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Design of kinetically controlled reactive distillation columns

George Buzad, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Reactive distillation is an emerging technology that has great potential as a process alternative for carrying out liquid-phase chemical reactions. Systematic design methods for reactive distillation systems have only recently begun to appear, and so far these have been restricted to systems at chemical equilibrium. It is not always desirable, however, to operate reactive distillation columns close to reaction equilibrium conditions. In this dissertation we present a design procedure for kinetically controlled reactive distillation columns. We show that the amount of liquid holdup per stage has a significant effect on the design. The procedure is based on fixed-point methods. Using these methods we have developed an algorithm for calculating the minimum flows in a reactive distillation column as well as the number of stages required to achieve a specified conversion/separation. For the examples studied, we show that the minimum reflux ratio in a kinetically controlled distillation is equal to that for an equilibrium reaction. We also show how to choose specifications that will lead to feasible reactive distillation columns. We tested our design results against column simulations and found them to be in good agreement. ^

Subject Area

Chemical engineering

Recommended Citation

Buzad, George, "Design of kinetically controlled reactive distillation columns" (1994). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9510449.