To obtain products with a narrow composition range, a rectifying batch still is used that consists of a pot (or reboiler), a rectifying column, a condenser, some means of splitting off a portion of the condensed vapor (distillate) as reflux, and one or more receivers. Temperature of the distillate is controlled in order to return the reflux at or near the column temperature to permit a true indication of reflux quantity and to improve column operation. A subcooling heat exchanger is then used for the remainder of the distillate, which is sent to an accumulator or receiver. The column may also operate at elevated pressure or vacuum, in which case appropriate devices must be included to obtain the desired pressure. Equipment-design methods for batch-still components, except for the pot, follow the same principles as those presented for continuous units, but the design should be checked for each mixture if several mixtures are to be processed. It should also be checked at more than one point of a mixture, since composition in the column changes as distillation proceeds. Pot design is based on batch size and required vaporization rate.
In operation, a batch of liquid is charged to the pot and the system is first brought to steady state under total reflux. A portion of the overhead condensate is then continuously withdrawn in accordance with the established reflux policy. Cuts are made by switching to alternate receivers, at which time operating conditions may be altered. The entire column operates as an enriching section. As time proceeds, composition of the material being distilled becomes less rich in the more volatile components, and distillation of a cut is stopped when accumulated distillate attains the desired average composition.
Was this article helpful?