Distillation Columns : Principles, Operation & Design

A complete understanding of construction details and functioning of distilling columns for successful operation

What You Will Learn in This Course

  • Vapor Liquid Equilibria
  • Industrial Distillation Practices
  • Industrial Distillation Equipment
  • Assessing Distilling Column Performance Using Aspen Plus

What is Covered in This Course

Distillation columns of various designs and applications are encountered nowadays throughout petroleum refining, petrochemical, chemical, and process industries.

This course is designed to provide you with a complete understanding of construction details and the functioning of distilling columns. This understanding is a prerequisite for the successful operation of your plant.

The course features 5 major items.

1. VAPOR LIQUID EQUILIBRIA: (thermodynamics of pure components and complex mixtures)

      • Volatility of pure components: boiling point, vapor pressure
      • Concept of Sensible and Latent Heat
      • Behavior of mixtures in distillation: dew and bubble points, vaporization curves, total/partial condensation and vaporization, liquid-vapor separation, and distribution of components according to their volatility
      • Relation between temperature, pressure, and composition of distillate and residual


    • Operating parameters of an industrial distillation column (Pressure, Temperature, Flow rates, Reflux Ratio...)
    • Separating power: number of stages, liquid and vapor traffics, feed inlet location
    • Column pressure: pressure control and pressure profile along the column
    • Internal flow rates profiles, concentration and temperature profiles, concentration peaks
    • Material balance of the column: concepts of cut point, separation quality, and fractionation capability
    • Heat balance: condenser and reboiler duties, Reflux and Boil-up ratios, and industrial configurations
    • Instrumentation and process control loops around the column


    • Trays : technology, performances, flexibility
    • Packings (structured or random): technology, performances, flexibility
    • Different types of contacting systems for the active area: bubble caps, fixed or floating valves
    • Liquid or vapor distributors, collectors and redistributors
    • Troubles such as flooding, weeping, fouling...


    • Base case
    • Effect of temperature
    • Effect of pressure
    • Effect of feed stage location
    • Effect of reflux ratio


    • Ethylene / Ethane fractionator
    • Reboiler operation
    • Flash separator
    • Distilling column overhead operations
    • Depropanizer case study

    Many images, cross sectional views, graphs, and animations can be found throughout, increasing the value of this course as an educational tool and industrial reference for personnel involved in distilling operations.

    Learning objectives

      • Understand the thermodynamics of Vapor Liquid Equilibria for pure components and mixtures
      • Know, understand and master the concepts necessary to optimize the operation of your distillation column
      • Know about all parameters and profiles for the analysis of your distillation column operation
      • Detect deficiencies in the operation of your distilling column, find their origin and solutions
      • Know and understand the operating variables and process control systems used for your distillation column
      • Know the different types of internals, how they operate and how you can optimize them
      • Use the Aspen Plus simulation results to understand and predict the performance of a distillation column.

    So this course is not only of use to practicing engineers and operators to whom a knowledge of the distillation process is of crucial importance in the efficient operation of distilling columns but also intended as a study guide for undergraduates in process, chemical, petrochemical & petroleum engineering disciplines.

    So with no further ado, check out the free preview videos and the course curriculum, and we look forward to seeing you in the first section.

    Hope to see you there!

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    Course Curriculum

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    Complex technical concepts made easy ! Really enjoyed this course ! Additional resources are of high quality and very insightful. I loved the high quality overall detailed refining scheme so much that I did actually print it and put it in our meeting room at work ! I work in the quality department of a small refinery and this course was very interesting for me. All my colleagues loved the refinery drawing. I advised them to enroll in...
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    I really enjoyed this course and I'm impressed by the ability of the instructor to simplify complex technical topics ! This course is perfect for me as a beginner. I really appreciate all the petroleum process schemes also attached at the end of the course and that can be downloaded in pdf format. It gave me the opportunity to progress offline and study them at my pace. The last lecture is really a plus to this course because after examining each process separately, the instructor illustrated in the last video how they are connected to each other and how they all work together. It really gave me a "helicopter view" of a typical crude oil refinery. Thank you for this wonderful course !
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    Course Pricing

    • This Course
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    • 3.5 Hours on-demand Video
    • Downloadable Resources
    • Full Lifetime Access
    • Access on Mobile
    • Certificate of Completion
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    • Pay In Indian Rupee
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    • Refining Process Bundle
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    • $59.99
    • Courses Included in this Bundle
    • 1. Petroleum Refining Process
    • 2. Distillation Columns
    • 3. Steam Cracking Process
    • 20% Discount on Individual Price
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    • Pay In Indian Rupee
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