Methodology for

Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution

Determine all of the information stated in the problem including:

Configuration of the column

Operating Pressure
Total, partial or no condenser
Total,, partial
or no reboiler
Location of feed stream(s)
Location of side stream(s)
Location of product stream(s)


Distillate, xD and D
Bottoms, xB and B
Feed, zF and F
Reflux, L/V or L/D
Boilup, L/V or V/B

Condition of streams (saturated, superheated or subcooled)

Flow rates and composition of streams


Methodology for
Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution
 Determine equilibrium relationship
 Use convenient equilibrium equation – e.g.,
given relative volatility, α
 Curve fit equilibrium data at Pcol – y vs x
 Setup operating line equations and equilibrium
curves in proper format for stepping down or
stepping up the column…


Methodology for
Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution

Assume CMO when applicable

Determine Top Operating Line

Determine Bottom Operating Line

Choose convenient TOL equation or derive
Utilize total and/or component mass balances to determine required variables –
e.g., L, V, L/V, L/D – in TOL if not given

Choose convenient BOL equation or derive
Utilize total and/or component mass balances to determine required variables –
e g L,
L V,
V L/V,
L/V V/B – in BOL if not given

Determine Feed Line

Choose convenient feed line equation or derive
Utilize total and/or component mass balances to determine required variables –
e g F or zF, – for feed if not given
Utilize total and/or component mass balances to determine required variables –
e.g., L, V, L, V, LF, VF, – for feed if not given
Use feed-stage relationships to determine q or f at feed conditions


Methodology for
Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution
 Stepping Up the Column from the Reboiler

Equilibrium Curve
yEq = yEq((xEq) – as normally
y expressed

Operating Line
xOL = xOL(yOL) – solve operating line for x

 Stepping Down the Column from the Condenser

Equilibrium Curve
xEq = xEq(yEq) – solve equilibrium relationship for x

Operating Line
yOL = yOL(xOL) – as normally expressed

Methodology for
Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution
 Determine intersection of operating lines
and/or feed line to determine when to switch
from the TOL to the BOL by:
 Solving simultaneous TOL, BOL, and/or feed line
equations using Mathcad’s “Minerr” function or
 Solving TOL, BOL, and/or feed line equations


which from the simultaneous solution of TOL and the BOL equations. (5-38) Intersection of OL’s yI  L  L x I  1   x D V  V (Eq.Intersection of OL’s and Feed Line intersection. alternatively. from the simultaneous solution of the Feed Line and the TOL:  L   q  1 1   x D  z F  V xI  L  q  1    q V Intersection of TOL and FL x zF  D q L/D yI  Eq. B) or alternatively or. yields: L   L  1   x D    1 x B  V V  xI  L L  V V Eq. (5-38) q 1 L/D 6 .

Methodology for Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution  Plot the equilibrium curve. and feed line  Check the equations and plot by verifying th t the: that th     TOL intersects y = x at xD BOL intersects y = x at xB Feed line intersects y = x at zF OL’s and feed line all intersect at xI and yI 7 . BOL. TOL.

number of stages above reboiler. liquid and/or vapor compositions for a given stage.Methodology for Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution  Implement McCabe McCabe-Thiele Thiele algorithm and plot stages  Determine total number of equilibrium stages  Determine optimum feed stage  Determine any fractional stages  Answer specific questions.. etc. e.g.  Keep in mind that a partial condenser and/or partial reboiler are each counted as an equilibrium stage outside the column! 8 . condenser.

y j ) y j 1 x j ∙ ∙ ∙ Stage j (x 3 . y 4 ) (x j . y j 1 ) 9 .Stage Compositions – Total Condenser QC Total Condenser Equilibrium Curve y1 xD Operating Line (x 0  x D  y1 . y1  x D ) x0 Stage 1 (x 1 . y 2 ) y3 (x 2 . y 2 ) x1 Stage 2 (x 2 . y1 ) y2 (x 1 . y 3 ) y 31 x3 (x j . y 3 ) x2 Stage 3 (x 3 .

y4) Feed Line (x5. y5) (xB. y3) (x4. y2) y (x3. yI) (x2. y4) Top Operating Line (x3. y0) (xI. xB) xB = xN Bottom Operating Line x xD = y1 = y0 = x0 10 .Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution Total Condenser Equilibrium Curve (x1. y1) (x0. y3) (x2. y5) (x4. y2) (x1.

y N ) Stage N (x N .Stage Compositions – Total Reboiler Equilibrium Curve Operating Line Stage N. y N 1 ) (x y N 1 x N  2 Stage N-1 (x N 1 . y N 3 ) y N  2 x N 3 (x N  3 . x N ) xN Total Reboiler QR xB 11 . y N 1 ) yN x N 1 (x N 1 . y N ) xN (x N . y N  2 ) ( N  2 . y N  2 ) Stage N-2 (x N  2 . y N  n ) Stage g N-3 (x N 3 .n (x N  n . y N  n ) ∙ y N  n x N n 1 ∙ ∙ (x N  n 1 .

yNN-33) (xN-4. yN-1) Feed Line (xN. xD) (xI. yN-2) y (xN-1. yN-4) (xD. yN) (xN. yN-3) (xN-2. yN) (xN-1. yI) ((xNN-33.Complete McCabe-Thiele Solution Total Reboiler Equilibrium q Curve (xN-4. yN) xB = xN Bottom Operating Line x xD 12 . yN-2) Top Operating Line (xN-2. yN-1) (xN-3.

curve to operating line y Eq  y OL 13 .Fractional Stage at Top of Column y Eqq Equilibrium E ilib i Curve x D  y OL xD x D  y OL y OL Operating Line Fractional Stage  xD distance from y at x D (y  x D ) to operating line x D  y OL  distance from equil.

Fractional Stage at Bottom of Column Equilibrium Curve Operating Line x Eq  x OL x Eq x OL x B  x OL Fractional Stage  xB distance from x at x B (x  x B ) to operating line x B  x OL  distance from equil. curve to operating line x Eq  x OL 14 .

Optimal Feed Stage Location 15 .

Summary of McCabe McCabe-Thiele Thiele Method 16 .

the operating 17 .McCabe & Thiele Method (1925) Graphical method based on Lewis Lewis’s s method and the fact that operating lines are straight lines on the y y-x diagram g Solve the equilibrium relationship from the y y-x x equilibrium curve and the mass balance from p g lines.

Top operating line Straight line with L/V as slope and (1-L/V) xD as yiintercept t t 18 .

Top of the column = total condenser y1=xD=x0 Equilibrium curve x1 Operating line y2 19 .

20 .

Knowing y2 one can proceed down the column We step off stages We can continue as long l as we are in the h rectifying f section 21 .

The above p procedure is called the McCabe & Thiele method It produces a staircase construction In the stripping section. one has to use a different operating line l slope y-intercept Applies to passing streams in the stripping t i i section ti 22 .

Start with liquid leaving the reboiler xB=xN+1 Use equilibrium curve yN+1 Use operating line xN We can continue this alternating process between equilibrium curve and operating line as long as we are in the stripping section 23 .

24 .

At feed stage one has to switch between top operating line and bottom operating line 25 .

How to compute slope of bottom operating line Obtain D and B from mass balances around entire column 26 .

U f l for Useful f computer t calculations l l ti 27 .

Feed line 28 .

y=z) z.D t i f d quality lit Determine feed Get slope of feed line Feed line goes through point (x (x=z.y z) 29 .

Intersection of two operating p g lines (x ( I.yI) 30 .

CMO assumption: flow rates will be constant in each section Value of q (feed quality) determine changes in flow rates at feed stage Summary END 31 .

32 .

etc. 33 . L/D = 2(L/D)min. L/V = 1.  There are two limiting conditions with respect to the reflux ratio. L/D.  One will often see an external reflux specification as a multiple of the minimum reflux ratio. L/D. and L/D  ∞  Minimum reflux ratio. D = 0. that one obtains:  Total reflux ratio. is often a parameter that is specified for column operation since it is perhaps the easiest to change under column operation and changing L/D often has a substantial effect on the overall column behavior and separation. for example.Limiting Conditions – Reflux Ratios  The external reflux ratio. (L/D)min.

and for testing column efficiency.  This is a limiting condition which provides one with the minimum number of equilibrium stages that can be obtained for a given column.Total Reflux and Boilup – Limiting Condition  A column which has total reflux and boilup has no feed – the distillate. bottoms. 34 . and feed flow rates are zero. total reflux and boilup p are used for starting g up a column. column  While one would not typically operate under such conditions. for operating the column off-line when other unit operations are off-line..

become the y = x auxiliary line.Limiting Conditions – Total Reflux  At total reflux: R  L/D   L/V  1. TOL and BOL.0  Both operating lines. 35 .  Operating a column under total reflux yields the minimum number of equilibrium stages for a particular column.0 LV L/ V  1.

Total Reflux 36 .

Total Reflux – Mi i Minimum N Number b off E Equilibrium ilib i St Stages 37 .

 The point on the equilibrium curve that this occurs is called a “pinch” point. is defined as the external reflux ratio at which the specified separation could just be obtained with an infinite number of stages. R min  (L/D) min (L/V) min  1  (L/V) min  We obtain an infinite number of stages if our operating lines touch the equilibrium curve. reflux Rmin i or (L/D)min i .Limiting Conditions – Minimum Reflux  Minimum reflux. 38 .

 One should always look at a system to determine if a non-ideal pinch point occurs…Just don’t blindly assume it will be at the intersection of the feed line and equilibrium curve. 39 .Two Types of Pinch Points  For many systems. the pinch point will occur where the feed line crosses the equilibrium curve.  A second type of pinch point can occur in “non-ideal” system where the operating line touches the equilibrium curve before the intersection of the feed line and the equilibrium curve.

Minimum Reflux – I fi it Number Infinite N b off E Equilibrium ilib i St Stages 40 .

Limiting Conditions – Minimum Boilup  A minimum boilup ratio. 41 . V/B. l L/V L/V. ratio (V/B)min. to the boilup ratio. can be similarly defined as the boilup ratio at which the specified separation could just be obtained with an infinite number of stages. stages (V/B) min 1  (L/ V) max  1  B Because off this hi relationship l i hi off the h BOL’s BOL’ slope. V/B. we have a maximum L/V at minimum boilup.

Possible Reflux Operating Conditions 42 .

the optimum reflux ratio lies between 1.25 (L/D)min. while too high of an L/D increases the reboiler duty as well as the required diameter of the column.Rule of Thumb  The best operating condition lies between minimum and total reflux.  Too low of an L/D results in a large number of equilibrium stages. 43 .05 and 1.  As a rule of thumb.

the flow profiles are flat in each section of the column.Profiles for Binary Distillation Ethanol water column Ethanol-water As expected.  temperature decreases rapidly for the first few contacts above the reboiler but is almost constant t t ffor th the last l t eight i ht stages. Profiles for Example 4-3 44 . t This Thi occurs mainly because of the shape of the temperaturecomposition diagram for ethanol-water  Since we assumed CMO. Since the stages are discrete. Since stage 2 is the feed stage. L>V and V > L. the profiles are not smooth curves. while the ethanol concentration increases. stage L2 is in the stripping section while V2 is in the enriching section Figure 4-14. the water concentration in both liquid and vapor streams decreases monotonically as we go up the column column. As expected.

then a partial condenser will be very convenient 45 . M.B on the more volatile component Vy = Lx + DyD Figure 4-20. (B) top operating line If a vapor distillate is desired. Partial condenser.Other Distillation Column Situations -Partial Condensers A partial condenser condenses only part of the overhead stream and returns this as reflux. (A) balance envelope.B: V = L + D M.

Note: The major difference between this case and that for a total condenser is that the partial condenser serves as the first equilibrium contact.B th more volatile l til componentt V = Lx Vy L + Dy D D Removing D and solving for y. 46 .Other Distillation Column Situations -Partial Condensers M B on the M. we obtain the operating equation This is essentially the same as the equation for a top operating li line with ith a total t t l condenser d exceptt that th t yD has h replaced l d xD The top operating line will intersect the y = x line at y = x= yD.

Other Distillation Column Situations . 4 21 Total reboiler 47 .Total Reboilers A ttotal t l reboiler b il vaporizes i the th entire ti stream t sentt to t it. thus. Figure 4-21. the vapor composition is the same as the liquid composition The mass balance and the bottom operating equation with a total reboiler are exactly the same as with a partial reboiler Note: partial reboiler is an equilibrium contact where as the total reboiler is not an equilibrium contact and appears on the McCabe-Thiele diagram as the single point y = x = xB.

S. a vapor or liquid side stream may be withdrawn Three additional variables such as flow rate. Liquid side stream (A) column. ifi d Figure 4-22. and location or composition xS or yS.Side Streams or Withdrawal Lines If a product of intermediate composition is required. (B) McCabe-Thiele diagram 48 . mustt be b specified. type of side draw (liquid or vapor).

L’ = D+S Equation 4-51 For the situation shown in Figure 4-22A.  A saturated liquid withdrawal is equivalent to a negative feed of concentration xS. and xD are known  A second point can be found where the side stream is withdrawn. the middle operating line equation is The y = x intercept is Equation 4-52 This point can be plotted if S.B V’ = L’ V L + D+S V’. 49 .  Thus there must be a vertical feed line at x = xS. The top and d middle ddl operating llines must intersect at this h ffeed d lline. D.M. xS.

For a liquid withdrawal. A balance on vapor p flow rates g gives Eq. a balance on the liquid gives Eq. The top operating line is adjusted (change L/D) until a stage ends exactly at xS or yS.4-53 while vapor flow rates are unchanged.4-54 while liquid flow rates are unchanged. where D can be found from external balances once xS is known. L′/V′. F a vapor side For id stream The feed line is horizontal at y = yS. V = V′ Thus slope. 50 . Again L′/V′ can be calculated if L and V are known If a specified value of xS (or yS) is desired. L and V can be determined from L/D and D. of the middle operating line can be determined if L and V are known. the problem is trial and error.

l (B) M McCabe-Thiele C b Thi l di diagram 51 . j the vapor p into and reinjects the column.Intermediate Reboilers and Intermediate Condensers four operating lines  The Th intermediate i t di t reboiler b il removes a liquid side stream from the column. (A) b l balance envelopes. Intermediate reboiler. and reinjects it into the column Figure 4-23.  An intermediate condenser removes a vapor side stream. vaporizes it. condenses it.

xB. xD.Intermediate Reboilers and Intermediate Condensers  An energy balance around the column will show that QR without an intermediate reboiler is equal to QR + QI with the intermediate reboiler (F. L/D constant). and a cheaper heat source can be used 52 . i d Since xS > xB.  Wh Whatt changes h is i the th temperature t t att which hi h it is i required. q. z. p. the temperature of the intermediate reboiler is lower than that of the reboiler.  Thus the amount of energy required is unchanged.

and the distillate can be very pure but the bottoms will not be very pure. respectively. the feed must be a subcooled or saturated liquid. respectively is not needed 53 Figure 4-24.Stripping and Enriching Columns St i i Stripping column l E i hi Enriching column l McCabe-Thiele diagram for stripping column  When Wh only l a stripping t i i section ti i is used. Note: Striping columns and enriching columns are used when a pure distillate or a pure bottoms bottoms. A very y pure p bottoms product can be obtained but the vapor distillate will not be pure  In the enriching or rectifying column. the feed is a superheated vapor or a saturated vapor. Stripping and enriching columns . on the other hand. No reflux is used.

ti  Then the top operating line is y = yD. Analysis of stripping and enriching columns is similar. The bottom operating line can be derived as  This is equation for a bottom operating equation with a partial reboiler. the feed line can be plotted and then the bottom operating line can be obtained from its intersection at y = x = xB and its intersection with the feed line at yD. q. 54 . reboiler Top and bottom operating lines intersect at the feed line. z. xB. similar  The stripping column shown in Figure 4-24A can be thought of as a complete distillation column with zero li id fl liquid flow rate t in i the th enriching i hi section. and yD.  If the specified variables are F. p.

 Many different measures of efficiency have been defined.Efficiencies  We have always assumed that the stages are equilibrium stages. we use a measure of efficiency. Eo  Partial condensers and partial reboilers are not included in either the actual or equilibrium number of stages.  Overall efficiency. since they will not have the same efficiency as the stages in the column. 55 .  To compare the performance of an actual stage to an equilibrium stage. Two that are in common use are the overall efficiency and the Murphree efficiency.

 The mass transfer f rate. which is affected ff by the diffusivity. will in turn affect efficiency.  The column size can also have an effect. 56 .What variables would we expect p to affect column efficiency?  The hydrodynamic flow properties such as y and gas g flow rate would affect the viscosity flow regime and efficiency.

4-57 M Murphree h vapor efficiency ffi i is i Eq. (B) McCabe-Thiele diagram for EMV 57 .  The Murphree vapor efficiency is defined as Eq. (A) stage nomenclature. Murphree efficiency. 4-58 where yj* is vapor mole fraction in equilibrium with actual liquid mole fraction xj Figure 4-27. The most commonly used stage efficiencies for binary distillation are the Murphree vapor and liquid efficiencies.

Note that EML ≠ EMV 58 . 4-59 which is the actual change in mole fraction divided by the change g for an equilibrium q stage. A Murphree M h liquid li id efficiency ffi i can b be d defined fi d as Eq. g  The Murphree liquid efficiency is similar to the Murphree vapor efficiency except that it uses horizontal distances.