gas separator[¦gas ′sep·ə‚rād·ər]
a device for removing condensed moisture and hydrocarbon condensate, solid particles, and other impurities from the output of gas and gas-condensate wells. Impurities hamper the transport of gas and are a reason for pipeline corrosion and the partial or complete obstruction of wells, circuits, and industrial equipment because of the formation of ice or hydrate blockage. Gas separators are cylindrical (horizontal or vertical).
Gas separators generally have a main separation section (for separating most of the liquid from the gas flow), a precipitation section (in which impurities are separated by the force of gravity), a section for final gas purification (removal of minute drops of liquid), and a section for collection and preliminary settling of the liquid. Gas separators are classified according to the kind of main separation section as gravitational, cyclone (centrifugal), and nozzle types (the latter has internal and external liquid collectors). The operating principle of gravitational gas separators is based on the slowing of the gas flow rate within them to a point where the impurities settle by gravity; the impurities are disposed of periodically according to the amount of accumulation. Gravitational gas separators are simple in design, easy to manufacture, and reliable in operation, but they are cumbersome, require a great deal of metal, and are only 70-85 percent efficient. In cyclone gas separators the impurities are separated by centrifugal force. Cyclone gas separators have the same efficiency as gravity separators, but they have a greater capacity, require less metal, and have smaller overall dimensions. Nozzle gas separators, in which separation of the liquid is accomplished mainly by the force of inertia, are the most efficient.
The domestic gas industry is continuing to make greater use of louver gas separators that permit the separation of liquid by skimming, which increases the efficiency of the separators to 95-97 percent.
REFERENCERazrabotka i ekspluatatsiia neftianykh i gazovykh mestorozhdenii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1965.
E. B. BUKHGALTER