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of 50 mol % benzene and 50 mol % toluene at

101.32 kPa abs pressure. The feed is liquid at the

boiling point. The distillate is to contain 90 mol %

benzene and the bottoms 10 mol % benzene. The

reflux ratio is 4.52:1. Calculate the kg mol/h distillate,

kg mol/h bottoms, and the number of theoretical trays

needed using the McCabe-Thiele method. Using

graphical methods, calculate the minimum reflux ratio

Rm and the minimum number of theoretical plates at

total reflux.

Equilibrium data at column pressure, mole fraction benzene

x y x y

Solution:

Step 1: Draw diagram total

condenser

L0

100 kgmols/h L0 Distillate = ?

Feed Distilling R= 4.52 xD = 0.9

Column D

(liquid at 101.32

boiling point) kPa Rmin = ?

xF = 0.5

n=?

Bottoms = ?

nmin = ? partial xB = 0.1

reboiler

Step 2: Plot equilibrium data on McCabe-Thiele

diagram

BENZENE TOLUENE SYSTEM

0.8

0.6

y

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

Step 3: Plot xD, xF, and xD on

Benzene-Toluene System

1

0.8

0.6

y

0.4

0.2

0

xB=0.1 xF=0.5 xD=0.9

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

Note: xD, xF, and xB on the diagonal are a point of upper

operating line, feed line, and lower operating line

Step 4: Plot rectifying operating line

Equation of upper operating line:

R xD

y n+1 = xn +

R +1 R +1

xD 0.9

y-intercept = = = 0.163

R + 1 4.52 + 1

Benzene-Toluene System

1

Rectifying

Operating

0.8

Line

0.6

y

0.4

0.2

y-int.

=0.163

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

Step 5: Plot feed line

Since feed is saturated liquid (liquid at the boiling point),

quality q = 1 and feed line is vertical

Benzene-Toluene System

1

0.8

Feed Line

0.6

y

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

Step 6: Plot stripping operating line

Note: The lower operating line will also intersect at the

intersection of feed line and upper operating line.

Benzene-Toluene System

1

0.8 Stripping

Operating line

0.6

y

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

Step 7: Step off stages

Benzene-Toluene System

1 1

2

0.8 3

0.6 4

5

y

0.4

6

0.2 N=5.9

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

∴ n = 4.9 theoretical trays

Step 8: To get D and B, set up material balances

Total balance

=D+B

F

F = xDD + xBB

Step 9: To determine Nmin , step off stages using

diagonal as overall operating line

At total reflux, R =∞ and y-intercept of the upper operating line =0;

∴ overall operating line coincides with the diagonal

Benzene-Toluene System

1

0.8

0.6

y

0.4

0.2

Nmin = 4.9

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

Step 10: To determine Rmin , locate pinch point

Benzene-Toluene System

0.6

y

0.4

0.2

0

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1

x

xD

y-int of rectifying line =

R +1

0.90

0.495 =

Rm + 1

∴ Rm = 0.82

Answers:

nmin = 3.9

Rm = 0.82

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