• upper-division undergraduate education;
  • system of differential algebraic equations;
  • reactive distillation


We show how one can compute residue curve maps (RCMs) for the methyl acetate and isopropyl acetate chemistries at atmospheric pressure. These computations involve solving a complex system of differential algebraic equations (DAEs). This can be readily achieved using the built-in functions of Mathematica and MATLAB. The governing equations, which depend on transformed compositions, are provided. Equations to compute vapor–liquid equilibrium when there is dimerization in the gas phase are given because of the presence of acetic acid in both quaternary mixtures. The occurrence of a chemical reaction leads to the disappearance of an azeotrope in the methyl acetate chemistry. On the other hand, a reactive azeotrope appears in the isopropyl acetate chemistry. Transformed compositions of these azeotropes are provided. The MATLAB programs and Mathematica notebooks are available from the author upon request or via;search_person_id=1536 or © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 15: 73–77, 2007; Published online in Wiley InterScience (; DOI 10.1002/cae.20084