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• Overview
• Types of system
• Simple multiple extraction
• Countercurrent multistage operation
 Kremser equation – constant underflow
 Graphical solution – variable underflow
 Ponchon-Savarit method I
 Ponchon-Savarit method II

Solid-liquid extraction or leaching generally refers to the removal of a component from a
solid using a solvent liquid.
The desired component, solute (A), is washed by the solvent (C) leaving the inert or
insoluble solid (B) undissolved. Two phases result, the overflow, V, which is a clear
solution of the solute and solvent and the underflow, L, which is the undissolved solid with
some solution adhering to it. At equilibrium, the solution adhering in the underflow has the
same composition as the overflow.

Types of system
Systems in leaching may be divided into two: constant underflow (Type I) and variable
underflow (Type II). The solution being retained in the undissolved solid may vary at
different concentrations.


Type I Type II
Simple multiple extraction
The number of theoretical equilibrium stages may be determined graphically by contacting
the resultant underflow with fresh solvent in each stage.
V0 V0 V0

L1 L2
L0 1 2 3 L3

V1 V2 V3

The procedure is to determine the resultant mixture, Σ , in each stage after which the
composition of the overflow and underflow is located using the underflow locus provided for
each system. Equilibrium is achieved when no mass transfer exist between the underflow
(inert + solution adhering to the inert) and the overflow (clear solution). The resulting
composition in the underflow is then mixed with another batch of fresh solvent.


XC,yc mass fraction solvent

xA3 Σ1


XA,yA mass fraction solute

Countercurrent multistage extraction

V1 V2 VN+1
L0 1 2 N

Kremser equation – constant underflow
If the solvent or solution adhering to the undissolved solid is constant then the number of
theoretical equilibrium stages may be determined by the Kremser equation. This equation
was derived from the operating line equation. When the solution retained by the inerts is
constant, both the underflow Ln and overflow Vn are constant and the equation of the
operating line is straight.
y AN +1 − x AN
y A 2 − x A1
N −1 =
y − yA2
log AN +1
x AN − x A1
where y = mass fraction in the overflow
x = mass fraction in the underflow
The first or letter subscript denotes component and second or number subscript denotes
equilibrium stage.
Note that this equation cannot be used for the entire cascade if L0 differs from the
succeeding underflows. Therefore the compositions of streams entering and leaving the
first stage are separately calculated by material balance. Kremser equation is then applied
to the remaining stages. In the material balance, the inert is excluded from the calculation.
Also, remember that the overflow is the same concentration as the solution leaving with the
underflow; i.e. y A1 = x A1 .

Graphical solution – variable underflow

For variable underflows, the number of theoretical equilibrium stages may be determined
graphically using the Ponchon-Savarit Method. This method can also be adapted for
systems exhibiting constant underflow.

Ponchon-Savarit method
Just like in the liquid-liquid extraction, the method makes use of the delta, ∆ , to relate the
streams passing in opposite direction.
Total mass balance:
L0 + Vn+1 = Σ = V1 + Ln
∆ = L0 – V1 = Ln - Vn+1
Theoretical stages are calculated after locating delta. Starting at V1, the underflow L1 is
located by drawing a line to the right angle. V2 is then located using the delta. The
procedure is continued until the last composition in the underflow is reached.

XC,yc mass fraction solvent


xN Σ

XA,yA mass fraction solute

A modification of the Ponchon-Savarit method can also be used. The modifications are (1)
consider each stream a mixture of solid and solution and (2) use the ratio of solid to solution
in place of enthalpy.
The underflow, X, and overflow, Y, is redefined as
X = mass of solute per mass of solution; A/(A + C)
Y = mass of inert per mass of solution; B/(A + C)
Stages are computed after the delta is located from the four end streams. The procedure in
“stepping off’ is the same as the previous method but the tie lines are vertical in this case.

Y mass C/ mass A + B


YN+1 YA3 YA2 YA1

X mass A/ mass A + B

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