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Keywords:

  • simple batch distillation;
  • Mathematica®;
  • mass and energy balances;
  • differential-algebraic system of equations;
  • undergraduate laboratory

ABSTRACT

A simple experiment such as the batch distillation of an ethanol–water binary mixture can be performed in a 3-h laboratory session using a very rudimentary apparatus consisting of a still pot and two thermocouples. Yet, the results can lead to very interesting insights to distillation and chemical engineering thermodynamics. The present article describes how one can exploit this simple laboratory experiment to teach these various aspects of chemical engineering. In addition, several simple calculations using computer software such as Mathematica® are performed to explain, interpret and reproduce theoretically all the gathered experimental data during the laboratory session.© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Comput Appl Eng Educ 22:649–657, 2014; View this article online at wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/cae; DOI 10.1002/cae.21556