You are on page 1of 3

PLATE EFFICIENCY Two basic methods for determining the number of ideal plates required in the context of distillation

column design are: 1. The Lewis-Sorel method and 2. The Mc-Cabe and Thiele method. Nevertheless, the number of trays needed in practical situations is more than the number of ideal stages. In order to translate the ideal plates into actual plates, the plate efficiency must be known. There are three types of plate efficiency which are used in design namely: 1. Overall(column) efficiency , o Overall efficiency concerns the entire column and is defined as the ratio of the number of ideal plates required (n) in an entire column to the number of actual plates (np), and its value may be 30-100 %. From the definition: Overall efficiency = Thus;

Using an overall efficiency is the simplest choice and can be used for the entire column; however, it is only accurate enough for preliminary design. Accuracy is limited due to the fact that effectiveness of mass transfer is constrained by geometry and design of the trays, flowrates and paths of all streams, compositions and others.
2. Murphree efficiency, EM

Murphree efficiency is defined as the actual change in composition achieved from one plate to the next divided by the change that would have occurred if the vapor leaving were in equilibrium with the liquid leaving. Murphree efficiency can be expressed both in terms of vapor composition (EMV) and liquid composition (EMX). The use of the Murphree plate efficiency is particularly convenient on y-x diagrams. For the vapor phase, EMV = formula Where yn = actual concentration of vapor leaving plate n.

Yn+1 = actual concentration of vapor entering plate n. Yn* = concentration of vapor in equilibrium with liquid of composition xn, leaving downpipe from plate n . Yn* is read from the equilibrium curve.

On an x-y diagram, this represents the height of a real step divided by the height of an ideal step for the same xn. If concentrations in the liquid streams are used, then the plate efficiency EMl is given by: EMl = formula Where xe is the composition of the liquid that would be in equilibrium with the composition yn of the vapor actually leaving the plate.

Point (local) efficiency, EOC Point efficiency pertains to a specific location on a single plate and it can be defined as the ratio of the change of composition at a point to the change that would occur on a theoretical stage. Formula

Where yn* is the composition of vapor in equilibrium with the liquid at point n. The term yn is actual vapor composition at that point. Since the vapor composition as a given stage cannot exceed the equilibrium composition, fractional point efficiencies are always less than 1. Moreover, point efficiency will vary between points in a tray if there is a composition gradient on the tray. Relationship between point and Murphree efficiency While Murphree efficiency applies to the entire tray, on the other hand, point efficiency is applicable to a single point. In the case where both the liquid and vapor are perfectly mixed, the liquid and vapor compositions will be uniform, thus, the Murphree tray efficiency will coincide with the point efficiency at any point on the tray. In small columns, the liquid in a plate is sufficiently agitated by vapor flow through the perforation for there to be no measurable concentration gradients in the liquid as it flows across the plate. Hence, the concentration if the liquid in the downpipe xn is equal to that of the liquid on the entire plate. Conversely, in larger columns, there is no complete mixing of liquid in the direction of flow and thus, a concentration gradient exists in the liquid on the plate. Moreover, the maximum possible variation is from a concentration of xn-1 at the liquid inlet to a concentration of xn at the liquid outlet. The relation between point efficiency and Murphree efficiency depends on the degree of the liquid mixing and whether or not the vapor is mixed before going to the next plate.