Question

The extraction of acetic acid from water is both industrially and environmentally significant. Methyl tert-butyl ether, or MTBE, has been identified as the best solvent for the extraction of acetic acid from water due to its higher selectivity, lower density, lower heat of vaporization, and lower cost. Below is the ternary phase diagram for the MTBE-acetic acid-water system. Note: for this problem, you can ignore the point that is labeled as an azeotrope.

In your system, you mix a 100 kg solution of 75 wt.% water/25 wt.% acetic acid with a stream of pure MTBE in an effort to extract the acetic acid. Two liquid phases form and reach equilibrium.

a. Draw and label your process flow diagram.

b. After the two liquid phases are formed, you measure the MTBE-rich phase and find that it contains 5 wt.% acetic acid. What is the full composition of this phase? What is the composition of the water-rich phase?

c. You want a higher acetic acid extraction in your MTBE-rich phase. How much MTBE must be added to the mixer to reach 14 wt.% acetic acid in your MTBE-rich phase?

d. Using the Gibbs phase rule, determine the degrees of freedom of a partially miscible ternary system (i.e. liquid-liquid equilibrium).

*****Answer a, b, and c please.*****

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