|MadSci Network: Chemistry|
A Fractionating tower separates a gaseous phase into fractions. The tower operates by condensing the vapour into liquid. Towers are generally filled with packings. At specified intervals, the towers contain trays to collect the liquids. Fractions are pumped at a rate to maintain a continuous process.
As you may know, there are many sizes and shapes of towers. The towers are engineered for use in specific areas. Many of the larger towers separate Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG). One of the largest towers I have seen separates Propane from Propene. The tower was over 300 feet in length. However, the tower was physically divided into two sections. Petroleum refinerys use many different towers for many specific tasks. Please take a tour of the API website for much more information about refining petroleum.
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