Binary Distillation Column Design Using Mathematica

  • Akemi Gálvez
  • Andrés Iglesias
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2657)


The accurate design of distillation columns is a very important topic in chemical industry. In this paper, we describe a Mathematica program for the design of distillation columns for binary mixtures. For simplicity, it is assumed that the columns are designed by following McCabe-Thiele’s procedure, a graphical method which determines both the number of stages required for the desired degree of separation and the location of the feed tray. Then, some other relevant column parameters (such as the height and diameter of the column, for example) are also determined. All results are obtained from an adequate combination of symbolic and numerical calculations taking advantage of the symbolic, numerical and graphical Mathematica programming tools. We remark that the same approach can be applied to any other kind of distillation columns by simply replacing our assumptions by those of each specific case. The performance of this program is shown through some illustrative examples. Finally, potential applications to both teaching and industry are also discussed.


Binary Mixture Operating Line Distillation Column Computer Algebra System Equilibrium Curve 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akemi Gálvez
    • 1
  • Andrés Iglesias
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Mathematics and Computational SciencesUniversity of CantabriaSantanderSpain

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