Modeling and simulation of supersonic gas separations

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Supersonic separation is an operation potentially applicable to gas processing in large scale chemical plants. Supersonic flows are achieved in properly sized converging-diverging nozzles, whose performance is simulated in this paper. The overall simulation procedure consists of different types of thermodynamic calculations, including the determination of phase equilibrium conditions and of thermodynamic sound speed in non-ideal single-phase and multiple-phase systems. The thermodynamic properties of the fluid are evaluated using the Peng-Robinson equation of state, but the procedure is general and compatible with other thermodynamic models. Despite being less detailed than computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations previously reported in the literature, the results are in very good agreement with CFD. The proposed procedure constitutes a tool for the preliminary design of supersonic separators that is conceptually simple and accurate, with rigorous evaluations of the thermodynamic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-311
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
Publication statusPublished - May 2014



  • Condensation
  • Equations of state
  • Natural gas
  • Separation
  • Supersonic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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