January 25, 2011

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Issue Highlights
Avoid Pump and Compressor Errors
Don’t assume sinusoidal flow for piston-type devices

Discrete Event Simulation Offers Real Value
Pharmaceutical plants gain design, troubleshooting and other insights from models.

Look Beyond The Valve
Other factors can contribute to persistent valve leaks.

Ask The Experts: Liquid Filtration
Purification of process streams as well as treatment of effluents often require the removal of solids from liquids. Don’t let the wrong decision slip though, consult an authority.

Events Calendar
February 7-10 | Charlotte, NC

Condition Monitoring
February 17 | 2 PM ET Online Event

Valve World Expo Americas
June 21-22 | Houston, Texas

Process Puzzler
puzzle At our batch specialty chemicals plant the production manager wants us to use waste isohexane as a cleaning solvent. He proposes pumping the isohexane, which is available from a nearby process, into our columns prior to cleaning for startup. The commissioning engineer opposes using it on the grounds that a safer cleaning solvent, such as spent methanol or acetone, could be available. He suggests using methanol because it's cleaner. We're cleaning two knockout pots and two distillation columns that have been used for several months in the production of fish oil (eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid). The material safety data sheet for fish oil shows the following: closed-cup flash point, 149°C; auto-ignition point, unknown; and conditions to avoid, "oxygen." The columns each contain one eight-ft. bed of structured packing. Normally, the columns operate at a maximum of 100-torr with electric thermosiphon reboilers. The condensers use chilled glycol. (See Figure 1 for proposed cleaning process.) What do you think of the commissioning engineer's objection? Is there a better approach for cleaning the process?

Send us your comments, suggestions or solutions for this question by February 11, 2011. We'll include as many of them as possible in the March 2011 issue and all on ChemicalProcessing.com.

Send visuals — a sketch is fine. E-mail us at ProcessPuzzler@putman.net or mail to Process Puzzler, Chemical Processing, 555 W. Pierce Road, Suite 301, Itasca, IL 60143. Fax: (630) 467-1120. Please include your name, title, location and company affiliation in the response.

And, of course, if you have a process problem you’d like to pose to our readers, send it along and we’ll be pleased to consider it for publication.

Resource CenterCP's Fluid Handling Resource Center addresses safe, efficient movement and management of gases and liquids. Includes valves and piping, pumps, compressors and motors, drives and predictive monitoring technologies.  Go there now.

New Product Focus: Fluid Handling Search Chemical Processing's product database for the latest technologies and tools to help you achieve fluid handling best practices. Access the database now. 

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