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Chemical Engineering

Research on Reactive Separation and Gas Hydrate Separation

Professor Lee

The main advantage of reactive separation is the miniaturization/simplification of complex process units by combining reaction and separation simultaneously. We have developed a systematic feasibility method for reactive separation systems to quickly answer to the following open questions before many experimental trials: 1) Are pure products reachable from a given reaction and Vapor-Liquid phase equilibrium? and 2) if not reachable, how to superimpose another task such as a new reaction and a L-L splitting on the combined reaction and V-L separation to obtain the pure products? A major difficulty in tackling these problems is that there is little understanding of the interaction amongst reaction, V-L and L-L separation especially for various types of distillation boundary and reaction. This interaction can be understood by explicitly visualizing reaction and separation terms in composition space in terms of difference points. Based on this understanding, feasible products are identified in various configurations of batch and continuous modes. Now, our focus on this research is to combine multiple reactions by the structural variations of columns and also to a general shortcut method in order to predict reasonable reaction holdups and energy demands in a reactive separation column.

The concept of the integration of reaction and separation is extended to gas hydrate separation where physical H2O-Gas bonding and separation occur at the same time.