Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Official blog of the Lehigh University Chemical Engineers

Pilot Plant Distillation Column Experiment Part 2

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Now let me take you to the the actual place where this experiment was carried out (hashtag no filter).

FullSizeRenderAs you can see here, my lab partner is monitoring the controls and trying to keep the column profile constant. From that white panel, you can turn the feed, bottom pumps on and off. You can also adjust the valve positions for feed, steam, reflux, distillate, and bottoms valves. Tank level and flow rate information was then sent back to the top two rows of the panel. Above that, there is a nice little black and white TV screen to see the methanol being condensed back down on top of the column. In this picture the thing that’s going through the ceiling the actual distillation column. To its left back side are the holding tanks for reflux, bottoms, and overhead. The steam and cooling water valves are located towards the backside of the wall.

One of the things wed had to do (also most exciting part of this experiment), was blowing down the steam through the pipe. And fortunately I have a short clip to share with you this moment.

Due to time constraint, we were only be to do two steady state runs, and they are total and partial reflux runs both with feed stream at stage 4. Samples were taken for the feed, overhead, and bottoms stream, and there compositions were analyzed by GC. Temperature information was automatic saved from the computer. Flow rates were measured by the bucket-n’-stopwatch method. Once we have them then we’re ready to do some calculations!


Author: Jerry Jin

Hello, My name is Jerry Jin. I'm a senior at Lehigh University pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. I'm from Allentown, PA, but I was born in Shanghai, China. I moved here when I was fourteen years old. I'm currently the secretary for Southeast Asia at Lehigh Club, and treasurer for SASE. I'm also on the Lehigh Ultimate Frisbee Team and I enjoy being spontaneous.

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