### Text of 5.3. Introduction to Multicomponent Distillation - NPTEL

NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 1 of 12 MODULE 5: DISTILLATION LECTURE NO. 8 Introduction to Multicomponent Distillation In industry, most of the distillation processes involve with more than two components. The multicomponent separations are carried out by using the same type of distillation columns, reboilers, condensers, heat exchangers and so on. However some fundamental differences are there which is to be thoroughly understood by the designer. These differences are from phase rule to specify the thermodynamic conditions of a stream at equilibrium. In multicomponent systems, the same degree of freedom is not achieved because of the presence of other components. Neither the distillate nor the bottoms composition is completely specified. The components that have their distillate and bottoms fractional recoveries specified are called key components. The most volatile of the keys is called the light key (LK) and the least volatile is called the heavy key (HK). The other components are called non-keys (NK). Light no-key (LNK) is referred when non-key is more volatile than the light key whereas heavy non-key (HNK) is less volatile than the heavy key. Proper selection of key components is important if a multicomponent separation is adequately specified. Several short-cut methods are used for carrying out calculations in multicomponent systems. These involve generally an estimation of the minimum number of trays, the estimation of minimum reflux rate and number of stages at finite reflux for simple fractionators. Although rigorous computer methods are available to solve multicomponent separation problems, approximate methods are used in practice. A widely used approximate method is commonly referred to as the Fenske-Underwood-Gilliland method. NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 2 of 12 Estimation of Minimum number of trays: Fenske Equation Fenske (1932) was the first to derive an Equation to calculate minimum number of trays for multicomponent distillation at total reflux. The derivation was based on the assumptions that the stages are equilibrium stages. Consider a multicomponent distillation column operating at total reflux as shown in Figure Equilibrium relation for the light key component on the top tray is 111xKy ( ) For total condenser, y1 = xD then 11xKxD ( ) An overall material balance below the top tray and around the top of the column can be written as: DLV 12 ( ) NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 3 of 12 Figure : Multicomponent column at minimum trays Under total reflux condition, D = 0, thus, V2 = L1. The component material balance for the light key component around the first plate and the top of the column is DDxxLyV 1122 ( ) Then under the conditions of the minimum trays, the Equation ( ) yields y2 = x1. The equilibrium relation for plate 2 is 222xKy ( ) The Equation ( ) becomes at y2 = x1 NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 4 of 12 221xKx ( ) Substituting Equation ( ) into Equation ( ) yields 221xKKxD ( ) Continuing this calculation for entire column, it can be written as: ( ) In the same fashion, for the heavy key component, it can be written as: BBnDxKKKKx ...........21 ( ) Equation ( ) upon Equation ( ) gives BBnBBnDDxKKKKxKKKKxx ......................2121 ( ) The ratio of the K values is equal to the relative volatility, thus the Equation ( ) can be written as BBBnDDxxxx ...........21 ( ) If average value of the relative volatility applies for all trays and under condition of minimum trays, the Equation ( ) can be written as BBNavgDDxxxx min ( ) Solving Equation ( ) for minimum number of trays, Nmin NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 5 of 12 aveBDBDxxxxN lnlnmin ( ) The Equation ( ) is a form of the Fenske Equation. In this Equation, Nmin is the number of equilibrium trays required at total reflux including the partial reboiler. An alternative form of the Fenske Equation can be easily derived for multi-component calculations which can be written asaveBDBDBxxDxBDxN ln))(())((lnmin ( ) The amount of light key recovered in the distillate is )(DDx. This is equal to the fractional recovery of light key in the distillate say FRD times the amount of light key in the feed which can be expressed as: LKDDFxFRDx)( ( ) From the definition of the fractional recovery one can write LKDBFxFRBx)1( ( ) Substituting Equations ( ) and ( ) and the corresponding Equations for heavy key into Equation ( ) yields aveBDBDRFFRRFFRN ln)1)(1())((lnmin ( ) Once the minimum number of theoretical trays, Nmin is known, the fractional recovery of the non-keys can be found by writing Equation ( ) for a non-key component and either the light or heavy key. Then solve the Equation for FRNK,B or FRNK,D. If the key component is chosen as light key, then FRNK,D can be expressed as NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 6 of 12 minmin1,NLKNKBBNLKNKDNKRFRFFR ( ) Minimum Reflux: Underwood Equations For multi-component systems, if one or more of the components appear in only one of the products, there occur separate pinch points in both the stripping and rectifying sections. In this case, Underwood developed an alternative analysis to find the minimum reflux ratio (Wankat, 1988). The presence of non-distributing heavy non-keys results a pinch point of constant composition at minimum reflux in the rectifying section whereas the presence of non-distributing light non-keys, a pinch point will occur in the stripping section. Let us consider the pinch point is in the rectifying section. The mass balance for component i around the top portion of the rectifying section as illustrated in Figure is DininiDxxLyV,,min1,min ( ) The compositions are constant at the pinch point then 1,,1, nininixxx ( ) and 1,,1, nininiyyy ( ) The equilibrium relation can be written as 1,1, niinixmy ( ) From the Equations ( ) to ( ) a balance in the region of constant composition can be written as DiniiniDxymLyV,1,min1,min ( ) Defining the relative volatility i=mi/mHK and substituting in Equation ( ) one can express after rearranging as NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 7 of 12 HKiDiinimVLDxyVminmin,1,min ( ) The total vapor flow in the rectifying section at minimum reflux can be obtained by summing Equation ( ) over all components as: iiHKiDiinimVLDxyVVminmin,1,minmin ( ) Similarly after analysis for the stripping section, one can get istHKstststiBististmVLBxV,min,min,,,,min , ( ) Defining HKmVLminmin1 and stHKststmVL,min,min,2 ( ) Equations ( ) and ( ) then become minV iiDiiDx1, ( ) and min,stV iiBiiBx2, ( ) For constant molar overflow and constant relative volatilities, 21 that satisfies both Equations ( ). The change in vapor flow at the feed stage (FV ) is then written as by adding the Equations ( ) iiBiiiDiistFBxDxVVV ,,min,min ( ) Combining ( ) with the overall column mass balance for component i can be expressed as iifiiFFxV, ( ) NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 8 of 12 Again if the fraction q is known, the change in vapor flow at the feed stage can be expressed as )1(qFVF ( ) Comparing Equation ( ) and ( ) iiifixq ,)1( ( ) Equation ( ) is known as the first Underwood Equation which is used to calculate appropriate values of . whereas Equation ( ) is known as the second Underwood Equation which is used to calculate Vm. From the mass balance Lm can be calculated as DVLminmin ( ) Estimation of Numbers of Stages at Finite Reflux: Gilliland Correlation Gilliland (1940) developed an empirical correlation to relate the number of stages N at a finite reflux ratio L/D to the minimum number of stages and to the minimum reflux ratio. Gilliland represented correlation graphically with )1/()(min NNN as y-axis and )1/()(min RRR as x-axis. Later Molokanov et al. (1972) represented the Gilliland correlation as: )]1/()[(1)1/()()1/()( )1/()( )(RRRRRRRRRRRRNNN ( ) According to Seader and Henley (1998), an approximate optimum feed-stage location, can be obtained by using the empirical Equation of Kirkbride (1944) as DBxxxxDHKBLKFLKFHKNNSR2,,,, ( ) where NR and NS are the number of stages in the rectifying and stripping sections, respectively. NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 9 of 12 Example problem : A feed 100 kmoles/h of saturated liquid containing 10 mole % LNK, 55 mole % LK, and 35 mole % HK and is to be separated in a distillation column. The reflux ratio is the minimum. It is desired to have % recovery of the light key in the distillate. The mole fraction of the light key in the distillate should be Equilibrium data: LNK = , LK = , HK = Find (i) Minimum number of stages required by Fenske method (ii) Minimum reflux ratio by Underwood method (iii) Number of ideal stages at R = Rmin by Gilliland method (iv) Also find the number of ideal stages at rectifying section and the stripping section at the operating reflux ratio and location of feed stage. Solution : (i) Feed F = 100 kmol/s, xLNK,F = , xLK,F = , xHK,F = , xLK,D = , FRLK,D = , HK = , LNK = , LK = From the material balance ,,, DLKDLKFLKxFRxFDkmole/h Therefore W = F-D = kmole/h The amount of kmoles of different component in distillate: nLND = , ,D = kmole/h nLNK,D = ,F = 10 kmole/h nHK,D = D- nLK,D nLNK,D = kmole/h The amount of kilo moles of different component in bottoms: nLK,B = F. xLK,F (1- FRLK,D) = kmole/h nLNK,B = 0 nHK,B = B-nLK,B nLNK,B = kmole/h = 1/ HK xHK,D = nHK,D/D = xLK,B = nLK,B/B = Then as per Equation ( ) NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 10 of 12 Nmin = (ii) To find the minimum reflux at the condition of saturated liquid, q = 1, 1 = 2 = , using Equation ( ) ) )( ( ) )( ( ) )( (0 gives = Then from Equation ( ) Vmin = kmole/h And Lmin = Vmin D = kmole/h Rmin = Lmin/D = (iii) Now using the Gilliland correlation (Equation ( ) to determine number of ideal stages at R = Rmin = one can get N = (iv) Using Kirkbride Equation ,,,, DBxxxxDHKBLKFLKFHKNNSR Again NR + NS = N = So by solving the above two Equations one get NR = and NS = and feed at stage 11 Nomenclature B Moles of bottoms BPC Bubble point curve D Moles of distillate DPC Dew point curve Eo Overall tray efficiency Emv Tray efficiency based on vapor phase EmL Tray efficiency based on liquid phase F Moles of feed f Molal fraction of feed H Enthalpy K Equilibrium constant L Moles of liquid L Moles of liquid in stripping section N, n Number of tray P Pressure, Pinch point Q Rate of heat transfer NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 11 of 12 R Reflux ratio V Moles of vapor V Moles of vapor in stripping section x mole fractions in liquid y mole fractions in vapor T Temperature Relative volatility Viscosity Subscripts B Bottom C Condenser D Distillate F Feed HK Heavy key i 1, 2, 3, ...., n L Liquid LK Light key min Minimum NK Non key R Rectifying section S Stripping section V Vapor NPTEL Chemical Mass Transfer Operation 1 Joint initiative of IITs and IISc Funded by MHRD Page 12 of 12 References Ghosal, , Sanyal, and Dutta, S., Introduction to Chemical Engineering, Tata McGraw Hill Book Co. (2004). Gilliland, E. R., Multicomponent Rectification: estimation of number of theoretical plates as a function of reflux ratio, Ind. Eng. Chem., 32, 1220-1223 (1940). Hines, A. L.; Maddox, R. N., Mass Transfer: Fundamentals and Applications, Prentice Hall; 1 Edition (1984). Kirkbride, C. G., Petroleum Refiner 23(9), 321 (1944). McCabe, W. L., Thiele, E. W., Graphical Design of Fractionating Columns, Ind. Eng. Chem. 17, 605 (1925). McCabe, W. L. and Smith, J. C., Unit Operations of Chemical Engineering, (3rd ed.), McGraw-Hill (1976). Molokanov, Y. K., Korabline, T. R., Mazuraina, N. I. And Nikiforov, G. A., An Approximate Method for Calculating the Basic Parameters of Multicomponent Fractionation, International Chemical Engineering, 12(2), 209 (1972). Seader, and Henley, , Separation Process Principles, Wiley, New York (1998). Treybal , Mass Transfer Operations , McGraw Hill International Edition, 3rd Ed., (1981). Wankat, P. C., Equilibrium Staged Separations: Separations for Chemical Engineers, Elsevier (1988).