Chapter 3. Introduction to Column Distillation

Distillation is by far the most common separation technique in the chemical process industry, accounting for 90% to 95% of the separations. The approximately 40,000 distillation columns in use account for approximately 40% of the energy use by the United States’ chemical process industry—equivalent to a staggering 1.2 million barrels of crude oil a day (Humphrey and Keller, 1997).

This chapter introduces how continuous distillation columns work and serves as the lead to a series of nine chapters on distillation. The basic calculation procedures for binary distillation are developed in Chapter 4. Multicomponent distillation is introduced in Chapter 5, detailed computer calculation procedures for multicomponent ...

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