Separation of a Partially Miscible Mixture Shown by Graphical Method

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Consider a binary mixture of water and nitromethane at 1 atm. This mixture exhibits the vapor-liquid equilibrium behavior of partially miscible mixtures (equilibrium data is available in [1]). Thus, in order to separate water from nitromethane, one has to use a two-column system with an intermediate decanter. This Demonstration shows the required operational setup, which will produce two product streams: a pure water stream and a water-free stream.


Assume that the feed to the first column is a saturated vapor containing water flowing at and that the feed to the second column is a saturated liquid containing water flowing at . The bottom compositions are set to water and water for columns 1 and 2, respectively.

External mass balances give the flow rates of the bottom products of both columns, and .

The Demonstration uses the McCabe and Thiele graphical method to compute the number of stages for both columns. You can set the two reboil ratios.


Contributed by: Housam Binous and Ahmed Bellagi (March 2011)
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals and École nationale d'ingénieurs de Monastir
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] P. C. Wankat, Separation Process Engineering, 2nd ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2007.

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