Phase equilibrium studies at normal pressures

  • Mohammed Rafaquat

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A total pressure apparatus has been developed to measure vapour-liquid equilibrium data on binary mixtures at atmospheric and sub-atmospheric pressures. The method gives isothermal data which can be obtained rapidly. Only measurements of total pressure are made as a direct function of composition of synthetic liquid phase composition, the vapour phase composition being deduced through the Gibbs-Duhem relationship. The need to analyse either of the phases is eliminated. As such the errors introduced by sampling and analysis are removed.
The essential requirements are that the pure components be degassed completely since any deficiency in degassing would introduce errors into the measured pressures. A similarly essential requirement was that the central apparatus would have to be absolutely leak-tight as any leakage of air either in or out of the apparatus would introduce erroneous pressure readings.
The apparatus was commissioned by measuring the saturated vapour pressures of both degassed water and ethanol as a function of temperature. The pressure-temperature data on degassed water measured were directly compared with data in the literature, with good agreement. Similarly the pressure-temperature data were measured for ethanol, methanol and cyclohexane and where possible a direct comparison made with the literature data.
Good agreement between the pure component data of this work and those available in the literature demonstrates firstly that a satisfactory degassing procedure has been achieved and that secondly the measurements of pressure-temperature are consistent for any one component; since this is true for a number of components, the measurements of both temperature and pressure are both self-consistent and of sufficient accuracy, with an observed compatibility between the precision/accuracy of the separate means of measuring pressure and temperature.
The liquid mixtures studied were of ethanol-water, methanol-water and ethanol-cyclohexane. The total pressure was measured as the composition inside the equilibrium cell was varied at a set temperature. This gave P-T-x data sets for each mixture at a range of temperatures. A standard fitting-package from the literature was used to reduce the raw data to yield y-values to complete the x-y-P-T data sets. A consistency test could not be applied to the P-T-x data set as no y-values were obtained during the experimental measurements. In general satisfactory agreement was found between the data of this work and those available in the literature. For some runs discrepancies were observed, and further work recommended to eliminate the problems identified.
Date of AwardDec 1991
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJ.D. Jenkins (Supervisor)


  • atmospheric pressure
  • experimental determination
  • isothermal
  • saturated vapour pressure
  • sub-atmospheric pressure
  • total pressure
  • vapour-liquid equilibrium

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