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Liquid / Liquid Separation

General Description
Development of new media and treatment of existing media permit use of
these coalescers for essentially all process streams where entrainment of
solids and liquid contaminants are present.
tain solids contamination of one form or
another, consideration must be given to
the type of contaminant involved and the
amount of contaminant in the fluid. The
next factor that affects the ultimate design
is the particle size distribution. From the
particle size distribution curve, a determi-
nation of how much of the solids contami-
nant to be retained in the cartridges can
be made. The fact that the solids to be
filtered are either hydrophobic or hydro-
phyllic is of importance. If a solid is hydro-
phobic it will be borne through the sys-
tem by the hydrocarbon phase and will
be more difficult to filter. The hydrophyllic
solid is carried by the discontinuous wa-
ter phase and during the mechanical ac-
tion of coalescence, this solid will largely
be deposited on the media of coalescer
cartridge.

Coalescer Cartridge
The coalescer cartridge is made up of
one or more layers of media. This media
is primarily a porous membrane which
retains its dimensional stability by the
use of thermal setting resins or binders.
Careful selection of the media is impera-
tive to insure that the fluid stream being
processed does not remove the binder in
Figure 1. A typical two-stage vertical coalescer. the media, which would result in media
Three basic designs of cartridge-type natural forces of gravity, the difference collapse and contamination of the fluid. In
coalescers are available for application in the specific gravity of the two liquids order to assure that coalescing of the dis-
in chemical processing. They are com- is important. As will be discussed later, continuous phase is complete, the media
prised of single-stage, two-stage, and the discontinuous phase may be lighter must possess an infinite number of irreg-
three-stage units wherein one, two or or heavier than the continuous phase ular continuous passages of very small
three types of cartridges are provided. without affecting the efficiency of the unit, diameter. These passages are such that
The configuration of each design will vary provided sufficient differential in gravity by impingement and preferential wetting
with the process application and efficien- exists. Since the natural forces of gravity of the media surface, the discontinuous
cy requirements. enter into the operation of the equipment, phase is commingled to a sufficient size
the viscosity of the fluids being processed where it can be removed from the con-
In determining the design of coalescer must also be taken into consideration. tinuous phase by gravitational force or
to be used, the maximum operating con- by contacting a second stage, commonly
ditions and minimum performance ef- One of the most important single factors referred to as a separator cartridge.
ficiencies must be established. With the to consider in the design of cartridge
performance requirements established, type coalescers is the interfacial tension Because of the extremely small pore size
the determination of the basic design and between the continuous and discontinu- of the irregular continuous passages
media to be utilized is made. Among the ous phase. Since the interfacial tension of the coalescing media an accessory
various factors which must be considered controls the maximum droplet size of the function of the media becomes one of
in arriving at the correct design are the discontinuous phase and relative wetting removing solids particles. Therefore, if
physical characteristics of the fluid to be of separating surface, the selection of a a given coalescing media possesses
processed. This applies not only to the coalescing media is of prime importance a sufficiently fine pore size to affect co-
continuous phase but equally well to the when low interfacial tension values are to alescing of a finely dispersed discon-
discontinuous phase. Since all coalesc- be encountered. tinuous phase, it will, at the same time,
ers, whether one-, two-, or three-stage provide excellent filtration characteris-
rely to a greater or lesser degree on the Since most fluid process streams con- tics. The degree of filtration will be in
Due to our continuing program of improvement, specifications are subject to change without notice.

copyright 2006 9910 EAST 56TH STREET NORTH, TULSA, OK 74117-4011 I-201
TEL: 918-272-8700 / 800-223-9910 FAX: 918-272-8787
E-MAIL: sales@facetusa.com www.facetusa.com

Facet I-2 Rev 04-2006.indd 1 7/28/06 7:53:40 AM


Liquid / Liquid Separation
General Description
direct relation to the size of the openings The degree of coalescing and the nomi- of the media to the discontinuous phase
and the total solids retention will vary with nal pore size of the bulk cartridge can and the critical pressure at which the dis-
the type and depth of media used. be relatively controlled by the density of continuous phase will be forced through
the material. Unbonded glass fibers lend the pores of the media. It is, therefore, of
One of the most important single factors themselves to applications wherein the absolute necessity that the pore size of
regarding the application of cartridge- solvent action of the continuous or dis- the media remain unchanged; otherwise,
type coalescers to fluid process streams continuous phase prohibits use of bond- the critical pressure differential will be ex-
is the interfacial tension between the con- ed materials. Metallic fiber can be used to ceeded and the cartridge will fail to repel
tinuous and discontinuous phase. Below a great advantage in applications where the discontinuous phase. Critical rupture
values of 20 dyne/cm, the size of the par- the pH of the fluid being processed ex- pressure can be expressed by the follow-
ticles in the dispersed phase becomes ceeds the limits of glass fibers or other ing formula:
progressively smaller and coalescing be- forms of conventional coalescing media.
p = 2a/r
comes more difficult. Media is available Other forms of coalescing media are also
which will coalesce at values of less than available such as polyethylene encapsu- where p is the differential pressure (in.
10 dyne/cm; however, additional consid- lated fibers, inorganic fibers and sintered Hg), a is the interfacial tension (dyne/cm),
eration must be made for these reduced materials. and r is the radius of maximum pore (mi-
values. Under these conditions, the me- cron).
dia of the coalescer cartridge must have Separator Cartridge
even smaller diameter pores to insure The separator cartridge is made up of a Other materials are available for use as a
that all of the dispersed phase contacts single media. This media must allow free separator media. One of the more com-
one or more surfaces during its passage passage of the continuous phase and mon materials is the use of polytetrafluo-
through the media. Preferential wetting of can be treated to repel the discontinuous roethylene coating on fine-mesh wire fil-
the media by the dispersed phase will fa- phase. The separator cartridge is normal- ter cloth. This particular type of separator
cilitate complete coalescing. ly comprised of one type or layer of me- cartridge lends itself to those applications
dia. The type of media will vary with the where the continuous phase would wash
Coalescing media is provided in many application. The separator media must out or otherwise be detrimental to the
forms, the most common being multiple permit maximum flow of the continuous silicone-impregnated cellulose materials.
layers of media formed into cylindrical phase at minimum pressure differential. An auxiliary function of the separator car-
cartridges ranging in size from 4 to 6 This media must be superficially treated tridge is one of filtration. Since the pore
inches in diameter and 10 to 57 inches or possess inherent characteristics which size of the separator media is controlled,
in length. The direction of flow can be will permit free passage of the continuous this media then becomes a secondary fil-
either outside-to-inside or inside-to-out- phase while repelling the discontinuous ter to prevent migration of fibers from the
side. The most common flow pattern in phase. A common media for this applica- preceding stages; or in the event of me-
cartridge type coalescers is inside-to-out- tion is silicone-treated cellulose fibers. chanical failure of the coalescer cartridge,
side. Higher flow rates can be obtained in The media must be dimensionally stable the separator cartridge will prevent solids
the inside-to-outside cartridge coalescer in the presence of the fluids being pro- contaminant from flowing into the effluent
due to the fact that the linear velocity of cessed since any swelling of the fibers due stream.
the fluid passing through the media is to absorption will result in a change in the
progressively reduced as the fluid ap- pore size of the media. Effectiveness of
proaches the outer extremities of the the separator cartridge is entirely depen-
cartridge. This condition permits the dis- dent upon the repellent characteristics
continuous phase to be commingled into
a larger droplet size with the result that
the load on the second stage is greatly
reduced.

Other forms of coalescing media in bulk


form are available and are widely used
in some applications. Among the more
common types of bulk coalescing me-
dia are bonded and unbonded glass fi-
bers, metallic wool of various types, and
treated wood fibers. Bulk type coalescing
media of the types mentioned herein are
normally used in single-stage coalescers.
The density of the bulk coalescing media
will vary with the type of media used in
the installation. Typical bulk densities of
this type media will range from 11¼2 to 4
pounds/cubic foot for glass fibers and up
to 20 pounds/cubic foot for metal wool.
Figure 2. A typical single-stage coalescer.
Due to our continuing program of improvement, specifications are subject to change without notice.

copyright 2006 9910 EAST 56TH STREET NORTH, TULSA, OK 74117-4011 I-202
TEL: 918-272-8700 / 800-223-9910 FAX: 918-272-8787
E-MAIL: sales@facetusa.com www.facetusa.com

Facet I-2 Rev 04-2006.indd 2 7/28/06 7:53:41 AM


Liquid / Liquid Separation
General Description
Filter Cartridge Two-Stage Unit The two-stage unit is also provided in
In three-stage units the first stage is A typical two-stage vertical coalescer is horizontal configurations. In this design
made up of single or multiple installa- shown in Figure 1. This design is com- the sump for accumulation of the discon-
tions of one of the various types of filter monly referred to as a filter separator. tinuous phase may be located below or
cartridges. The function of this cartridge on top of the horizontal vessel. Normally
The contaminated fluid enters the lower the coalescer cartridges are installed in
is one of removing solids contaminants
inlet chamber and flows upward into the one end of the vessel and the separator
only. Its purpose is to reduce the loading
inside of the multiple coalescer cartridges. cartridges in the opposite end. The void
on the second-stage coalescer cartridge,
In this area of reduced velocity, the initial area between the ends of the cartridges
thereby greatly improving coalescer life
phase of commingling is begun. When provide fall-out area for the discontinu-
and to insure ultimate efficiency from the
the fluid contacts the initial surface of the ous phase. This type of two-stage de-
media. The direction of flow through the
media, any large particles of contami- sign is particularly desirable where the
filter cartridge is from outside-to-inside.
nant will be filtered from the stream. As viscosity of the fluids being processed
This design permits maximum solids re-
the fluid continues its tortuous passage is relatively high or where the differen-
tention in a minimum envelope size.
through the media, the discontinuous tial gravity between the two products is
phase is impinged upon the infinite sur- relatively low. This design further lends
The selection of media for the filter car-
faces and commingling of the dispersed itself to application on streams where the
tridge will be determined by a number of
particles results. As the two liquid phases discontinuous phase is lighter than the
factors; the most important of which are
near the outer surface of the coalescer continuous phase with the result that the
chemical characteristics of fluid to be
cartridge, the discontinuous phase has accumulation sump must be installed on
processed, temperature, amount of sol-
been coalesced to large droplets. Simul- the top of the vessel.
ids contaminants in the process stream,
taneously with coalescing of the discon-
particle size distribution, maximum par-
tinuous phase the media is filtering solids Another design of the two-stage unit fol-
ticle size permitted in effluent, and mini-
contaminant from the process stream. lows the general configuration of the ver-
mum solids retention before change is
required. The cartridge may be made As the two liquid phases flow from the tical design wherein the unit is rotated 90
from any of the various common media outside surface of the coalescer car- degrees on its normal axis and installed
such as pleated cellulose, woven materi- tridge, the large droplets of the discon- in a horizontal position. The coalescer
als, and impregnated organic fibers. For tinuous phase will fall by gravitational cartridges are installed in the lower sec-
those applications where the process force to the sump or collection area. The tion of the horizontal shell and the sepa-
stream prevents use of bonded or im- lower velocity in this area greatly reduces rator cartridges are installed in the upper
pregnated media due to solvent action, the possibility of rupture of the coalesced or top section of the horizontal vessel. A
other materials are used. There are now droplets of the dispersed phase. Any re- vertical accumulator sump for collection
available polyethylene-encapsulated fi- maining entrainment of the discontinu- of the discontinuous phase is added to
bers which retain all filtration characteris- ous phase will be repelled by the sepa- the horizontal chamber.
tics of impregnated cellulose with regard rator cartridge. In addition to preventing Two-Stage Unit Application
to pore size and offer essentially zero me- any passage of the discontinuous phase Typical of a two-stage coalescer installa-
dia migration. This material now affords into the effluent stream this cartridge also tion is the following:
economical filtration to numerous pro- performs as a secondary filter in event
cess applications which are beyond the of mechanical failure or bypass of the Process problem: Removal of undis-
operational limits of low cost media. coalescer cartridge. solved water containing hydrochloric
acid from perchloroethylene.
Operating conditions:
Heavy Light
Phase Phase
Feed Rate lb./hr. 112,000 10,000

Specific gravity 1.6 1.0

Liquid Perchloro-
ethylene Water
pH 5.0

Temperature, °F 122

Pressure, lb./ 150


sq. in. gauge
Required performance: Nominal size
of effluent solid particle five microns. Ef-
fluent stream to contain not more than 5
ppm undissolved water.
Figure 3. A typical three-stage horizontal coalescer.
Due to our continuing program of improvement, specifications are subject to change without notice.

copyright 2006 9910 EAST 56TH STREET NORTH, TULSA, OK 74117-4011 I-203
TEL: 918-272-8700 / 800-223-9910 FAX: 918-272-8787
E-MAIL: sales@facetusa.com www.facetusa.com

Facet I-2 Rev 04-2006.indd 3 7/28/06 7:53:42 AM


Liquid / Liquid Separation
General Description

For this installation a horizontal two- The contaminated fluid flows into the ous phase may occur depending upon
stage unit using multiple coalescer and large inlet chamber and the immediate the media used in the filter cartridge and
separator cartridges was used. This reduction in velocity will permit a portion the characteristics of the discontinuous
design was selected primarily because of the entrained discontinuous phase phase.
the discontinuous water phase is lighter and solids to settle out. The discontinu-
than the continuous phase. A second ous phase will then pass through the As the filtered product and discontinu-
important factor in selection of this de- lower half of the coalescer pack. Any ous phase flows from the first-stage filter
sign was the high concentration of wa- remaining entrainment is coalesced and cartridge, it is discharged directly into
ter in the process stream. The settling solids are filtered from the fluid as it flows the inside of the second-stage coalescer
area between the two stages permits the through the media. cartridge. The second-stage coalescer
major portion of the water to rise to the cartridge then performs the function of
accumulator sump before reaching the Single-Stage Unit Application completing the coalescing of the dis-
separator cartridges. Typical of a single-stage coalescer in- continuous phase and filtering out any
stallation is the following: remaining solids which may be in the
The physical and chemical characteris- stream. Immediately downstream from
tics of the continuous phase permitted Process problem: Removal of entrained the coalescer cartridge is a void area
use of conventional coalescing and sep- water containing sodium hydroxide from which provides settling space for gravita-
arating media. The hydrochloric acid dis- butadiene. tional fallout of the discontinuous phase.
solved in the water phase had reduced As the product flows to the outlet through
the pH to five which is within normal op- Operating conditions: Specific gravity the third-stage separator cartridge any
erating limits of glass fibers used in the 0.628 at 60°F. Flow 200 gpm Entrained remaining entrainment of the coalesced
coalescer cartridges and silicone treated water 10% volume; pH of water 9.5 to discontinuous phase is repelled and the
cellulose in the separator cartridges. The 10.0. Solids contaminant negligible. clean, dry product leaves the vessel.
operating temperature was considerably
less than the 275°F permitted for this Required performance: Water not to Use of a three-stage device permits a very
type of media. exceed 50 ppm in effluent. For the above wide selection of filter and coalescing
installation a single-stage horizontal unit media. This unit offers great advantages
All metal in contact with the process fluid using a bulk-type coalescer cartridge was for those installations where the solids
was of stainless steel and all non-metal- used. The design was selected because contaminant in the process stream is
lic parts are resistant to the corrosive ac- the pH value of the water phase exceeds relatively high, i.e., 5 mg/l. The first stage
tion of the hydrochloric acid solution. the recommended values for second- filter cartridges can be removed from the
ary separator cartridges of conventional unit without disconnecting any of the pip-
Single-Stage Unit media. The media selected was a fine- ing or without removing the cartridges in
A typical single-stage coalescer is shown grade stainless steel wool compressed the second- or third-stages.
in Figure 2. Single-stage units may be to an optimum density to provide maxi-
comprised of multiple installation of mum contact surface for coalescing and Application
coalescer cartridges as illustrated, or the minimum differential pressure. The use of cartridge-type coalescers, as
entire cross section of the vessel may applied to the chemical process indus-
be packed with a bulk-type media. This Three-Stage Unit try, has resulted from the development
design is used when the differential in A typical three-stage horizontal coalescer of new media and treatment of existing
specific gravity of the two liquid phases is shown in Figure 3. This unit consists media to permit their use. The art of co-
is sufficient to provide separation by of coalescer and separator cartridges alescing has advanced to a point where
gravitational force or where a separator as used in the horizontal two-stage de- there are only a few isolated process
cartridge would not possess sufficient vice, and is provided with a first-stage systems where cartridge-type coalesc-
repellent characteristics to the discon- cartridge whose primary function is the ers cannot be utilized.
tinuous phase. removal of solids contaminant from the
stream. The product enters the low-ve- Cartridge-type coalescers can be pro-
In the design of single-stage units, the locity inlet chamber where the larger vided for essentially all process streams
size of the vessel is of prime consider- particles of solids contaminant will settle where entrainment of solids and liquid
ation since separation is entirely depen- out by gravitational force. In this area, contaminant is present, the only limiting
dent upon the difference in the density any sludge or other heavy entrainment factors being equal density of the two
of the two liquids. Linear velocity in the will also settle out and accumulate in an liquid phases or essentially zero interfa-
settling area of the vessel will vary from auxiliary sump. Controls may be provid- cial tension.
0.25 ft/sec on light fluids to 0.10 ft/sec ed on the auxiliary sump for automatic
on heavier products. If the discontinu- blowdown of the accumulated material.
ous phase is lighter than the continu- As the fluid flows through the first-stage
ous phase the accumulator chamber is filter cartridge, the solids contaminant is
placed on top of the vessel. filtered from the stream. Simultaneously,
some initial coalescing of the discontinu-

Due to our continuing program of improvement, specifications are subject to change without notice.

copyright 2006 9910 EAST 56TH STREET NORTH, TULSA, OK 74117-4011 I-204
TEL: 918-272-8700 / 800-223-9910 FAX: 918-272-8787
E-MAIL: sales@facetusa.com www.facetusa.com

Facet I-2 Rev 04-2006.indd 4 7/28/06 7:53:43 AM