This paper explores the use of microporous hollow fibers as structured packing for a distillation column of propylene-propane. The actual column, which is less than 0.4 m long, yields more than 8% enrichment of propylene from a 30% propane/70% propylene mixture. It has an HTU as low as 0.1 m and an overall mass transfer coefficient of about 10-4 m/s with the resistance to mass transfer mainly coming from the vapor phase. The low HTU is due to the high mass transfer area per unit volume, over 1100 m2/m3. The results begin to explore the use of hollow fibers as packing for a practical distillation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Spectrum ® Labs for donating the polysulfone fiber, and Dr. Malcolm Morrison, Dr. K.K. Sirkar, and Dr. John Kunesh for useful discussions. The work was largely supported by DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Industrial Technology Program Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36) and by the American Chemical Society (PRF grant 39083-AC9). Other support came from the National Science Foundation (CTS 032282) and the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (F49620-01-1-0333).
- Hollow fibers
- Structural packing