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**School of Electrical Engineering**

Distillation The Continuous Column Gavin Duffy School of Electrical Engineering DIT Kevin Street

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**Learning Outcomes After this lecture you should be able to…..**

Describe how continuous distillation works List the major components of a distillation column Develop a mathematical model for a continuous column

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Recap - VLE for Meth H2O

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**Boil and Cool 4 times Finish 1 2 3 4 Start**

Boiling a liquid with Xa of 0.2 produces a vapour with Ya of 0.57 Boiling a liquid with Xa of 0.57 produces a vapour with Ya of 0.82 1 2 3 4 Boiling a liquid with Xa of 0.81 produces a vapour with Ya of 0.93 Boiling a liquid with Xa of 0.93 produces a vapour with Ya of 0.98 Start

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**Alternatively use T-x-y Diagram**

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**How to separate a binary mixture – Pot still**

Boil the mixture, condense the vapour and collect the distillate. Repeat the procedure until the desired purity is obtained.

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**Each still is a step on the x-y curve**

Step off each stage using the x=y line gives the same result Each step is an ideal stage in distillation 4 ideal stages to go from 20% Meth to 95% Meth 4 3 2 1

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**Activity – Count Stages**

How many ideal stages are needed to take this system from a feed composition of 0.2 to a distillate composition of 0.95?

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**Pros and Cons of the pot still?**

Very simple to make Cheap – minimum components Flexible – can collect over time before using Cannot vaporise all of the mixture Small amount High purity Large amount Low purity Large amounts of energy required Very slow How can this be improved?

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**How to improve the pot still?**

Remember that boiling results in a change of composition, and condensing also results in a change of composition Therefore, combine the two processes inside the column to improve the distillation process A distillation column is designed to encourage vapour liquid contact Falling liquid meets rising vapour. Boiling and condensing do not just occur in the reboiler and the condenser. They happen inside the column also

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**The Distillation Column**

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**Distillation Column Components**

Reboiler – this heats the liquid Stripping Section – MVC is vapourised Rectifying Section – LVC is condensed Trays/Plates – encourage vapour liquid contact Packing – alternative to trays Condenser – Vapour from column is cooled to liquid Reflux – condensed vapour can be returned to column Top product – from condenser Bottom product – from reboiler

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**Trays and Packing Liquid Vapour Encourage vapour liquid contact**

Vapour condenses to release LVC Liquid uses this energy to boil and release MVC

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**Column Mass Balance F xf B xb D xd V L F = B + D V = L + D n n+1 m m+1**

F, B, D, etc are flow rates in mol/s Xf etc are mol fractions n trays in the rectifying section m trays in the stripping section V, L different Can also write for each component: Fxf,a = Dxd,a + Bxb,a

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**Activity – Mass balance on Acetic Acid/Acetic Anhydride problem**

A mixture of Acetic Acid and Acetic Anydride containing 40 mol % Acetic Acid is to be separated by distillation. The top product is to be 90 mol % Acetic Acid and the bottom product 10 mol % Acetic Acid. The feed is heated to its boiling point. The vapour is condensed but not cooled and some is returned at a reflux ratio of 3 kmol/kmol product. Carry out a mass balance on this column

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**The Stripping Section Feed flows down column to reboiler**

Reboiler heats liquid to BP and vapour rises Liquid that does not vaporise is removed as Bottoms Vapour rises and is forced into contact with falling liquid On the trays, some liquid reboils and some vapour condenses due to heat transfer between the phases - more stages are created Vapour Liquid 1 Reboiler 2 Bottoms m Vm’ ym L’m+1 xm+1 B xb

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**Constant Molal Overflow**

The assumption of constant molal overflow is used to simplify the above equations. It means that for every mole of vapour condensed, 1 mole of liquid is vaporised. This does not happen in reality but it is an acceptable approximation. It is based on negligible heat of mixing and heat loss and on constant molar enthalpies It means that while the liquid and vapour compositions may change the overall flowrate of each is constant through the column, i.e. Ln = Ln+1 and Vn = Vn+1

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**Applying constant molal overflow**

Stripping Section Applying constant molal overflow gives

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**Activity - Rectifying Section**

Develop the operating line for the rectifying section Condenser Reflux Drum Reflux Distillate Top Product 1 n Vn+1 yn+1 Ln xn D xd

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**The Rectifying Section**

Condenser Reflux Drum Reflux Distillate Top Product 1 n Vn+1 yn+1 Ln xn D xd Condenser at the top of the column cools the vapour, collected in the reflux drum A portion is returned to the column as reflux Remainder is removed as Distillate or Top Product Reflux Ratio = Reflux/Distillate Mass balance on flowrates gives Vapour = Liquid + Distillate

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**Applying constant molal overflow**

Rectifying Section Stripping Section Applying constant molal overflow gives

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**Activity – Label this distillation column!**

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Reflux Some condensed liquid is removed from the column as distillate. Some is returned. The reflux ratio is the ratio of liquid returned to the column over the amount removed R = L/D or L = DR Activity – rewrite the operating line for the rectification section using the reflux ratio.

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**Rectifying Operating Line**

The rectifying operating line is: Since L = RD and V = RD+D, we get: Compare this to y = mx + c – it is a straight line

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**Rectifying line on X-Y Diagram**

Slope = R/(R+1) Xd/(R+1) xd

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**Stripping Operating Line**

The boilup ratio is defined as the ratio of vapour returning to the column to the bottoms product flow: VB = V’/B Therefore, the stripping operating line can be written as Again of the form y = mx + c, another straight line

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**Stripping line on X-Y Diagram**

Slope = VB+1/VB Xb

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**Summary – Operating lines**

The rectifying section (upper column) The stripping section (lower column) Or Note minus sign in stripping line

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**Activity – Operating lines**

A mixture of Acetic Acid and Acetic Anydride containing 40 mol % Acetic Acid is to be separated by distillation. The top product is to be 90 mol % Acetic Acid and the bottom product 10 mol % Acetic Acid. The feed is heated to its boiling point. The vapour is condensed but not cooled and some is returned at a reflux ratio of 3 kmol/kmol product. Determine the operating lines for the rectifying and stripping sections and draw them on an equilibrium curve. To help you: Start with the rectifying line – it is easy – just use the reflux ratio. Stipping line is harder – we don’t know the boilup rate needed. So… Determine B and D from an overall mass balance Use D and R to give L for rectifying section (Ln) Use L and D to give V for rectifying section L for stripping section (Lm) comes from F and Ln V is the same for both sections as feed enters as liquid Use Lm and B and V to give stripping operating line

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**The intersection of the operating lines**

If the feed enters the column as a liquid at its boiling point then the operating lines intersect at xf. In this case: Lm = Ln + F i.e. the liquid flow in the stripping section is the sum of all of the feed and the liquid flow from the top of the column. All of this liquid will be at the bubble point. The feed may not be liquid at its boiling point. It might be at a lower temperature or at a higher temperature. There are five possible feed conditions. What happens to the operating lines if the feed is colder, i.e less than the boiling point? Answer to question is If the feed is colder then vapour flowing up the stripping section condenses and transfers heat to the cold feed. This brings the feed to the boiling point. The vapour flow is lower in the rectifying section. To maintain the same vapour flow in the rectifying section, we need a higher vapour flow in the stripping section. If this V increases, the stripping line tilts to the right as the slope will decrease. If the feed is superheated vapour, then the vapour flow up the stripping section can decrease to give the same vapour flow in the rectifying section. This means the stripping line moves to the left as the slope will increase.

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**Activity – Feed Condition**

The feed to the column can vary in form. It can be: Subcooled liquid Bubble point liquid Partially vaporised feed Dew point vapour Superheated vapour Think, Pair, Share briefly (5 min) what this means for the liquid and vapour flowrates in the stripping and rectifying sections of the column.

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**The q line This is used to show the feed condition on the x-y diagram.**

It is obtained by writing the two operating lines at their intersection, i.e. at plate n and plate m – the feed plate An enthalpy balance on the feed plate is then carried out to give the following equation (see C&R Vol 2, 4th Ed. p449): Where Cp = specific heat capacity To = boiling point of feed T = temperature of feed = latent heat of vaporisation

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What is q? q = the enthalpy change needed to bring the feed to a dew point vapour divided by the enthalpy of vaporisation of the feed Defined as: If the feed is a mixture of liquid and vapour then q is the fraction that is liquid For cold feed For superheated vapour Heat to vaporise 1 mol of Feed Molar latent heat of vaporisation of the Feed q = CpL heat capacity of liquid Tb bubble point TF Feed temp Latent heat of vapor’n CpV heat capacity of vapour Td dew point TF Feed temp

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The q line equation Using the above definition of q and a material balance over the whole column we get the q line: The two points used to draw the q line are: yf = xf The intersection point of the other two operating lines

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**The q line and feed condition**

The feed condition can now be described by the q line: Subcooled liquid q > 1 q line / Bubble point liquid q = 1 q line | Partially vaporised feed 0 < q < 1 q line \ Dew point vapour q = 0 q line --- Superheated vapour q < 0 q line /

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**The q line and feed condition**

The slope of the q line depends on the feed condition

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