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Experimental study of multiple steady states in homogeneous azeotropic distillation


C. Dorn, T.E. GŁttinger, M. Morari

Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, no. 36, pp. 794 - 802

Bekiaris et al. (1993) explained the existence of multiple steady states in homogeneous ternary azeotropic distillation, based on the analysis of the case of infinite reflux and infinite column length (infinite number of trays). They showed that the predictions of multiple steady states for such infinite columns have relevant implications for columns of finite length operated at finite reflux. In this article, experiments are described for the ternary homogeneous system methanol--methylbutyrate--toluene which demonstrate the existence of multiple steady states (output multiplicities) caused by the vapor--liquid--equilibrium. The experiments on an industrial pilot column show two stable steady states for the same feed flow rate and composition and the same set of operating parameters. The measurements are in excellent agreement with the predictions obtained for infinite columns using the infinity / infinity analysis tools as well as with stage-by-stage simulation results. These experiments represent the first published study reporting evidence for the predictions and simulations by various researchers showing that type of output multiplicities in distillation.


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% Autogenerated BibTeX entry
@Article { DorG_t:1997:IFA_2245,
    author={C. Dorn and T.E. G{\"u}ttinger and M. Morari},
    title={{Experimental study of multiple steady states in homogeneous
	  azeotropic distillation}},
    journal={Industrial \& Engineering Chemistry Research},
    pages={794 -- 802},
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