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Figure 7.9 Composition and temperature profiles for the MeAc system. Fraction of total conversion (Ri/Rt) indicated in shaded area.

section in which the composition of the heavy acid (HAc) is kept to a parts per million level. The overhead vapor is condensed and the condensate falls within the LL envelope, which is further separated by the decanter, and high purity H2O is removed from the aqueous as shown in Figure 7.10. Part of the organic phase is refluxed back to the reactive distillation column while the other part is fed to the stripper to purify EtAc in the left corner of the composition space (Figs. 7.10 and 7.12) and the top of the stripper is recycled back to the decanter. A straightforward separation is performed in the stripper, which is demonstrated in the composition profile (lower graph, Fig. 7.12). Very high purity EtAc can be obtained, and the purity level of the acid in the product stream depends on the amount of acid allowed in the overhead of the reactive distillation column.

Figure 7.12 also reveals that 80% of the conversion occurs in the column base of the reactive distillation column as a result of a large catalyst holdup, a high reactant

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