Reboilers are common heat exchangers that generate vapor to power fractional distillation separation. All of the vapor used to drive the separation in standard fractional distillation services occurs from the reboiler. (Externally produced vapors, feed heat, or inter-reboiler systems are also options.) Effective distillation requires appropriate reboiler operation.
Reboiler classification based on orientation and circulation
The following are the 2 types of reboiler based on their orientation:
- Vertical Reboiler
- Horizontal Reboiler
The five types of reboilers below are widely used, depending on the type of circulation:
- Thermosyphon Reboilers
- Internal reboilers
- Fired Reboilers
- Force Circulation Reboilers
- Kettle Reboilers
The most challenging aspect of reboiler design is determining the appropriate type of reboiler for any particular application. Reboilers are typically shell-and-tube exchangers that use heat transfer from steam to heat the separation column fluid. Several specialized designs, such as stab-ins, plate-fins, spiral-plates, and others, may be used for certain functions. The goal here is not to get into the technical design specifics of each type, but instead to look at the selection factors that support one design above another.
What factors influence the choice of Reboiler Type?
Numerous parameters influence the type of reboiler that is chosen. Eventually, all of these factors decrease costs. Each plant will evaluate the trade-off between these aspects individually. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Major considerations for choosing Reboiler Type include:
- Availability of plot space
- Total duty requirement
- The percentage of tower liquid traffic that evaporates
- A heating method and a temperature strategy are required.
- Fluid corrosion
- Establish the temperature and pressure.
- The reboiler’s boiling fluid parameters
- Heating medium requirements
Design of Reboiler
All of the previously mentioned parameters influence the appropriate reboiler design. The following are the primary configuration options:
- Forced over natural circulatory reboiler
- shell side and tube side vaporization within reboiler
- Once-through as compared process recirculation reboiler
- Single-shell systems and multiple-shell systems reboiler
- Vertical and horizontal reboiler
The ultimate decision of selection for each reboiler system will be determined by the individual design features involved. Most reboiler systems have special properties that favor certain designs.
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