Kappa Tau Consulting

Introduction to Distillation Technology


The process of distillation is one of the oldest processes known to mankind. It has been practised for hundreds of years with new techniques and equipment constantly being developed. Distillation is used as a method of separating a mixture of liquids as well as for separating mixtures of gases. It is a very important separation method and is used extensively throughout the petroleum and chemical industries. In the oil industry it is used almost to the exclusion of any other method of separation of liquid mixtures. Hence an understanding of the technical princples are extremely useful to all of those involved in distillation operations.

Course Objectives

This two day course will provide the background theoretical principles of the process of distillation and link these to the operation of distillation columns in practice. The objective is to provide an understanding of what takes place in a distillation column and relate this to how it is controlled and operated. This will enable operating personnel to appreciate why the various changes made in operating distilaltion columns result in the products that are obtained

Potential Audience

The course is aimed at technical staff who operate and supervise distillation columns. Hence it is assumed that they already know how to operate and control distillation columns and it is hoped that this short course will help them understand why some of the things happen as they do.

Course Outline

Summary of Topics to Be Covered

Day 1
  • Introduction to Separation Technology
  • Choosing a Separation Process
  • Introduction To Column Separation Processes
  • Comparing and Selecting Column Packing and Trays
  • Principles and Theory of Distillation
  • Problem Session
  • The Significance and Use and Measurement of Vapour Pressure
  • Simple vs. Fractional Distillation
  • Vapour Liquid Equilibrium Data

Day 2
  • Distillation Terminology and Techniques
  • Batch and Continuous Distillation
  • Azeotropic and Extractive Distillation
  • Column Inlet and Exit Streams
  • Problem Session
  • Control of Distillation Columns
  • Column Reflux and Reflux Ratio
  • Column Temperature Profile
  • Alternatives to Distillation such as Extraction and Membrane methods

Course Location

The course can be held at the site of the company involved in distillation or at a convenient off-site location if preferred.
The above is an outline of a general course that has been developed on the subject of distillation. This course can be tailored to suit the business of your company. For information on in-house courses based on the above outline please contact Kappa Tau Consulting by sending an email to Distillation

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