Deutsch: Rückverdampfer / Español: Rehervidor / Português: Reboiler / Français: Réchauffeur / Italiano: Ribollitore

Reboiler in the industrial context refers to a type of heat exchanger that is primarily used to provide heat to the bottom of industrial distillation columns. It boils the liquid from the bottom of the column to generate vapors which are returned to the column to drive the distillation process.


Reboilers are essential components in the chemical processing industry, particularly in the operation of distillation columns. They function by heating up a liquid mixture entering from the column bottom, causing it to vaporize. The vapors then rise through the column, facilitating the separation of different components based on their boiling points.

There are several types of reboilers, including:

  • Kettle Reboilers: Function similarly to a simple kettle, where the heating element heats the liquid from the bottom.
  • Thermosiphon Reboilers: Use natural convection created by the temperature difference between the hot incoming fluid and the cooler exiting fluid to circulate the liquid through the heat exchanger.
  • Forced Circulation Reboilers: Employ a pump to circulate the fluid through the heat exchanger, ensuring efficient heat transfer even under low natural convection conditions.

Application Areas

Reboilers are used in various industries where distillation is a key process:

  • Chemical Manufacturing: Separating chemical components for production of purer substances.
  • Petroleum Refining: Distilling crude oil into fractions such as gasoline, kerosene, and diesel.
  • Food and Beverage Processing: Alcohol distillation and the concentration of food products.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Purification of drugs and active ingredients through distillation.

Well-Known Examples

In practice, reboilers are integral to the operation of facilities like:

  • Oil Refineries: Where multiple reboilers are used in crude oil distillation towers to separate various hydrocarbon chains.
  • Chemical Plants: Employing reboilers in the production of high-purity chemicals.

Treatment and Risks

The primary risks associated with reboilers include overheating, fouling, and scaling, which can lead to inefficient operation and potential equipment failure. Chemical corrosion and erosion can also occur, particularly if the reboiler handles corrosive fluids or if there is a high level of impurities in the system.

Proper maintenance and regular cleaning are essential to ensure the efficient and safe operation of reboilers. It is also important to select a reboiler type that is appropriate for the specific characteristics of the fluid being processed and the operational demands of the distillation column.

Similar Terms

Related equipment includes boilers and condensers. While boilers are used more broadly for generating steam by heating water, condensers are used to cool vapors back into liquid form. Both are part of the larger family of heat exchangers used in industrial processes.


Reboilers are critical components in the distillation process, providing the necessary heat to vaporize liquids at the bottom of a distillation column. Their design and operation are crucial for the efficient and safe processing of chemicals, petroleum products, and other substances in various industries.


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