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component was soluble in both liquid phases, and HETP was about 50 percent above normal. Harrison argued that a second liquid phase leads to lower efficiency only when it impairs diffusion of the key species. On this basis, Harrison expects efl iciency loss also when an "inert" liquid or vapor represents a large fraction of the liquid or vapor phase. Meier et al. recommend obtaining efficiencies by scaling up laboratory-scale data using a similar type of packing.

Both Harrison and Meier et al. emphasize adequately distributing each liquid phase to the packing. Harrison noted that a well-designed ladder pipe distributor can maintain high velocities and low residence times that provide good mixing. With trough distributors that separate the phases and then distribute each to the packing, a light-to-heavy phase maldistribution may occur, especially when the phase ratio and separation vary. Meier et al. noted the existence of a cloudy two-liquid layer between the clear light and heavy liquid and recommend an additional middle distribution point for this layer. They also noticed that phase separation unevenness can have a large influence on the phase ratio irrigated to the packing.

High Viscosity and Surface Tension Bravo (Paper presented at the AIChE Spring National Meeting, Houston, Tex., 1995) studied a system that had 425-cP viscosity, 350 mN/m surface tension, and a high foaming tendency. He found that efficiencies were liquid-phase-controlled and could be estimated from theoretical HTU models. Capacity was less than predicted by conventional methods which do not account for the high viscosity. Design equations for orifice distributors extended well to the system once the orifice coefficient was calculated as a function of the low Reynolds number and the surface tension head was taken into account.

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