McCabe-Thiele Diagrams

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Something I have wanted to do since I learned about McCabe-Thiele diagrams, is make a program that generates them automatically. Thanks to pyplot, I have been able to do that. I made diagrams for common separations below. For those not familiar, these diagrams are a method of estimating the number of trays required in a fractionation tower. I don’t think they would find much use now that computers can accurately simulate an entire tower using an equation of state. They are still great for understanding what is going on inside the tower. It is also great for estimating where the feed should enter the tower. Several diagrams would likely be created during the design phase (remember this was developed in the 1920s), with different reflux ratios, and different tray counts. Then a graph of tray count cost plus reflux cost vs number of trays would be created, and that is how the designers would come up with the number of trays required in the tower.

Butane - isoPentane Separation - Relative volatility of 2.35 Propane - isoButane separation - Relative volatility 1.85 Heptane - Octane - Relative Volatility 1.5 What happens to the diagram when there is not enough reflux? Well it just won't work.



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