Foam Breakers

Foam can cause sever separation problems in liquid-gas separators requiring long residence times to become resolved. Although this problem is expected in some oil production systems, it requires specifically designed equipment and possibly the use of anti-foam chemicals to maintain acceptable unit operation and to keep vessel sizes practical. VME Fabricators manufactures a proprietary designed double pocket foam breaker that is extremely effective at breaking down foam. When installed in a production separator, VME's foam breakers can improve liquid-gas separation with or without the use of anti-foam chemicals. In one retrofit application, the foam breakers were so effective at breaking down the foam and removing liquid mist that the downstream mist eliminators were removed without compromising unit performance.

The process

VME's proprietary double pocket foam breaker packs are engineered to break foam by thinning the liquid film around the gas bubbles. When foam enters the pack, some of the larger bubbles break immediately. The smaller, more stabilized bubbles travel through the pack until they reach the double pocket area. The bubbles are forced through a much smaller area thereby stretching the bubble and thinning the film surrounding it. Some of the bubbles burst at this location while others flow into the wide channel. This channel causes the thin bubbles to rapidly expand which ultimately ruptures the remaining gas bubbles. The pockets also serve as a liquid drainage channel that can quickly remove the separated aqueous phase.

Foam breakers are typically constructed of stainless steel to reduce the potential for corrosion. Carbon steel and other more exotic alloys can be used if you application requires them.

When combined with a vane-type or centrifugal inlet device, foam generation can be kept to a minimum in new or retrofit applications. Vane-type inlet devices slowly reduce the momentum of the incoming fluid which decreases the amount of foam. Centrifugal inlet devices use the high momentum to help separate the liquid form the gas. VME can fabricate inlet devices designed by your company or we can provide our own special design.

VME's custom designed process internals are engineered and fabricated to minimize downtime in retrofit projects. Is foam generation expected to be a problem? Let VME help solve you next foaming problem using proven foam-breaking internals.