Binary Distillation with McCabe-Thiele Method

This Excel spreadsheet uses the McCabe-Thiele method to calculate the number of theoretical stages needed for binary distillation.

Binary distillation is a common unit operation that separates two liquids (with one being more volatile, or "lighter"). The concepts are encountered in many branches of chemical and petroleum engineering.

Simply enter your parameters at the top of the spreadsheet, including the
  • feed flowrate,
  • mole fraction of the light component (or more volatile component) in the feed,
  • mole fraction of light component in the top product,
  • mole fraction of light component in the bottom product,
  • reflux ratio,
  • relative volatility of the light component
  • and the q-line value.
The spreadsheet will automatically calculate flowrates throughout the column, the number of theoretical plates, the feed plate position, the minimum reflux ratio (from the Underwood equation), and the minimum number of theoretical plates (from the Fenske equation)

The spreadsheet also automatically draw the traditional McCabe-Thiele plot. This is a classic Chemical Engineering diagram and shows the number of theoretical stages, the position and slope of the q-line, and the relative volatility curve, and the purity of the top and bottom products.


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