Factors Affecting Separation

Characteristics of the flow stream will greatly affect the design and operation of a separator. The following
factors must be determined before separator design:
• Gas and liquid flow rates (minimum, average, and peak),
• Operating and design pressures and temperatures,
• Surging or slugging tendencies of the feed streams,
• Physical properties of the fluids such as density and compressibility factor,
• Designed degree of separation (e.g., removing 100% of mist greater than 10 microns of gas stream),
• Presence of impurities (paraffin, sand, scale, etc.),
• Corrosive tendencies of the liquids or gas.
• Foaming tendencies of the crude oil.
It is important to highlight that: The degree of separation is dependent on the retention time provided.
Retention time is affected by the amount of liquid the separator can hold, and the rate at which the fluids
enter the vessel.

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