Plate Spacing

For best distillation effect, is there any minimum or maximux speration distances that one needs to adhere to between bubble plates in a column.

In other words for those that have a height issue, you can custom build for a shorter assembled length sction and subsequently shorter total assembled length / height.

Or maybe better distillation is achieved with further apart bubble plates or vice versa.

Thoughts on this ??



  • A short space may limit your ability to utilize your column as a "stripper".

    Seems some continuous stripping columns have wide spaces in order to help cope with potential flooding.

    When running your system more conventionally, I wouldn't space any less than 4".

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  • edited June 2016

    Entrainment is the phenomenon that makes what you are talking about important. Tiny droplets of liquid carried upwards with fast moving vapor. Not only can entrainment cause flooding, but it can "short-circuit" the distillation process by carrying less enriched liquid upward with the vapor. However, the reality of it is, "efficiency" isn't all that important in the beverage world.

    The spacing above the active area of the plate is sometimes referred to as the disengagement zone, where the froth or spray of droplets falls back down, giving you a clear area.

    When you reduce the disengagement zone, the risk of entrainment flood from spray or froth significantly increases. From Kisler's Distillation Operation:


    You can get around this by running a larger diameter column at the same power input level - which would decrease the vapor speed through the column, reducing entrainment and froth. This would allow you to reduce spacing. Or run the column at a lower power input overall.

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  • +1 Nicely summed up grim.

  • edited June 2016

    Realistically, you can use triclamp spool sections instead of sight glass tees. Maybe a port towards the top and bottom to watch for flood.

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