Oldershaw Column


1. Kirschbaum, Distillier-Rektijiziertechnik, 4th ed., Springer-Verlag, Berlin and Heidelberg, 1969.

3. Billet and Raichle, Chem. Ing. Tech., 38, 825 (1966); 40, 377 (1968).

4. AIChE Research Committee, Tray Efficiency in Distillation Columns, final report, University of Delaware, Newark, 1958.

5. Billet R., IChemE., Symp. Ser. 32, p. 4:42 (1969).

6. Mayfield et al., Ind. Eng. Chem., 44, 2238 (1952).

7. Fractionation Research, Inc. "Report of Tests of Nutter Type B Float Valve Tray," July 2, 1964 from Sulzer Chem Tech.

8. Sakata and Yanagi, IChemE., Eng. Symp. Ser., no. 56, 3.2/21 (1979).

9. Yanagi and Sakata, Ind. Eng. Chem. Process Des. Dec., 21, 712 (1982).

10. Zuiderweg and Van der Meer, Chem. Tech. (Leipzig), 24, 10 (1972).

11. Korchinsky, Trans. I. Chem. E., 72, Part A, 472 (1994).

12. Gliltsch, Inc. "Glitsch Ballast Trays," Bulletin 159/160 (FRI Topical Report 15, 1958). Available from Koch-Glitsch LP, Wichita, Kans.

13. Kunesh et al., Paper presented at the AIChE Spring National Meeting, Atlanta, Ga., 1994.

14. Remesat, Chuang, and Svrcek, Trans. I Chem. E., Vol. 83, Part A, p. 508, May 2005.


*Rectangular Sulzer BDP valves. *Glitsch V-1 round valves (Koch-Glitsch). »Two-pass trays, short path length.

To convert feet to meters, multiply by 0.3048; to convert inches to centimeters, multiply by 2.54; and to convert psia to kilo-pascals, multiply by 6.895.

Vital, Grossel and Olsen [Hydroc. Proc. 63, 11, p. 147 (1984)] and Garcia and Fair [Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 39, p. 1809 (2000)] present an extensive tabulation of tray efficiency data collected from the published literature.

The GPSA Engineering Data Book (10th ed., Gas Processors Association, 1987) and Kaes (Refinery Process Modeling—A Practical Guide to Steady State Modeling of Petroleum Processes Using Commercial Simulators, Athens Printing Co., Athens, Ga., 2000) tabulate typical efficiencies in gas plant and refinery columns, respectively. Pilling (Paper presented at the 4th Topical Conference on Separations Science and Technology, November 1999, available from Sulzer Chemtech, Tulsa, Okla.) tabulated more typical efficiencies. Similar information is often available from simulation guide manuals. The quality and reliability of efficiencies from these sources vary and are generally lower than the reliability of actual measured data.

Scale-up from a Pilot- or Bench-Scale Column This is a very common scale-up. No reduction in efficiency on scale-up is expected as long as several precautions are observed. These precautions, generally relevant to pilot- or bench-scale columns, are spelled out with specific reference to the Oldershaw column.

Scale-up from Oldershaw Columns One laboratory-scale device that found wide application in efficiency investigations is the Oldershaw column [Fig. 14-44, Oldershaw, Ind. Eng. Chem. Anal. Ed. 13, 265 (1941)]. This column is available from a number of laboratory supply houses and can be constructed from glass for atmospheric operation or from metal for higher pressures. Typical column diameters are 25 to 100 mm (1 to 4 in), with tray spacing the same as the column diameter.

Fair, Null, and Bolles [Ind. Eng. Chem. Process Des. Dev. 22, 53 (1983)] found that efficiency measurements in Oldershaw columns closely approach the point efficiencies [Eq. (14-133)] measured in

Distilling Column Oldershaw
FIG. 14-44 An Oldershaw column. (From H. Z. Kister, Distillation Design, copyright © 1992 by McGraw-Hill; reprinted by permission.)

commercial sieve-tray columns (Fig. 14-45) providing (1) the systems being distilled are the same, (2) comparison is made at the same relative approach to the flood point, (3) operation is at total reflux, and (4) a standard Oldershaw device is used in the laboratory experimentation. Fair et al. compared several systems, utilizing as large-scale information the published efficiency studies of Fractionation Research, Inc. (FRI).

A mixing model can be used to convert the Oldershaw point efficiencies to overall column efficiencies. This enhances the commercial column efficiency estimates. A conservative approach suggested by Fair et al. is to apply the Oldershaw column efficiency as the estimate for the overall column efficiency of the commercial column, taking no credit for the greater plug-flow character upon scale-up. The author prefers this conservative approach, considering the poor reliability of mixing models.

Previous work with Oldershaw columns [Ellis, Barker, and Contractor, Trans. Instn. Chem. Engnrs. 38, 21 (1960)], spells an additional note of caution. Cellular (i.e., wall-supported) foam may form in pilot or Oldershaw columns, but is rare in commercial columns. For a

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