Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering - (M.S.)


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Joseph Joffe


A correlation is presented from which the number of theoretical plates for a given separation by distillation can be estimated as a function of the reflux ratio. The effects of relative volatility and feed composition upon such a correlation are also studied. Smoker's (1) equation was used in calculating the data. The results were obtained by varying the several parameters which have to be given for any separa tion desired. These include feed compositions of 0.25, 0.50, and 0.75; relative volatilities of 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, and 2.0; and various reflux ratios. The overhead product and bottoms product compositions were kept constant at 0.95 and 0.05 respectively.

To present and use the correlation, the calculation of Sm and Rm is necessary. Graphs relating the number of theoretical plates to reflux ratio are presented. The effects of relative volatility and feed composition are shown.

Three presentations of the results are made from the same data, primarily for purposes of comparing with the results of other authors. The coordinate groups used in each case are the same as those used by the author with whom the results are being compared. Comparison with Gilliland (2) and Donnell and Cooper (4) show close agreement, but comparison with Hachmuth (3) shows disagreement. Nevertheless, if average results are compared, the present data agree with those of Hachmuth (3) but not as well as with those of Gilliland (2) and Donnell and Cooper (4).

A similar type of correlation by Brown and martin (5) also does not agree too well with that of Hachmuth (3). No comparison was made between the results of this paper and those of Brown and Martin (5).



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