Sample Problem #2

:
A gas stream is 90 mol% N2 and 10 mol% CO2. We wish to absorb the CO2 into water. The
inlet water is pure and is at 50°C. Because of cooling coils, operation can be assumed to be
isothermal. Operation is at 10 atm. If the liquid flow rate is 1.5 times the minimum liquid flow
rate, how many equilibrium stages are required to absorb 92% of the CO 2? Choose a basis of
1 mol/h of entering gas. Equilibrium equation is y = 88x, where y and x are respectively mol
fraction of CO2 in vapor and liquid phase.
y1

x0= 0
L’ = 1.5L’min
1
Absorber
t = 50°C
1 atm
y = 88x
N
92% CO2 absorbed

1 mol/h
xN

yN+1 = 0.1

Solution:
Top coordinates:
X0 =

x0
0
=
=0
1− x0 1− 0

Y1 =

mol CO2 left 0.08
=
= 0.089
mol air
0 .9

Bottom coordinates:
XN = ?

YN+1 =

y N+1
0.1
=
= 0.111
1 − y N+1 1 − 0.1

Equilibrium data:
X=

x
1− x

Y=

y
1− y

Assign x

y = 0.5x

0.00

0.00

0

0

0.05

0.025

0.0526

0.0256

0.10

0.050

0.1111

0.0526

0.15

0.075

0.1765

0.0811

0.20

0.100

0.2500

0.1111

0.25

0.125

0.3333

0.1429

0.30

0.150

0.4286

0.1765

Graphical representation of (L′ V ′) min :
0.2
0.1765

YN+1

Pinch
point

0.1
Equilibrium
curve
Top
(X0,Y1)
XN,max = 0.4286
0
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

Y − Y1
0.1765 − 0.0417
 L′ 
=
= 0.3145
  = N+1
0.4286 − 0
 V ′ min XN,max − X 0

Determination of number of stages:
L′
 L′ 
= 1.22  = 1.22( 0.6145 ) = 0.3837
V′
 V ′  min
L′ YN+1 − Y1
=
V ′ XN − X 0
0.3837 =

0.1765 − 0.0417
XN − 0

xN
1− xN
or xN = 0.26

∴ XN = 0.3513 =

Bottom
(XN,YN+1)

0.2

5
Operating
line

4
3

0.1
2

Equilibrium
curve

1

Top
(X0,Y1)

0
0
Answers:
a. (L′ V ′) min = 0.3145
b. N = 4.9 and xN = 0.26

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

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