Non-porous hollow fibers are used as structured packing in the distillation of isopropanol-water solutions. The fibers used are non-selective, and offer little resistance to mass transfer. Liquid flows through the lumens of the fibers, and vapor flows countercurrently outside the fibers. The number of transfer units (NTUs) obtained is consistent with earlier correlations for membrane module mass transfer. The advantage of this form of structured packing is that liquid and vapor fluxes are not affected by two-phase fluid mechanics, so that the column can operate above the normal flooding limits, and below the normal loading limits. This offers the possibility of distillation with improved energy efficiency.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors benefited from conversations with Dr. George Keller, formerly of Union Carbide. The work was primarily supported by the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society (grant 36528-AC9). Other support came from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (grant F49620-01-1-0333) and from the Department of Energy grant, DE-FG07-02ER63509 and CRADA LA OICIO455.
- Demi-lune baffles
- Distillation tower
- Membrane materials