulted
efficiency in the range from L / D = 5 to in the plate operating effectively even
Karim and Xandi (9) found that for L / D = a .
the ethanol-water system weir heights a t the lowest vapor rates tested. At the
An additional series of tests was made lowest vapor rate essentially all liquid
of 1and 2 in. gave substantially the same
to determine the effect of reflux ratio flow between plates occurred as the
results. ilpparently the effect of weir
over a wider range with respect to relative result of weeping. However in spite of
height as well as that of plate spacing
liquid and vapor flow rates. External this a liquid depth of about in. was
varies with system properties.
reflux ratios used were total, four, two, maintained on the plate. This liquid
It is interesting to compare the results and one. The additional experimental
of Kirschbaum (10) and Peavy and depth was sufficient for good plate
work was carried out at 1, 2, and 3 in. operation as evidenced by the efficiency
Baker (15)who, using the ethanol-water weir heights on plates of smaller free
system, studied the effect of static sub- area, as will be discussed. The curves in attained.
mergence on efficiency of bubble cap About the same peak efficiency was
Figure 9 indicate that reflux ratios of reached with the plates of different free
plates. Static submergence for bubble
two or greater yield the same results, but areas a t all three weir heights. The peak
plates is analogous to weir height for
that efficiency is appreciably lower for a efficiency however occurs a t considerably
perforated plates. Peavy and Baker noted reflux ratio of one, particularly a t high
different hole vapor velocities.
systematic increases in efficiency with
vapor loads. The data of Figure 9 are presented in
increasing static submergence over the
range 0, x, 1 and 2 in. Kirschbaum
reported no change in efficiency for in
The explanation of this effect must lie
consideration of the several factors
Figure 10 with column superficial mass
velocity as the abscissa. This plot is of
which influence efficiency. Increasing interest as it shows that efficiency is
increasing static submergence over 1 in.
reflux ratio a t a given vapor rate involves approximately the same for the plates of
An explanation for this apparent dis-
only increasing the internal liquid rate, greatly different free area a t a given
crepancy probably lies in differences in
while other factors remain the same. The column vapor rate, providing the rate is
design features other than those involving
resulting decreased liquid retention time high enough for the 12.5% free-area
static submergence.
on the plate tends to reduce efficiency. plates to be in effective operation.
On the other hand a higher liquid Comparison of Figures 9 and 10 indicates
Effect of Hole Size on Efficiency
velocity reduces the effect of mixing of that column-vapor mass velocity may
The data of Figure 6 are represented the liquid on the plate thereby increasing be preferable to hole-vapor velocity for
in Figure 7 with parameters of hole size the countercurrent effect and tending to comparing plates of different free area.
a t three different weir heights. Smaller increase efficiency. Entrainment rate a t On either basis a higher vapor rate is
hole sizes result in higher plate efficiency higher liquid rates becomes a smaller required to attain good operation of the
at low and moderate vapor rates. Plates fraction of the total liquid rate causing 12.5% free-area plates. The upper limit
of small hole size tend to retain the less concentration change and tending to of operation of the 12.5% free-area plate
liquid level required for normal operation improve efficiency. Turbulence on the should be much higher because of lower
even a t low vapor rates. For a given free plate induced by higher liquid rates pressure drop. Reboiler limitations pre-
area smaller hole diameter yields greater should also tend to improve efficiency. vented establishment of the upper limit
interfacial area which also tends to These factors seem to offset each other of capacity in this work.
increase efficiency. Plates of larger hole for reflux ratios above two, while those Volland (19) and Foss and Gerster (4)

Vol. 4, No. 4 A.1.Ch.E. Journal Page 469


50

40

30

i- 20
z
w
0
a 50
w
a-
40
>-
0
z
w 30 /
I I h

2 /
IL
LL
w
20
-I I WEIR HEIGHT 2"
2
a
50
W
2 40

30

20

10
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

F FACTOR T H R O U G H HOLES, ( FT/SEC) ( L B / C U F T ) + COLUMN SUPERFICIAL MASS VELOCITY, LBS/HR- SQ F T

REFLUX RPTIO I A L L DATA FOR HOLES


-
R E F L U X RATIO I ALL DATA FOR HOLES o
o
+ R E F L U X RATIO 2 FREE AREA 5 6 8 % + REFLUX RATIO 2 - FREE AREA 5 6 8 %
A R E F L U X RATIO 4 -- FREE AREA 12.5°/0, A REFLUX RATIO 4 -0- FREE AREA I 2 5 %,
e TOTAL REFLUX (TOTAL R E F L U X ) TOTAL REFLUX (TOTAL R E F L U X )

Fig. 9. Effects of free area and reflux on Fig. 10. Effect of free area at various column
efficiency. mass velocities.

investigated the effect of free area and Nandi (9) noted no effect of free area on Pressure Drop
found it to be slight. Both Volland and efficiency a t vapor rates high enough to The effects of plate variables on pres-
Foss and Gerster indicated that plates insure effective plate operation. Um- sure drop are in some ways similar to
of about 7 to 8% free area yield slightly holtz's tests on efficiency variation with their effects on efficiency. Pressure drop
higher efficiencies than plates of other free area were carried out in a 1.83 in. results for the 12.570 free-area plates are
free areas. Umholtz (17') and Karim and diam. column with a in. weir height. shown in Figure 11 for various weir

IL 20
W

;1 8
I-

lI.
16
m
W
I
u 14
z
-
a* I 2
0
IL
0
w lo
IL
2
g08
W
a
a 06
W
I-
?
a
04

5
m 0 o0 2 4 6 28 10 I2 14 16j

F FACTOR T H R O U G H HOLES, ( F T / S E C ) ( L ~ / C UF T ) ~

REFLUX WEIR HEIGHTS


RATIO -
I" -
2" -
3"
I O A O
2 * ~ m
4 b A b
TOTAL + - -
FREE AREA 5 68%
Fh FACTOR THROUGH HOLES (FTISEC 1 (LBS./CU F T . p HOLE SIZE $
Fig. 11. Effect of hole size and weir height Fig. 12. Effect of reflux and weir height on
on perforated-plate pressure drop. pressure drop.

Page 470 A.1.Ch.E. Journal December, 1958


TABLE2 AP = single plate pressure drop in
Approximate Effect on Absolute inches of water
Variable Studied Range of Efficiency P/D = hole pitch to diameter ratio
Variable Vapor Rate defined as the smallest center to
Low Moderate High center distance between holes
zb = mole fraction toluene in column
Column Diameter, in 3, 6 -15 to 30 $5 +7 bottomb product
Place Spacing, in. 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 0 0 0
Weir Height, in. w, 1, 2, 3 0 +lo f15 xd = mole fraction toluene in column
distillate product
Hole Diameter, in. 1/16, W,3/16 -20 -4 0
Free Area,, 41,
. _of column z = mole fraction toluene in the
superficial area 5.68, 12.5 -26 0 +3 liquid phase
Plate Thickness, in. 0.053,. 0.063, y = mole fraction toluene in the
0.083, 0.125 - 18 0 0 vapor phase
Reflux Ratio, LID 1, 2. 0 to $5 $5 +5 a = relative volatility defined as
4, 5; 10, total 0 0 0 y(1 - z)/z(l - y), where y and
Feed (Reboiler Toluene Con- r are equilibrium compositions
centrations) 13, 21 +I +1 +l
Mole %’ 21, 46 p = vapor density in Ib./cu. ft.
0 0 0
Efective plate operation = general term
designating characteristic area of
heights, hole sizes, and reflux ratios. splash baffles were used. Splash baffles plate operation where efficiency
Plate spacing is not shown as a parameter were not used because one set of runs is near its maximum value and
because it did not influence results within with and without splash baffles indicated is not greatly changed by changes
the precision of the work. Reflux ratio the same efficiencies within the limits of in vapor rate over a wide range
also seems to have little effect on experimental error.
pressure drop. Larger hole size resulted The pressure drop data range in this LITERATURE CITED
in lower pressure drop for a given total investigation from 0.4 to 1.8 in. of
hole area, and higher weirs resulted in water are slightly lower than those pre- 1. Berg, Lloyd and D. 0. Popovac,
higher pressure drop. dicted from correlations of Hughmark Chem. Eng. Progr., 45, 11, 683 (1949).
Pressure drop results for the 5.68% and O’Connell (Q), which range from 1.1 2. Drickamer, H. G., and J. R. Bradford,
free-area plates are shown in Figure 12: to 2.1 in. of water. Probably the weeping Jr., Trans. A m . Inst. Chem. Engrs.,
39, 319 (1943).
Parameters are weir height and reflux encountered a t low vapor rates reduced 3. Fenske, M. R., Ind. Eng. Chem., 24,
ratio. These plates of smaller free area the liquid head on the plate and therefore 482 (1932).
operated with good efficiency over the the pressure drop. At the higher rates 4. Foss, A. S., J. A. Gerster, Chem. Eng.
entire range of vapor rates tested. The the experimental pressure drops and Progr., 52, 28 (1956).
pressure drop a t a given vapor rate was those predicted are much closer numer- 5. Gerster, J. A., A. P. Colburn, W. E.
much higher than that for the plates of ically. Bonnet, and T. W. Carmody, Chem.
larger free area. This higher pressure drop An indication of the effect of each Eng. Progr. 45, 716 (1949).
maintained a satisfactory liquid level on variable studied on efficiency as a 6. Gerster, J. A., W. E. Bonnet, and
the plate, so that effective operation was function of vapor rate is given in Table 2. I. H. Hess, Chem. Eng. Progr., 47,
523 (1951).
obtained even a t low vapor rates. Increas- The change in efficiency shown is that 7. Gerster, J. A,, W. E. Bonnet, and
ing liquid rate (at the same vapor rate) caused by increasing the variable studied I. H. Hess, Chem. Eng. Progr., 47,
caused by increasing reflux ratio in- over the range indicated. In those cases, 621 (1951).
creased pressure drop. Such a trend where the effect of one variable is 8. Gouveia. W. R.. Ju Chin, Chu, and
probably also existed in the case of the influenced by changes in other variables, 0. P. Kharbanda, Abstracts of Papers,
12.5% free-area plates, but pressure average values or ranges of values are Am. Chem. SOC.Meeting, New York
fluctuation reduced the precision of the given. It is interesting to note that plate (September, 1954).
measurements so that the trend was not spacing, hole diameter, free area, plate 9. Hughmark, G. A., and H. E. O’Connell,
apparent. Extensive weeping was ob- thickness, reflux ratio, and feed composi- Chem. Eng. Progr., 53, 1271V (1957).
10. Kirschbaum, Emil, “Distillation and
served in the case of the larger free-area tion all have only a slight influence on Rectification,” 227, Chemical Publish-
plates at all vapor rates tested. efficiency over fairly wide ranges a t ing Co., New York (1948).
moderate and high vapor rates. The 11. Langdon, W. M., and 0. B. Keyes,
variable hole spacing is not mentioned; it Ind. Eng. Chem., 35, 464 (1943).
GENERAL DISCUSSION
is considered a dependent function of 12. O’Connell, H. E., Trans. Am. Inst.
The efficiency range of 30 to 45% free area, hole size, and effective plate Chem. Engrs., 42, 741 (1946).
encountered in this investigation is lower area covered by perforations. 13. Peavy, C. C., and E. M. Baker, Znd.
than that predicted from the correlations Eng. Chem., 29, 1056 (1937).
of Drickamer and Bradford ( 2 ) , which NOTATION 14. Perry, J. H., “Chemical Engineers’
Handbook,” 3rd ed., 615, McGraw-
indicates an efficiency of 63%, and of Hill Book Co., New York (1950).
O’Connell ( I @ , which indicates an F h = hole F factor defined as the 15. Peters, W. A,, Jr., Ind. Eng. Chem., 14,
efficiency of 65%. These correlations product of the square root of the 476 (1922).
relate in one case the molal average vapor density in Ib./cu. ft. and 16. Smoker, E. H., Trans. Am. Znst.
viscosity of the system with efficiency and the hole vapor velocity in ft./sec. Chem. Engrs., 34, 165 (1938).
in the other the product of the molal (7 = column superficial vapor mass 17. Umholtz, C. L., P. D. Jones, Mathew
average viscosity and relative volatility velocity in lb./hr./sq. ft. of Van Winkle, Znd. Eng. Chem., 49,
~

with efficiency and do not include other column superficial cross sectional 226 (1957).
area 18. Umholtz, C. L., and Mathew Van .
system, operating, and design variable Winkle, Petroleum Rejiner, 34, 7, 114
effects. L I D = external reflux ratio with the (1955).
Possibly lower efficiencies could be reflux rate divided by the distil- 19. Volland, G., Chem. Fabrik, 8, 5 (1935).
encountered here because of the weeping late rate in moles/mole 20. Wijk, W. R., and H. A. C. Thijssen,
of liquid through the holes, particularly n = number of theoretical stages rc- Chem. Eng. Sci., 3, 153 (1954).
at low vapor rates and for the larger quired t o accomplish a given Manuscript received December 30, 1957; revision
free-area plates, possibly because no separation received M a y 5. 1958; paper accepted M a y Bd, 1958.

Vol. 4, No. 4 A.1.Ch.E. Journal Page 471