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Патент USA US3059449

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Oct. 23, 1962
C. J. SCHILLING
3,059,438
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR FRACTIONATION OF GAS
Original Filed May 15. 1957
E
rlA-
INVENTOR
CLARENCE 1/. SCH/LL/NG
BY M W
ATTORNEYS
tent
TC€
3,059,438
Patented 0st. 23, 1962
Z
3,059,438
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR
FRACTHONATIGN 0F GAS
Ciarence .i'. Schi “ g, Allentown, Pa, assignor, by mesne
assignments, to Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.,
Trexlertown, Pa, a corporation of Delaware
Original application May 13, 1957, Ser. No. 660,023.
Divided and this application June 23, 1959, $81‘. No.
822,387
ii Claims. (or. 62—13)
The present invention relates to an improved method
‘and apparatus for separating air into its components by
low temperature fractionation employing heat exchange
between air to be fractionated and the cold products of
the fractionation.
The use of large quantities of gaseous oxygen in con
gaseous components of air, such as argon, may also be
recovered separately in known manner without interfering
with the functioning and principles of the present inven
tion.
Air contains constituents boiling at a higher tempera
ture than oxygen, for example, water and carbon dioxide.
When air is cooled by heat interchange with one or more
countercurrently ?owing
higher boiling constituents
the path of ?ow of the air.
uents from the air prior to
gaseous components, these
are deposited in zones along
The removal of these constit
cooling is relatively expensive
and it is more economical to permit these constituents to
be deposited in the accumulator or the switching type ex
changer and thereafter remove the deposited constituents
by the countercurrently ?owing component gas. In other
words, the countercurrently ?owing component gas sweeps
out the higher ‘boiling constituents. Carbon dioxide is
nection with blast furnace and steel plant operation, in
the synthesis of liquid fuel from gaseous hydrocarbons
particularly difficult to remove and there is a tendency for
and other manufacturing operations is becoming of in
the car-bon dioxide to build up and clog the passage or pas
creasing importance. Such uses require large tonnages of 20 sages. This removal of deposited constituents is broadly
gaseous oxygen at a relatively low cost. In the produc
referred to as “deriming.” Deriming di?iculties arise
tion of gaseous oxygen, which may be either pure or im
from the relatively large temperature difference existing
pure, air is ?rst compressed to an elevated pressure and
vbetween the countercurrently ?owing streams in the
then cooled by heat exchange with backwardly returning
region of the deposits.
cold component gases. The cold compressed air is sep
The carbon dioxide is deposited in the zone in which
arated by liquefaction and recti?cation into low pressure
the air is cooled to the solidi?cation temperature of car
cold gaseous oxygen and nitrogen components, which
bon dioxide gas. When the component gas, usually but
are returned backwardly and warmed by heat exchange
not necessarily, nitrogen component gas, is flowed through
with countercurrently ?owing compressed air. Argon
the passage in the opposite direction, the nitrogen stream
may be additionally separated where desirable. The cycle 30 ?owing through the zone of deposit of carbon dioxide has
is continuous and the heat exchange (between the incom
a lower temperature than the air stream had when it
ing compressed air and the countercurrently ?owing
?owed through this zone. As a result, the component gas,
gaseous components may be effected in tubular heat ex
despite its lower pressure, does not remove all of the car
changer means or in indirect heat exchange means, some
bon dioxide. Accordingly, various complicated methods
times termed accumulators. An accumulator includes a
have been proposed for reducing the temperature differ
chamber ?lled with heat absorbing material. A cold
ence between the countercurrently ?owing streams of air
component gas is ?owed through the chamber to cool the
and component gas by increasing the effective mass of
heat absorbing material in the chamber. The ?ow of
cooling component gas to air in derirning and preventing
cold gas is interrupted and then air is ?owed in the op
clogging of the passages.
posite direction through the chamber and cooled. The 40
It is an object of the present invention to provide an
accumulators are operated in pairs for each component
improved method and apparatus ‘for the separation of
gas, the ?ow of air and cold component gas through each
gaseous mixures, such as the production of oxygen.
pair of accumulators being periodically reversed. There
Another object of the present invention is to provide
may, of course, be more than one pair of accumulators
an improved method and apparatus for the separation of
for each component gas. It will be thus apparent that
the heat exchange between the compressed air and the
countercurrently ?owing component gas is effected in
directly.
With tubular heat exchangers, the compressed air is
?owed along a path or passage through the heat exchanger
in heat exchange relationship with one or more cold com
ponent gases ?owing along a separate path or passage,
the heat exchange being effected through walls of the
passages between the stream of air and at least one coun
tercurrently ?owing stream of component gas. The pas
sages need not have any particular cross sectional shape,
gaseous mixtures such as air which utilizes heat inter
changers to freeze impurities out of ‘a portion of the gase
ous mixture and chemical clean-up to remove impurities
from the remainder of the gaseous mixture with simul
taneous compensation for refrigeration losses and balanc
ing of the heat interchange system.
Still another object of the present invention is to pro
vide a novel method ‘and apparatus for the separation
of gaseous mixtures by which improved heat exchange
e?iciency is obtained.
In accordance with the present invention, compressed
gaseous mixtures such as air is cooled by heat interchange
with countercurrently flowing low pressure nitrogen com
forms in which heat is transferred through walls of pas
ponent gas and oxygen component gas. The refriger
sages. In switching heat exchangers, the path of the
ated air is separated 1by recti?cation in two stages, a
compressed air stream and path of a cold component gas 60 high pressure stage and a low pressure stage, into low
are alternated. All of these methods and apparatus for
pressure oxygen and nitrogen components. Congealable
effecting heat exchange between air and one or more
impurities are removed from ‘a major portion of the air
backwardly returning gaseous components are broadly
in a ?rst heat interchanger path ‘and the remaining mi
referred to herein as heat interchange or heat exchange
nor portion of the air is cleaned up chemically and
effecting relationship in the case of the methods, and heat
cooled in a second heat .interchanger path. A prepond
interchangers or heat exchange eifecting means in the
erance of gaseous product of one cooling point, such as
case of the apparatus.
a major part of the nitrogen product in the separation
As used herein, the terms “oxygen component” and
of air, is relied upon to purge the ?rst heat interchanger
“nitrogen component” include pure oxygen or nitrogen,
path, and the remaining nitrogen and the oxygen prod
respectively, and oxygen and nitrogen-rich fractions of 70 not is used to cool the minor portion of the air in the
air, respectively. The purity of the component gas Will
second heat exchanger path in such a manner as to im
depend, to a certain extent, upon its intended use. Other
prove the heat exchange e?iciency. High pressure ni
the term tubular being used as a convenient term ‘for all
3,059,438
3
4
trogen component gas may ‘be withdrawn from the high
pressure stage and warmed by heat exchange with the
second heat interchanger path to control the temperature
of the minor portion of the air, and the warmed ‘high
system, for example, 33% of the air, is compressed by
the turbo-compressor 35 driven by power means 36, and
then cooled in the aftercooler 37. The cooled compressed
air flows through a carbon dioxide-removing unit 38 in
which the carbon dioxide is reduced to unobjectable
proportions by chemical means, for example, and a drier
38a. From the unit 38 the minor portion of air ?ows
through conduit 39 to interchanger 40 and down through
interchanger passage 41 to conduit 42. As the air ?ows
pressure nitrogen component gas may be expanded with
work to provide refrigeration for the system.
These and other objects and advantages of the pres
ent invention will become more apparent from the fol
lowing description taken with the accompanying draw
ing, which discloses an air fractionating system embody
10
ing the principles of the present invention. it is to 'be
expressly understood, however, that the drawing is de
‘signed for purposes of illustration only and as a de?ni
tion of the limits of the invention reference for the lat
ter purpose being had to the appended claims.
‘Referring to the drawing, air which has been previous
ly cleaned of dust, enters the system conduit 1% and ‘at
point 11 this air supply is divided with a major portion,
for example,i67% of the air, 'being compressed in a pair
of turbo-compressors 12 and 13 driven by suitable power
means 14. The air compressed to a suitable pressure,
for example, ‘about 100 lbs. per square inch absolute
flows from the compressors through aftercooler 15 and
then to a reversing valve 16. With the valve 16 in the
through the interchanger 44}, it is cooled by heat exchange
with component gases ?owing backwardly from the frac
tionating column as described below. The refrigerated
compressed air ?ows through the conduit 42 to the con
duit 24, where the minor portion of the refrigerated
air is mixed with the major portion of refrigerated air
from interchanger 18 before ?owing to the fractionating
column.
The portion of cooled low pressure nitrogen component
gas which does not ?ow through the interchanger 18 is
passed from the conduit 25 through control valve 43 and
conduit 44 to interchanger 40. This portion of the nitro
gen component gas ?ows through passage 45 in heat ex
change relationship with the air stream ?owing through
position shown, compressed air ‘flows through a conduit
17 to an interchanger 18 and ?ows down through inter
changer passage 19, being cooled therein by heat ex
change with cold nitrogen component gas returning from
passage 41 and leaves the upper end of the interchanger
through conduit 46. The valve 43 controls the propor
tionment of low pressure nitrogen component gas be
tween the interchangers 18 and 40.
Cold oxygen component gas from the fractionating
a fractionating column 20 described in detail below. The
refrigerated air leaves the bottom of the interchanger 18
through conduit 21 connected to ?ap valves 22 and 23.
Air under pressure in conduit 21 ‘biases the ?ap valves
to the positions shown and the refrigerated air flows
column ?ows continuously from conduit 50 up through
passage 51 of the interchanger 40, and the warmed
oxygen gas leaves the interchanger passing to header 52
and out of the system through valve 53.
The fractionating column 20 may be of any conven
tional design such as a two-stage column including a high
'ating column.
35 pressure section 60 and a low pressure section 61 sep
With the reversing valve 16 in the position shown,
arated by a re?uxing condenser 62. Each of the sections
cold and dry nitrogen component gas at a low pressure
are provided with liquid-vapor contact means such as
substantially the same as the low pressure maintained in
bubble plates 63. Air feed is introduced into the high
the low pressure stage of the fractionating column ?ows
pressure section through conduit 64 and therein the air
from conduit 25, through valve 23 and conduit 26 to the 40 undergoes preliminary separation producing liquid crude
interchanger 18, upwardly through passage 27 and leaves
oxygen collecting in a pool 65 in the base of the high
the interchanger through conduit 28. The warmed ni
pressure section and gaseous nitrogen which flows up~
trogen gas ?ows through conduit 28 to reversing valve
Wardly into the condenser 62 and is lique?ed upon heat
through valve 22 to conduit'24 and then to the fraction- _
16, and is discharged from the ‘system through conduit
29 provided with back pressure control valve 30. As
the air ?ows down through passage 19 congealable ma
terial, for example, carbon dioxide, is deposited in the
passage. Periodically the reversing valve 16 is rotated
through a quarter turn to switch the air and nitrogen
passes so that ‘air will flow downwardly through passage
27 and nitrogen ‘gas will ?ow upwardly through passage
19. For reasons set out below, the upwardly ?owing
stream of nitrogen carries all previously congealed ma
terial, such as the carbon dioxide.
In order to reduce the temperature di?erence between
the refrigerated air and the cold nitrogen component
gas at the lower end of the interchanger, a larger mass
of one component gas, such as nitrogen component gas
in the case of 'air separation, is passed upwardly through
the interchanger 18 than the mass of air passing down
through the interchanger. For example, the nitrogen
component gas may comprise about 70% ‘of the total
component gas and may be passed upwardly through
the interchanger to cool about 67% of the air. Nitro
gen component gas comprising about 70% of the total
component gases 18 in su?icient quantity to establish a
purging action at the ei’ticient temperature difference with
which the interchanger is designed to operate when ap
exchange with liquid oxygen product collecting in a pool
66 in the base of the low pressure section, lique?ed nitro
gen flows downwardly from the condenser with a part
entering the high pressure section as re?ux and another
part collecting in a pool 67 below the condenser. Liquid
crude oxygen collecting in the pool 65 is passed through
conduit 68 and expansion valve 69 and introduced at an
intermediate point in the low pressure section ‘as feed,
While liquid nitrogen collecting in pool 67 passes through
conduit 70 and expansion valve 71 and is introduced into
the upper end of the low pressure section as re?ux. Gase
ous low pressure nitrogen is Withdrawn from the top of
the column through conduit 25 and passed to the heat ex
changers 18 and 40 as described above. If desired the
low pressure nitrogen may be passed through heat ex
changer 72, for interchange with part of the air feed,
before entering the heat exchangers 18 and 40. A por
tion of the air teed may be passed through the heat ex
changer 72 by way of conduits 73 and 74 and valves
75, 75 may be provided for controlling the quantity of
_ the air so passed. Oxygen in a desired state of purity,
ordinarily 95% or over is withdrawn from the low pres
sure section above the pool 66 through conduit 50 and
conducted to pass 51 of heat exchanger 40 as described
above.
proximately 67% of the air is passed in heat exchange
About 30% of the component gases, comprising the
relation therewith. With the relatively larger mass of 70 total oxygen component gas and the portion of the nitro
component nitrogen gas ?owing up through the inter
gen component gas which does not ?ow through the inter
changer, the nitrogen component gas will completely re
changer 18, ?ows up through the interchanger 40 in heat
move deposited congealable material, particularly the car
exchange with about 33% of the total amount of air.
bon dioxide.
Thus,
the mass of air cooled in interchanger 40 is larger
GI
A minor portion of the air to be fractionated in the 7
than the mass of low pressure component gases ?owing
8,059,438
6
up through the interchanger. If it is desired to cool the
air in the interchanger 4G to about the same temperature
that the air is cooled in interchanger 18, high pressure
nitrogen gas may be withdrawn from the high pressure
section of the fractionating column through conduit 80
connected to the dome of the re?uxing condenser 62, and
?owed through passageway 81 in heat exchange relation
ship with the air ?owing through interchanger 40‘. The
site direction in heat exchange e?ecting relation with the
second path throughout the length of the second path to
thereby cool the second portion of compressed gaseous
mixture, removing high boiling point impurity from the
second portion of compressed gaseous mixture without
the second path, and feeding the ?rst and second portions
of cool compressed gaseous mixture to the fractionating
operation.
warmed high pressure nitrogen ?ows from the passageway
2. The method of separating gaseous mixtures into
81 through conduit 82 to an expansion engine 83 and 10 components in which compressed gaseous mixture is ref
the expanded nitrogen gas flows through conduit 84 to
rigerated by heat interchange with cold component gas
join the low pressure nitrogen component gas ‘at point 35.
and supplied to a fractionating operation where the
The fractionating cycle described above includes fea
gaseous mixture is separated into low boiling point cold
tures which mutually cooperate to provide advantages not
component gas and high boiling point cold component
present in the prior art including increased operating e?i
gas, comprising the steps of compressing gaseous mixture
ciency. For example, the concept of removing impuri
to provide ?rst and second portions of compressed gaseous
ties such as carbon dioxide from a portion of the air feed
mixture containing high boiling point impurity, ?owing
outside of an air-cold product heat exchanger not only
the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture in one
makes it possible to obtain nitrogen product uncontami
direction through a ?rst path and ?owing a ?rst portion
nated with impurities but results in improved heat ex 20 of low boiling point component gas in the opposite direc
change e?iciency between the oxygen product and a por
tion in heat exchange e?ecting relation with the ?rst path
tion of the air feed. This results from the pressure of
du "ing one period of the heat interchange to thereby cool
the nitrogen stream ?owing through pass 45 of heat ex
the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture and con
changer 49 which improves the cooling curves of the
geal high boiling point impurity along the ?rst path, ?ow
heat exchanger and results in more ef?cient heat inter
ing the ?rst portion of low boiling point component gas
change as compared to the passing of only oxygen and
through the ?rst path in the opposite direction in contact
air in countercurrent heat exchange relationship. Fur
with congealed impurity during a second period of the
thermore, with the present cycle balanced relationship
heat interchange, proportioning the relative mass of the
between portions of the feed mixture and oxygen and
?rst portion of low boiling point component gas and the
nitrogen component gas may be obtained by passing a
?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture so that the
major portion of the air through a two pass heat ex
?rst portion of low boiling point component gas sweeps
changer. Elimination of the requirement to provide a
out congealed impurity during the second period of the
third pass in a switching exchanger materially reduces
heat interchange, ?owing the second portion of com
manufacturing cost.
pressed gaseous mixture in one direction through a second
Although only one embodiment of the present inven
path and ?owing high boiling point component gas and
tion has been disclosed and described herein, it is to be
a second portion of low boiling point component gas in
expressly understood that various changes and substitu
the opposite direction in heat exchange effecting relation
tions may be made therein without departing from the
with the second path to thereby cool the second portion
spirit of the invention as well understood by those skilled
of compressed gaseous mixture, removing high boiling
in the art. For example, the heat exchanger 18 may
point impurity from the second portion of compressed
comprise a pair of switching accumulators if desired.
gaseous mixture without the second path, and feeding the
Reference therefore will be had to the appended claims
?rst and second portions of cool compressed gaseous
for a de?nition of the limits of the invention.
mixture to the fractionating operation.
This application is a division of applicant’s copending
3. The method of separating air into oxygen compo
application Serial No. 660,023 ?led May 13, 1957, now
nent gas and nitrogen component gas in which compressed
Patent No. 2,932,174, for Apparatus and Method for
air is refrigerated by heat interchange with cold compo
Fractionation of Gas.
What is claimed is:
l. The method of separating gaseous mixtures into
components in which compressed gaseous mixture is ref
air is separated into cold nitrogen component gas and
cold oxygen component gas, comprising the steps of com
pressing air to provide major and minor portions of com
rigerated by heat interchange with cold component gas
and supplied to a fractionating operation where the
pressed air containing high boiling point carbon dioxide
impurity, ?owing the major portion of compressed air in
gaseous mixture is separated into cold component gases
one direction through a ?rst path and ?owing a ?rst por
having different boiling points, comprising the steps of
tion of nitrogen component gas in the opposite direction
in heat exchange effecting relation with the ?rst path
during one period of the heat interchange to thereby cool
the major portion of compressed air and congeal high
compressing gaseous mixtures to provide ?rst and second
portions of compressed gaseous mixture containing high
boiling point impurity, ?owing the ?rst portion of com
pressed gaseous mixture in one direction through a first
path and ?owing a ?rst portion of one component gas in
the opposite direction in heat exchange effecting relation
' with the ?rst path throughout the length of the ?rst path
during one period of the heat interchange to thereby cool
the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture and con
geal high boiling point impurity along the ?rst path, ?ow
ing the ?rst portion of one component gas through the
?rst path in the opposite direction in contact with con
gealed impurity during the second period of the heat inter
change, proportioning the relative mass of the ?rst portion
of one component gas and the ?rst portion of compressed
gaseous mixture so that the ?rst portion of one compo
nent gas sweeps out congealed impurity during the second
period or‘ the heat interchange, passing the second portion
of compressed gaseous mixture in one direction through
a second path and ?owing another component gas and
a second portion of the one component gas in the oppo
nent gas and supplied to a fractionating zone where the
boiling point carbon dioxide impurity along the ?rst path,
?owing the ?rst portion of nitrogen component gas
through the ?rst path in the opposite direction in contact
with congealed carbon dioxide impurity during a second
period of the heat interchange, proportioning the relative
mass of the ?rst portion of nitrogen component gas and
the major portion of compressed air so that the ?rst
portion of nitrogen component gas sweeps out congealed
carbon dioxide impurity during the second period of the
heat interchange, passing the minor portion of compressed
air in one direction through a second path and ?owing
70 oxygen component gas and a second portion of nitrogen
component gas in the opposite direction in heat exchange
effecting relation with the second path to thereby cool
the second portion of compressed air, removing high
boiling point carbon dioxide impurity from the minor
portion of compressed air without the second path, and
3,059,438
7
removing high boiling point carbon dioxide impurity from
feeding the major and minor portions of cool compressed
the minor portion of compressed air without the sec
ond path, Withdrawing a stream of cold nitrogen gas from
4. The method of separating gaseous mixtures into
the high pressure stage of the fractionating zone, pass
components in which compressed gaseous mixture is re
ing the withdrawn stream in heat exchange effecting re
frigerated by heat interchange with cold component gas
lation with at least a portion of the second path to cool
and supplied to a fractionating operation where the gas
the minor portion of compressed air to about the same
eous mixture is separated into cold compressed gases hav
temperature as the major portion of compressed air leav
ing different boiling points, comprising the steps of com
ing the ?rst path to warm the Withdrawn stream, expand
pressing gaseous mixture to provide ?rst and second por
tions of compressed gaseous mixture containing high boil 10 ing the withdrawn stream and adding the ei?uent of the
expansion step to cold nitrogen component gas from the
ing point impurity, ?owing the ?rst portion of com
low pressure stage, and feeding the major and minor por
pressed gaseous mixture in one direction through a ?rst
tions of cool compressed air to the fractionating Zone.
path and flowing a ?rst portion of one component gas
6. A method of separating gaseous mixtures into com
in the opposite direction in heat exchange effecting rela
ponents by a fractionating operation, in which operation
tion with the ?rst path during one period of the heat
compressed gaseous mixture is refrigerated by heat inter
interchange to thereby cool the ?rst portion of compressed
change with cold component gas and supplied to a frac
gaseous mixture and congeal high boiling point impurity
tionating zone where the gaseous mixture is separated
along the ?rst path, ?owing the ?rst portion of one com
into low boiling point component gas and high boiling
ponent gas through the ?rst path in the opposite direction
point cold component gas, comprising the steps of com
in contact with congealed impurity during a second period
pressing gaseous mixture to provide ?rst and second por
of the heat interchange, proportioning the relative mass
tions of compressed gaseous mixture containing high boil
of the ?rst portion of one component gas and the ?rst
ing point impurity, ?owing the ?rst portion of compressed
portion of compressed gaseous mixture so that the ?rst
gaseous mixture in one direction through a ?rst path and
portion of one component gas sweeps out congealed im
purity during the second period of the heat interchange, 25 ?owing a ?rst portion of low boiling point component gas
in the opposite direction in heat exchange eifecting rela
passing the second portion of compressed gaseous mix
tion with the ?rst path during one period of the heat
ture in one direction through a second path and ?owing
interchange to thereby cool the ?rst portion of com
another component gas and a second portion of one com
pressed gaseous mixture and congeal high boiling point
ponent gas in the opposite direction in heat exchange
impurity along the ?rst path, ?owing the ?rst portion
e?ecting relation with the second path to thereby cool the
of low boiling point component gas through the ?rst
second portion of compressed gaseous mixture, removing
path in the opposite direction in contact with congealed
high boiling point impurity from the second portion of
impurity during a second period of the heat inteerchange,
compressed gaseous mixture without the second path,
proportioning the relative mass of the ?rst portion of
withdrawing a stream of cold ?uid under high pressure
the low boiling point component gas and the ?rst por
from the fractionating operation, passing the withdrawn
tion of compressed gaseous mixture so that the ?rst por
stream in heat exchange ettecting relation with at least
tion of low boiling point component gas sweeps out con
a portion ‘of the second path to cool the second portion
gealed impurity during the second period of the heat in
of compressed gaseous mixture to about the temperature
terchange, ?owing the second portion of compressed
of the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture leaving
gaseous mixture in one direction through a second path
the ?rst path and thereby warm the withdrawn stream, ex
and ?owing the remaining portion of the low boiling
panding the warm stream and adding the effluent of the
point component gas and the high boiling point com
‘expansion step to relatively low pressure ?uid of the
air to the fractionating zone.
fractionating operation, and feeding the ?rst and second
ponent gas through separate paths and in the opposite
portions of cool compressed gaseous mixture to the frac
direction in heat exchange eifecting relation with the sec
ond path to thereby cool the second portion of compressed
tionating operation.
gaseous mixture, removing high boiling point impurity
5. The method of separating air by a fractionating op
eration in which operation compressed air is refrigerated
and ‘supplied to a fractionating zone having a high pres
sure stage and a low pressure stage when the air is sepa
from the second portion of compressed gaseous mixture
without the second path, and feeding the ?rst and sec
ond portions of cool compressed gaseous mixture to the
rated into cold nitrogen component gas and cold oxygen '
fractionating operation.
component gas, comprising the steps of compressing air to
provide major and minor portions of compressed air con
fractionating operation, in which operation compressed
taining high boiling point carbon dioxide impurity, ?owing
the major portion of compressed air in one direction
through a ?rst path and ?owing a ?rst portion of cold
nitrogen component gas in the opposite direction in heat
exchange effecting relation with the ?rst path during one
period of the heat interchange to thereby cool the ma
jor portion of compressed air and congeal high boiling
point carbon dioxide impurity along the ?rst path, ?ow
ing the ?rst portion of cold nitrogen component gas
through the ?rst path in the opposite direction in contact
with congealed high boiling point carbon dioxide impurity
in a second period of the heat interchange, proportioning
the relative mass of the ?rst portion of cold nitrogen com
ponent vgas and the major portion of compressed air
so that the ?rst portion of cold nitrogen component gas
sweeps out congealed high boiling point carbon dioxide
impurity during the second period of the heat inter
change, passing the minor portion of compressed air
in one direction through a second path and ?owing the
remaining portion of cold nitrogen component gas and
the cold oxygen component gas in the opposite direction
in heat exchange effecting relation with the second path
to thereby cool the minor portion of compressed air,
7. Apparatus for separating gaseous mixtures by a
gaseous mixture is refrigerated and supplied to a frac
tionating column where the gaseous mixture is separated
into cold component gases having different boiling points,
comprising means for compressing gaseous mixture to
provide ?rst and second portions of compressed gaseous
mixture containing high boiling point impurity, means
for ?owing the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous
60 mixture in one direction through a ?rst path and ?ow
ing a ?rst portion of one component gas in the oppo
site direction in heat exchange effecting relation
the ?rst path throughout the length of the ?rst
during one period of heat interchange to thereby
the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture
with
path
cool
and
congealed high boiling point impurity along the ?rst
path, means ?owing the ?rst portion of one component
gas through the ?rst path in the opposite direction in
contact with congealed impurities during the second
period of the heat interchange, means proportioning the
?rst portion of one component gas and the ?rst portion
of compressed gaseous mixture so that the ?rst portion
of ‘one component gas sweeps out congealed impurities
during the second period of the heat interchange, means
passing the second portion of compressed gaseous mix
3,059,438
9
ture in one direction through a second path and ?owing
purity during the second period of the heat interchange,
a second portion of one component gas and another
means ?owing the second portion of compressed gaseous
component gas in the opposite direction in heat exchange
effecting relation with the second path throughout the
length of the second path to thereby cool the second por
tion of compressed gaseous mixture, means removing high
boiling point impurity from the second portion of com
pressed gaseous mixture without the second path, and
mixture in one direction through a second path and ?ow
ing a second portion of a low boiling point component
gas and high boiling point component gas in the opposite
direction in heat exchange e?ecting relation with the
second path to thereby cool the second portion of .com
pressed gaseous mixture, means located without the sec
means feeding the ?rst and second portions of cool com
ond path for removing high boiling point impurity from
pressed gaseous mixture to the fractionating operation. 10 the second portion of compressed gaseous mixture, and
8. Apparatus for separating gaseous mixtures by a
means feeding the ?rst and second portions of cool com
fractionating operation, in which compressed gaseous
pressed gaseous mixture to the fractionating column.
mixture is refrigerated and supplied to a fractionating
10. Apparatus for separating gaseous mixtures by a
column where the gaseous mixture is separated into cold
fractionating operation, in which operation compressed
component gases having different boiling points, com
gaseous mixture is refrigerated and supplied to a frac
prising ?rst compressor means providing a ?rst portion
tionating column Where the gaseous mixture is separated
of compressed gaseous mixture, second compressor means
into low boiling point component gas and high boiling
providing a second portion of compressed gaseous mix
point component gas, comprising ?rst compressor means
ture, a ?rst heat exchanger including two paths in heat
for providing a ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mix
exchange effecting relation, means ?owing the ?rst por
ture containing high boiling point impurity, second com
tion of compressed gaseous mixture in one direction
through a ?rst path of the ?rst heat exchanger and ?ow
ing a ?rst portion of one component gas in the opposite
direction through a second path of the ?rst heat ex
pressor means for providing a second portion of com
changer during one period of heat interchange to thereby
portion of compressed gaseous mixture in one direction
through a ?rst path of the ?rst heat exchanger and for
cool the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture and
congeal high boiling point imprity along the ?rst path,
means for switching the ?ow of the ?rst portion of one
component gas and the ?rst portion of compressed gase
ous mixture through the ?rst heat exchanger so that the
?rst portion of one component gas flows through the ?rst
path in the opposite direction in contact with congealed
impurity during a second period of the heat interchange,
means proportioning the relative mass of the ?rst portion
of one component gas and the ?rst portion of compressed
gaseous mixture so that the ?rst portion of the one com
ponent gas sweeps out congealed impurity during the
second period of the heat interchange, a second heat ex
changer including three paths in heat exchange relation
ship, means passing the second portion of compressed
gaseous mixture in one direction through one path of
the second heat exchanger, means ?owing a second por
tion of one component gas through a second path of the
second heat exchanger in an opposite direction relative
to the ?ow of the second portion of the compressed gase
ous mixture, means ?owing another component ‘gas
through the third path of the second heat exchanger in
the opposite direction, means located without the second
heat exchanger for removing high boiling point impurity
from the second portion of compressed gaseous mixture,
and means feeding the ?rst and second portions of cool
compressed gaseous mixture to the fractionating column.
9. Apparatus for separating gaseous mixtures by a
fractionating operation, in which operation compressed
pressed gaseous mixture containing high boiling point
impurity, a ?rst heat exchanger including a pair of paths
in heat exchange relationship, means for passing the ?rst
?owing a ?rst portion of low boiling point component
gas in the opposite direction through the second path
of the ?rst heat exchanger to thereby cool the ?rst por
tion of compressed gaseous mixture and congeal high
boiling point impurity along the ?rst path, means re
versing the ?ow of the ?rst portion of compressed gase
ous mixture and the ?rst portion of low boiling point
component gas in the ?rst heat exchanger to ?ow the
?rst portion of the low boiling point component gas
through the ?rst path in the opposite direction in con
tact with congealed impurity, means proportioning the
relative mass of the ?rst portion of the low boiling point
component gas and the ?rst portion of compressed gase
ous mixture so that the ?rst portion of low boiling point
component gas sweeps out congealed impurity, a second
heat exchanger including three separate paths in heat
exchange relationship, means ?owing the second por
tion of compressed gaseous mixture in one direction
through a ?rst path of the second heat exchanger, means
?owing the remaining portion of the low boiling point
component gas through a second path of the second
heat exchanger in a second direction opposite the ?ow
of the second portion of compressed gaseous mixture,
means for ?owing the high boiling point component gas
through the third path of the second heat exchanger in
the second direction, means located outside of the sec
ond heat exchanger for removing high boiling point im
purity from the second portion of compressed gaseous
gaseous mixture is refrigerated and supplied to a frac 55 mixture, and means for feeding the ?rst and second
tionating column where the mixture is separated into a
portions of cool compressed gaseous mixture to the frac
low boiling point component gas and high boiling point
component gas, comprising compressor means for pro
tionating column.
11. Apparatus for separating air by a \fractionating
operation, in which operation compressed air is refrig—
viding ?rst and second portions of compressed gaseous
mixture containing high boiling point impurity, means
60 erated and supplied to a fractionating column having a
?owing the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mixture
high pressure stage and a low pressure stage Where the
air is separated into cold nitrogen component gas and
portion of low boiling point component gas in the oppo
cold oxygen component gas, comprising compressor
means for providing major and minor portions of com
site direction in heat exchange eifecting relation with the
?rst path during one period of the heat interchange to 65 pressed air containing high ‘boiling point carbon dioxide
impurity, means ?owing the major portion of compressed
thereby cool the ?rst portion of compressed gaseous mix
ture and congeal high boiling point impurity along the
air in one direction through a ?rst path and ?owing a
?rst portion of cold nitrogen component gas in the op
?rst path, means ?owing the ?rst portion of low boiling
point component gas through the ?rst path in the opposite
posite direction in heat exchange effecting relation with
direction in contact with congealed impurity during a
the ?rst path during one period of the heat interchange
second period of the heat interchange, means propor
to thereby cool the major portion of compressed air
in one direction through a ?rst path and ?owing a ?rst
tioning the relative mass of the ?rst portion of low boil
ing point component gas and the ?rst portion of com
pressed gaseous mixture so that the ?rst portion of low
boiling point component gas sweeps out congealed im
and congeal high boiling point carbon dioxide impurity
along the ?rst path, means ?owing the ?rst portion of
cold nitrogen component gas through the ?rst path in
the opposite direction in contact with congealed high
3,059,438
12
11
boiling point carbon dioxide impurity in a second period
cool the minor portion of compressed air to about the
of the heat interchange, means proportioning the rela
tive mass of the ?rst portion of cold nitrogen compo
nent ‘gas and the‘major portion of compressed air so
that the ?rst portion of cold nitrogen component gas
sweeps out congealed high boiling point carbon dioxide
impurity during the second period of the heat inter
change, means passing the minor portion of compressed
same temperature as the major portion of compressed
air leaving the ?rst path to thereby warm the withdrawn
stream, means expanding the warm stream, means add
ing the ef?uent of the expansion step to cold nitrogen
component gas from the low pressure stage, and means
feeding the major and minor portions of cool compressed
air to the fractionating column.
air in one direction through a second path and ?ow
ing the remaining portion of cold nitrogen component 10
gas and the cold oxygen component gas in the oppo
site direction in heat exchange e?ecting relation with
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
UNITED STATES PATENTS
2,105,214
De Baufre ___________ __ Jan. 11, 1938
2,355,660
Le Rouge ___________ __ Aug. 14, 1944
'Scheibel ____________ __ Apr. 11, 1950
Jenny _______________ __ vDec. 25, 1951
ing the withdrawn stream in heat exchange etfecting
2,504,051
2,579,498
2,673,456
2,699,047
2,918,802
relation with at least a portion of the second path to 20
2,932,174
12, 1960
the second ‘path to thereby cool the minor portion of
compressed air, means located outside of the second path
for removing high boiling ,point carbon dioxide impurity
15
vfrom the minor portion of compressed air, means With
drawing a stream of cold nitrogen gas from the high
pressure stage of the fractionating column, means pass
Scharmann __________ __ Mar.
Kawart et al. _________ __ Ian.
Grunber-g ___________ __ Dec.
Schilling ____________ __ Apr.
30, 1954
11, 1955
29, 1959
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