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ChE 142: Separation Process Principles

Prof. Davis

Fall 2014 Homework 1 Solution


2. (10 points) Explain in 2-3 sentences the primary DIFFERENCES between liquid-liquid
extraction and leaching. Note that I do not care what the definitions of those two things are,
only the most important or relevant characteristics that set them apart from each other.
The primary difference between LLE and leaching is the phase of the feed; leaching extracts a
solute from a solid, while LLE extracts a solute from a liquid. Other than that, they are very
similar; they are both separations by phase addition, both involve a liquid MSA, and both have
very severe mass transfer limitations to their efficient operation.
3. (10 points) Describe the primary difference between a discretely fed batch process and a fedbatch or continuously fed-batch (semi-batch) process in your own words (2-3 sentences).
A discretely fed batch process and a semi-batch process differ in the presence of a continuous
inlet/outlet; a semi-batch process can have a continuous feed or a continuous product stream
(but typically not both), but by definition a batch process cannot. Separation processes can be
batch, semi-batch, or continuous but we tend to focus on the continuous ones. Adsorption is an
example of a separation system which is almost always semi-batch/semi-continuous.
4. (35 points) Write two to three sentences describing how operations 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, and 17
in Table 1.1 from Seader and Henley (p. 8-10) work (what are the phases present, what is the
MSA / ESA, how separation is achieved, etc.) IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Draw a picture of
each operation.
A description of how Flash, Distillation, Absorption, Stripping, Liquid-Liquid Extraction,
Drying, and Leaching units work is on p. 7 and 11 of the book. You got full credit if your
descriptions are 2-3 sentences and I can tell whats going on in your pictures.
5. (30 points) Youll recall from your thermodynamics course that the change in Gibbs Energy
for a process (moving a system from one state to another) is a measure of the minimum
amount of work which must be done on the system to make the process occur. As an
example, consider a mixture of equal parts of two ideal gases (helium and neon, lets say) in
a closed vessel with two equally sized compartments separated by a barrier. Initially, the
gases are mixed together in both compartments. After selectively pumping the gases through
the barrier for a long time, you get the system to a state where both gases are pure, one on
one side of the barrier and one on the other.
A. (20 points) Prove using a diagram and thermodynamic equations that this process
requires a non-zero, positive amount of energy (work) to carry out.

50/50
He/Ne

50/50
He/Ne

100% He 100%Ne

Initial state

Final state

From Smith and Van Ness 1, the partial molar Gibbs Energy (i.e. the chemical potential, ) of an
ideal gas can be expressed as:

=
G

# species

y G + RT

# species

IG
k k
k 1=
k 1
=

yk ln ( yk )

The total Gibbs energy of the mixture in the left box initially (assume 1 mole basis) is therefore:

GLeft =

yk Gk + RT yk ln ( yk ) = yHeGHe + yNeGNe + RT yHe ln ( yHe ) + yNe ln ( yNe )

=
k 1=
k 1

= ( 0.5 ) GHe + ( 0.5 ) GNe + RT ( 0.5 ) ln ( 0.5 ) + ( 0.5 ) ln ( 0.5 ) = 0.5GHe + 0.5GNe + RT ln ( 0.5 ) = GRight
because each side has the same mixture in it. This gives:
Ginitial = GLeft + GRight = 2 ( 0.5GHe + 0.5GNe + RT ln ( 0.5 ) ) = GHe + GNe 2 RT ln ( 2 )

By definition, the Gibbs energy of the helium in the left box and the neon in the right box in the
final state (assume 1 mole each without loss of generality) are:
G final
= GHe + GNe

So the change in energy for this process, which is equal to the minimum work of separation of
those two boxes of gas, is:

[GHe + GNe ] GHe + GNe 2 RT ln ( 2 )


=
T [ ] J / mol (T in K )
2 RT=
ln ( 2 ) 11.5

G= G final Ginitial=
=
G

Which is always a strictly positive number when absolute temperature is used.


B. (10 points) Is this process possible? Can you get pure gases on both sides of a
(permeable) barrier in this vessel? Why or why not? (2-3 sentences).
Yes, it is possible (or nearly so), though very unlikely and difficult. It would require a low
temperature to insure that the gas molecules stayed put, a very selective barrier that let one gas
1

Smith, J. and Van Ness, H. Introduction to Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, McGraw Hill

through but not the other, a lot of pumping/work/energy, and a long time to get all the molecules
in/out.
6. (15 points) A single-stage flash unit is being used to crudely separate a saturated liquid
mixture of butane and pentane. The feed is 50% by mole of each component and the
pressure in the flash tank is maintained at 25 psia. You should use the DIPPR database to
find the K-values for the mixture; assume that the gases and the solution are ideal. The
measured T in the flash is 100 oF. Find:
A. (10 points) The mole fractions in the vapor product and liquid product. Call butane
component 1 and pentane component 2, so find y1, y2, x1, and x2. Two SFs is plenty.

K=
1

y1 51.64 psi
=
= 2.0656
x1
25 psi

( DIPPR )

K=
2

y2 15.58 psi
=
= 0.6232
x2
25 psi

( DIPPR )

y1 + y=
1, x1 + x=
1
2
2

The pressure in the tank (at 100 oF) must be between the bubble point pressure and the dew point
pressure. See p. 149 of the book for their definitions. In this case it must be between 33.61 and
23.94 psia. Solving the system of four equations in four unknowns gives:
2.0656 x1 + 0.6232 x2 = 1, x1 + x2 = 1
x1= 0.26, x2= 0.74

y1= 0.54,

y2= 0.46

B. (5 points) The percent of the feed which comes off the tank as vapor.
Steady-state molar flow balances give:
F =+
L V

L
V
=
1
F
F

z1 F = x1 L + y1V

z1 = x1

L
V
V
V
+ y1 = x1 1 + y1
F
F
F
F

Moles are conserved since theres no reaction occurring. Plugging in and solving for V/F:
=
0.5

( 0.26 ) 1

V
V
+ ( 0.54 )
F
F

V
= 86%
F