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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.

x0= 0 y1
L’ = 1.5L’min

1
Absorber
t = 50°C
1 atm
y = 88x

92% CO2 absorbed 1 mol/h

xN yN+1 = 0.1

Solution:

Top coordinates:

x0 0 mol CO2 left 0.08


X0 = = =0 Y1 = = = 0.089
1− x0 1− 0 mol air 0 .9

Bottom coordinates:

y N+1 0.1
XN = ? YN+1 = = = 0.111
1 − y N+1 1 − 0.1
Equilibrium data:

x y
Assign x y = 0.5x X= Y=
1− x 1− y
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
YN+1 0.1765 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

 L′  Y − Y1 0.1765 − 0.0417
  = N+1 = = 0.3145
 V ′ min XN,max − X 0 0.4286 − 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
0.1765 − 0.0417
0.3837 =
XN − 0
xN
∴ XN = 0.3513 =
1− xN
or xN = 0.26

0.2 Bottom
(XN,YN+1)

5
Operating
line 4

3
0.1
2 Equilibrium
curve
Top 1
(X0,Y1)

0
0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
Answers:

a. (L′ V ′) min = 0.3145


b. N = 4.9 and xN = 0.26