Thermodynamic modeling of HNO3-H2SO4-H2O ternary system with symmetric electrolyte NRTL model

Meng Wang, Harnoor Kaur, Chau Chyun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The nitric acid concentration/sulfuric acid concentration (NAC/SAC) process has been widely used for concentrating dilute aqueous nitric acid and recovering spent sulfuric acid. Dilute nitric acid (65 to 80 wt %) is concentrated using sulfuric acid to bind water and break the nitric acid-water azeotrope at approximately 68 wt % nitric acid. To support heat and mass balance calculations and process simulation for NAC/SAC processes, we develop a comprehensive thermodynamic model for nitric acid-sulfuric acid-water ternary system based on previously published thermodynamic models of nitric acid-water and sulfuric acid-water binary systems with eNRTL equation. The ternary system model correlates well the isobaric vapor-liquid equilibrium data at one atmosphere and the water and nitric acid activities data at 273.15 K for the ternary. Contour plots of boiling points, vapor phase composition, and specific heat capacity of the ternary system, as well as a Merkel enthalpy-concentration chart are generated for engineering use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3110-3117
Number of pages8
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • boiling point
  • electrolyte NRTL model
  • heat capacity
  • nitric acid
  • nitric acid concentration/sulfuric acid concentration (NAC/SAC)
  • sulfuric acid
  • vapor-liquid equilibrium


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