CENG204P SEPARATION PROCESSES I

Coursework 1
To be submitted via Moodle by 5pm on 28 October 2016

1. Problem description
We want to use gPROMS to build a generic model of a single distillation column tray, and
consider the separation performance two different mixtures, Mixture 1 and Mixture 2,
under different conditions.
Your report should be word processed and should contain the following sections:
1. Mathematical model equations with description and Degree of Freedom analysis
2. Dynamic simulation results (using gPROMS)
3. Discussion of the findings, particularly related to any assumptions made
4. gPROMS input file in Appendix

[15]
[5]
[10]
[5]

The gPROMS code should be included as an appendix but should also be submitted separately
(see separate Moodle instructions).
Emphasis will be placed on the presentation of the model and the findings, as well as the
readability of the code.

2. Process description
Figure 1 below shows a sketch of a tray.
The molar holdup of liquid on the tray is M and is assumed to be constant, i.e. no tray hydraulics,
whilst the vapour molar holdup is assumed to be negligible.
The vapour stream from the stage is modelled as a single stream with molar flow rate Vout and
vapour composition (mole fraction) yiout.
The liquid leaving the stage through the downcomer is modelled as a single stream with molar
flow rate Lout and liquid composition (mole fraction) xiout.
If the tray has a feed, then the molar feed flow rate is F and the liquid component composition
(mole fraction) is zi.

Lin, xin

Vout, yout
M,xout

Lout, xout

Vin, yin

Figure 1. Conceptual material balance diagram for a distillation stage.

1

Key modelling assumptions
1. Multicomponent mixture with constant relative volatility i relative to the key component. The
equilibrium is described by yi 

 i xi

i  1,..., NC

 x
j 1 j j

NC

2. Perfect mixing on the tray, i.e. mole fractions on the tray are equal to the mole fractions
leaving the tray.
3. Thermodynamic equilibrium (Murphree efficiency = 1).
4. Constant tray liquid holdup M (vapour holdup is neglected).
5. Equi-molar overflow, i.e. the molar vapour flow rate from one stage is equal to the molar
vapour flow rate of the stage below, (i.e. Vin = Vout), and the molar liquid flow rate into the
stage is equal to the liquid flowing from the stage above (i.e. Lin = Lout).
6. No dynamics in the downcomer, no weeping, and no entrainment.
7. Energy balance is not considered.

3. Things to do
1. Develop a mathematical model of the tray, given the assumptions listed above.
2. Define appropriate variable types.
3. Construct a general MODEL of a simple distillation tray as outlined above. Identify all the
required PARAMETERS and VARIABLES, as well as the EQUATIONS.
4. Construct a general PROCESS entity incorporating the data given and the following operating
schedule:
a) Constant operation for 2 minute
b) Increase in inlet flow rate of liquid to 4 mole/min
c) Constant operation for 2 minute
d) Set the inlet liquid flow rate back to the initial value
e) Constant operation for 2 minute
f) Increase in inlet flow rate of vapour to 4 mole/min
g) Constant operation for 2 min
5. Execute the simulations in gPROMS for both Mixtures 1 and 2 for Case A.
6. For Mixture 1, repeat the simulation for both Cases.
7. Use gRMS to plot your results as specified below.

4. Results
Create two graphs which show:
1) For Mixtures 1 and 2 for Case A: the mole fractions of the light component leaving
the tray as liquid and the mole fraction of the light component leaving the tray as
vapour (left axis), together with the inlet liquid flowrate and the inlet vapour flow
rate (right axis).
2) For Mixture 1 for Cases A and B: the mole fractions of the light component
leaving the tray as liquid and the mole fraction of the light component leaving the
tray as vapour (left axis), together with the inlet liquid flowrate and the inlet vapour
flow rate (right axis).

2

Comment on the separation performance of the tray for the two mixtures, and the two different
liquid tray holdups for Mixture 1, and the impact of the step changes on each case.

5. Data
1. The mixture is binary, i.e. Ncomp = 2.
2. The constant relative volatilities are:
Mixture 1:  = [1.5, 1]
Mixture 2:  = [3, 1]
3. The constant molar liquid tray holdup M is:
Case A: M = 0.5 mol
Case B: M = 1.5 mol
4. The initial tray mole fractions are [0.4, 0.6].
5. Initial conditions: the molar flow rate of vapour into the tray, Vin, is 3 mol/min and the mole
fraction of the light component is 0.2, i.e. yin = [0.2, 0.8].
6. Initial conditions: the molar flow rate of liquid into the tray, Lin, is 3 mol/min and the mole
fraction of the light component is 0.7, i.e. xin = [0.7, 0.3].

3