The purpose of this project was to improve upon the existing experiment of the distillation column for use in the ChE 2012 and 2014 courses. Based on poor results in previous years of experimentation, the glass column was insulated and operated at various conditions to analyze performance. The results of the experiment showed the insulation setup had little effect on heat loss from the column. This proved to also have little impact on the proper use of the fundamental equations. However, some limiting parameters were established such as: initial ethanol still composition and steam pressure. While specific goals were not met, a better understanding of the column was achieved. Insulation of the column is a step in the right direction, and needs to be researched and improved upon.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project