Feed Inlet Devices – Essential for Successful Mass Transfer

You need to properly deliver vapor and liquid feeds into mass transfer devices to successfully operate columns. Many possible configurations are possible such as mixed phase feeds, intermediate feeds, and suppression of foam. In order to get the right outcome, you need the right feed inlet devices.

What is a Feed Inlet Device?

Feed inlet devices are used to direct the flow and absorb the flow momentum of coming stream in process columns. Feed inlet devices vary by application and desired outcome in a wide range of industries. In order to select the correct device, the application and purpose first have to be taken into account. Liquid pre-separation, vapor distribution, foam suppression, breaking of momentum or any combination of performance issues have to be addressed. For example, a feed inlet stream used in in food applications has media enter a membrane module which is separated into two streams. They are a permeate stream which passes through the membrane and a retentate which is retained. The device is designed to allow in a certain amount of the permeate while keeping out the retentate.

Types of Feed Inlet Devices

The devices are used in many applications, some of the most common include gas distribution and liquid entrainment such as:

  • Absorption, scrubbing, and stripping
  • Distillation columns
  • Knock-out drums
  • Evaporators
  • Feed inlet separators
  • Two phase and three phase separators
  • Gas dehydration plants
  • Compression systems and suction drums

Feed Inlet Devices for Mixed Phase Feeds, Intermediate Feed, and Foam Suppression

Inlet Diffusers – They are designed for the disengagement of liquid and vapor. The diffusers can be designed to improve the operation of separators and distillation columns and correct flow imbalances. They are often used in vacuum and packed columns where vapor distribution to the above packed bed is critical.

V-Baffle Diffusers – They are used in high-pressure applications or with trayed columns. The diffuser is an impingement device that evenly divides a mixed phase feed then distributes it around the column’s shell for superior momentum dissipation and separation of liquids and vapors.

Pipe Inlet Diffusers – The half-pipe or perforated configuration of these diffusers are used to uniformly distribute vapor feeds to the packed bed or tray above. The device can be designed as a straight pipe or with a ladder pipe configuration.

Vapor Horns – Also called a hood, the device is often used in crude vacuum towers to perform vapor distribution at the bottom of a packed bed. It wraps around the column wall and is closed at the top and side with an opening at the bottom to allow the vapor and liquid to disengage when they swirl around the column. The liquid drains out of the bottom, and the vapor escapes around the side.

Let AMACS be your guide in selecting the correct feed inlet devices for your process columns. We are an expert source of knowledge, engineering and manufacturing of components and hardware, installed in countless process towers, worldwide. Our team offers consistent, quick delivery for tower internals and is available for emergencies, 24/7. Call us today to discuss your tower internal needs!