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# Chemical plant design & operations FAQ

## Plant Modeling

 Minimum Temp Achieved by Purging with N2 by sshep faq124-1702 Posted: 3 Mar 11 It is a common question to wonder what is the minimum temperaure can be expected when blowing N2 across a hydrocarbon liquid, such as purging and drying lines during shutdown. This is especially of concern with propane, propylene, etc. The question first came to me with respect to specifying MDMT for rail cars, but I have seen other posts with respect to purging plant equipment and piping.Although I think the theory is pretty easy to understand, I have noticed that some engineers under-estimate the power of evaporative cooling=========THEORY=============The theory is from energy balance as follows: Incoming N2 at 20degC blows through (mixing with) the liquid. The N2 will evaporate hydrocarbons which will remove heat causing the system to cool. The amount of hydrocarbons being evaporated decreases as the system temperature drops (lower vapor pressure) until eventually the enthalpy of the incoming N2 is balanced with the heat being removed by the evaporated hydrocarbons. No further temperature decrease occures. This is the minimum expected temperature.By energy balanceFN2*Cp*(TN2-T) = FHC*HVap(T)Also, the flow of N2 and hydrocarbon are related by Dalton's law of partial pressuresFHC/(FHC+FN2) = PHC(T)/P   -->    FHC=FN2*PHC(T)/(P-PHC(T))On substitution for FHC, the flow term FN2 can also be eliminated givingCp*(TN2-T) = PHC(T)*HVap(T)/((P-PHC(T))The resulting temperature, T, is found using the solver in ExcelWhere:T= final mixture temperature, degC, NOTE: this is the temperature of interestFN2= mole flow N2, kmol/hFHC= mole flow hydrocarbon, kmol/hCp= heat capacity of N2, assumed constant (29.1 KJ/KMOL-K) over the range of interestTN2= incoming nitrogen temperature, degCHVap(T)= heat of vaporization of the hydrocarbon, this is a function of temperature per DIPPR Heat of Vaporization equation over a wide range but a constant local value can be used as a simplification near the solution, KJ/KMOLP= system pressure, kPaaPHC(T)= partial pressure (vapor pressure) of hydrocarbon, a function of temperature per Antoine's equation, kPaa========RESULTS============Table 1. Expected lowest purging temperature with 20C N2 at 85KPaa (my local ambient pressure)                                  T       TB      TC      Hvap   Vapor PressComponent     (degC)   (degC)   (degC) (KJ/KMOL)  (KPaa)PROPYLENE       -86.3   -47.7    91.8   20194.8   11.3PROPANE         -82.6   -42.0    96.7   20513.0   10.81-BUTENE        -58.8    -6.3   146.4   24726.6    7.2N-BUTANE        -55.1    -0.5   152.0   25008.0    6.81-PENTENE       -36.6    30.0   191.7   28842.4    4.6N-PENTANE       -33.0    36.1   196.6   29651.2    4.21-HEXENE        -18.0    63.5   230.9   32709.7    2.8N-HEXANE        -15.1    68.7   234.5   33771.8    2.5METHANOL        -10.9    64.7   239.4   39655.2    1.9N-HEPTANE        -1.5    98.4   267.1   38139.7    1.4N-OCTANE          8.3   125.7   295.6   42434.9    0.7N-NONANE         14.5   150.8   321.5   46798.1    0.3 Back to Chemical plant design & operations FAQ Index Back to Chemical plant design & operations Forum

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