Rapid Development of Packed Column Technology: Explore the Reason Behind It

There are many reasons for the rapid development of packed columns, the main reasons are as follows:

  1. Low pressure drop:Especially suitable for vacuum separation of chemical or fine chemical products with strong heat sensitivity. The commonly used plate towers, its single plate pressure drop typically ranges from 0.3–0.5 kPa. If there is a plate tower with 50 plates, under vacuum operation, the pressure dorp of the whole column is 17–27 kPa, obviously, such a high pressure drop is not suitable for vacuum distillation. However, for a packed column with 50 plates, the pressure drop under normal operation is only 3–13 kPa, making it more suitable for vacuum distillation and especially suitable for the distillation of thermally sensitive organic compounds.
  2. Simple structure. No mater choosing random packing or efficient structured packing, the column structure is much simpler than that of plate towers. Its main components include the column body and packing.
  3. High flux. For a column, its production capacity mainly depends on the gas phase load, and its flux is directly proportional to the gas phase load. We know that generally the open area of plate towers falls between 40%–60%, while the porosity of packed columns falls between 70%–97%. For a packed column of the same diameter, it can increase production capacity by 25% to 30% than that of a plate tower.
  4. Simplification of tower equipment and production processes. As the number of theoretical plates per meter of the packed column is much higher than that of the plate tower, the tower height can be greatly reduced. If the tower height can be reduced, the condenser can be installed at the top of the tower using the internal reflux form, then the equipment is much simplified.
  5. Easy maintenance. As the packed column is easy to open and stop, different materials can be selected for packing assembly, making ti easy to maintain and replace the packing. These advantages are incomparable to plate towers.Addi tionally, under normal operation, packed columns have lower entrainment, thus improving the separation efficiency.
A picture of packed column taken at the factory when the sun rises