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UNIT OPERATIONS

Lecture 5
Multi stage Absorption

Last Updated:December 9, 2015

Learning objectives

Students will be exposed to the

importance of the size of the absorbing
agent and how to optimize it.

Learning outcome

Students should be able to describe the

importance of optimizing the absorbing
agents flow rate as well as calculating the
flow rate and its effect on the number of
ideal stages.

Multistage absorption
Two alternatives to keep
calculating mass
balances for each step.
1. Analytical
2. Graphical

Analytical estimation
Component A overall
L0 x0 VN 1 y N 1 LN x N V1 y1
Ln xn VN 1 y N 1 L0 x0 V1 y1
Component A above stage n
L0 x0 Vn 1 yn 1 Ln xn V1 y1
L0 x0 V1 y1 Ln xn Vn 1 yn 1

Analytical estimation
Equating equations
LN x N VN 1 y N 1 Ln xn Vn 1 yn 1
Assume that molar flows are almost constant

L xn x N V yn 1 y N 1

Equilibrium yn 1 mxn 1 and y N 1 mx N 1

L
Substitute those and A
mV
y N 1
xn 1 Axn
AxN
m

Analytical estimation
A is the absorption factor.
To find the number of stages we use Kremsers
equation;

y N 1 mx0
1 1
ln
1
y1 mx0
A A

N
ln A
y N 1 y1
If A 1, N
y1 mx0

For stripping

x0 y N 1 m

1 A A
ln
x N y N 1 m

N
ln 1 A
x0 x N
If A 1, N
x N y N 1 m
Stripping factor S 1 A

Non constant absorption factors

If the equilibrium line is not a straight line, A will
vary.
In those cases A is calculated for top and bottom
stages respectively and then use the geometric
average.

LN
L0
AN
and A1
mNVN 1
m1V1
A A1 AN

Example
It is desired to absorb 90% of the acetone in
a gas containing 1.0 mol% acetone in air
in a countercurrent stage tower. The total
inlet gas flow to the tower is 30.0 kmol/h
and the total inlet pure water flow used to
absorb the acetone is 90 kmol H2O/h. The
process is to operate isothermally at 300 K
and a total pressure of 101.3 kPa.

Example
The equilibrium relation for the acetone (A)
in the gas-liquid is yA = 2.53 xA. Determine
the number of theoretical stages needed
for the separation using the Kremsers
equation.

Graphical method

We have the mass balance;

Lm xm V1 y1 L0 x0
ym 1

Vm 1
Vm 1
and the equilibrium data y A m x A

Graphical method

Graphical method
y1 is in equilibrium with x1.

Graphical method
Mass balance over stage 2

Graphical method
Continue equilibrium, mass balance, etc

Pinch point

Stripping

Example
Redo the acetone example but using the
We got; xA0=0, xAN=0.003, yAN+1=0.01,
yA1=0.00101, L0=90 kmol / h, VAN+1=30
kmol / h, LN=90.27 kmol / h, V1=29.73
kmol / h.
Plot operating line and equilibrium line.

Example

Example
5 steps plus
x step =(0.003-0.00287)/(0.0038-0.00287)
x= 0.14
5.14 ideal stages

Self exercise
Problems from Geankoplis
10.3-1
10.3-3

References
C. J. Geankoplis, Transport Processes and Separation
Process Principles, 4th Ed., Prentice Hall 2003.
Sections 10.3,10.6
W. L. McCabe, J. C. Smith and P. Harriott: Unit Operations
of Chemical Engineering, 7th Ed., McGraw Hill, 2004.
Chapter 18
Seader and Henley, Separation Process Principles, 2nd
Ed., Wiley, 2006.
Sections 6.3,6.4