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Separation Process Engineering: Includes Mass Transfer Analysis, Third Edition by Phillip C. Wankat

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18.7.2 Superposition in Linear Systems

Another characteristic of linear systems is that superposition is valid. In other words, solutions can be added and subtracted to give the solution for a combined process. Note that superposition is not valid for nonlinear isotherms. This was illustrated in Example 18-7 where two shock waves combined to form a single shock wave. For linear systems the two waves remain separate and form a staircase type arrangement.

We have already employed superposition in some examples. In Example 18-2 we solved a linear chromatography system for the separation of anthracene and naphthalene. This solution was derived by obtaining the solution for anthracene and the solution for naphthalene and then superimposing these two ...

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