Superior Liquid Phase Droplet Coalescer

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Maximising droplet coalescence in fouling service

Page last modified
April 11 2024

The separation of two (2) immiscible liquids entrained in one another as separate phases, is normally driven by a density difference. In many cases, this takes place as the result of the gravity forces acting. Under ideal circumstances Stokes’ Law applies, which basically says: the larger the droplet, the faster it rises or settles. Maximising the droplet size through coalescence has therefore a direct positive impact on the overall efficiency that can be achieved by gravity separation.

Droplet dispersions

In many industrial processes, dispersions are created unintentionally. This typically happens when a multiphase fluid flow passes through a device that imposes a large shear on the fluids, such as (choke) valves, centrifugal pumps, etc. But also condensation of immiscible liquids and other physical phase changes can be found to form a tight dispersion. The droplets created are typically <30 micron and generally with a (very) narrow droplet size distribution. It means: difficult to separate!

Droplet coalescence

In order to obtain a bulk product or a waste stream with a low dispersed contamination, the dispersed phase needs to be reduced in volume. In many cases, however, the residence time required to separate the smallest droplets by gravity would be exceeding the time that is available in the process or any storage or intermediate tank. In this situation droplet coalescence is desired to shorten the gravity settling time.

For that purpose, the Superior Liquid Phase Droplet Coalescer can be employed. The dispersed droplets only have to travel a very short vertical distance before they can agglomerate with others into a thin film layer at the next plate. Once the droplets have agglomerated with the film, the film will separate by gravity when it leaves the droplet coalescer. Different configurations of droplet coalescers are available to suit a wide range of process conditions and fluids. In clean service, the droplets can also be enlarged by a wide variety of Superior Liquid Phase Mesh Coalescers to maximise the overall separation efficiency. Note that dissolved components cannot be removed by coalescence; these would need to be transferred to a dispersed phase by mass transfer first.

Pros & Limitations
Enhances coalescence of free liquid droplet to enhance overall liquid-liquid separation performance
Different configurations available to suit wide range of process conditions and fluids
Very effective for primary dispersions
Suitable for fouling conditions or solids presence
Dissolved components or droplets stabilized in an emulsion cannot be coalesced (except if only mechanically induced)
No limitation w.r.t. turndown (0 – 100%)
Low pressure drop
Tailor-made design to match the dimensions of the coalescer vessel and pass through any man way size
Bolted installation of the components (no welding)
Can easily be applied to upgrade older L/L coalescer vessels in service
Frequent maintenance is not required, but degree of fouling should be monitored during regular shutdowns
Can be cleaned
Better product quality
Savings due to hydrocarbon & solvent recovery
Higher throughput achievable
Results in higher equipment cost, but contributes to increased performance reliability / reduced contamination
For brownfield vessel retrofit: vessel entry is required for installation
For brownfield vessel retrofit: existing supports may need to be modified (cold or plasma-cutting, as acceptable)
Specification Title Specification Description
Available sizes
Tailor-made to be compatible with vessel size and performance requirement.
304, 316, 321, 904
MOC (Duplex)
S31803, S32205, S32750
MOC (Alloys)
C276, 400, 625, 825
MOC (Other)
Other materials of construction upon request.


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Development Technology demonstration Mature / Proven
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