The McCabe & Thiele Graphical Method: Advantages and Disadvantages
The McCabe & Thiele graphical method is one of the most commonly used methods for determining the theoretical number of stages in a distillation column. This method is based on manipulating equilibrium data and graphical representations to determine the optimal column configuration. This paper will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the McCabe & Thiele graphical method, as well as provide definitions for boiling point and relative volatility and their relation to distillation column sequences. The boiling point, defined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) as “the temperature at which the vapor pressure of a liquid is equal to the external pressure on the liquid” (IUPAC, n.d.), is a crucial parameter when considering the McCabe & Thiele graphical method, as the boiling points of the feed and products are used to determine the temperatures of the stages in the column. Relative volatility, defined by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) as “the ratio of the vapor pressure of one component of a liquid mixture to the vapor pressure of another component at the same temperature” (AIChE, 2020), is important when. Cont…
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