Minimum reflux conditions, part I: Theory


  • This paper was presented in preliminary form by K. E. Bennett and R. P. Andres at the AIChE 82nd National Meeting; in its present form by K. Nandakumar and R. P. Andres at the AIChE 88th National Meeting.


This paper presents a new formulation of the infinite plate or minimum reflux limit of a multicomponent distillation column. Based on this model, two new calculation methods are developed. The first is a short-cut method which extends Underwood's classic minimum reflux treatment to variable molar overflow situations. The second is a rigorous method which is similar to a multicomponent flash calculation and represents a significant computational advance over other rigorous methods.