Definition of fractionating column in US English:

fractionating column


  • A tall, horizontally subdivided or packed container for fractional distillation in which vapor passes upward and condensing liquid flows downward. The vapor becomes progressively enriched in more volatile components as it ascends, and the less volatile components become concentrated in the descending liquid, which can be drawn off.

    • ‘The crude oil is heated in a furnace and pumped into the fractionating column, near its base.’
    • ‘The packed fractionating column can be used for the production of terpeneless essential oils and isolation of natural aroma chemicals under high vacuum.’
    • ‘Often, the fractionating columns are wrapped in thermal insulation and even heated at the bottom of the column while gradually cooled at the top.’
    • ‘Vapors from the oil move into a fractionating column, a tall tower containing a series of chambers.’
    • ‘Before discussing these columns and the advantages offered by such fractionating columns, it is important to understand the basis of the advantages offered by columns with many theoretical plates.’