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NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY

Department of Chemical Engineering


CHEM 3313 Transport 2 Laboratory March 17, 2014

TO: Dr. L. J. T. Landherr
FROM: Stephen OConnor, PJ Rousseau, Emily Spence, Hang Zuo
SUBJECT: Rototherm Report

In this experiment, thin film evaporation is used to separate water and orange juice from
each other. The mixture is heated by steam, as a rotor pushes the mixture to the outside walls of
the evaporation chamber, in order to evaporate the water and the remaining liquid orange juice is
collected. The final concentration of the orange juice varies with changes in the system
parameters; vacuum pressure, mixture feed flowrate, and initial concentration of orange juice.
An increase in the initial concentration of orange juice and a decrease in flowrate of the mixture
will increase the final concentration of the orange juice.

Background
A thin film evaporator, also known as a Rototherm
1
, separates material using heat and mass
transfer in a highly turbulent thin film feed stream. When the feed material, a mixture of orange
juice and water, enters the thin film evaporator, it first comes into contact with the rotor. The
rotor blades push the feed material to the outside of the evaporator tube and a thin film is
created
2
. Figure 1 represents the inside of a rotor where the feed material is being manipulated.

Figure 1: Tube and Rotor Schematic in Thin Film Evaporator
2
{a) inner shell, b) rotor blade, c) gap between rotor and inner shell, I) film zone, II) bow wave,
III) gap zone}

In front of each blade a small bow wave is created, and turbulent flow occurs within the material.
The turbulent flow allows for high heat transfer coefficients and the thin liquid layer flowing
along the periphery allows effective heat transfer as well
2
.

Once the feed has traveled past the rotor, it enters the heating jacket. Hot steam flows to the
outside of the jacket, and the feed material is heated through the hot surface. The feed material
has a very short contact time with the heating element because of the vacuum pressure from the
vacuum pump, and the fact that there is a small phase change resistance in the feed material
3
.

The
feed material components with the lower boiling point evaporate first, therefore water will
evaporate first. The vapor molecules travel counter-currently to the feed material, and they flow
2
out of the evaporator to the condensation container
2
. Also, because of the vacuum pressure in the
system, the boiling point of the feed material only depends on the mixture components and not
the location of the liquid in the heat jacket. Therefore, the feed material will separate depending
on the boiling point of the components only
3
. Any liquid droplets in the vapor travel back to the
evaporation zone. Finally, any feel material that was not vaporized flows through the evaporator
past the heat transfer zone and to the concentrated feed material container.

Because the thin film evaporator uses mass transfer and heat transfer to distill the feed material,
heat and mass balances describe the conservation of energy and mass within the system.
Equation 1 displays the theory of conservation of mass
4
:





(Eqn. 1)

Where m
feed
is the mass of the feed material being supplied to the Rototherm in kg, m
condensed water

is the mass of the condensed water vapor from the over-diluted orange juice in kg, and
m
concentrated OJ
is the mas of the re-concentrated orange juice (in kg) flowing out of the bottom of
the thin film evaporator
3
.

Further, Equation 2 displays the energy balance on a heat exchanger utilizing steam
4
:

(Eqn. 2)

Where

(kJ/s) is the heat transfer from the steam to the heat jacket. Also,

is
the mass flow rate of the condensate from the steam and L
v
is the latent heat of vaporization of
water
4
. Theoretically, the heat transferred to the heat jacket from the steam is equal to the heat
transferred to the feed material.

The experiment varied three parameters to determine the effects each parameter has on the final
concentration of orange juice. Mixtures of 25 and 50 percent orange juice in water by volume
were tested to determine the effect the initial concentration of the mixture has on the final
concentration of orange juice. Three flowrates, 149.1, 402.4, and 655.6 cubic centimeters per
minute, were tested to evaluate the effects the flowrate of the feed mixture had on the final
concentration of orange juice. To discover the effects of pressure on the final concentration of
orange juice, the system was operated at -10, -15, and -20 inHg. At each set of operating
parameters a sample of the orange juice product was taken every five minutes for 15 minutes.
The density of each sample was measured after the mixture was cooled to 20 degrees Celsius.

A densitometer was utilized to measure the density of the samples. Equation 3 is the calibration
curve to convert density into percentage of orange juice in a mixture
5
:


mix
= 4.70810
4
X
OJ
( ) + 0.9976 (Eqn. 3)

Where
mix
is the density of the mixture collected, and where X
OJ
is the concentration of orange
juice within the collected sample
5
.

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Results
In order to complete the analysis of the data, the assumption was made that the inlet temperature
of the feed mixture is 20 degrees Celsius and the calibration curve for density was also calculated
using densities at 20 degrees Celsius. The calibration curve was used to calculate the percentage
of orange juice in the collected sample by inserting the density into the equation and solving.

Table 1. Final concentration of orange juice of the samples with the initial 25 and 50 percent
orange juice concentrations


Table 1 contains the final concentrations of orange juice for each sample at the varying
parameters. Comparing the final concentrations of the two differing initial concentrations clearly
indicates that the higher initial concentration will result in a high final concentration. The final
concentration of the 50 percent orange juice is 2.080 0.2690 times larger than that of the 25
percent orange juice on average.


Figure 2. Final Orange Juice Concentration vs. Flowrate of the Feed Mixture

The change in final concentration of orange juice with respect to flowrate is displayed in Figure
2. The rate at which the concentration decreases as the flowrate decreases for both initial
concentrations is approximately the same. The 50 percent initial orange juice concentration
decreases at a rate of 0.06486 0.02437 percent per cm
3
/min whereas the 25 percent initial
orange juice concentration decreases at a rate of 0.04096 0.02074 percent per cm
3
/min. The
4
intercept of the concentration vs. flowrate trendline signifies the concentration that the system
can reach if the flowrate was infinitely small. The intercepts for each mixture are 87.53 11.02
and 48.95 9.383 percent for 50 percent and 25 percent initial orange juice concentration
respectively.


Figure 2. Final Orange Juice Concentration vs. Vacuum Pressure

Figure 2 suggests that lowering the vacuum pressure will increase the final orange juice
concentration of the 50 percent initial orange juice concentration feed mixture, but the
significance of the trendline given is very small because of the large error for the value at -20
inHg. The error for the concentration value at -20 inHg is 22.99 percent, therefore the range for
that specific data point is 50.50 to 96.49 percent. Although the data does not prove any
significant change in final orange juice concentration caused by pressure, it does not prove that
there is no correlation. If in fact the pressure does significantly effect the final orange juice
concentration, the concentration change is not noticeable at the pressures used in this experiment.

Table 2. Heat transfer from Steam for the initial 25 and 50 percent orange juice concentrations


Table 2 contains the heat transfer from the steam to the system. The heat transfer does not follow
a specific trend for an increase or decrease in final orange juice concentration. The effect of heat
transfer from the steam is very small for each set of parameters, so the relationship is
insignificant to the final orange juice concentration.
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Conclusions and Recommendations

The three variables studied in this experiment are vacuum pressure, initial orange juice
concentration, and feed mixture flowrate. At the vacuum pressures evaluated in this experiment,
the concentration of the final orange juice concentration remains unchanged as the pressure
changes. The initial orange juice concentration of the feed mixture has a very significant effect
on the final orange juice concentration. On average, the final orange juice concentration of the 50
percent initial orange juice concentration is 2.080 0.2690 times higher than that of the 25
percent initial orange juice concentration. For both 25 and 50 percent initial orange juice
concentrations, as flowrate increases, the final concentration of the orange juice decreases. The
25 and 50 percent initial orange juice mixtures decrease at a rate of 0.06486 0.02437 and
0.04096 0.02074 percent per cm
3
/min respectively.

To create a standard operating procedure for a technician working with the Rototherm in the
future, each of the parameters trends must be combined. The higher the initial concentration, the
purer the orange juice will be. An initial orange juice concentration of 50 percent or above is
recommended. Lower flowrates separate orange juice from water more accurately than higher
flowrates; therefore a flowrate below 150 cm
3
/min is recommended. Although, the pressure
variation was deemed insignificant, a more negative pressure is recommended because of the
trend determined.

References

1. "The Artisan Rototherm." Bulletin.9904 n. page. Print.
2. "General Description of Thin Film Distillation." SMS. Buss-SMS-Canzler, n.d. Web. 14
Feb. 2014. <http://www.sms-vt.com/en/technologies/thin-film-evaporator/thin-film-
distillation.html>.
3. Janusz Dziak. Mass and Heat Transfer During Thin-Film Evaporation of Liquid
Solutions, Advanced Topics in Mass Transfer, Prof. Mohamed El-Amin (Ed.), ISBN: 978-
953-307-333-0, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/advanced-
topics-in-mass-transfer/mass-and-heat-transfer-during-thin-film- evaporation-of-liquid-
solutions
4. Bergman, Theodore, Adrienne Lavine, Frank Incropera, and David Dewitt. Fundamentals of
Heat and Mass Transfer. 7th edition. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2011. 113-
192. Print.
5. OConnor, S., Rousseau, P., and Spence, E., Zuo, H., Separations: Rototherm Pre-Lab 16
Feb 2014