Methyl Acetate Synthesis Using a Reactive Distillation Unit

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Methyl acetate can be obtained by reactive distillation. The reaction involved is an esterification reaction between methanol and acetic acid to produce methyl acetate and water: .


The column is fed with pure acetic acid and pure methanol at stages 2 and 36. The column has 37 stages, a total condenser, and a partial reboiler. The reactive stages are 9 to 36.

The first snapshot shows a case where no reaction is taking place (i.e., a very low Damköhler number). Only two species are present: acetic acid and methanol.

The other snapshots show situations where the Damköhler number is large and product streams are composed of water and methyl acetate. The reboil and reflux ratio are taken equal to 2.73 and 1.7, respectively.


Contributed by: Housam Binous, Manel Selmi, Ines Wada, Selima Allouche, and Ahmed Bellagi (April 2010)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



R. S. Huss, F. Chen, M. F. Malone, and M. F. Doherty, "Reactive Distillation for Methyl Acetate Production," Computers and Chemical Engineering, 27(12), 2003 pp. 1855–1866.

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