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'Liquid Hold-up' in a distillation column refers to down-coming liquid (liquid traffic travelling down the column) becoming trapped in the column's packing material.

Packing material is used in distillation columns to increase the contact efficiency between the down-coming liquid stream(s) and the up-flowing vapour stream(s). The packing materials do this by increasing the surface-to-volume ratio over which the vapour and liquid streams come into contact in order to promote separation between the more volatile and less volatile components in the column.

The down-coming liquid can become trapped in the packing material for a number of reasons. One example is when liquid becomes trapped in crack formations or fractures of the packing material (which can occur during normal or non-steady state column operation). When the liquid becomes trapped in these cracks/crevices, contact with the up-flowing vapour stream becomes non-existent and the liquid is literally 'held up' from travelling down the column.

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Q: What is liquid holdup in a column?
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