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Separation Process Engineering: Includes Mass Transfer Analysis, Third Edition by Phillip C. Wankat

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4.13 New Uses for Old Columns

Closely related to simulation is the use of existing or used distillation systems for new separations. The new use may be debottlenecking—that is, increasing capacity for the same separation. With increasing turnover of products, the problem of using equipment for new separations is becoming much more common.

Why would we want to use an existing column for a problem it wasn’t designed for? First, it is usually cheaper to modify a column that has already been paid for than to buy a new one. Second, it is usually quicker to do minor modifications than to wait for construction of a new column. Finally, for many engineers solving the often knotty problems involved in adapting a column to a new separation is an interesting ...

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