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Design calculations of an extractor for aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons separation using ionic liquids

Elena Graczová, Pavol Steltenpohl, Martin Šoltýs, and Tomáš Katriňák

Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Radlinského 9, 812 37, Bratislava, Slovakia



Abstract: The study concentrates on the separation of aromatic hydrocarbons from aliphatic hydrocarbon mixtures using ionic liquids as a new alternative of extraction solvents. Influence of the phase equilibrium description accuracy on the separation equipment design using different thermodynamic models was investigated. As a model system, a heptane-toluene binary mixture was chosen, employing 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ethyl sulfate (EMIES) ionic liquid as an extractive solvent. Liquid-liquid equilibrium (LLE) data of the ternary system were calculated using NRTL equations with different quality model parameters. Model 1 corresponds to the NRTL equation with the original binary parameters evaluated independently from the respective binary equilibrium data. Model 2 is represented by an NRTL equation extended by the ternary correction term (with the original binary parameters and ternary correction term parameters evaluated from the ternary tie-lines). Model 3, i.e. the NRTL equation with binary model parameters determined via ternary LLE data regression using ASPEN Plus, was taken from Meindersma et al. (2006). Continuous-flow liquidphase extraction was simulated considering a cascade of mixer-settler type extractors according to the Hunter-Nash scheme (Hunter & Nash, 1934). Based on the simulation results, for a preset separation efficiency criterium, different accuracies of the equilibrium description caused serious discrepancies in the separation equipment design, e.g. in the number of theoretical stages, solvent to feed ratio, and product purity.

Keywords: ionic liquid – extraction – theoretical stage – liquid-liquid equilibria – NRTL model – ternary contribution

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-012-0289-1


Chemical Papers 67 (12) 1548–1559 (2013)

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