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Ingeniería e Investigación

Print version ISSN 0120-5609


ESTUPINAN, L  and  RIASCOS, C. A. M. Conceptual analysis of single-feed heterogeneous distillation columns. Ing. Investig. [online]. 2015, vol.35, n.2, pp.36-42. ISSN 0120-5609.

Separation in heterogeneous distillation columns is attained by interaction of two liquid and one vapor phases, interaction of three phases involves complexities due to the determination of vapor-liquid-liquid equilibrium and hence, in the design of separation units. Nevertheless, the liquid-liquid equilibrium allows developing separations that may be unfeasible by vapor-liquid equilibrium. In this way, heterogeneous azeotropic distillation is a useful operation for the separation of azeotropic and close-boiling mixtures. In this work, a new methodology for evaluating the feasibility of this process is developed. This methodology is an extension of that proposed by Castillo et al. (1998) for homogeneous systems. Operation leaves for heterogeneous systems are calculated using the concept of pinch point curves in order to establish the process feasibility. Heterogeneous columns with external decanter are considered as the only heterogeneous stage (OHED: only heterogeneous external decanter). The initialization process for the column calculation requires the selection of the distillate composition using thermodynamic criteria in order to guarantee homogeneous phases within the column. A system with industrial and academic relevance was considered as case study: water-acetic acid-amyl acetate. Results show that the developed shortcut method allows evaluating process feasibility and estimating design parameters, without the use of trial and error procedures implemented, with the aid of simulation tools.

Keywords : VLL equilibrium; heterogeneous azeotropic distillation; operation leaves; pinch point curves; conceptual analysis.

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