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Institute of Process Engineering

Prof. Dr. M. Mazzotti

March 3, 2016

Separation Process Technology I


Series 1: Ideal Absorption Cascades and Kremser Equation
Exercise 1: Ideal Cascades
Acetic acid must be extracted from an aqueous solution (6 mole of acid per liter of water)
using chloroform at a temperature of 25 C, in order to separate the acetic acid (B) from the
water soluble impurities. Water (A) is completely insoluble in chloroform (C).
Calculate which is the percentage of acetic acid extracted when the acetic acid is extracted
from an aqueous solution (10 L/s of water) using a 10 L/s stream of chloroform under the
following conditions:
(i) The solvent is totally fed in a cross-current process with only 1 stage, see Figure 1.
C
C, cB,0

A
A, cB,0

A, cBA

C, cBC

Figure 1: 1-stage cross-current absorber.


(ii) The solvent is divided in 3 equal parts; each third of solvent is fed in a stage of a 3
stages cross-current process, as shown in Figure 2.
C
C/3, cB,0

A
A, cB,0

A
A, cB,1

C
C/3, cB,0

A
A, cB,2

C
C, cB,1

C
C, cB,2

C
C/3, cB,0

A
A, cB,3

C
C, cB,3

Figure 2: 3-stage cross-current absorber.

(iii) Use 5 L/s of solvent in the 1st stage, 3 L/s in the second stage and 2 L/s in the third
stage of a 3 stages cross-current process.
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Institute of Process Engineering


Prof. Dr. M. Mazzotti

March 3, 2016

(iv) Represent the cross-current separations of points (ii) and (iii) in the x-y plane (CCB -CAB
plane according to the notation of Figure 2), similarly to what was done in the class for
single stage absorption. Draw the equilibrium line, as well as the operating line for each
stage.
(v) Compare the cross-current absorption configurations (ii) and (iii). How must the total
solvent (chloroform) flow be split in order to yield a maximal absorption factor? Can
this result be generalized? (Optional)
Assume that the flow rates of both water and solvent are constant during the extraction
process. The partition coefficient during the extraction is constant and is equal to:
cC
B
= 2.8
cA
B

C
with
cB

K=


mole
Concentration of acetic acid in chloroform
liter chloroform


mole
A
and
cB
Concentration of acetic acid in water
liter water


Acetic Acid (25 C) = 1049 kg/m3
Hints:
(ii) The single stage method developed in the lecture can be applied in a sequential
manner in order to determine the concentrations CCB,j and CAB,j . Consider the
aqueous solution as the gas phase and the chloroform solution as the liquid
phase. Before doing the computation establish an equilibrium relationship in
the form of a Henrys law, i.e. of a linear relationship between the concentration
of Acetic acid in water and chloroform.
(v) The absorption factor expressed as a function of the different Aj must be
maximized under the constraint that the sum of the liquid flows to each stage
must be equal to the total liquid flow:
X
X
Lj = Ltot
Aj = Atot
Lj
for j = 1, . . . , N
mG
Such an optimization can be done with the Lagrange Method.
with

Aj =

You may also want to remember that maximizing a function is equivalent to


maximizing its logarithm, as ln(x) is a strictly monotonous function.

Institute of Process Engineering


Prof. Dr. M. Mazzotti

March 3, 2016

Exercise 2: Derivation of Kremser Equation


Determine the equation for the gas molar faction as a function of the stage number for a
counter-curent absorption cascade. Use the obtained equation to determine the absorption
factor . The obtained expression is known as the Kremser equation and contains 3 variables,
namely , A and N . Show that this equation can be solved fo any of these variables as function
of the other two.

Assistant Ian de Albuquerque, ML G20, varela@ipe.mavt.ethz.ch