Other Tray Types

Bubble-Cap Trays (Fig. 14-27a) These are flat perforated plates with risers (chimneylike pipes) around the holes, and caps in the form of inverted cups over the risers. The caps are usually (but not always) equipped with slots through which some of the gas comes out, and may be round or rectangular. Liquid and froth are trapped on the tray to a depth at least equal to the riser or weir height, giving the bubble-cap tray a unique ability to operate at very low gas and liquid rates.

The bubble-cap tray was the workhorse of distillation before the 1960s. It was superseded by the much cheaper (as much as 10 times) sieve and valve trays. Compared to the bubble-cap trays, sieve and valve trays also offer slightly higher capacity and efficiency and lower entrainment and pressure drop, and are less prone to corrosion and fouling. Today, bubble-cap trays are only used in special applications where liquid or gas rates are very low. A large amount of information on bubble -cap trays is documented in several texts (e.g., Bolles in B. D. Smith, Design of Equilibrium Stage Processes, McGraw-Hill, 1963; Bolles, Pet. Proc., February 1956, p. 65; March 1956, p. 82; April 1956, p. 72; May 1956, p. 109; Ludwig, Applied Process Design for Chemical and Petrochemical Plants, 2d ed., vol. 2, Gulf Publishing, Houston, 1979).

Dual-Flow Trays These are sieve trays with no downcomers (Fig. 14-27b). Liquid continuously weeps through the holes, hence their low efficiency. At peak loads they are typically 5 to 10 percent less efficient than sieve or valve trays, but as the gas rate is reduced, the efficiency gap rapidly widens, giving poor turndown. The absence of downcomers gives dual-flow trays more area, and therefore greater capacity, less entrainment, and less pressure drop, than conventional trays. Their pressure drop is further reduced by their large fractional hole area (typically 18 to 30 percent of the tower area). However, this low pressure drop also renders dual-flow trays prone to gas and liquid maldistribution.

In general, gas and liquid flows pulsate, with a particular perforation passing both gas and liquid intermittently, but seldom simultaneously. In large-diameter (>2.5-m, or 8-ft) dual-flow trays, the pulsations sometimes develop into sloshing, instability, and vibrations. The Ripple Tray™ is a proprietary variation in which the tray floor is corrugated to minimize this instability.

With large holes (16 to 25 mm), these trays are some of the most fouling-resistant and corrosion-resistant devices in the industry. This defines their main application: highly fouling services, slurries, and corrosive services. Dual-flow trays are also the least expensive and easiest to install and maintain.

A wealth of information for the design and rating of dual-flow trays, much of it originating from FRI data, was published by Garcia and Fair [Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 41:1632 (2002)].

Baffle Trays Baffle trays ("shed decks," "shower decks") (Fig. 14-28a) are solid half-circle plates, sloped slightly in the direction of outlet flow, with weirs at the end. Gas contacts the liquid as it showers from the plate. This contact is inefficient, typically giving 30 to 40 percent of the efficiency of conventional trays. This limits their application mainly to heat-transfer and scrubbing services. The capacity is high and pressure drop is low due to the high open area (typically 50 percent of the tower cross-sectional area). Since there is not much

Distillation Trays Fouling

FIG. 14-27 Other trays. (a) Bubble-cap tray. (b) Dual-flow tray. [Part a, courtesy of Koch-Glitsch LP; part b, courtesy of Fractionation Research Inc. (FBI). ]

FIG. 14-27 Other trays. (a) Bubble-cap tray. (b) Dual-flow tray. [Part a, courtesy of Koch-Glitsch LP; part b, courtesy of Fractionation Research Inc. (FBI). ]

Liquid Shower

Dual Flow Trays

Notched Weir

Fractionating Reflux Still

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  • nebyat medhanie
    What are shower trays in distillation?
    7 years ago

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