Definition - What does Vacuum Retort mean?
A Vacuum Retort is a large industrial retort device that is used in the distillation or dry distillation process. Crude distillation units are designed in a way that they automatically function like a retort creating a vacuum. A retort is a spherical shape at bottom with a long downward pointing neck. Distillation is a separation technique where substvaances are removed from a fluid mixture by means or evaporation and condensation. In the petrochemical industry, distillation is an essential process that helps in refining and obtaining usable products from the crude oil. Therefore, oil refinery plants usually have a crude oil distillation unit.
Petropedia explains Vacuum Retort
The distillation units and various furnaces in the petroleum and other mechanical industries are designed in such a way that they look like a retort. The purpose of designing the distillation units to act like a retort is that when the distillation column as well as crude oil is heated at high temperature, LPG and other lighter compounds rise up and are automatically sucked to their respective units for further processing. This automatically suction takes place because of vacuum created at one end by the top shape of the distillation unit, which acts as a vacuum retort. The neck acts as a condenser, allowing the lighter petroleum vapors to condense and flow along the neck to various other collection vessels or columns placed slightly underneath the distillation unit. In case the other columns and processing units/vessels are far, the compressors, pumps are used to make sure vapors and petroleum liquids reach their respective processing units.