Extractive Distillation of an Equimolar Acetone-Methanol Mixture Using Water

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Consider an extractive distillation column operating at atmospheric pressure with 55 stages, a partial reboiler, and a total condenser. It is used to separate acetone and methanol using water as an entrainer.


Pure entrainer at is fed to the column at a flow rate equal to at stage 24 (counting from the top). The lower feed is composed of an equimolar mixture of acetone and methanol. The lower feed, at , is located at stage 39 (counting from the top) and has a flow rate equal to .

This Demonstration solves the MESH equations (material, equilibria, summations, and heat) and displays the composition and temperature profiles for user-set values of the reflux ratio. The second degree of freedom is set by taking a distillate flow rate equal to .

Finally, a comparison of the present calculation with Aspen HYSYS shows excellent agreement.


Contributed by: Housam Binous and Naim Faqir (July 2012)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The expressions for pure component vapor and liquid enthalpies were adapted from Aspen HYSYS.

The mixture is assumed to obey the modified Raoult's law, and activity coefficients are predicted using the Wilson model.


[1] M. F. Doherty and M. F. Malone, Conceptual Design of Distillation Systems, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

[2] E. J. Henley and J. D. Seader, Equilibrium-Stage Separation Operations in Chemical Engineering, New York: Wiley, 1981.

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