Purity of the Product

Frequently, the purity of the product-distillate or bottom product-is higher than the required specification for further processing or sale, because the reflux ratio is set higher than necessary. Therefore, the reflux rate can be decreased until the desired purity is obtained. However, the minimum reflux flow to achieve the required wetting of the column internals needs to be considered. It is recommended that this procedure should be supported by thermodynamic calculations, like the determination of the minimum reflux ratio, or by the simulation of the distillation column to determine the minimum reflux flow.

Process fluctuations are often the reason for a reflux ratio that is too high. In this case, process fluctuations need first to be reduced, before reducing the reflux ratio, for example, by process control measures.

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