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CHAPTER 6 Distillation

Part I
Introduction to Distillation
and Flash Distillation
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1. Introduction to Distillation
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Distillation (1)
Distillation is defined as a process in which a liquid or
vapour mixture of two or more substances is separated
into its component fractions of desired purity, by the
application and removal of heat.
Distillation is based on the fact that the vapour of a boiling
mixture will be richer in volatile components (i.e. that have
lower boiling points).
Therefore, when this vapour is cooled and condensed, the
condensate will contain more volatile components while
less volatile components will be enriched in the original
liquid after distillation.
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Distillation (2) Importance
Distillation is the most common separation technique in
chemical industries
Distillation consumes enormous amounts of energy due
to cooling and heating requirements
Cost-wise, distillation can contribute to >50% of plant
operating costs
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Distillation (3) Industry Examples
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Modified from (Dutta, 2007)
Distillation (4) Basic Equipment
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a reboiler (A) to provide vaporisation for
the distillation process
a column (C) which consists of a
number of stages and where the
separation is carried out
column internals such as trays/plates
and/or packings for enhancing
component separations
a condenser (D) to cool and condense
the vapour
an accumulator (or reflux drum, E) to
hold the condensed vapour for
recycling the reflux back to the column.
E
Distillation (5) Basic Equipment
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Each stage consists of tray/plate for enhancing component separation.
Distillation (6) How Does It Work?
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The liquid mixture that is to be
processed is known as the feed;
Feed is introduced somewhere near the
middle of the column to a tray known as
the feed tray/plate.
Heat is supplied to the reboiler to
generate vapour. The source of heat
input can be a suitable fluid (typically,
steam).
The vapour raised in the reboiler is
introduced into the column at the bottom
of the column for separation.
Distillation (7) How Does It Work?
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The liquid removed from the reboiler is
known as the bottoms product or
conventionally called bottoms .
The vapour moves up the column, exits
the top of the unit and then is cooled by a
condenser.
The condensed liquid is stored in a
accumulator or reflux drum .
Some of this liquid is recycled back to the
top of the column and this is called the
reflux.
The liquid removed from the system is
called distillate or overhead product .
Distillation (8) How Does It Work?
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Feed is fed into the column from a
stage (feeding stage):
Stripping (or enriching) section:
all stages (trays/plates) above
the feed tray/plate
Rectifying section: all stages
(trays/plates) below the feed
tray/plate (including the feeding
tray/plate)
Distillation (9) How Does It Work?
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Stripping section
progressively stripes of the
volatile components in the liquid,
leaving the liquid be enriched in
high-boiling components;
At the bottom, producing a
bottom product which is of high
purity.
Distillation (10) How Does It Work?
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Rectifying section
The vapour is enriched in volatile
components;
Without reflux, no rectification will
occur and the concentration of
the overhead product would be no
greater than that of the vapour
rising from the feed plate;
Reflux with a split from overhead
product significantly improves the
purity of the overhead product, at
additional energy costs.
Distillation (11) How Does It Work?
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A single stage is a device where two
phases of a different composition come
in contact with each other, exchange
and leave with new compositions;
Actions at each stay (tray/plate)
The steams coming to the stage are
NOT in equilibrium;
The streams leaving the stage are in
vapour-liquid equilibrium;
L
in
, x
in
L
out
, x
out
V
out
, y
out
V
in
, y
in
Therefore, to design a distillation column, the VLE data of the
system must be known.
2. Flash Distillation of
Binary Mixture
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Flash Distillation of Binary Mixture
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Flash distillation is widely used in petroleum refining. It is
essentially a one-stage operation.
A liquid is heated to a high pressure;
The high pressure liquid is then flashed at a lower pressure,
causing some vapour to be evolved;
It is essentially a single-stage operation.
Flash Distillation of Binary Mixture
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x
F
= mole fraction of A in the feed liquid;
y
D
= mole fraction of A in the vapour phase;
x
B
= mole fraction of A in the liquid phase;
f = the mole fraction of the feed that is vaporised.
Material balance:
For a binary system, from Eq (5.4), we have
Enthalpy balance
Where H
F
, H
y
and H
x
are the enthalpies of feed liquid, the vapour
and the liquid product.
Flash Distillation of Binary Mixture
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x
P
= y

+(1 -)x
B
(6.1)
y

=
ox
B
1 +(o -1)x
B
E
P
= E

+(1 -)E
x
(6.2)
A mixture of 50%mol benzene and 50%mol toluene is subjected to
flash distillation at a separator pressure of 1 atm. The incoming
liquid is heated to a temperature that will cause 40% the feed to
flash. The relative volatility of benzene over toluene = 2.45. The
boiling point diagram at 1atm is given as Figure 6.1.
(a) What are the compositions of the vapour and liquid leaving the
flash chamber?
(b) What is required feed temperature?
For benzene: = 7.36 cal/g mol; cp = 33 cal/mol.C;
For toluene: = 7.96 cal/g mol; cp = 40 cal/mol.C;
Flash Distillation Example
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Flash Distillation Example
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Figure 6.1 Boiling point diagram (benzene-toluene system) at 1 atm