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Processing & Handling :: Separation (Liquid-Liquid & Gas-Liquid)

February 1, 2010

Kettle Troubleshooting

Here’s proof that kettle reboilers can behave like thermosiphons and thereby bottleneck an entire plant. Understand the mechanism to blame and avoid it with these prevention and troubleshooting tips

Henry Z. Kister Fluor Corp. and Milton A. Chaves Hess Corp.

A survey of tower failures [ 1 ] ranks kettle reboilers as the most troublesome reboiler type in the chemical process industries (CPI). Excessive pressure drop in kettle reboiler circuits is the prominent kettle malfunction, causing liquid to back up in the...

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Comments (1) for Kettle Troubleshooting
1.
I read with great interest your article, Kettle Troubleshooting (February, pp. 26–33). The authors are to be congratulated on a very in-depth and timely presentation on the effects of boiling two-phase flow in kettle type reboilers. For over 45 years, I have been engaged in the refrigeration industry where refrigeration engineers are often challenged in designing evaporators to avoid liquid carryover. I was interested to learn that one criterion used in the design of kettle reboilers in the chemical process industries is to keep the top row of tubes in the bundle at least 12 in. or 1.3–1.6 times the bundle diameter (whichever is greater) above the liquid level. In refrigeration, we allow higher liquid levels without incurring liquid slopover, but this is likely because we do not have the high heat fluxes that were encountered in the article’s example. On the other hand, I believe the typical range of overall heat transfer coefficients we calculate for design do not vary extensively from fluids with similar transport properties. I would appreciate more information about this and how it applies to the example.

Jon Edmonds Edmonds Engineering Co., York, Pa.

Search the CE archives for "Kettle Troubleshooting" to find the author's detailed answer to this comment [ED]
Posted by John Edmonds on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 @ 07:37 PM

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