Published: CABEQ 25 (2) (2011) 221–227
Paper type: Original Scientific Paper

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Esterification of Acetic Acid with Butanol: Operation in a Packed Bed Reactive Distillation Column

E. Sert and F. S. Atalay

The esterification reaction between acetic acid and butanol was investigated in a reactive distillation column. The thermodynamic aspects of considered system are discussed, equilibrium constant, vapor pressures and UNIQUAC interaction parameters were investigated. Reactive distillation experiments were carried out to provide high purity butyl acetate. For this purpose, a 2 m column with nonreactive and reactive zones filled with Amberlyst 15 and Raschig rings, were used in the experiments. Several operating conditions such as total feed flow rate, molar ratio of butanol to acetic acid, amount of catalyst and reboiler temperature and three different column configurations were realized experimentally. The experimental optimum values of these parameters obtained were 1.6 mol h–1, 1, 25 g and 383 K, respectively within the range of study. The butyl acetate purity of 82 % and acetic acid conversion of 80.5 % were obtained at the optimum operating conditions.

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acetic acid, esterification, butyl acetate, reactive distillation, Amberlyst 15