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Tower Packing Basic Considerations

Date: 2020-10-15 | Author: Christine McAniff

Manufacturing process turn raw materials into useful products, however, some of the by-products of manufacturing are harmful to the environment. The presence of hundreds of potentially toxic chemical substances in the environment is known as chemical pollution. These pollutants contaminate the water, soil, air, and food. Manufacturing plants, refineries, and wastewater treatment facilities rely on the dependable design of tower packing for chemical separation and mass transfer processes to remove gas and liquid pollution contaminants before they reach the atmosphere. Tower packing also known as mist eliminators are commonly found in absorption, distillation, stripping, heat exchangers, cooling towers, and other operations, such as the removal of dust, mist, and odors.

tower packing

The packed tower scrubber will consist of internals, such as tower packing, which is not easy to access after startup, and therefore may be arguably the most important piece of process equipment. If the internals malfunction, the entire process will suffer consequences that can be costly as well as lead to fines and shutdown. Overall, tower packing is key to optimal tower performance.

Packed columns are used in a range of industries to allow intimate contact between two phases, which can be liquid/gas or liquid/liquid. The main objective is to promote a uniform distribution of gas and liquid. Doing so is imperative to generate good contact between the liquid and the vapor phase to promote effective mass transfer.

Manufacturing plants have packed tower scrubbers, stacks, and columns. Packing provides a large surface where separation can occur. Packing materials come in a variety of options, such as metals, plastics, and ceramics. Each material has a benefit. Pressure drop, corrosion resistance, and chemical interactions, and sensitivity to contamination must be taken into consideration. Proper diameters in media must be taken into consideration so fowling will not occur. Packing tower Internals display a set of characteristics that will each be appropriate for a particular application.

Random vs. Structured Packing

Random packing has been used in packed tower scrubber operations, such as gas, refinery, and chemical plants for years. Under certain conditions, you will find that random is better than structured packing and vice versa. Random packing will use packing materials that are effectively dumped into the tower with no structured order. They come in several shapes, such as rings, saddles, spheres, and others. Random packing are made from materials that vary in thickness, so the bed depth plays a major role in the process. After they are dumped, settling occurs, and the liquid separate through the flow. Typically, these are small pieces that when used in quantity will create surface area where the vapor/liquid phase will make contact. Maintaining low pressure drop is essential because high pressure drop will diminish performance and efficiency. There are benefits to random packing, such as its low cost. Random packing also is more effective than older technologies. Random packing is sometimes suggested where there is a higher liquid rate and pressure drop must be low.

Structured packing comes into play when more structure is needed. Structured packing is more costly than random packing and does well in environments that require high capacity and efficiency. Structured packing favors well in situations where low pressure drop is required. This type of tower packing is composed of materials such as metals and plastic, sometimes referred to as knitted mesh. Larger pieces are used to create structure packing which are arranged and neatly piled in the tower. They come in different sizes and are made to fit the tower. The result is an engineered product with textured elements that is designed to provide a large surface area for the liquid to contact. Structured packing forces the liquid down a specific path in the column. Materials can include metal, plastics, porcelain, and wire. Again, process conditions are taken into consideration. Benefits include large surface area that allows for more contact and enhanced performance. Liquid spreading assist to maintain low pressure drop and larger flow volume than random packing. Due to the structure being organized, efficiency is higher which leads to increased operating rates.

When considering your options, make sure to work with a company that has several proven installations and case histories to support their success. Contact Kimre for more information of structured tower packing.

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