McCabe-Thiele Method for Methanol/Water Separation

Click here to download the CDF file for use offline.

This Demonstration shows how to determine the number of equilibrium stages needed for a two-component (methanol/water) separation in a counter-current distillation column. It also shows the optimal location to feed the binary mixture into the column. Check "view process flow diagram" to show the x-y diagram on the left and the process flow diagram on the right. When that box is not checked, a larger x-y diagram is shown. The column feed has a methanol mole fraction of 0.5 and a quality of 0.5. The condenser is a complete condenser. Set the external reflux ratio L/D, as well as the methanol mole fractions in the distillate xD and bottoms xB streams with sliders. When the "view process flow diagram" box is not checked, you can move the cursor over the x-y diagram to see the curve labels. The number of stages is determined by the stepping off stages starting at the top of the column; the reboiler is an equilibrium stage. The number of equilibrium stages depends on the compositions of the exiting streams and the reflux ratio.

<< Separations Simulations

Check out our separations screencasts and other simulations.

These simulations require the Mathematica CDF player, available for free from the Wolfram website. If you are having trouble, please email us at: