unit. Steam is admitted at the bottom and rises through the column in intimate countercurrent contact with the descending liquid in one form of the operation. Light fractions dissolved in this descending oil are "stripped" from it by the rising steam. The rising steam passes through the liquid in the separating chamber and continues upward in the column with the vaporized portion of the feed. A portion of the vapor reaching the top of the column is condensed and permitted to flow back down the column against the rising vapors. The interaction between this descending condensate, or reflux, and the rising vapors gives a rectificatory separation between the distillate and the residue.
The residue from this column may be fed to a second pipe still-bubble tower unit where it undergoes a similar treatment.
Either or both of the columns may be operated under vacuum to reduce the temperature required for the distillation.
As a result of its operation, each unit puts out one distillate and a residue.
8. The use of the pipe still greatly reduces the time under heat. It also assists in the prevention of cracking by the vaporization of the heavy fractions in the presence of the light ends. The carrying effect of the light ends, which is utilized in this "flash" vaporization, enables a greater amount of vaporization to be obtained at the same temperature, or the same amount of vaporization at a lower temperature, than could be obtained by the progressive vaporization of the old shell stills.
The application of the heat for the rectification operation to an intermediate point in the rectification column (through the feed stream) combined with the steam stripping of the unvaporized portion of the feed flowing down through the column, enables the operation to be conducted at a lower temperature level than would be possible if the heat were applied at the bottom of the column, as in shell still operations, and therefore permits the vaporization and rectification of heavy oils that could otherwise not be vaporized and rectified without cracking.
The imposition of a vacuum upon the system, which further reduces the temperature necessary for a given vaporization, also contributes to the ultimate result.
9. Claims 10, 11, and 12 of the Loomis patent are in suit. Claim 12, which is typical, is as follows:
12. The method of distilling hydrocarbon oils which comprises passing the oil in an externally heated confined streain through a heating zone, discharging the oil into an unheated separating chamber, supplying steam in said chamber so as to pass through the liquid therein, removing separated vapors and steam from said chamber, subjecting the removed vapors and steam to a controlled refluxing action and returning reflux to the separating chamber."
Claims 10 and 11 are substantially the same except that they do not include the provision that reflux is returned to the separating chamber and claim 10 specifically includes the operation of the system under vacuum.
10. The claims in suit were taken from Hunneman patent No. 1,676,609, issued July 10, 1928, and were made in a renewal application by an amendment filed July 2, 1929, seven years after the original application was filed. The renewal application was made by plaintiff, and was not supported by oath of the original patentee, Loomis, that he was the inventor. The claims in suit were presented four years after the patentee, Loomis, and Mr. Howard, an officer of plaintiff company, had seen the operation of a Peterkin still (patent No. 1,709,874) which was substantially identical with defendant's atmospheric unit, and more than two years after the disclosure of said Peterkin still in "Heat Engineering," a publication widely distributed among the oil refiners of the country.
11.No single unit, or combination of units, as described by the specifications of the Loomis patent, have ever been put into commercial use.
12. The defendant is operating two pipe still-bubble tower units connected in series. The first of these units, referred to as the Foster-Wheeler unit, is operated at atmospheric pressure. The second, or Badger unit, is operated under vacuum. The operation column. Steam is admitted at the base the operation disclosed in the Loomis patent.
Crude petroleum is externally heated as it passes in a confined stream through the pipe still of defendant's Foster-Wheeler unit. It is then discharged into an unheated intermediate zone of the rectification of each of these units closely parallels of the column and at several upper parts of the column, and passes upwardly through the liquid descending, stripping out the light ends. The oil vapors and steam which flow upwardly through the column are subjected to rectification by contact with a part of the condensate which flows down through the column. The operation of this atmospheric unit is covered by Loomis claims 11 and 12.
The reduced crude discharged from this unit as its residual product is fed to the vacuum unit. The operation of the vacuum unit is the same as that of the atmospheric unit except that the rectification column operates at subatmospheric pressure.
13. The method of petroleum distillation of plaintiff's Loomis patent discloses the use of a coil heater, the feeding of the heated oil from the coil to a middle section of a fractionating tower, the use of open steam for stripping purposes (one form), the subjecting of the steam with the vapors of the heated oil to a controlled refluxing action (i.e., by a condenser), and the maintenance of subatmospheric pressure upon the system. All of these elements were old in the petroleum art, and each acted to perform its ordinary and well-known function, the total result being the addition of the individual results of the elements of the operation.
14. All features of the claims of the Loomis patent are disclosed in patents of the prior art, as follows:
Vaughan Patent No. 49,689 Aug. 29, 1865;
Frasch Patent No. 845,735 Feb. 26, 1907;
Borrmann Patent No. 1,220,067 March 20, 1917;
Bergstrom Patent No. 1,271,654 July 9, 1918;
Hudson et al. Patent No. 1,303,321 May 13, 1919;
Koppers Patent No. 1,323,396 Dec. 2, 1919;
Tschudy Patent No. 1,348,606 Aug. 3, 1920;
Primrose Patent No. 1,614,689 Jan. 18, 1927,
Filed April 7. 1921;
Behimer Patent No. 1,936,657 Nov. 28, 1933,
Filed April 7, 1921;
Baudry Patent (British) No. 29,479 Dec. 31, 1904.
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