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General The absorption of a gas into a liquid is one of the fundamental processes of industrial chemistry. It makes it possible to separate on or more components of a gaseous mixture and to produce a liquid containing a desired quantity of a gas. The IC131D essentially consists of a column packed with Raschigrings. Water, driven by an electrically operated centrifugal pump fed from a storage tank, enters the column from the top. The gas line is connected to the bottom end of the column and can be fed either from an air compressor, a gas

cylinder of a gas/air mixture. The liquid and gas lines are both equipped with flow meters to measure the flow rate of the fluids, while the column is provided with pressure taps, thermocouples and sample drawing points, enabling the process to be monitored at all times. The metal structure that supports the entire equipment is fitted with a control module including also a digital temperature indicator connected to the thermocouples. Technical data

- column of borosilicate glass, 80 mm internal diameter, 1600 mm high packed with 8 mm diameter Rashig rings

- water flow rate : 13 l/min max.

- air flow rate : 200 l/min approx.

- gas flow rate : 25l/min approx, 200 mbar max pressure

- tank capacity : 50 l

- No. 3 calibrated flow meters

- No. 2 U-manometers

- No. 4 sample drawing points

- No. 4 thermocouples connected to a digital display

- No. 3 pressure measuring points Experiments

- hydrodynamic properties of packings

- mass balance for absorption systems

- column load losses

- column efficiency

- gas-liquid mass transfer coefficient

Services required Electric supply : 220/240 V – 50/60 Hz single-phase – 0.8 kW

Weight and dimenslons Dimensions: 1400 x 650 x 2300 (h.) mm. Weight: 90 kg.



1 - Packed column sections

2 - Intermediate section

3 - Upper head of column, water inlet

4 - Bottom head of column, gas inlet and outlet

5 - Column wash/emptying valve

6 - Valve for the adjustment of liquid flow from the column

7 - Vent valve

8 - Liquid feed and collection tank

9 - Float valve

10 - Water feed connection

11 - Tank emptying valve

12 - Filter on circulation pump intake pipe

13 - Centrifugal circulation pump

14 - Flow-rate adjustment valve

15 - Float type liquid flow-rate meter

16 - Column head/bottom differential pressure gauge

17 - Temperature measuring points

18 - Sample taking points

19 - Pressure gauge on gas inlet

20 - Float type flow-rate meter for total gaseous fluid (mixture)

21 - Float type flow-rate meter for the gas

22 - Air flow rate regulator valve

23 - Gas flow rate regulator valve

24 - Water/air heat exchanger to cool the air coming from the compressor

25 - Blade compressor

26 - Filter on intake air

27 - Pressure regulator on gas cylinder

28 - Gas cylinder PACKED COLUMNS

FOREWORD The efficiency of the exchange of matter between the phases, in particular between gas and liquid, is strictly tied with the contact area. The devices that bring about the contact are based essentially on three types of liquid/gas dispersion:

- dispersion of the gas in the liquid (continuous stage) in the form of bubbles or foam; this is the case of plate columns or bubble towers;

- dispersion of the liquid in the gas (continuous phase) in the form of drops as in spray towers or in plate towers operating in spray conditions;

- dispersion of the liquid in the form of a film submerged in the gas; this is what happens in packed columns where packing is employed to create a support for the film: in these circumstances, both phases are continuous.

In this manual we shall examine packed columns that are widely used in industry, both in absorption and stripping operations and for distillation purposes.

Packed columns are commonly associated with absorption processes.

However, there are numerous examples of packed columns used for distillation purposes (distillation in vacuum conditions, in pilot plants and laboratories, in the pharmaceutical industry, etc.) as well as examples of

absorption process performed by means of tray columns (very strong or delicate absorption, or in the event of high vapor/liquid ratios).

Unlike plate columns, packed columns are suitable for equi-current operations. This kind of application is used, for instance, when the process is carried out in two towers arranged in series and the size of the gas return pipes (from the head of the 1st tower to the bottom of the 2 nd ) would entail a considerable increase in system costs.

PACKING The packing calls for the following characteristics:

a) Great surface per unit of volume, so as to obtain the greatest possible

interface area. Obviously, this is to be understood in the macroscopic sense, since microscopic porosity has no effect for the purposes of gas/liquid contact. The effective surface generally turns out to be smaller than the geometric surface of the support, on account of the inevitable shortcircuiting of the liquid film, especially at the points of contact of the packing elements. It should also be borne in mind that the flow of the liquid also causes a reduction in the volume available to the gas and that the film tends to arrange itself so as to "fill" many irregularities of the surface of the support, thereby reducing the exposed area.

B) Low load losses to permit the passage of great fluid flow-rates per unit of

section of the column without flooding. This required a high degree of vacuum for the packing.


Resistance to chemical corrosion.

d) Good mechanical properties.

e) Low cost.

Fig. 2.4.0 shows some of the most common types of packing elements used haphazardly. Rashig rings, very widely used in the past, are made of

- ceramic

- stoneware

- metal

- glass - graphite - sundry plastic materials

in sizes from 6 to 100 mm and over.

Berl and Intalox saddles are generally made of ceramic, but can also be produced in any material suitable for moulding.

They are recommended in those cases which, in addition to great efficiency and capacity, require the use of ceramic packing elements. Their usual size is between 12 and 75 mm.

Unlike Rashig rings, saddles only hace an "external" surface.

surface is generally more active than the "internal"

being reached very well by the liquid and sometimes even containing "traps" of non-renovated liquid.

one, the latter often not

The external

Pall rings have recently found widespread application on account of their excellent capacity and efficiency characteristics. Built of plastic materials or metal, in sizes from 16 to 100 mm, they have proved particularly suited and practical in operations under pressure and especially under vacuum.

The special shape of the notches and tongues is designed to carry the liquid from the inner wall to the outer wall and viceversa.

Packing elements used in haphazard conditions :


Rachig rings;

b) Lessing rings;


Berl saddles;

d) Intalox saddles;


Pall rings.


A correct fluids dynamic operation of a packed column means having:

- Liquid – in the form of a film – descending along the packing surface;

- Gas (or steam) rising through the packing spaces and representing the continuous phase;

Furthermore, the liquid film should cover the widest possible packing surface.

The upper limit of the operating range in correct fluids dynamic conditions lies in the “flooding” of the column, a phenomenon which is characterized, as in plate columns, by the whole or partial saturation of the column with liquid and the resulting sudden increase in load losses.

In flooding conditions, the gas is forced to bubble in the liquid and thus becomes a dispersed phase; the liquid may come out from the head pipe of the gas in the form of foam or entrained drops.

The lower limit may be understood as the absence of adequate gas/Liquid contact: it depends primarily on the liquid flow-rate. This is a not clearly defined limit, as the “wetting” of the packing increase in a virtually continuous manner with increasing liquid flow-rate. LOAD LOSSES

Fig. 2.6.0a

arranged in haphazard manner, in terms of

show the typical fluids dynamic behaviour of packing elementls

- load losses per unit of height of the packing