Relative Volatility

Relative volatility is a very convenient measure of the ease or difficulty of separation in distillation. The volatility of component j relative to component k is defined as:

A large value of relative volatility ajk implies that components j and k can be easily separated in a distillation column. Values of ajk close to 1 imply that the separation will be very difficult, requiring a large number of trays and high energy consumption.

For binary systems relative volatility of light to heavy component is simply called a:

where x and y are mol fractions of light component in the liquid and vapor phases respectively. Rearrangement of equation (2.18) leads to the very useful y-x relationship that can be employed when a is constant in a binary system.

Figure 2.14 sketches y versus x lines for various values of a. The larger the relative volatility a, the fatter is the equilibrium curve. For an ideal (Raoulfs law) binary system, a can be expressed very simply as the ratio of the vapor pressures of light and heavy components.

If the temperature dependence of the vapor pressure of both components is the same, a will be independent of temperature. In other words, relative volatility is constant if the vapor pressure lines are parallel in a In P versus 1 /T plot. This is true for many components over a limited temperature range, particularly when the components are chemically similar. Distillation columns are frequently designed assuming constant relative volatility because it greatly simplifies the vapor—liquid equilibrium calculations. Relative volatilities usually decrease somewhat with increasing temperature in most systems.

Relative Volatility Plot


Relative volatility on x-y diagram


Relative volatility on x-y diagram

For multicomponent systems, applying the basic definition [equation (2.17)] and rearranging lead to the following explicit relationship between any vapor composition^ and given liquid compositions (x/s) and relative volatilities (ay's).

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  • michael
    How to calculate relative volatility in a distillation column?
    8 years ago
  • Quinzia
    How tofind relative volatility related to heavy component?
    7 years ago
  • martin
    Is relative volatility constant in distillation column?
    7 years ago
  • Adelard Goold
    How to calculate relative volatility for separation?
    7 years ago
  • Oberto
    How to calculate relative volatility of a multicomponent?
    7 years ago
  • ailsa
    How to find relative volatility in distallation column?
    5 years ago
  • abaalom
    How to calculate relative volatility of distillate?
    5 years ago
  • cathy
    How to find reletive volativity when given temperature?
    5 years ago
    How to derive relative volatility equation in a distillation column?
    4 years ago
  • Mac
    How to get y values if given relative volatility?
    4 years ago
  • luwam omar
    How to get reflux ratio from relative volatility?
    1 year ago
  • Wegahta
    How to find relative volatility from antoine?
    1 year ago
  • abelino
    How to separate compunds in distillation column based on relative volatility?
    6 months ago
  • Baillie
    How to get relative volatility from equilibrium constant?
    6 months ago
  • Saku Hyyti
    How to work out the relative volatility for distillation column?
    24 days ago
  • essi
    How to calculate relative volatility for a distilation column?
    21 days ago

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