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The accuracy of several empirical correlations for estimating heat transfer coefficients within pumparound sections of atmospheric and vacuum petroleum fractionation towers was investigated. The heat transfer coefficients were estimated according to the C.F. Braun correlation for trayed pumparounds and the atmospheric and vacuum Glitsch correlations for packed pumparounds. From these correlations, heat transfer coefficients were estimated for 43 different petroleum fractionator pumparounds based on operating data gathered from nine refineries around the globe. The accuracy of the correlations was evaluated by comparing the estimated heat transfer coefficients to actual values calculated from operating data. Results showed that while the C.F. Braun correlation did not have any accuracy biases, it was also not very precise and had a large amount of variation in how well it could predict actual heat transfer coefficient values. Results also showed that while the two Glitsch correlations were both relatively precise, they both had accuracy biases. The atmospheric Glitsch correlation has a conservative underprediction bias, while the vacuum Glitsch correlation has an optimistic overprediction bias for heat transfer coefficients.

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Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Amy Ciric

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering


Stander Symposium poster


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