Lever Rule Applied to the Benzene-Toluene Vapor Pressure Diagram
A pressure-mole fraction diagram shows the regions of phase stability for a two-component mixture as a function of pressure and composition at a fixed temperature. Since benzene and toluene form a nearly ideal solution, the diagram for this mixture can be calculated from the vapor pressures of the two pure substances. When the pressure and composition of the mixture are at a point inside the region bounded by the blue and green lines, both phases coexist. Otherwise, only one phase, either liquid or vapor, is stable. In the diagram for a benzene-toluene mixture at 20˚C shown, the solid blue line indicates the composition of the liquid and the solid green line indicates the composition of the vapor. For a point inside the two-phase region, the compositions of the two phases are determined by drawing horizontal lines (here shown dashed). These are called “tie lines” or “levers”. The lever rule is used to calculate the relative amounts of the two phases, which are shown on the bar graph on the right. The compositions of the two phases are indicated by dotted lines on the phase diagram and numerically at the top of the bar graph. Click and drag the black point to change the pressure and benzene mole fraction.
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Author: Lisa M. Goss, modified by Rachel Baumann. Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA
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