Flowsheet synthesis and complex distillation column design for separating ternary heterogeneous azeotropic mixtures

Paritta Prayoonyong, Megan Jobson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The boundary value method for design of distillation columns separating ternary heterogeneous azeotropic mixtures is extended to include complex configurations, i.e. columns with integrated decanters and with multiple heterogeneous stages; double-feed columns; columns with intermediate decanters. The methods can be used for establishing product feasibility in a column and evaluating a column design in terms of cost. Multiple feasible designs can be generated for a given set of product specifications, according to the reflux ratio, number of heterogeneous stages and liquid phase ratio; these designs may be evaluated with respect to operating and equipment costs. Case studies illustrate the design method.An algorithmic approach is presented for synthesising novel sequences for separating, by distillation and decanting, ternary heterogeneous azeotropic mixtures. Existing synthesis procedures that consider only simple single-feed columns with decanters and integrated decanters are extended to include more industrially relevant options such as columns with several heterogeneous stages, double-feed columns, columns with intermediate decanters, and those accepting a heterogeneous liquid feed. With these advanced column configurations included in the synthesis method, a wider range of sequences may be considered systematically, allowing sequences that are more economically attractive than conventional designs to be identified. A case study illustrates the approach. © 2011 The Institution of Chemical Engineers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1362-1376
    Number of pages14
    JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


    • Boundary value method
    • Complex columns
    • Heterogeneous azeotropic distillation
    • Recycle heuristics
    • Sequence synthesis


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