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Gas Absorption
• An operation in which a gas mixture
is contacted with a liquid for the
purpose of preferentially dissolving
one or more components of the gas
mixture and to provide a solution of
them in liquid.
• Also known as scrubbing.
Gas Absorption
• Absorption process is a gas-liquid mass transfer
operation in which a component is transferred from
gas phase to the liquid.
• Gas absorption unit has been widely used as a selective
removal tool of one or more component from a gas
mixture by a suitable liquid forming solution of the
gases upon absorption.
• The rate of absorption is determined by the rate of
molecular diffusion that largely controls this interphase
mass transfer.
• There are two types of operation: physical and
chemical absorption.
Gas Adsorption
- Absorption of ammonia from air by liquid
water. The exit ammonia-water solution is
distilled to recover relatively pure ammonia.
- Absorption of SO2 from the flue gases by
absorption in alkaline solution.
Gas Liquid Equilibrium
• Gas liquid equilibrium data
– Consider SO2-air-water system.
– An amount of gases SO2, air, and water are put in a
closed container and shaken repeatedly at a given
temperature until equilibrium is reached.
– Sample of the gas and liquid are analyzed to
determined the partial pressure PA in atm of SO2
(A) in the gas and mole fraction xA in the liquid.
Gas Liquid Equilibrium(cont.)
• Henry’s Law
PA = HxA
Where; PA = partial pressure of A (atm)
H = Henry’s constant (atm/mole fraction)
xA = mole fraction of A in liquid phase

– Divided both side of the above equation with total pressure P;

yA = H’xA
Where; H’ = Henry’s Law constant in mole frac of gas/mole frac of liquid
yA = mole fraction of gas
– H’ depends on total pressure, whereas H does not.
Gas Liquid Equilibrium(cont.)
- From the figure, data
follow Henry’s Law up
to a concentration xA of
about 0.005, where H=
29.6 atm /mole fraction.
- In general, up to a total
pressure of about 5
atm, the value of H is Equilibrium plot for SO2-water system at 293K (20 deg C)
independent of P.
Example 1
What will be the concentration of oxygen
dissolved in water at 298K when the solution is
in equilibrium with air at 1 atm total pressure.
The Henry’s Law constant is 4.38x104 atm/mole
fraction. Partial pressure of oxygen (A) in air is
0.21 atm.
Trayed Tower
• Multistage contact
• High separation, high capacity
• Relatively large diameter
• Cooling is done by providing the plate with cooling
• High pressure drop
• Easy to be clean
• Prefer to be used because:
– To avoid the problem of liquid distribution in a large
diameter tower.
– To decrease the uncertainty in scale up
Packed Tower
• The gas contact in a packed bed
column is continuous, not stage-wise,
as in plate column.
• The liquid flows down the column
over the packing surface and the gas
or vapor, counter-currently, up the
• In some gas absorption, columns co-
current flow is used.
• The performance of a packed column
is very dependent on the
maintenance of good liquid and gas
distribution throughout the packed
bed, and this is an important
consideration in packed-column
Packed Tower
Packed and Tray Column
Packed and Trayed Tower
Design of Trayed Absorption Towers
Example 2
A tray tower is to be designed to absorb SO2
from an air stream by using pure water at 293K.
The entering gas contains 20 mol% SO2 and the
leaving 2 mol% at a total pressure of 101.3kPa.
The inert air flowrate is 150kg/h.m2 and the
entering water flowrate is 6000 kg water/h.m2.
Assuming an overall tray efficiency of 25%. How
many theoretical trays and actual trays are
needed. Assume the tower operates at 293K.
Example 2 (cont.)