Frank Seibert


Technical Manager of Separations Research Program
Director of AIChE Separations Division (presently);
Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin (1986);
ARCO Excellence Award (1982);

    A. Frank Seibert

Focus. Mass-transfer and hydrodynamic characteristics of commercial-scale extraction and distillation devices

Research.We are studying the fundamental mass transfer and hydraulic characteristics associated with contacting devices used in distillation and extraction. Our studies utilize large and pilot scale equipment for distillation, liquid extraction and supercritical extraction. Recently, we have included studies of commercial-scale hollow fiber contactors for liquid extraction.

The distillation program is divided into three areas: study of contacting devices, reactive distillation and models for scale-up. This research is focused on studying the performance of high efficiency packings and trays using large-scale and pilot-scale equipment. The objective of these studies is to develop a consistent and mechanistic understanding of the hydraulic and mass transfer processes involved in vapor-liquid and gas-liquid contacting. These studies will lead to the improved column design or retrofit of existing distillation towers.

The extraction program is divided into four areas: conventional liquid-liquid extraction, high-pressure solvent extraction, microporous membrane extraction and phase separation. Again, the objective of our extraction research is to develop a consistent and mechanistic understanding of the hydraulic and mass transfer processes involved in solvent-liquid contacting. Research includes the studies of drop size, drop velocity, drop coalescence, film mass transfer coefficients, axial mixing, and contactor type. From these studies, more reliable design and scale-up models can be established and used for any chemical system.


"Understand Distillation-Column Debottlenecking Options," CEP 92(6):42 (1996), with J. R. Fair. "New Dimensions in Distillation," Chem. Engr. 99:86 (1992), with J.L. Humphrey. "Structured Packings in Liquid Extraction," Sep. Sci. and Tech. 30(7-9): 1139 (1995), with J. L. Humphrey. "Hydraulics and Mass Transfer Efficiency of a Commercial-Scale Membrane Extractor," Sep. Sci. Tech. 28(1-3):343 (1993), with X. Py, M. Mshewa, and J. R. Fair. "Mass Transfer Efficiency of Large-Scale Sieve Tray Extractor," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 32(10):2213 (1992), with J. R. Fair.