The gas flows over the inlet diverter and then horizontally through the gravity settling section above the liquid. As the gas flows through this section, small drops of liquid that were entrained in the gas and not separated by the inlet diverter are separated out by gravity and fall to the gas liquid interface.
Some of the drops are of such a small diameter that they are not easily separated in the gravity settling section. Before the gas leaves the vessel it passes through a coalescing section or mist extractor. This section uses elements of vanes, wire mesh, or plates to coalesce and remove the very small droplets of liquid in one final separation before the gas leaves the vessel.
The pressure in the separator is maintained by a pressure controller. The pressure controller senses changes in the pressure in the separator and sends a signal to either open or close the pressure control valve accordingly. By controlling the rate at which gas leaves the vapor space of the vessel the pressure in the vessel is maintained. Normally, horizontal separators are operated half full of liquid to maximize the surface area of the gas liquid interface.