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College of Engineering, Architecture and Fine Arts

Gov. Pablo Borbon Campus II,
Alangilan, Batangas City, Philippines 4200 Telefax: (043) 300-4044 locs. 106-108


ChE 423




ChE - 4201

Engr. Angelica D. de Sagun


Mass transfer is the basis for a number of important unit operations that involve the
separation of the components of gas or liquid mixtures.
Mass transfer operations are based on the transfer of material from one homogeneous
phase to another.
Unlikely purely mechanical separations, these methods utilize differences in vapor
pressure, solubility or diffusivity, not density or particle size.
The driving force for transfer is a concentration difference or a difference in activity,
much as a temperature difference or a temperature gradient provides the driving force
for heat transfer.


Distillation is one of the most common
liquid-liquid separation processes, and
can be carried out in a continuous or
batch system.
Distillation works by the application
and removal of heat to exploit
differences in relative volatility.
Distillation can be used to separate
binary or multi-component mixtures.
Many variables, such as column
pressure, temperature, size, and
diameter are determined by the
properties of the feed and the desired
products. Figure 1. Distillation Columns
Some specialized columns perform (Scanning Technologies Inc., Baton Rouge)
other functions, such as reactive distillation columns, which combine reaction and
separation of products into a single unit.


A. Packed Beds
The feed mixture contains components of different volatilities, and enters the column
approximately at the middle. The liquid flows downward through the packing, and the vapor
flows upward through the column.
Differences in concentration cause the less-volatile components to transfer from the
vapor phase to the liquid phase. The packing increases the time of contact, which increases
the separation efficiency. The exiting vapor contains the most volatile components, while the
liquid product stream contains the least volatile components.

Equipment Design
After the feed mixture enters the column, liquid flows down the column through the
packing counter-currently and contacts the rising vapor stream. The liquid at the bottom
enters a reboiler. Two streams exit the reboiler; a vapor stream, which returns to the column,
and a liquid product stream. The vapor stream flows upward through the packing, picks up
the more volatile components, exits the column, and enters a condenser. After the vapor
condenses, the stream enters a reflux drum, where it is split into an overhead product stream,
known as the distillate, and a reflux stream that is recycled back to the column.
The feed passes through packing to maximize vapor-liquid surface contact for an
efficient separation. Types of packing include dumped, or random, packing and stacked
Dumped packings have either random or geometrically structured shapes and are
composed of bulk inert material, such as clay, porcelain, plastic, ceramic, metal, or

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graphite. Individual packings are typically 3 to 75 mm in size, and have several void
spaces that provide a large surface area for liquid-vapor contact. The advantages of
dumped packing include high liquid flow rate capacity, high pressure capacity, and
low cost.
Metal packings have a high strength and good wettability.
Ceramic packings have a higher wettability than metal packings, but they are not as
strong. Because they are corrosion resistant, ceramic packings are used only at
elevated temperatures where plastic packing would fail.
Plastic packings have sufficient strength but experience poor wettability at low
liquid flowrates.
Stacked Packing is a structured meshwork of the same diameter as the column. It
provides long uninterrupted channels for liquid and vapor flow. Stacked packing is
preferred for low liquid flow rates and in low pressure situations. They are typically
made of wood, sheet metal, or woven gauze.

B. Plate or Tray Column

It is the most widely used type of
distillation column. The number of trays, or
stages in the column is dependent on the desired
purity and difficulty of separation. The number
of stages also determines the height of the

Equipment Design
After the feed mixture enters the column,
liquid flows down the column and across the
trays in either crossflow or countercurrent flow.
A reboiler at the bottom separates the stream
into a vapor stream that returns to the column Figure 2. Plate or Tray Column
and a liquid product stream. The vapor stream Vendome Copper & Brass Works, Inc., Louisville, KY)
flows upward through the trays, and contacts the
down-flowing liquid stream, allowing the separation to take place. At the top of the column,
the vapor is condensed in a condenser. The condensed stream is split into an overhead
product stream, known as the distillate, and a reflux stream that returns to the top of the
The geometry of the trays within the column affects the extent and type of contact
between the vapor and liquid streams. Tray types include sieve, valve, and bubble cap.
Sieve trays, which contain holes for vapor to flow through, are used for high capacity
situations providing high efficiency at a low cost.
Although less expensive, valve trays, containing holes with opening and closing
valves, have the tendency to experience fouling due to accumulation of material.
Bubble cap trays contain caps which allow vapor to flow into and out through tiny
openings through the liquid. Bubble cap trays are the most advanced and expensive of
the three trays, and are highly effective in some low liquid flow rate situations.

C. Vacuum Distillation
During vacuum distillation, the pressure inside the distillation column is
maintained at a vacuum to lower the temperature need to vaporize the liquid. This method of
distillation is applied in situations with heat sensitive products, liquids with low viscosities,
and liquids that tend to foul or foam.

Equipment Design
Vacuum pumps and vacuum regulators are added to distillation columns to maintain
the column at a vacuum. Many species can be distilled at much more economical
temperatures with the use of these vacuum distillation columns.

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D. Cryogenic Distillation
In cryogenic distillation, common distillation techniques are applied to gases that
have been cryogenically cooled into liquids. The system must operate at temperatures below

Equipment Design
In a typical cold box, a nitrogen rejector cryogenically distills out nitrogen from a
feed gas using two tray or packed distillation columns. The nitrogen can be bled off to the
atmosphere or stored in cryogenic storage tanks. Heat exchangers keep the gases at low
enough temperatures to be separated. The system's pipes often need specially
designed cryogenic valves and cryogenic fittings.

E. Reactive Distillation or Catalytic Distillation

It combines reaction and distillation into a single column.

Equipment Design
The reactants enter the reactive zone. The reaction takes place and the desired product
is produced. The column operation dictates the separation of reactants and products. The
reactants are more volatile than the products and therefore rise upward to the distillate
stream. The condensed reactants are fed back to the reactive zone. The products are less
volatile, which fall downward and exit the bottom stream as liquid.

F. Extractive

Equipment Design
Extractive distillation involves an additional species that acts as a solvent to change
the relative volatility of one of the components of a mixture. The first column is known as the
extractive unit. In addition to a feed stream with two components, a solvent stream also
enters the extractive unit. The component of the feed stream that is ultimately recovered
becomes associated with the solvent and leaves in the bottoms stream of the extractive units.
The other component vaporizes and exits in the distillate. In the second column, known as
the solvent stripper, the desired product is separated and the regenerated solvent is returned to
the extractive unit to repeat the cycle.

Absorbers bring gas and liquid phases in contact, so that contaminants in the gas phase
absorb into the liquid phase as a result of their interaction.


A. Packed Beds
Packed bed columns use absorption to remove contaminants such as corrosive
gaseous emissions, acidic fumes, and various odors. Distillation columns and packed bed
columns involve essentially the same equipment.

Equipment Design
A packed bed column contains a support plate, a liquid distributor, and a mist
eliminator. The liquid stream flows through a liquid distributor and down the column due to
gravity, resulting in counter-flow, cross-flow, or co-current flow. Contaminants are
transferred from the vapor to the liquid, due to equilibrium or kinetic mechanisms, with the
packing providing contact between phases for this transfer.

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Figure 4. Packed Bed Column Figure 4. Packed Bed Column Design
Tri-Mer Corporation, Owosso, MI MikroPul, Inc., Charlotte, NC

Mist eliminators are used to condense any vaporized scrubbing liquid.

Figure 5. Mesh mist eliminator (left) and Vane mist eliminator (right)
Amistco Separation Products Inc., Alvin, TX

Support plates hold the packing in place within the column.

Figure 6. Support plates

Sulzer Chemtech Ltd., Switzerland

The liquid streams flow through distributors to avoid channeling, the uneven distribution
of liquid, which can reduce the transfer of the gas contaminant to the liquid.

Figure 7. Liquid distributors

B. Spray Columns Sulzer Chemtech Ltd., Switzerland

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Spray columns are differential
contactors, and as such they use continuous contact
between the two phases, as opposed to the stages
used in staged contactors.

Equipment Design
The liquid stream enters the column
through spray nozzles. Nozzles can be placed at
different heights in the column. The droplets that
form provide a large surface area for exposure to
the gas stream; smaller droplets result in a greater
exchange area. Gas flows counter-currently with
respect to the liquid. The gas could also flow co-
currently with the liquid. Low droplet velocities Figure 8. Counter-current flow spray tower
may lead to low contact or turbulence, and high
droplet velocities may cause flooding. Therefore, an optimum droplet velocity is essential.
A mist eliminator is used to separate any liquid that is entrained into the gaseous phase.

C. Falling Film
Equipment Design
Falling film absorbers are differential contactors, and are mainly used when a large
amount of heat is removed during absorption. Falling film absorbers are also vertical shell
and tube heat exchangers. The solvent enters at the top and falls down the tube as a film. Gas
enters at the bottom or top to produce counter-current or co-current flow. The absorption of
contaminants from the gas to the solvent depends on gas velocity, liquid-gas distribution, and
the tube surface condition.

D. Bubble Columns
Equipment Design
Bubble columns are a type of sparged tank. In a sparged tank, the gas stream is
introduced in the form of small bubbles and acts as the agitator. Gas enters at the bottom
through a gas distributor or sparger and is dispersed in the form of bubbles through the liquid
stream. The liquid can be introduced at the top or the bottom, resulting in either counter-flow
or co-current flow, respectively. The bubbles rise at a velocity determined by the bubble size:
the larger the bubbles, the faster they rise. Spargers are designed to produce consistent bubble
sizes, so that all the bubbles rise at the same velocity. The bubbles may contain entrained
liquid, which may result in more hold up at high velocities.

E. Tray Columns
Equipment Design
The geometry of the trays within the column affects the extent and type of contact
between the vapor and liquid streams. The different tray types include sieve, valve, and
bubble cap. Sieve trays contain holes for vapor to flow through. Valve trays are similar,
containing holes with opening and closing valves. Bubble cap trays contain caps that allow
vapor to flow through tiny openings through the liquid.

Figure 9. Sieve, valve, and bubble cap trays (left to right).

Vendome Copper & Brass Works Louisville, KY

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After the feed mixture enters the column, it flows down the column and across the
trays in either cross flow or counter-flow. In cross flow columns, downcomers channel the
liquid flowing from one tray down to the tray below.

F. Venturi Scrubbers
Venturi scrubbers are used in the removal of gas
stream contaminants by liquid droplets.
In a venturi scrubber, contact between a high
velocity gas and a free-flowing liquid causes the gas
contaminants to be trapped in liquid droplets. The liquid in
venturi scrubbers may contain solids, which would plug
other types of absorbers. Venturi scrubbers are able to
remove solid sub-micron particles.

Equipment Design
In venturi scrubbers, the gas and liquid streams Figure 10. Venturi Scrubber
enter from the top. The liquid jet enters through a nozzle to Sly Inc., Strongsville, OH
a wet-approach or flooded wall entry designed to
avoid buildup. Below the entry is a throat where
droplets are formed by shearing. Gas contaminants are
absorbed into these droplets in a single stage.
Below the venturi is a flooded elbow, or
entrainment, that prevents wear. The flow is circulated
in the entrainment by a pump. The gas stream and the
droplets are further separated in a cyclone separator or
demister. The lighter gas flows out the top, and the
heavier droplets fall to the bottom, where they exit
Figure 11. Venturi scrubber design
with the entrained liquid.
MikroPul, Inc., Charlotte, NC

G. Wet Scrubbers
Wet scrubbers combine a liquid spray and cyclonic action to purify gas streams of gas
compounds and dust particles.
The liquid spray in a wet scrubber removes fine particles, typically sulfur or acidic
compounds, or liquid mists entrained in a gas stream.

Equipment Design
In a wet scrubber, contaminated gas enters
through an inlet at the bottom of the column. Liquid
enters through a nozzle or pipe, flowing in a counter-
flow, cross flow, or co-current manner. The gas flows in
a circular path within the cyclone portion of the
scrubber, forcing heavier dust particles against the wall.
Any liquid entrained within the remaining vapor is
removed by the demister. Lighter particles hit the vane
stages, where much of the vapor-liquid contact takes
place. Acidic gases are converted to neutral salts and
other solids so that the pH of the gas is 7 or 8. Gas exits
at the top, while liquid and dust particles exit at the
A mist eliminator, installed near the top of the Figure 12. Wet scrubber design
spray tower, removes droplets of alkaline reactant that MikroPul, Inc., Charlotte, NC
are transported by the flue gas stream. Mist eliminators can be made from polypropylene,
fiber-reinforced plastic, polysulfone, or stainless steel. These mist eliminators can accumulate
solids which can cause corrosion, fouling, and heat related damage, so regular maintenance is

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H. Stirred Tank
Equipment Design
Stirred tanks, also called agitated tanks or CSTRs, are used when the absorption
process includes a slow liquid-phase chemical reaction, or when close control of the process
is needed. In a stirred tank, the gas is introduced directly into the liquid and mixed by the
stirrer. The solids are suspended. A cylindrical tank is typically used, with a liquid depth of
one or two diameters.


Adsorption involves the separation of a substance from one phase, accompanied by
the accumulation of that substance at the surface of another phase.
Two types of adsorption are possible.
Physisorption is a physical process that occurs below 200C. The typical
heat of physisorption is 5 - 10 kcal/mol.
Chemisorption is a chemical process where the adsorbent adheres to the
adsorbate through a chemical bond. Chemisorption bonds can be weak,
ranging from 15-40 kcal/mol, or strong, which can be greater than 50

A. Column Contact
Column contact adsorbers use a bed of adsorbent to purify solutions. Column
contact adsorbers can operate as a fixed bed, or as a moving or pulsed bed.
Fixed bed operation is the oldest form of column contact adsorption. A bed of
adsorbent is held in place inside the column, and the solution to be treated flows
over, through, and around it. The bed must be taken off line to replace or
regenerate the spent adsorbent.
In a moving or pulsed bed adsorber, untreated solution enters the adsorber from
the bottom and flows up the column. At the same time, fresh adsorbent enters the
adsorber from the top of the column and exits out the bottom. Exhausted
adsorbent is continually removed, while fresh adsorbent is continually added,
allowing for more efficient operation.

Equipment Design
Under fixed bed operation, adsorption columns may be arranged in series or parallel,
and may be run in either upflow or downflow modes.
In series fixed bed column contact mode, the effluent from the first bed passes to a
second bed. If necessary, additional beds may be added in series. The lead bed is removed for
reactivation when the adsorbent becomes saturated with adsorbate. The next bed in sequence
then becomes the first bed, and a fresh bed is added in the final position.
In parallel fixed bed operations, the effluent of all columns is blended prior to
discharge. Adsorption beds in parallel are removed from operation in a staggered manner so
that the system is comprised of beds in varying states of exhaustion.
Pulsed bed operations are restricted to the upflow mode of operation. Additional
equipment is required to recycle the adsorbent, which allows for a more efficient operation.
Smaller adsorbents have a larger surface area and allow for more contact between the
packing and absorbate than larger adsorbents. Therefore, small adsorbents are desirable and
enhance the adsorption rate. However, if adsorbent particles are too small they may restrict
the proper flow of fluid through the column.

B. Slurry Contact
Slurry contact adsorbers use powdered adsorbent slurry to adsorb desired
In slurry contact adsorption, the adsorbent powder is mixed with the solution that
is to be treated. Agitation evenly distributes the adsorbent throughout the solution. The
adsorbent is then removed from the purified solution by filtration.

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Slurry contact adsorption can be carried out in a number of modes, such as single
stage batch, multiple stage batch, multiple stage countercurrent, and continuous.

Equipment Design
In single stage batch treatment, fresh adsorbent comes in contact with the fluid in a
completely mixed vessel. After the required contact time, the adsorbent is separated from the
fluid by filtration. The desired quality of the purified fluid is obtained, and the spent
adsorbate is disposed of or regenerated.

In multiple stage batch treatment, the solution passes through several single batch
stages. The effluent from one stage enters the second stage, where it is treated again. Each
stage achieves part of the overall separation in this type of treatment, also known as split or
divided treatment.

Multiple stage countercurrent adsorption separation is a two-step system. It involves

contacting the untreated solution with once-used adsorbent, which is discarded or regenerated
after the second use.
The partially treated fluid is then contacted with fresh adsorbent. After separation, this
adsorbent becomes the once-used adsorbent to treat a new batch of untreated feed solution.
In continuous slurry contact adsorbers, a series of stirred tanks are used to
approach plug flow. The adsorption takes place as the adsorbent and solution travel through
the series of tanks. When the desired purification has been achieved, the adsorbent is filtered
from the purified solution.

C. Pressure Swing
In pressure swing adsorption (PSA), adsorbents are used under varying pressures to
separate gas mixtures. The process is known as vacuum swing adsorption (VSA) if these
pressures fall below atmospheric.
In pressure swing adsorption, one or more components in a gas stream adsorb on a
solid adsorbent. PSA capitalizes on the dependence of adsorption on pressure. More gas can
be adsorbed at higher pressures. By adsorbing at one pressure and then "swinging" to a lower
pressure for desorbing, a majority of an adsorbed gas can be removed from a high pressure
PSA can be accomplished using one-, two-, or multiple-bed designs. However, two-
bed designs are the most common.

Equipment Design
In the two-bed design, the beds alternate periods of high and low pressure. The feed
gas enters the bed when the pressure is high. Components from the stream are preferentially
adsorbed. A small part of the exiting stream is used to desorb the collected species from the
low pressure bed. The low pressure bed can now become the high pressure bed, and the cycle
can continue using the opposite beds.

D. Adsorption Media
A wide variety of adsorbents are available to carry out specific separations.
Adsorbents are made from natural or synthetic materials and have an amorphous or
microcrystalline structure. They are granular and generally extremely porous, with large
internal surface areas. Examples of adsorbents include clays, chars, alumina, and silicates.

Equipment Design
Both the chemical and physical properties of the adsorbent must be considered.
Chemical properties that influence adsorbent design include degree of ionization of the
surface, functional groups present on the surface, and degree to which these chemical
properties vary with process parameters and by contact with the solution. Physical properties
that influence design include surface area, surface structure, size, and pore distribution.

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When the adsorbent becomes saturated with adsorbate, it is either discarded or
The adsorbent is typically discarded when chemisorption takes place, since the
adsorbent has undergone an irreversible chemical change. After physisorption, the adsorbent
may be regenerated by heating it to high temperatures.
There are many types of adsorbent materials, including activated carbons, synthetic
polymeric materials, carbonaceous materials, nanoporous polymers, aluminophosphates, and
Activated carbons are the oldest and most widely used adsorbent. They are natural,
broad-based adsorbents with a wide range of applications.
Carbonaceous adsorbents present a carbon matrix in a nonconventional manner.
One of the more exotic and recently developed carbonaceous adsorbents is the carbon
fullerene structure, also known as a Buckyball.
Synthetic polymeric adsorbents are offshoots of synthetic ion exchange resin
technology. Polymeric adsorbents have a fixed pore structure in a three dimensional
Nanoporous polymers can accommodate various adsorbates because of their
permanent porosity in the crystal structure. Nanoporous polymers are also good
thermal insulators because their small pore size reduces collisions between gas
Aluminophosphate (ALPO) porous materials are a framework of aluminum,
phosphorus, oxygen, and up to 17 other elements. Transition metals can be added to
the framework to create different adsorption properties.
Aluminosilicates or zeolites are a tetrahedral coordination of silicon, aluminum, and
oxygen atoms. The arrangement of the atoms forms a framework of uniform pore
channels. They are negatively charged and cations are needed to compensate.
Different charged species can be used to produce specific adsorption interactions.


Humidifiers are used to increase the relative humidity of air. The most common
humidification methods use either steam or fog.

A. Direct Steam Humidifier

Direct steam humidification, one of the most common humidification methods,
requires a central source of steam. Direct steam humidifiers use a central boiler as a source of
steam, which is fed to the air through a dispersion grid system. A steam separator is usually
needed to condition the boiler steam.

Equipment Design
In direct steam humidifiers steam enters the system and flows into a strainer, which
removes solid impurities. The steam continues around the steam jacketed dispersion tube,
where its heat is used to reduce condensation of the exiting steam.
Next, the steam enters a separator, and condensate drains out. The steam flows into a
drying chamber that removes any remaining condensate and reduces the noise of the
escaping steam. The steam flowrate is regulated by a valve.
Finally, the steam is discharged through the dispersion tube, usually into air ducts

B. Electronic Humidifier
It uses electricity to generate steam for humidification. They are often used when a
central steam source is not available.

Equipment Design
An electronic electrode humidifier uses submerged electrodes to pass a current
through water, causing it to boil and produce steam. The electrodes are housed in the steam

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generator. The steam is then fed to dispersion tubes. The water used in electrode humidifiers
must be ionized enough to conduct electricity, or the water won't boil.
Initially, only the lower sections of the electrodes are exposed to the water. Over time
scale builds up on the electrodes and reduces the conductivity. The humidifier recognizes the
decrease in conductivity and automatically raises the water level to expose fresh parts of the
electrodes to the water in order to maintain consistent humidity. This humidifier is equipped
with a pump and drainage system in order to control the fresh water exposed to the

C. Water Spray
Unlike other humidifiers, water spray systems use room temperature water instead of
steam. Spray humidifiers have specially designed nozzles that atomize water into a very fine
fog, which is quickly absorbed into the surrounding atmosphere. As the liquid leaves the
nozzle, the stream quickly expands, forming small particles.

Equipment Design
The key to effective water spray humidification is in the nozzle design. Impingement
nozzles are usually used for humidification purposes because they produce a very fine spray.
Air atomizing nozzles are also used for humidification. A high velocity stream of air
enters from the top, while a stream of water enters from the bottom. The air stream serves to
break up the water into small particles, which are driven through the orifice, producing the
atomized water particles.

D. Steam to steam
For applications where chemical-free steam is needed, boiler steam may not be pure
enough to use for humidification. In these cases, a steam to steam humidifier may be

Equipment Design
In steam to steam humidifiers, boiler steam is used only as a source of heat. Boiler
steam enters a heat exchanger, where its heat is used to generate chemical-free steam from
pure water. The boiler steam does not contact the regenerated steam, keeping it chemical-
free. The regenerated steam is fed through a distribution tube and directly into an air duct.
The regenerated steam is usually at atmospheric pressure, which makes equipment location
very important.

E. Evaporative
Equipment Design
One example of evaporative humidifiers are evaporative pan humidifiers. They are
most often used in small areas that do not require a large humidification load. Steam, hot
water, or electricity is used to boil water in a large flat open pan. The steam is absorbed into
the atmosphere, increasing the humidity.
Usually, a fan or blower is used to disperse the steam, which humidifies the area. The
water supply is regulated using a float valve, ensuring that the pan does not run dry.


Drying is an operation in which moisture is removed thermally from a liquid/solid
mixture. Dryers vary in application and function.


A. Rotating drum dryers, also known simply as drum dryers, dry material on the
surface of a heated, rotating roll.

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Equipment Design:

In single drum dryers, the feed is applied

to the heated drum by applicator rolls. The
number of applicator rolls used controls the
application of the material, which
determines the characteristics of the dried
product. The dried product is removed by
side blades and dropped onto a conveyor,
which takes the product to the next step in
the production line.
Figure 13. Rotating Drum Dryer
Simon (Dryers) Ltd., Nottingham, UK
In double drum dryers, the material enters
in the center and is spread onto the two heated metal rolls. The material is dried and
removed by the side blades as the rolls rotate. The product is dropped onto conveyor
belts and is taken to the next unit in the process.
Twin drum dryers are equipped with a splash feed at the bottom. The feed is
splashed onto the heated rolls, which rotate away from each other. The dried material
is removed by side blades and dropped onto conveyors.

B. Rotary dryers dry material by heated air while being transported along the interior of
a rotating cylinder.
Equipment Design

Direct-heat rotary dryers dry the wet

feed through direct contact with a hot
gas. The gas flow can be co-current or
counter current to the feed stream. The
feed dries as it is transported along the
interior of the rotating cylinder. The
shell acts as both a stirrer and a
conveying device. These are equipped
with flights on the interior for lifting Figure 14. Rotary Dryer
and showering the feed through the Buhler Aeroglide Corporation, Cary, NC
gas stream as it passes through the

Indirect-heat rotary dryers is a steam-tube rotary dryer, shown below. It consists of

a slowly rotating, almost horizontal shell with heat-transfer tubes along the outside
walls. Steam enters the heat-transfer tubes through an inlet at the discharge end of the
dryer. The feed enters at one end through a feeder and exits at the other. It is moved
toward the discharge by the inclined rotation of the shell.

C. Spray dryers consist of a large

vertical cylindrical chamber.
Material to be dried is sprayed as
droplets into a stream of hot gas.

Equipment Design

In a typical spray dryer, the

cylindrical chamber has a short conical
bottom. Liquid feed is pumped into a

12 | P a g e Figure 15. Spray Dryer

GEA Process Engineering Inc., Columbia, MD
spray disk atomizer set in the roof chamber. The liquid is atomized into small drops,
which are thrown radially into a stream of hot gas entering near the top of the chamber.
Manipulating the temperature of this hot gas stream allows control over the porosity of
the dried particles. Once drying is complete, the gas and solids are cooled and separated
in a cyclone separator, where any entrained particles of solid are removed.

The atomizer is the most important part of any spray dryer. It determines the size,
size distribution, trajectory, and speed of the droplets. Rotary atomizers typically spin at a
rate of 5,000 to 25,000 rpm.

Since spray drying propels large amounts of fine dust into the air, there is a risk of
fire or dust explosion. However, with proper safety measures these explosions are very
rare. Spray dryers are equipped with pressure venting systems, and are often operated in
an inert atmosphere to help prevent ignition.


Crystallizers are used in industry to achieve liquid-solid separation. They are an

important piece of chemical processing equipment because they are capable of generating
high purity products with a relatively low energy input.


A. Forced-circulation crystallization is the most widely used crystallization method in


Equipment Design

The feed slurry is first heated in a heat

exchanger, then pumped to the main body of
the crystallizer. Vaporization occurs at the top
surface of the slurry, while nucleation occurs
near the bottom of the crystallizer body. The
crystals are removed and vaporized solvent is
condensed and returned to the crystallizer

There are several adaptations that can

be added to a forced-circulation crystallizer to
help narrow the crystal size distribution.
Options include baffling, a conical entrance,
and an elutriation step. A conical entrance Figure 16. Forced-circulation crystallizer
promotes more thorough mixing, which Swenson Process Equipment, Inc., Harvey, IL
creates a more uniform slurry mixture. Baffling is used to remove fines from the mixture,
so that they can be recirculated for further growth. Elutriation, like baffling, removes
smaller particles from the slurry, except elutriation separates particles based on weight
rather than size. Elutriation is the process of flowing air over particles. Lighter particles
are picked up by the air stream, while heavier ones remain in place.

B. Draft tube baffle crystallizers are used to control crystal size and characteristics.

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Equipment Design

DTB crystallizers have two distinct

volumes. In the baffled region gravitational
settling separates larger crystals from fines.
The larger crystals settle between the baffle
and draft tube and are removed in the product
slurry, while the fines are recirculated after
being redissolved in a heat exchanger. The
evaporated solvent is then condensed, cooled,
and returned to the region of active Figure 17. Draft tube baffle crystallizers
Swenson Process Equipment, Inc., Harvey, IL

C. Surface-cooled crystallizers
combine a draft tube baffle
crystallizer body with a heat

Equipment Design

Slurry is drawn from the Figure 18. Surface-cooled Crystallizer

crystallizer body and then cooled Swenson Process Equipment, Inc., Harvey, IL
before being pumped back into the
crystallizer body. Crystallizers such as these are the most useful for operations in which
the solution's boiling point is extremely high, or when such low temperatures are required
that evaporation by vacuum is not possible.

D. Batch Vacuum is used for special cases

requiring very low operating
temperatures achieved only by very
high vacuum, and for those
applications involving relatively small
amounts of material, or when the
material being processed must be
handled on less than a continuous
Figure 19. Batch Vacuum
Swenson Process Equipment, Inc., Harvey, IL)

`Equipment Design

Vacuum crystallizers use a condenser with a booster to maintain a vacuum inside the
crystallizer body. This vacuum makes it possible to generate a supersaturated solution
when very low operating temperatures are needed. Vacuum crystallizers may be
continuous or batch. The batch vacuum crystallizer is particularly useful when processing
materials that tend to grow on the walls of continuous crystallization equipment.

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Leaching / solid extraction is the method of removing one constituent from a solid
by means of a liquid solvent.


A. Stationary Solid Beds is done in a tank with a perforated false bottom to support the
solids and permit drainage of the solvent.Solids are loaded into the tank, sprayed with
solvent until their solute content is reduced to the economical minimum,and

B. Moving-bed Leaching. In the machines that are used for this type of leaching, the
solids are moved through the solvent with little or no agitation.

Bollman Extractor contains a bucket elevator in a closed casing. The buckets are
loaded with flaky solids such as soybeans. The solids are sprayed with appropriate
amount of half miscella as they travel downward. Half miscella is the
intermediate solvent containing some extracted oil and some small solid particles.
As solids and solvent flow concurrently down the right-hand side of the machine,
the solvent extracts more oil from the beans.

Rotocel Extractor has a horizontal basket which is divided into walled

compartments with a floor that is permeable to the liquid. The basket rotates
slowly about a vertical axis. Solid are admitted to each compartment at feed point.
The compartments then pass a number of solvent sprays, a drainage section and a
discharge point. To give countercurrent extraction, the fresh solvent is fed only to
the last compartment before the discharge point.

Dispersed-solid Leaching. Solids that form impermeable beds, either before or

during leaching , are treated by dispersing them in the solvent by mechanical
agitation in a tank or flow mixer.The leached residue is then separate from the
strong solution by settling or filtration. Small quantities can be leached batchwise
in this way in an agitated vessel with a bottom drawoff for settled residue.


A membrane is a thin barrier that permits the transport of certain species across it
from one fluid to another. Membranes can be classified by the operating driving force for


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A. Microfiltration Membrane is commonly used in protein and nucleic acid concentration
and purification.

Equipment Design
In separations involving straight- through filters, known as dead-end filtration, all
the feed solution is forced through the membrane by an applied pressure. Essentially all
the fluid permeates the membrane in one pass. For applications with high solid
concentration, plugs may occur.

Microfiltration membranes can also be operated in a crossflow mode, where the

feed solution is pumped across the membrane parallel to its surface. By maintaining a
high velocity across the membrane, the retained solid is swept off the surface of the
membrane, as shown below. This makes the crossflow mode ideal when a significant
amount of material would be retained on the membrane. However, this mode of
separation is not very efficient, and a recycling loop might be necessary.

B. Ultrafiltration Systems are different from microfiltration systems only in that they use
membranes with smaller pores.

Equipment Design

Spiral membranes are produced by winding the membrane around a perforated

center tube, where permeate is collected. Feed water is purified when it passes
through one layer of the membrane and flows into the permeate tube.

Tubular membranes consist of a support tube with a membrane cast on the inside.
These membranes can be made of several different materials including ceramic,
carbon, stainless steel, and various thermoplastics. The tubular design is particularly
useful for operations involving high solids concentrations, since plugging is kept to a
minimum, and the product recovery is high.

Hollow fiber membranes, also called capillary membranes, allow a high membrane
surface area to be contained in a compact module, providing high capacity. These
membranes have an overall smaller inner tube diameter than tubular membranes and
consist of unsupported membrane polymers. Such polymers require a rigid support on
each end of the tube. This support is provided by an epoxy potting of a bundle of the
fibers inside. The feed flow can go down the interior of the fibers, or around their

C. Reverse Osmosis a pressure is applied to separate water from a salt solution.

Equipment Design

Three major factors that affect reverse osmosis efficiency are membranes, pumps,
and energy recovery devices.

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Membranes should have high water permeability and a low salt permeability,
a large surface area, a low pressure drop across the membrane, and be very
thin and defect-free. Thin-film composite (TFC) membranes are used in most
cases since they possess many of these qualities.

High pressure pumps are often used to generate flow for feed solutions, and
sometimes they are also used to introduce cross flow. Circulation pumps can
be used to create the cross flow, which reduces the pressure drop needed at the
high pressure pump. Booster pumps can be added to later stages to counteract
the increase in osmotic pressure through the system.

Energy recovery devices are mainly found in seawater operations. They

regain some of the hydraulic energy generated in the system so that it can be
used to dispose of brine and collect more feed water.

D. Pervaporation is the separation of a mixture in which a component is diffused through a

semipermeable membrane and evaporated.

Equipment Design
In pervaporation a nonporous membrane is used to separate miscible liquid
mixtures into two concentrated streams. A vacuum is applied to the permeate side of the
membrane. This keeps the partial pressure of the permeate lower than the saturation
pressure, producing the driving force for separation. The permeate is removed as vapor
and then condensed.

IX. Referrences:

Membranes - Separations: Chemical - MEL Equipment Encyclopedia 4.0.

(2017). Retrieved 9 February 2017, from
m branes.html
Batch Vacuum Crystallizer - Swenson Technology. (2017). Swenson Technology. Retrieved 9
February 2017, from
Pervaporation. (2017). Retrieved 9 February 2017, from
Chemical Separations (2015) Retrieved 8 February 2017, from

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