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

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10.7 Introduction to Packed Column Design

Instead of staged columns we often use packed columns for distillation, absorption, stripping, and occasionally extraction. Packed columns are used for smaller diameter columns since it is expensive to build a staged column that will operate properly in small diameters. Packed columns are definitely more economical for columns less than 2.5 feet in diameter. In larger packed columns the liquid may tend to channel, and without careful design randomly packed towers may not operate very well; in many cases large-diameter staged columns are cheaper. Packed towers have the advantage of a smaller pressure drop and are therefore useful in vacuum fractionation.

In designing a packed tower, the choice of packing ...

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