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Multiple Steady States in Ideal Two-Product Distillation
E. W. Jacobsen and S. Skogestad

AIChE Journal, 37, 4, 499-511 (1991).

In this paper, we show that multiplicities and instability may occur in binary distillation, especially when the internal flows are large. One source of multiplicity may occur in the practical case when reflux is specified on mass or volumetric basis (rather than molar, which only can be specified in simulations), even with constant molar overflow (CMO). This multiplicity and resulting instability is likely to occur for mixtures with large differences in the component mole weights, for example, for the methanol-propanol system. Another souce of multilplicity may occur when the reboiler duty is specified (rather than the molar vapor flow) and the lightest component has the largest heat of vaporization, for example, for the propanol-acetic acid system. For varying molar flows inside the column (not CMO), multiplicity and instability may occur even when reflux and vapor flow (boilup) are specified on a molar basis, for example, for the methanol-propanol system.