Dynamics of Unsteady-State Catalytic Distillation in a Packed Column with a Varied Length of the Reaction Zone
Theoretical and experimental data are reported for steady- and unsteady-state distillation accompanied by a reversible catalytic reaction in the liquid phase, specifically, butyl acetate–ethanol transesterification in a packed column. It is demonstrated by a computational experiment that, at any initial composition of the reaction mixture in the reboiler, be it an equimolar mixture for the forward or back reaction or an equimolar four-component mixture, the system arrives at the same steady-state distribution of the component concentrations along the column height. The time it takes for the system to reach the steady state depends on the reaction zone length: it increases with decreasing ratio of the length of the catalytic part of the packed bed to the length of the inert part of the packed bed. The mathematical description of the process is in satisfactory agreement with experimental data.