D6 x y

The parameter 6 is a dimensionless time variable. The last equation models how compositions change during the generation of a residue curve. As we describe below, a similar equation expresses the tray-to-tray liquid compositions in a distillation column under total reflux conditions. This relationship permits us to use residue curves to assess which separations are feasible or infeasible in a given system.

Consider the upper section of a distillation column as shown in Figure 1.26. The column is cut at tray n, at which the passing vapor and liquid streams have compositions

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