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Getting Started with Aspen Batch Distillation


Use this Getting Started section to become familiar with the steps to set up a batch simulation using Aspen
Batch Distillation.

You will be modeling a system to recover methanol from a mixture of methanol and water.

image\gs_1.gif

The objective is to separate methanol from the mixture with a purity of 99%. This mixture is not ideal given
the polarity of the molecules; therefore, for a working pressure of 1atm, you will choose NRTL to model its
physical properties.

There are five steps in this process. Click a step to go the instructions for the step.

Step 1 – Set up the Properties for Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 2 – Set up the flowsheet in Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 3 – Enter structural data and specifications for the Aspen Batch Distillation block

Step 4 – Enter Operating Steps

Step 5 – Run the simulation and view the results

Step 1 - Set up the Properties for Aspen Batch


Distillation
We want to define a Properties file that has the following defined.

Components Property Method

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Water NRTL
Methanol

To define this Properties file, follow the steps below.

To set up the Problem Definition file from within Aspen Batch Distillation:

1. Start Aspen Batch Distillation.

2. In the Simulation Explorer, click Component Lists.

image\component_lists.gif

3. In the Contents of Component Lists pane, double click Default component list.

image\default.gif

4. In the message box that appears, click Yes to Initialize Properties now.

5. Click Use Aspen Properties.

6. Click Edit using Aspen Properties.

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image\edit_using_aspen_properties.gif

This will start Aspen Properties.

image\start_up_aspen_properties.gif

7. Enter the Components:

Component ID Component name Formula


WATER WATER H2O
METHANOL METHANOL CH4O

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image\enter_components.gif

Tip: You can use the Next button to let Aspen Properties navigate you through the basic input required.

8. Click the Next button to move to the Properties Specifications form.

9. On the Properties Specifications form, in the Property method field, select NRTL.

Tip: Clicking the pull-down arrow on the field and typing N (the first letter of the property method name)
takes you to the right choice much faster than just scrolling down the long list.

image\specify_NRTL.gif

10. Click Next .

You are taken to the binary parameters forms, where you can view the binary parameters that will be used for
Properties Calculations.

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image\binary_parameters.gif

11. Click Next .

You are prompted to click one of the options shown below.

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image\required_properties_input_complete_options.gif

12. There is no need for further input, so click OK.

You are prompted as to whether to generate the Properties Plus input file now.

image\required_properties_input_complete_prompt.gif

13. Click OK to run the property setup.

14. Close Aspen Properties by clicking File | Exit.

You are prompted with the following:

image\save_changes_to_prop_files.gif

15. Click Yes to save the file.

16. To define the components to use in the simulation, in the Available Components list (left pane), select
both components.

17. Move them to the Components list (right pane) by clicking the button.

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image\build_component_list.gif

18. Click Edit Physical Properties to verify physical properties selections as shown below:

image\select_property_option_for_component_list_default.gif

19. Click OK to close each window.

The Property setup is now complete.

See Also

Step 2 – Set up the flowsheet in Aspen Batch Distillation

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Step 3 – Enter structural data and specifications for the Aspen Batch Distillation block

Step 4 – Enter Operating Steps

Step 5 – Run the simulation and view the results

Step 2 - Set up the flowsheet in Aspen Batch


Distillation
We want to model a single batch distillation column. To create the flowsheet, we need to drag and drop an
instance of the Aspen Batch Distillation model from the Batch Distillation library into the flowsheet area.

To create the flowsheet:

1. In the Simulation Explorer, under Libraries, open the Batch Distillation library.

2. Under Models, click Batch Distillation.

3. Drag and drop the Batch Distillation icon into the Flowsheet area.

The block is automatically assigned a name (B1).

To change the name of this block:

1. Right-click the block in the flowsheet to bring up its menu.

2. Click Rename Block.

3. Type the name you want for the block.

4. Click OK.

See Also

Step 1 – Set up the Properties for Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 3 – Enter structural data and specifications for the Aspen Batch Distillation block

Step 4 – Enter Operating Steps

Step 5 – Run the simulation and view the results

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Step 3 - Enter structural data and specifications for


the Aspen Batch Distillation block
The column has been designed as follows:

l 10 Stages (this includes eight trays, condenser and pot)

l Vapor-liquid separation

l Pot:

l Elliptical head

l 1m diameter

l volume of 1m3

l Duty: 150 kW

l Total Condenser

l Distillate mole flow rate = 4.5kmol/hr

l Reflux drum is present


(no need to enter dimension because we are defining fixed pressure profile/holdups; therefore reflux
holdup will be entered)

l Pressure profile is fixed

l Condenser pressure 1.01325 bar

l Column Pressure Drop 0.1 bar

l Holdups

l Reflux Drum liquid holdup: 0.02 m3

l Stage holdup: 0.005 m3

l One receiver for liquid distillate

l Initial condition: total reflux

l Initial Charge
18 kmol of material
Component mole fraction
Methanol: 0.4
Water: 0.6

To enter the data:

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1. Double-click the Column icon to open up the Main form.

2. This is where all data will be entered and Results can be viewed.

3. Type the number of stages and ensure valid phases are Vapor-Liquid on the Setup Configuration form:

l 10 Stages (this includes eight trays, condenser, and pot)

l Vapor-liquid separation

image\configuration_form.gif

4. On the Setup | Pot Geometry tab , type the pot dimensions:

l Elliptical

l 1m diameter

l volume of 1m3

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image\pot_geometry_form.gif

5. Click the Jacket Heating form under Setup. On the Jacket Heating tab, enter the pot conditions:

l Duty: 150 kW

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image\pot_conditions_tab.gif

6. Click the Setup form again. On the Condenser tab, click Total for Total condenser.

7. On the Reflux tab, type the distillate mole flow rate:

l Distillate mole flow rate = 4.5kmol/hr

l Reflux drum is present

Note: You need not enter dimension because we are defining fixed pressure profile/holdups. Therefore, reflux
holdup will be entered.

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image\reflux_tab.gif

8. Click Pressure/Holdups | Pressure.

9. On the Pressure tab, type the pressure profile:

l Pressure profile is fixed.

l Condenser pressure 1.01325 bar

l Column Pressure Drop 0.1 bar

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image\pressure_tab.gif

10. On the Holdups tab, type the reflux and stage holdup information:

l Reflux Drum liquid holdup: 0.02 m3

l Stage holdup: 0.005 m3

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image\holdups_tab.gif

11. Click Receivers | Distillate.

12. On the Distillate tab, define one liquid distillate receiver.

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image\distillate_tab.gif

13. Click Initial Conditions | Main.

14. On the Main tab, in the Initial condition field, click Total reflux.

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image\main_tab.gif

15. On the Initial Charge tab, define the following:

l Total initial charge: 18 kmol of material

l Component mole fraction:

l Methanol: 0.4

l Water: 0.6

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image\initial_charge_tab.gif

Note: Do not forget to save your work regularly.

To save your file for the first time:

1. On the File menu, click Save As.

image\save_as.gif

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2. In the File name field, type a name, or select a file name to overwrite an existing file:

image\save_as_db.gif

3. Click Save.

See Also

Step 1 – Set up the Properties for Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 2 – Set up the flowsheet in Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 4 – Enter Operating Steps

Step 5 – Run the simulation and view the results

Step 4 - Enter Operating Steps


There are two Operating Steps:

1. Start product draw maintaining a distillate flow rate of 4.5 kmol/hr.

2. Stop when the mole fraction of water in the distillate receiver approaches 0.01 from below. The batch is
complete.

To create the required operating steps to run the problem:

1. In the Batch Distillation Explorer, click Operating Steps | distil.

We create the first step for the first draw and then review results.

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2. On the Changed Parameters tab, create an operating step to distil the methanol by maintaining a
distillate flow rate of 4.5 kmol/hr.

image\operating_step_distil.gif

3. On the End Condition tab, specify as the end condition the mole fraction of water in the distillate
receiver approaching the value of 0.01 from below.

See Also

Step 1 – Set up the Properties for Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 2 – Set up the flowsheet in Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 3 – Enter structural data and specifications for the Aspen Batch Distillation block

Step 5 – Run the simulation and view the results

Step 5 - Run the simulation and view the results


The simulation is now ready to run.

Before running the simulation, it is a good idea to create plots for key variables such as:

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l the composition and holdup in the Receiver

l the composition and temperature in the pot

l and so on

To improve performance (speed) of the run, close all forms except the key variables form.

To create plots for key variables:

1. On the toolbar, click the Add Form button to create a table with the holdups and composition
showing the recovery of methanol in the receiver and the holdup of water in the pot.

2. On the New Flowsheet Form dialog box, in the Form Name field, type a name for the form.

3. Click Table.

image\new_flowsheet_form.gif

4. Go to the Holdups Summary Results table and, holding the Shift key down, click the Methanol liquid
holdup and the water composition. This highlights all fields between the two variables.

5. Now drag and drop them to the newly created Summary table.

6. Repeat this with the Distillate results.

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image\holdup_summary_results.gif

7. In a similar way create a plot with the composition in the receiver. You can create a plot per component
or put all components in the same plot.

image\composition_of_receiver.gif

8. Create plots for the components in the receiver and in the pot for instance. To create the plot, drag and
drop the variables from the results forms to the plot. See the example below.

image\plots_of_components_in_receiver_and_pot.gif

The plots and tables are restored in the Simulation Explorer under Flowsheet.

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image\plots_an
d_tables_stored
_under_flowshe
et.gif

You can easily access these plots and tables on the Flowsheet menu under Forms:
image\flowsheet_forms.gif

9. Make sure the Flowsheet window is active (by clicking it). Otherwise the Flowsheet pull-down menu
will not be available.

10. You can also capture your favorite screen layout by opening the plots and tables, positioning them
where you want to see them, and clicking on the toolbar. This creates a script, and you will be
prompted for a name:

image\capture_screen_layout.gif

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11. Type in a name and click OK.

12. The script is also placed in the Flowsheet in the Simulation Explorer. You can select it from the
Flowsheet menu as shown below.

image\flowsheet_scripts.gif

Once the script is selected all the forms open automatically.

13. You can change the time units displayed in the plots by clicking the Run Options toolbar button
and clicking the pull-down arrow for the Select the time units in which the user interface should display
time field.

image\run_options.gif

You can also change units in which the variables are displayed in your tables by clicking the Units field and
then clicking the pull-down arrow for more choices.

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image\summary_table.gif

Or you can change them globally for all tables and plots by going to the Tools menu and choosing a different
Unit of Measurement:
image\tools_units_of_measurement.gif

14. Click the Run button; then check the Simulation Messages window for any relevant messages.

Once the problem has run successfully you can view results in the forms.

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image\plots_from_run.gif

l Batch time: 1.49 hours/ 89.4 minutes

l Pot temperature: 101.993C

l Methanol recovery: 6.636 kmol

Note: It is always good practice to restart your simulation in order to restore it to time zero before saving your
work.

See Also

Step 1 – Set up the Properties for Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 2 – Set up the flowsheet in Aspen Batch Distillation

Step 3 – Enter structural data and specifications for the Aspen Batch Distillation block

Step 4 – Enter Operating Steps

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