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Simultaneous reaction and separation using a distillation column Daniel, Patrick D.

Abstract

A study has been made using computer simulation of a fractionating column with simultaneous distillation and chemical reaction occurring. The assumptions of 100% efficient trays and ideality of vapor-liquid equilibrium and thermal properties were made. Results show that the extent to which a reversible reaction can be driven, or an irreversible side reaction inhibited, is a strong function of the ease with which the reaction products may be removed using the separating capacity of the fractionating column. The quantity of liquid holdup per plate is also a factor of considerable importance in the performance of a fractionating column with chemical reaction, but its effect is not simple, interacting as it does with the reflux ratio. The effect of system pressure is complex. Increasing pressure raises temperatures, and therefore reaction rates but decreases separation factors. The influence of this with respect to the main reaction and any undesirable side reactions is so specific to the chemical reaction being studied that no overall generalization can usefully be made. Considering only the point of view of the amount of reaction achieved, a fractionating column can show considerable improvement over a continuous stirred tank reactor.

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