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Multicomponent distillation

In comparison with the case of binary distillation other problems arise:


1.

the synthesis of fractionation schemes (an example is reported for the separation of a ternary
mixture);

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

2.

graphic methods can no longer be used, but only analytical-numerical methods (short cut or
rigorous) for solving design or simulation problems;

3.

in the case of multicomponent distillation units, the compositions of the distillate and of the liquid
bottom depend on the column operation (adopted reflux ratio R and the number of plates N).
Usually the purity specifications are assigned as mole fraction of the light key component
(light key lk) in the bottom and as mole fraction of the heavy key component (heavy key
hk) in the distillate to represent the cut among the components of the feed mixture..
When the key componenti are adjacent in the scale of relative volatilities (relative to the heavy
key component):

1 > 2 > ... > lk > hk = 1 > ... > NC


it is possible to approximately solve the global balances on the column:

Fzi Dxi , D
i < lk

Fzi Dxi , D + Bxi , B i = lk , hk

i > hk
Fzi Bxi , B
In the case of components distributed between the light and heavy key components it is necessary
to assume their distribution.
Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

Components NON distributed between


the key ones

1
2
3

lk

hk

5
6
Components distributed between
the key ones

1
2
3

lk

4
5

hk

1 > 2 > 3 > 4 > 5 > 6


Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

hk = 1
Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)
Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

Short-cut for design problems: Fenske-Underwood-Gilliland


1) Nmin determination
As in the case of binary distillation Nmin can be determined according to:
Fenske Correlation

Dxhk ,D
N
=lk
= i min i

N min

Bx
hk ,B

Dxi ,D

Bx
i ,B

Dxlk ,D Bxhk ,B

ln

Bx
Dx
lk , B
hk , D
=
ln lk

In the case of distributed components their outlet composition for Nmin in the distillate and in the bottom
must be derived:

SFi

(Dx )

i , D N min

Dxi , D
Bxi , B

= SFhk i

N min

SFi
= (Fzi )
1 + SFi

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Fzi = Dxi , D + Bxi , B = Bxi , B (1 + SFi )

(Bx )

i , B N min

1
= (Fzi )
1 + SFi

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

2) Rmin determination
Underwood Correlations

1)

i zi
= 1 q

i =1 i

2)

i xi , D
= Rmin + 1

i =1 i

NC

NC

From equation (1) as many valid roots are obtained as the number of distributed components plus 1 (only
one in case of adjacent key components). The valid roots are those for which:

lk > 1 > ... > N ' > hk = 1


The root/roots () is/are substituted into equation (2) and the number of obtained equations is the same of
the roots. Such equations are solved in Rmin and, in the case they are present, in the top compositions of
the distributed components. So an estimate of the outlet compositions of the distributed components can be
obtained under minimum reflux conditions.

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

3) Determination of the outlet compositions of the distributed components


If no distributed component is present go to point 4
In the case of components distributed between the two key ones the procedure becomes iterative and
convergence must be reached on the compositions of the outlet distributed components themselves. Taking
advantage of the estimates of the outlet compositions of the distributed components under both minimum
reflux and minimum number of stages conditions previously calculated, we obtain the estimate of the
compositions at the actual reflux ratio R by the relation:

(x )

i,D R

R
= a+b
R +1

a e b parameters for each distributed component can be obtained by means of a linear exact interpolation
using the compositions at the R limit conditions.
If the estimates of the compositions of the distributed components are "about" the same as those found at
the previous iteration continue to step 4, otherwise go back to point 1.

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

4) Determination of the number of equilibrium stages (N)


Use of the Gilliland diagram or, alternatively, of the relations:

= 0.75 0.75F 0.5668 Eduljee


= 1 e

1+ 54.4 F F 1

F
11
117
.
2
+
F

Molokanov

with

N N min
(N ) =
N +1
R Rmin
F ( R) =
R +1
Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

Gilliland diagram

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

Erbar Maddox diagram

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

Feed tray position: shortcut correlations


Method based on Fenske correlation

N min, INF
with lk , INF

zlk xhk ,B

ln

z
x
hk
lk
B
,

=
ln lk , INF

average relative volatility of the light key component in the lower column section.

The tray number in the lower section of the column (NINF) for actual R can be calculated from the
relation:

N INF
N
=
N min, INF N min
Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015

Kirkbridge Equation (Kirkbridge C.G., Pet. Ref. 23(9), 321, 1944)

z
NS
= hk
N INF zlk

xlk , B B

xhk , D D
2

0.206

In the literature (Akashah, S. A.; Erbar J.H.; Maddox R. N., Chem Eng. Commun. 3, 461, 1979) a
correction to the number of trays in the upper section of the column (NS) calculated with the Kirkbridge
correlation has been proposed:

N S' = N S 0.5 log N

Politecnico di Milano
Dipartimento CMIC G. Natta

Chemical Processes and Technologies (8 CFU)


Prof.ssa Laura Annamaria Pellegrini AA 2014 / 2015