Committee Chair

Henry, Jim

Committee Member

McMahon, Edward; Thomas, Tricia


Dept. of Civil and Chemical Engineering


College of Engineering and Computer Science


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Engineering Department distillation column is used as a teaching tool, but is currently without a feedback control system. An eventual goal of developing such a control system requires that the behavior of the column be understood. It is necessary to identify which of the column parameters can change, either ones that change to cause a disturbance, or ones that the controller can change in response to a disturbance. There are four of these parameters in the UTC column: feed flow rate, feed composition, reboiler heat and reflux percent. Experiments were performed on the column to identify the response when each of the four parameters was changed in isolation. A chart showing the concentrations on each of the trays both before and after the change was used to visualize how the change affected the individual trays. The operating lines from the McCabe-Thiele method were used to analyze the overall effect on the column. An analysis of the speed of the response of the individual trays was also performed. From these methods of analysis, it is apparent that the center of the column responds most quickly to a disturbance. Three experiments were also performed in which manual feedback control schemes were tested on the column. In all three cases, the goal was to maintain one of the product streams at the starting concentration after a disturbance by manipulating only one of the controllable parameters, the reboiler heat.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Distillation; Distillation apparatus


Chemical Engineering

Document Type

Masters theses


xii, 90 leaves




Under copyright.