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06-321

ChemE Thermodynamics
Flash Calcula:on
Bruno A. Calfa

Last Update: August 27th, 2014


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Basics of Flash Calcula:ons


Important applica:on of VLE.
Liquid at a pressure equal to or greater than its bubble point
pressure ashes or par:ally evaporates when the pressure
is reduced, producing a two-phase system of vapor and liquid
in equilibrium.
Consider a P-T ash, i.e., both pressure and temperature are
specied as well as the inlet (overall) composi:on.

[1]

Modeling (I/II)
Total mole balance Component mole balance Phase-equilibrium ra:o


In general, the K-values (Ki) depend on composi:on, T, and P.

[2]

Modeling (II/II)
Combining equa:ons and given that yields:


This is a nonlinear algebraic equa:on.
Note that only zi is specied. If the K-values are independent of
composi:ons (e.g., Raoults Law assump:on), then a simple itera:ve
solu:on approach can be used to solve for the ra:o V/F. Root-nding
methods, such as Newton-Raphson and bisec:on, can be employed.

A more convoluted itera:on procedure is needed if the K-values also


depend on composi:ons (rigorous models).

Numerical Example

Mixture: (1)methanol + (2)1-propanol + (3)acetone.


P = 101.325 kPa, T = 343.15 K.
z1 = 0.4, z2 = 0.2, z3 = 0.4.
Approximate Method
Assume Raoults Law applies (use Antoine equa:on to calculate satura:on
pressures).
Use MATLABs func:on fsolve.

Rigorous Method
Aspens ash unit opera:on with an appropriate rigorous thermodynamic
model.

Approximate Method
See MATLAB script M-le FlashExampleApproximate.m.
Solu:on
V/F = 0.656
f(V/F) = 2.583 108
Component

yi

xi

methanol

0.427

0.348

1-propanol

0.116

0.360

acetone

0.457

0.292

Rigorous Method
Add components.

Rigorous Method
Select thermodynamic model. Use Method Assistant. NRTL seems to be
appropriate. Go to the subfolder Parameters under Methods to conrm
that you will be using Aspens built-in binary interac:on parameters.

Rigorous Method
Switch to Simula:on environment. Add ash unit opera:on (Flash2).
You may rename the block (right click -> Rename Block).

Rigorous Method
Click on Material. Red arrows are mandatory. Blue arrows are op:onal.

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Rigorous Method
Draw streams. You can rename streams (right click -> Rename Stream).

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Rigorous Method
Congure feed stream. Go to folder Streams, then 1 (feed stream). Use same
condi:on of feed for this example.

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Rigorous Method
Congure ash unit. Go to folder Blocks, then B1.

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Rigorous Method
Run simula:on. Click on blue play bukon. It converged! We are not
performing economic evalua:ons at this point, so click Close.

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Rigorous Method
Check results (Stream Summary).

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Rigorous Method
To see molar frac:ons, go to folder Setup -> Report Op:ons -> Streams.
Check Mole for Frac:on basis.

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Rigorous Method
Rerun simula:on. View Streams (Custom). Remember that stream 2 is the
vapor stream, and stream 3 is the liquid stream.

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Summary: Approximate vs. Rigorous











V/F
Approximate

Rigorous

0.656

0.756

Component

yi

xi

Approx. Rigorous Approx. Rigorous


methanol

0.427

0.427

0.348

0.318

1-propanol

0.116

0.128

0.360

0.422

acetone

0.457

0.445

0.292

0.260

More considerable devia:ons in the liquid stream composi:on. Ideal


solu:on (Raoults Law) may not be a good assump:on for this system.
Need rigorous ac:vity coecients models.
See le FlashExampleRigorous.apwz.
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References
[1] Green, D. W. (Editor). (2008). Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook.
McGraw-Hill Professional. New York, NY. USA.
[2] Seader, J. D.; Henley, E. J.; & Roper, D. K. (2011). Separa:on Process
Principles: Chemical and Biochemical Opera:ons. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Hoboken, NJ. USA.

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