Threephase Flash

Single-stage equilibrium-flash calculations become considerably more complex when an additional liquid phase can form, as from mixtures of water with hydrocarbons. Procedures for computing such situations are referred to as three-phase flash methods, which are given for the general case by Henley and Rosen (Material and Energy Balance Computations, Wiley, New York, 1968, chap. 8). When the two liquid phases are almost mutually insoluble, they can be considered separately and relatively simple procedures apply as discussed by Smith (Design of Equilibrium Stage Processes, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1963). Condensation of such mixtures may result in one liquid phase being formed before the other. Computer-aided process design and simulation programs all contain a Gibbs free-energy routine that can compute a three-phase flash by minimization of Gibbs free energy. Many difficult aspects of flash calculations are discussed by Michelsen [Fluid Phase Equil., 9,1, 21 (1982)].

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