February 2019

Maintenance and Reliability

Stable thermosiphon reboiler operation: With or without a valve in the inlet piping?

A reboiler provides the necessary heat duty for the separation in a distillation tower.

Kister, H. Z., Fluor Daniel; Van Doorn, E., Fluor

A reboiler provides the necessary heat duty for the separation in a distillation tower. It boils some of the tower’s bottom liquid using a heating medium, such as steam or hot oil, and returns vapor to the tower. The reboiler duty is usually either held constant or manipulated to keep a steady temperature on one of the lower trays. This heat duty sets the vapor load in the tower’s lower section. FIG. 1. Typical circulating thermosiphon reboiler circuit, shown with a throttling valve in the reboiler inlet line. P is pressure, Pa; rho is liquid density, kg/m3; g is the gravitational constant, m/sec2; delta P is the valve pressure drop, Pa; and L is liquid dri

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