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BUBBLE CAP DISTILLATION COLUMN

Objective:
1. To study the effect of operational time on the composition and volume
of the product distillate.
2. To study the correlation between the volume of the product distillate
and the composition of the product distillate.
Theory:
Distillation process is a process of separating light components from other
components based on volatility differences. The components with lower
boiling points will vaporize first and therefore will be collected as distillate
with high purity. Packing materials are used to increase the surface area for
enhancing contact between the vaporized components with the reflux so
that purity of the product distillate can be further improved.
Equipment/Materials:
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6.
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Bubble cap distillation column


Refractometer
Syringe
Beaker
Measurement cylinder
Reagent bottle
Stop watch
Water
Ethanol

Procedure:
1.
Prepare 7 ethanol-water mixture using pipette. Obtain the refractive
2.

index of the mixtures using refractometer.


Prepare 32 liters of ethanol-water feed mixture with composition of

3.

methanol 30% and water 70%.


Make sure all equipment is in place and in good conditions before

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5.

starting the experiment.


Adjust the valves position as follows:
Open valve: V2
Close valve: RCV1, V3, V4
Turn on the electric heater simultaneously with the coolant flow
pump.

6.

Set the reflux ratio at 2.0 or 3.0 by slowly openning reflux control
valve RCV1 and the product distillate will flow to RI 1B. The rest of the
product distillate will flow through RI 1A and return to the reboiler

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vessel.
To collect product distillate which does not return to the reboiler

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vessel, adjust the position of the valves as follows:


Close valve V2
Open valve V3 (Close valve V3 if V4 is opened)
Open valve V4 (to collect sample)
Measure the volume and refractive index of the collected product

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10.

distillate.
Repeat steps 7 and 8 for every 5 minutes and fill in the table given.
Reminder: Make sure samples of the standard material and the
product distillate are kept in the container given.

Questions:
1.

Plot graph refractive index vs. %-mole ethanol for benchmark mixture

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of ethanol-water.
Discuss the resulted graph.
Calculate the ethanol mole fraction from the refractive index.
Plot graph mole fraction and volume of product distillate vs. time.
Discuss the advantages of bubble cap distillation column.
Discuss the data and results obtained.
List all the safety regulations and precautions that need to be
considered when conducting the experiment.

References:
1.

Geankoplis, C. J., Transport Processes & Unit Operations, 3rd Edition,

2.

Prentice-Hall, 1995.
Mc Cabe, W. L., Smith, J. C. & Harriot, P., Unit Operation of Chemical

3.

Engineering, 4th Edition, Mc Graw-Hill, 1985.


Coulson & Richardson, Chemical Engineering, Volume 2, Pergamon,
1983.

Experimental setup: