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Fig. 7.9 summarizes the hardware design of the RD column. Despite the large column diameter required in the reactive section (5.7 m), it is interesting to note that only 25 % of the column volume is available for 'holding up' the liquid and carrying out the reaction. The rest of the column volume is taken up by freeboard above the tray that is necessary to minimize liquid entrainment to the tray above that, causes flooding. Distillation tray columns are not efficient devices for carrying out slow liquid-phase reactions.

Fig. 7.9 Column configuration and tray hardware design for RD column for methyl acetate manufacture

AcOH

MeOAc

MeOAc

2.8 m diameter; 80 mm weir height; 0.7 m tray spacing; Froth/Spray regime

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