Reactive Distillation Research Paper

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Reactive distillation involves simultaneous chemical reaction and distillation. The chemical reaction usually takes place in the liquid phase or at the surface of a solid catalyst in contact with the liquid phase [1]. General application of reactive distillation is the separation of a close-boiling or azeotropic mixture described by Terril et al. [2]. A second application of reactive distillation involves taking into account undesirable reaction that may occur during distillation but the most interesting application involves combining chemical reactions and separation by distillation in a single distillation apparatus [1]. The technique offers a key opportunity for improving the structure of a process. It is a so-called hybrid process, i.e.…show more content…
Prior to the advent of digital computers, the literature dealt mainly with proposed applications and simplified calculational procedures. This concept appears to have been first pronounced by Backhaus, who, starting in 1921, obtained a series of patents for esterification reaction in a distillation column. This concept of continuous and simultaneous chemical reaction and distillation in a single vessel was verified experimentally by Leyes and Othmer, for the esterification acetic acid with an excess of n-butanol in the presence of sulphuric acid catalyst to produce butyl acetate and water. [1] Further research, both of an experimental and theoretical nature, was conducted during later years. Commercial applications of Reactive Distillation include following
1. The esterification of acetic acid with ethanol to produce Ethyl acetate and water.
2. The reaction of formaldehyde and methanol to produce methylal and water, using a solid acid
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The applications of reactive distillation in the chemical and petroleum industries have increased rapidly in the past decade .One such example is the manufacturing of methyl acetate by the Eastman Chemical Company. In this case a single reactive distillation column replaced the traditional flow sheet consisting of eleven major unit operations along with an assortment of heat exchangers, pumps and controllers. The result was a five- fold reduction in capital investment and energy consumption over the conventional design for methyl acetate
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