Why Join FRI?

Lower Capital Costs + Fewer Operating Problems + Less Time Off Spec

Member Driven Research

One Member = One Vote

FRI’s testing program is specified by the members and executed by FRI. Each Member company has one vote in the process to guide the research program. The research program contains a mix of basic distillation research and testing of proprietary devices.

FRI research will help to understand new distillation hardware, enabling Members to save money and improve operations. FRI’s work helps build confidence in new devices through our Proprietary Device Testing program. With this program, new proprietary distillation internals are tested. These tests provide consistent information to compare the performance of new devices that the members may be considering purchasing.

The purpose of FRI is to execute member-driven, well-planned experimental programs to collect large scale mass transfer hardware performance data with industrially representative chemical systems, and to report such data to its members clearly, in useful formats, and in a timely manner.

Software & Correlations

FRI's Device Rating Program (DRP) has been shown to have higher levels of accuracy than other available methods when calculating tray and packing capacities and pressure drops. FRI's experimental work in our 4 ft (1.2 meter) and 8 ft (2.4 meter) diameter columns forms the basis for our software and correlations. These tools are used by FRI members to understand the impacts of various hardware choices when designing or evaluating distillation internals. These correlations have been created by testing hydrocarbon systems with a broad range of liquid and vapor densities, surface tensions, and viscosities.

Design Handbooks

FRI handbooks provide valuable information on the insight of mass transfer and best design practices of mass transfer equipment. The handbooks are widely used by FRI Members for their distillation column design, revamp, and troubleshooting.

The Design Guidance Handbook provides information regarding tray and packing fundamentals, and FRI models and correlations for trays and packings. The Design Practices Committee, which is made up of distillation professionals from about 20 of the member companies, wrote the Design Practices Handbook. This handbook offers industry best practices for the design of distillation and absorption columns and associated equipment.


Meetings held throughout the year allow members to meet with distillation specialists from other Member companies, including some of the world's greatest distillation experts. These networking opportunities will allow others in the field to help troubleshoot problems. Members actively collaborate to solve operating problems.

FRI Distillation Academy

Distilling over 70 years of knowledge to help separate Member engineers from the rest.

FRI has been at the forefront of distillation research for more than 70 years. Hundreds of tests conducted, more than 35,000 data points collected, and thousands of videos recorded. FRI Distillation Academy combines this wealth of information with the extensive industrial experience of its course leaders to create a unique learning opportunity for engineers working in the mass transfer field.  Led by Drs. Izak Nieuwoudt and Tony Cai this unique 4-day course is tailored to engineers with 3 – 15 years of experience in the mass transfer field.  Through classroom teaching, videos, pictures, and practical examples the attendees will have a thorough understanding of the following topics upon completing this course:

  • Session 1: General Principles

  • Session 2: Trays

  • Session 3: Packings

  • Session 4: Column Internals

  • Session 5: Column Inspections

  • Session 6: Troubleshooting

  • Session 7: Reboiler Circuits and Hydraulics

The broad range of material is useful for engineers from the chemical, petrochemical, gas processing, refining, engineering, equipment manufacturing and related industries. 

Join FRI

Thank you for your interest in Fractionation Research, Inc. If you are interested in speaking with us about membership, please submit the information below and we will be in touch soon.