Today structured packing is commonly applied in cryogenic air separation plants. Packing is typically characterised by a high surface-to-volume-ratio. Due to the large surface of packing in comparison to common sieve trays — provided equal amounts of oil are attached to surfaces more organic material may be present within a low pressure column of an air separation plant. Since an enrichment of organic material in an air separation plant or in liquid oxygen is a principal hazard and a major accumulation of organic material magnifies this risk, experimental tests were conducted to determine whether chipping of oil at cryogenic temperatures is possible.
Tests are discussed where single sheets of a packing segment had been coated with an oil film of definite thickness. The oil coated sheets were rinsed by moving them up and down in liquid nitrogen or in liquid oxygen. After fixed time intervals the oil content of a single sheet was determined.
It was concluded that the original oil residue on the sheets up to 250 mg/m^ remained attached to the packing surface and no decrease of oil was found within the accuracy of the oil determination method.