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Патент USA US3027155

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March 27, 1962
A. c. ELD ETAL
3,027,145
BUBBLE CAP ASSEMBLIES AND BUBBLE TOWERS EMBODYING THE SAME
Filed May 5, 1958
'5.
34
1g.
74
INVENTORS
441K562 C. 6-20
Mil/AM Q. Af/vW/AN
32
ice
3,®Z7,l45
Patented Mar. 2?, 1962
1
3,027,145
BUBBLE CAP ASSEMBLEES AND BUBBLE TQWERS
EMBQDYKNG THE SAME
Aksel C. Eld, Pittsburgh, and Wiliiam R. Lehrian,
Verona, Pa., assignors to Gulf Oil Corporation, Pitts
burgh, Pa, a corporatiun of Pennsyivania
Filed May 5, 1958, Ser. No. 732,959
4 Claims. (Cl. 261-414)
Referring to FIGURES 1 and 2, the reference numeral
10 designates the upstanding tubular shell of a bubble
tower in which there are shown two vertically spaced, hori
zontal bubble tray decks 12 and 14. The tray decks 12
and 14 are respectively provided with upstanding seal
weirs 16 and 18, and upstanding over?ow weirs 20 and 22.
The over?ow weirs 2t} and 22 are respectively provided
with down?ow aprons 24 and 26 that extend down into
the seal weir of the tray deck next therelbelow, as illus
The present invention pertains to new and useful im 10 trated particularly in connection with down?ow apron 24
provements in bubble towers, and more particularly relates
and seal weir 18, it being noted that a down?ow apron 28
to bubble cap assemblies of the type wherein the vapor
extends down into the seal weir 16 from the tray deck (not
flow therethrough is valved.
shown) next above the tray deck 12. The structure thus
Broadly, the present invention involves a bubble cap
far described is entirely conventional and will be well
assembly comprising an upstanding chimney adapted to 15 understood by those skilled in the art.
be secured to a tray deck about an aperture in the tray
Each of the tray decks 12 and 14 is provided with a
deck, with the upper end of the chimney constituting a
A plate valve rests on the valve seat at the
plurality of bubble cap assemblies, and since the number
and spacing of the bubble cap assemblies associated with
upper end of the chimney, with guide means provided for
positioning the plate valve over the chimney and also for
guiding free vertical movement of the plate valve between
a position resting on the valve seat and a position spaced
thereabove. Such guide means comprises a spider com
prised of a plurality of angularly spaced, centrally con
the tray deck 14 is the same as for the tray deck 12, only
the bubble cap assemblies associated with the tray deck
12 will be described in detail. The bubble cap assemblies
associated with tray deck 12 are indicated generally by
the reference numeral 36 and are arranged in spaced rela
valve seat.
nected, radially and horizontally extending vanes spaced
above the chimney, with each of the vanes having a down
turned outer end portion that is secured to the chimney.
The downturned end portions of the spider vanes are
horizontally spaced from the plate valve to allow a limited
horizontal freedom of movement for the plate valve. A
tionship between the seal weir 16 and the over?ow weir
25 26, as best shown in FIGURE 2.
Attention is now directed to FIGURES 3 and 4 for an
understanding of the structure of an individual bubble cap
assembly 3%). At each location of a bubble cap assembly
30 on the tray deck 12, there is provided a circular aper
ture, and the peripheral edge of the tray deck 12 is up
bubble cap is carried by the spider having sides extending
turned about such aperture, as indicated at 32.
to a position below the upper end of the chimney.
The invention also involves the plate valves of various
bubble cap assemblies of a single tray deck having dif~
circular cylindrical chimney 34 extends through the aper
ture in engagement with the peripheral upturned edge 32
of the tray deck 12, with the lower extremity of the chim
ferent weights depending upon the relative distances of
the bubble cap assemblies between the seal weir and the
over?ow weir associated with such tray deck. In general,
the weights of the various plate valves are adjusted so that
a uniform vapor ?ow passes through each of the bubble
ney 34 being outturned so as to bear against the underside
of the tray deck 12, as indicated at 36. The chimney 34
is secured to the tray deck 12 in the described relation
ship in any suitable manner, such as by spot welding, so as
to afford a vapor-tight connection therebetween.
The upper edge 38 of the chimney 34 constitutes a
valve seat for a circular plate valve 4t) of larger diameter
cap assemblies in spite of the surface gradient of the liquid
supported on the tray deck between the seal weir and the
over?ow weir.
A hollow,
than the chimney 34. Means is provided for positioning
the plate valve 44} above the chimney 34 and also for
‘or as a supplement to the various weightings of the plate
guiding free vertical movement of the plate valve 40
valves the provision of the chimneys of the various bubble 45 while allowing a limited amount of horizontal freedom
The invention also involves either as an alternative for
cap assemblies being of dilfering heights so as to tend to
for the plate valve 40.
equalize the liquid heads on the various plate valves aris~
construction consisting of a plurality of angularly spaced,
ing from the liquid gradient.
The invention will be fully comprehended in the light
of the following description of a preferred embodiment of
the invention illustrated in the accompanying drawings,
wherein:
,
Such means comprises a spider
centrally connected, radially and horizontally extending
50 vanes 42, 44, 46, and 48 (see FIGURE 3), which can
be conveniently constructed of three pieces of sheet or
thin plate material by welding or brazing the vanes 46
and 48 to a single piece of material constituting the vanes
FIGURE 1 is a central vertical sectional view of a por
42 and 44, as indicated at St). Each of the vanes 42, 44,
tion of a bubble tower with parts broken away, with all 55 46, and 48 is essentially U-shaped so as to constitute
save one of the bubble cap assemblies being shown in side
spaced upper and lower legs, such spaced upper and lower
elevation;
legs for the vanes 42, 44, and 43 being respectively
FIGURE 2 is a reduced horizontal sectional view taken
upon the plane of the section line II—II of FIGURE 1;
FIGURE 3 is a top plan view of a bubble cap assembly
designated at 52 and 54, 56 and 53, and 6t) and 62 in
FIGURE 4. The outer extremities of the upper and lower
legs of each of the vanes 42, 44, 46, and 43 are connected
according to the invention, portions of the same being
by web portions 64, d6, 68, and 70, respectively, the
removed to illustrate internal structure, together with
adjacent edges of such Web portions being spaced a
dashed lines being employed to show the location of hid
greater distance from the juncture of the vanes 42, 44,
den structural parts; and
46, and 43 than the radius of the plate valve 46, as shown.
FIGURE 4 is a vertical sectional view taken upon the
The
upper edge of the chimney 34 is provided with slots,
65
_ plane of the section line IV—IV of FIGURE 3.
such as those indicated at 72 vand 74, in which the lower
3,027,145
3
4
legs of the vanes 42., 44., 46, and 48 are received. Posi
tioning of the spider construction relative to the chimney
34 is facilitated by the lower legs each having an up
13, across the tray deck 14, over the outlet Weir 22, and
down the down?ow apron 26. While liquid passes down
wardly, in the described manner, vapor passes upwardly
wardly and outwardly tapered bottom edge portion, such
through the shell 10 and successively through the bubble
as that indicated at 76 in connection with the lower leg 5 cap assemblies 3t? of the tray decks l4 and 12, with the
bubble cap assemblies 30 affording an intimate contact
54 of the vane 42. The vanes are brazed or otherwise
between the ascending vapor and the liquid passing over
suitably secured to the chimney 34-, as indicated at 78 in
the tray decks 14 and 12.
connection with the lower leg 62 of the vane 48.
The bubble cap assemblies 39 afford an intimate vapor
It will be noted that the upper edges of the lower legs
of the vanes 42, 44, 46, and 4.8 are spaced below the 10 liquid contact uniformly over the entire area of the tray
decks 12 and 14 because of the ?ne subdivision of the
upper edge of the chimney 34. Though such spacing is
vapor streams passing therethrough and the introduction
not essential, it is preferred, as such spacing will prevent
into the liquid as small bubbles, this being accomplished
any possible interference with the proper seating of the
substantially uniformly throughout the area of the tray
valve plate 4-0 upon the valve seat constituted by the
upper edge of the chimney 34. If deemed necessary, the 15 decks because of the action of the plate valve 49 in con
trolling the upward vapor flow through the individual
portions of the slots in the chimney 34 in which the vanes
bubble cap assemblies 30. The control effected by the
are received above the lower legs of the vanes can be
plate valve 49 in causing a uniformity of vapor distribu
?lled with brazing material or the like in order to prevent
tion as among the various bubble cap assemblies 30 on
vapor leakage.
The single sheet of material of which the vanes 42 20 each tray deck stems from the fact that the vapor must
in passing through a bubble cap assembly 30 raise the
and 443 are constructed is provided with a central up
plate valve 4h from its seat to a position such as that in
standing lip or protrusion 79 at the juncture of the upper
dicated in dashed outline at 9i} in FIGURE 4, with the
legs 52 and 56 having a central vertical slot 89 therein
weight of the plate valve 40 constituting at least ‘a sub
An inverted, cup-shaped bubble cap 82 is positioned 25 stantial part of the total resistance to vapor flow through
vthe bubble cap assembly 30* and into the surrounding
over the ‘spider construction with the same engaging the
liquid, so that variations in liquid level height result in
upper edges of the upper legs of the vanes 42, 44, 46, and
minor differences between the vapor ?ow through bubble
48, as shown, with the lip or protrusion '79 being received
cap assemblies 30 of the same tray deck. Differences of
through a complementary slot in the top of the bubble
for a purpose presently to be described.
cap 32;. The bubble cap 821 ‘is retained in assembled rela 30 vapor ?ow as between bubble cap assemblies 30 of the
same tray deck are further minimized by utilizing plate
tion on the spider and the chimney 34 by means of a
valves 45) of di?ering weights so as to a?ord differing re
wedge key 84- extending through the slot 86 in the lip
sistances to vapor ?ow. In general, the plate valves 40
have weights diifering by amounts su?icient to compen
The bubble cap 82 has sides 86 that extend to a posi 35 sate substantially for the different liquid heads surround
ing their respective bubble cap assemblies where such dif
tion substantially below the top of the chimney 34 and
or protrusion 79 and bearing against the top of the bubble
cap 82.
terminate in spaced relation above the tray deck 12.
The bubble cap 82 is circular and the depending sides 86
fering liquid heads are a consequence of the surface gra~
client of liquids passing over the tray deck. According
ly, since the surface gradient is such that the liquid depth
thereof are provided with a plurality of circumferentially
spaced, somewhat triangular slots 88 that are disposed 40 is greatest adjacent the seal Weir and least adjacent the
over?ow weir, the plate valves 40 of the bubble cap as
entirely below the top of the chimney 34. The upper
semblies 30 next to the seal weir 16 have the least weight,
edge of the chimney 34 is at least as high as the upper
edge of the over?ow weir 2t} and can extend somewhat . while the plate valves 40 of the bubble cap assemblies
30 next to the over?ow weir 20 have the maximum
higher, while the upper extremities of the slots 88 can be
at, but are preferably spaced below the upper extremity 45 weight, with the plate valves 44) of bubble cap assem
blies 30 disposed in between having intermediate weights.
of the over?ow weir 2%}.
The variations in the weights of the plate valves 40 be
Referring again to FIGURE 2 in the drawings, it will
tween maximum and minimum weights can be as much as
be apparent that the relative distances of the bubble cap
about four ounces when the chimney diameter is four
assemblies to the seal weir 16 and the over?ow weir 20
vary across the tray deck 12. Ordinarily, a surface 50 inches as the variation in liquid depth can be as much
as one inch across a tower, though lesser weight variation
gradient will exist with respect to liquid retained on the
tray deck 12, the liquid having its maximum height adja
will normally su?ce.
tus, liquid travels downwardly through the down?ow
ly uniform throughout each set of bubble cap assemblies
While variation in plate valve weights is ordinarily pre
cent the seal Weir 16 and its minimum height adjacent
ferred as a control in equalizing vapor flow rates, such
the over?ow weir 2t}, this being true even when the seal
weir 16 has a lesser height than the over?ow weir 20. 55 ‘control can be modi?ed by varying the chimney heights
1n the same sense as the variations in their respective
For a reason to become apparent during the ensuing
plate valve weights. In other words, the weight of a
description of the operation of the illustrated embodiment
plate valve can be increased when the height of its as
of the invention, the plate valves 40 for the various
sociated chimney is increased. It will be appreciated that
bubble cap assemblies 39 have differing weights, de
pending upon their relative spacing with respect to the 60 in some applications, the variation in plate valve weights
can be dispensed with entirely upon suitable selection of
weirs 16 and 28, the plate valves 40 of the assemblies 30
chimney heights; however, since plate valve weights can
next the overflow weir 20 having relatively greater
be more readily changed than chimney heights, it is pre
weights. Also (see FIGURE 1) it will be noted that
ferred that uniformity of vapor ?ow be controlled at
proceeding from the weir 20 towards the weir 16 that
least in part by the weights of the plate valves.
the bubble caps are progressively taller. This variation
With the above-described variation in weight of the
in heights is due solely to variation of the chimney heights.
plate valves 40 and/or of the chimney 34 heights, the
In general, the chimneys of the various bubble cap as
total resistance to vapor ?ow through each one of the
semblies are more or less proportional to the depth of
bubble cap assemblies 30 irrespective of its relative lo
the liquid in the immediate region during operation.
The operation of the apparatus described above will 70 cationwith respect to the weirs will be essentially equal,
be readily understood. During operation of the appara
and with the result that vapor distribution is substantial
30 on- each tray deck.
apron 28, over the seal weir 16, across the tray deck 12,
about the bubble cap assemblies 30, over the over?ow
One of the principal advantages of the bubble cap as
weir 20, down the down?ow apron 24, over the seal weir 75 semblies 30 is that the valving of vapor is controlled with
5
13,027,145
6
the plate valves being alforded a freedom of movement
both horizontally and vertically such as to be essentially
comprising a spider comprised of a plurality of angularly
spaced, centrally connected, radially and horizontally ex
tending vanes spaced above the chimney, each of said
entirely free of becoming jammed as can occur in the
use of structures heretofore proposed for valving vapor;
vanes having a downturned end portion that is secured
to the chimney adjacent to the upper end of the latter,
this being especially important when the liquids and va
pors being processed contain impurities or are of such a
character as to tend to polymerize, etc. and form hard
or gummy deposits. The freedom of movement afforded
the plate valve 40 is such as to serve a cleaning func
tion both of itself and of the surfaces with which it comes 10
in contact during its loosely constrained motions. It will
be obvious that it is of substantial importance that the
plate valve 40 not be stuck or jammed during operation
of the apparatus inasmuch as such sticking or jamming
will result in poor vapor distribution and can also pos
said downturned end portions of the spider vanes being
horizontally spaced from the plate valve to allow a limited
horizontal freedom of movement for the plate valve, a
bubble cap covering the chimney in spaced relation there
to and having sides extending to a position below the
upper end of the chimney, said spider vanes having
upper edges in supporting engagement with the bubble
cap, and said sides of said bubble cap having openings
therein, said openings being positioned circumferentially
15 around said bubble cap at a height lower than the upper
sibly result in liquid dumping through the chimney 34
when the surface gradient of liquid is such that the liquid
level is above the top of the chimney 34.
It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that
the illustrated embodiment of the invention is particu
larly well suited for fractionation of petroleum fractions,
particularly those fractions containing unsaturates sus
ceptible to polymerization and gum formation, as well as
those which may contain solid impurities such as ?nely
end of said chimney.
3. A bubble cap assembly comprising an upstanding
circular chimney, the lower end of which is adapted to
be secured to a tray deck about an aperture in the tray
deck, a circular plate valve of greater diameter than the
chimney resting on the upper end of the chimney, with
the upper end of the chimney constituting a valve seat
for the plate valve, said plate valve being provided with
guide means for positioning the plate valve over the chim
divided catalyst particles; however, the apparatus can also 25 ney and also for guiding free vertical movement of the
be used with comparable bene?ts in other vapor-liquid
plate valve between a position resting on the valve seat
contacting processes such as in absorption, distillation,
and a position spaced thereabove, said guide means com—
recti?cation, dephlegmation, dehydration, and the like.
prising a spider comprised of a plurality of angularly
It will be understood that the bubble cap assemblies
spaced, centrally connected, radially and horizontally ex
of the illustrated and described preferred embodiment can
tending vanes, each of said vanes being a vertical plate
be utilized in vapor-liquid contacting arrangements other
and essentially U-shaped in the vertical plane so as to
that the particular form illustrated in FIGURE 1, such
de?ne horizontal, vertically spaced upper and lower legs
as the conventional twin-?ow fractionation or bubble tow
which are connected by a vertical web at the radial ex
er construction. These and other modi?cations of the de
tremity of the vane, whereby the vanes of the spider are
scribed and illustrated embodiment of the invention will 35 jointly conformable to a cylindrical space having a height
be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, and ac
equal to the spacing of the legs of the vanes and a di
cordingly attention should be directed to the appended
ameter in excess of that of the plate valve, said chimney
claims in order to ascertain the actual scope of the in
having a plurality of slots in the upper end thereof, with
vention.
the lower legs of the spider vanes being positioned in
40 said slots, and a bubble cap carried by the spider having
We claim:
1. A bubble cap assembly comprising an upstanding
sides extending to a position below the upper end of the
chimney.
chimney, the lower end of which is adapted to be secured
to a tray deck about an aperture in the tray deck, a plate
4. In a bubble tower comprising an upstanding shell
valve resting on the upper end of the chimney, with the
within which is disposed a plurality of vertically spaced
upper end of the chimney constituting a valve seat for 45 bubble trays, each of said bubble trays comprising a tray
the plate valve, said plate valve being provided with
deck provided with an upstanding over?ow weir and a
guide means for positioning the plate valve over the chim
ney and also for guiding free vertical movement of the
plate valve between a position resting on the valve seat
and a position spaced thereabove, said guide means com
prising a spider comprised of a plurality of angularly
depending down?ow apron therefor, each of said tray
decks also being provided with a seal weir for receiving
spaced, centrally connected, radially and horizontally ex
the down?ow apron of the tray deck next thereabove;
the improvement comprising each tray deck having a
plurality of spaced apertures that are spaced between the
overflow weir and the seal weir of such tray deck, a bubble
tending vanes spaced above the chimney, each of said
cap assembly associated with each aperture comprising
vanes having a downturned end portion that is secured
an upstanding chimney secured to the tray deck about
to the chimney adjacent to the upper end of the latter, 55 the aperture, with the upper end of the chimney con
said downturned end portions of the spider vanes being
stituting a valve seat and being at least as high as the
horizontally spaced from the plate valve to allow a limited
top of the over?ow weir, a plate valve resting on the
horizontal freedom of movement for the plate valve, and
valve seat, said plate valve being provided with guide
a bubble cap carried by the spider having sides extend
means for positioning the plate valve over the chimney
ing to a position below the upper end of the chimney, and 60 and also for guiding free vertical movement of the plate
said sides of said bubble cap having openings therein,
valve between a position resting on the valve seat and
said openings being positioned circumferentially around
a position spaced thereabove, said guide means compris
said bubble cap at a height lower than the upper end of
ing a spider comprised of a plurality of angularly spaced,
said chimney.
centrally connected, radially and horizontally extending
2. A bubble cap assembly comprising an upstanding 65 vanes spaced above the chimney, each of said vanes hav
circular chimney, the lower end of which is adapted to
ing a downturned end portion that is secured to the
be secured to a tray deck about an aperture in the tray
chimney adjacent to the upper end of the latter, said
deck, a circular plate valve of greater diameter than the
downturned end portions of the spider vanes being hori
chimney resting on the upper end of the chimney, with
zontally spaced from the plate valve to allow a limited
the upper end of the chimney constituting a valve seat 70 horizontal freedom of movement for the plate valve, and
for the plate valve, said plate valve being provided with
a bubble cap carried by and removably secured to the
guide means for positioning the plate valve over the
chimney and also for guiding free vertical movement of
the plate valve between a position resting on the valve
seat and a position spaced thereabove, said guide means 75
spider having sides extending to a. position below the
top of the outlet weir, said sides of said bubble cap hav
ing openings therein, said openings being positioned cir
cumferentially around said bubble cap at a height lower
3,027,145
than the upper end of said chimney, and means for fur
ther equalizing vapor ?ow through the bubble cap as~
semblies comprising varying the Weights of said plate
valves with the plate valves nearest the over?ow weir
being relatively heavier than those nearest the seal weir.
2,627,397}
2,658,737
2,710,177
2,772,080
2,819,050
2,918,083
References Cited in the file of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
833,560
2,147,786
2,510,556
Stebbins ______________ __ Oct. 16, 1906
10
Fenske et al. _________ __ Feb. 21, 1939
Collins et al. __________ __ June 6, 1950
8
Hendrix ______________ __ Feb. 3, 1953
‘Nutter _______________ __ Nov. 10, .1953
Young et al. _________ __ June 7, 1955
Huggins et al _________ __ Nov. 27, 1956
Huggins et al. _________ __ Jan. 7, 1958
Clark et al. _________ __ Dec. 22, 1959
FOREIGN PATENTS
460,840
657,043
Germany _____________ _- June 6, 1928
Germany _____________ __ Feb. 23, 1938
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